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The New Heaven and the New Earth

21 May
New Heaven

from Google Images

The new heavens and the new earth take place after the millennium and after the Great White Throne Judgment. Most students of the Bible, namely the futurists in terms of the Second Coming of Christ, believe that no evil would be possible in the context of all things being made new (Revelation 21:1, 5). In this context it is believed there would be no more death, neither sorrow nor pain or anything that would cause one to shed tears (Revelation 21:4), because all those things belonged to the former age, which has now passed away. In the new age these things simply would not exist, according to futurists’ eschatology. Is this an accurate interpretation of the Apocalypse in chapter twenty-one? In a word, No!

John heard the sound of a great voice coming out of heaven (i.e. out of the Most Holy Place), and the voice declared: “…the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Revelation 21:3). The Tabernacle of God is what held the presence of God, and that Tabernacle dwelt with men, and, because this was so, God (the Father) dwelt with men. The Tabernacle of God is the Ark of the Testimony which was made after the pattern that Moses saw, when he was with God on the mount (cp. Acts 7:44). The ark was really only the pattern or an image of what Moses saw on the mountain. The ark pointed to the Word made flesh (John 1:1, 14-18; 5:30-32, 36). Jesus is the Witness or Testimony of the Presence of God, and he dwells with men and will be their God (Revelation 21:3).[1]

The very first thing John tells us that God will do in the context of the new heavens and the new earth is that he will wipe away all the tears of men and there will be no more death, sorrow, crying and no more pain (Revelation 21:4). This is covenantal language that declares the Old Covenant was no longer in force. In the new heavens and the new earth the New Covenant is the authority under which all things occur. First of all, the text claims there would be no death, but this isn’t literally so, because the text later admits death in the form of the lake of fire. Death, under the New Covenant, is called the second death. In other words “death” still exists, but not as it was defined under the Old Covenant, which was sleep or rest, in which the dead were unaware of their condition or of what occurred in the land of the living. Under the New Covenant, there is awareness in death. On the one hand there is joy and fulfillment and men’s works follow them (Matthew 25:21, 23; Philippians 2:17; Revelation 14:13). On the other hand the wicked cannot escape his guilt, because his fate is the lake of fire, i.e. the Sea of Glass, which burns with fire, which is before the throne of God. They are constantly made aware of the Lord’s presence and his holiness in contrast with their own wickedness. This is called the second death (Revelation 21:8). On the one hand the righteous aren’t hurt thereby (Revelation 2:11; 20:6), but not so the wicked. The worst that occurs for the righteous is that their works are burnt up, leaving them with no reward (1Corinthians 3:11-15).

The sorrow, tears and pain (G4192) also have to do with covenantal death, which has been changed under the New Covenant. We don’t sorrow or mourn as others mourn (1Thessalonians 4:13), when someone close to us passes on, because we know our beloved is with the Lord, which is far better than anyone living in this world (Philippians 1:23).

The Greek word for pain (G4192), is translated so only in the Apocalypse. In the Septuagint it is usually translated misery (G4192), but it often translated toil (G4192) in the context that one labored in vain (see the LXX for, Psalm 78:51; 109:11; Isaiah 49:4; Jeremiah 20:5). Under the new heavens and the new earth, this would no longer be true in death, because the believers works follow him into the next life (Revelation 14:13). No longer would a man be cut off from his labor after physical death. No longer would another man be the beneficiary of what the first man gave his life to build up. Each one would sit under his own fig tree (Micah 4:1-5) and enjoy the fruits of his own labor.

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[1] See my earlier study: The Temple of the Tabernacle of Witness.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2020 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation

 

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