New Heaven and New Earth
In Revelation 21:1 John says he saw a new heaven and a new earth. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”
I’ve never been to Vegas or the Grand Canyon.
Now truth be told I am “a little” nervous about flying.
I have a good friend in Idaho that insists it will be the “highlight of my trip.” Last week he gave me an opportunity to back out…but I really want to see the Grand Canyon so I did not take him up on that opportunity.
At the last-minute my daughter Christa decided to come and she is also taking the Grand Canyon tour. My son, Matthew who is a Realtor in Nashville is flying in later that day for the conference.
Since knowing I was going to the Grand Canyon, I have been thinking about Scriptures on the New Heavens and the New Earth. Author Randy Alcorn, book on Heaven has been my life saver since the death’s of Jamie and “Lilly Bear.”
In the book Heaven, Randy says,
Some Bible teachers think that the Earth will be completely destroyed and a different earth will be made from scratch. But the Bible teaches us that while the Earth will be destroyed for a while, it will be restored. God will make the same old earth into the “New Earth,” which will be better than it ever was!
Think about the Flood that happened during the time of Noah. Although the earth seemed “destroyed,” it really wasn’t. It continued to exist.
We know the Bible says our bodies will die, but God will bring the same bodies back to life in a much better condition. In the same way, the Earth will die, but God will bring it back in a much better condition. That will be the New Earth.
You could compare the Earth’s future changes to that of a caterpillar. As you know, major changes happen to a caterpillar after it goes into a chrysalis. It comes out a new creature—a butterfly. It hasn’t stopped existing. It’s the same, yet transformed. And it’s a real, lasting transformation. Though transformer action figures can be changed back and forth, the butterfly can’t be changed back to a caterpillar (nor would it want to be). Likewise, the New Earth will never change back to the old Earth.
Our loved one’s are waiting for us and enjoying life in heaven, the place they go when they die, before Jesus comes back and establishes His Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Theologians called the place we go when we die the “intermediate heaven”. In the intermediate Heaven, we wait for Christ’s return to earth, our bodily resurrection, the final judgment, and the creation of the new heavens and new earth.
There was a huge gap for me understanding this before I started to really study and pray about what the Bible said about heaven. Regrettably, I had never heard a sermon on heaven, just a few scripture’s on heaven at funerals and grave-sites services.
When Jamie died, and then Lillian I was obsessed about learning more about where they were, what they were doing, and yet I was also confused.
- Paul tells us that when Christians die, we go immediately to be with God.
- To be “absent from the body-present with the Lord.” (This is the scripture we had put on the Park Bench at Millpond Park in Saline, Michigan that many of our friends had built-in honor of Jamie and “Lilly Bear.”
- Philippians l:23 Paul tells us when we depart from this life, we are with Christ.
Jesus said to the thief on the cross “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
How could this be, I wondered.
Their bodies are lying in Oakwood Cemetery in Saline… yet they are Today with Jesus…yet God is going to come back… and the dead in Christ will rise first…meet the Lord in the air…and we will all live together on a New Resurrected earth.
This earth will not be destroyed the way we think it is, but it will be a “new” earth.
Similar to when God called Noah into the Ark and the earth was destroyed by the flood waters. Yet when the rain stopped the earth was still the same earth yet different.
Someday, all those who love God will live together on the new earth, without the curse, without sin.
There will be no more sickness,sadness, tears or pain.
We will not be jealous of one another or envious, but live with love and kindness with our families and friends forever.
Most importantly we will know God, face to face. Just like those gone before us do now.
Life on earth is short, that’s one reason why I’m going to the Grand Canyon on Tuesday.
Photos of Grand Canyon via Creative Commons