Good evening and welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Revelation. Tonight is study #1 of Revelation chapter 21 and we are going to read Revelation 21:1
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Here the Lord is showing the Apostle John a vision of a new heaven and a new earth and He makes the statement, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” And we know this is what the Word of God has declared and we have been moving toward throughout the history of the world since the fall of mankind. This world is temporal and man’s life in this world is short-lived. It is “but for a moment.” God has said that because of sin man will die. The creation saw corruption and, therefore, the entire creation (the earth, heaven and celestial bodies) must be destroyed. This whole universe must be destroyed and removed because of sin and the effects of sin and the curse upon it. God has warned us not to love the world because it will not last. This is what God said in 1John 2:15-17:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
The world passes away. God said it, too, in our verse in Revelation 21:1:
…for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away…
The Greek word translated as “passed away” is Strong’s #3928 and it is used elsewhere in a similar way. For instance, we read in Luke 21:32-33:
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
God says this in three of the Gospels. He says it in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and here in Luke 21: “This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” This is indicating that the earth is finite and temporal and will not last forever, but the Word of God is eternal and infinite and will last forever.
Do not believe what people say about this world when they hear the idea that there is a strong likelihood that the world will be destroyed. When they heard about May 21, 2011 as Judgment Day and when they hear about October 7, 2015 as the likely end of the world, the almost universal reaction of the unsaved people of the world is a very common and predictable one. There is instant refusal. They say, “No way is this possible,” and they are tremendously confident (there is no other way to put it) that this world will continue. What underlies this confidence is their idea that this world is eternal. After all, the scientists tell them that this world has been around for billions of years and it will be around for billions of more years. That is what evolution teaches; the world has been here for eons and there has been a slow process of evolution. So when we they say the world has existed for billions of years, they are basically saying it has always been and it will probably last billions of more years. These people think it is ridiculous that this world will end. Maybe they come upon this thought that the world must continue based upon the original creation, because God did create the world “good” and He created mankind “good.” If man had kept their original condition of being without sin, this world would have existed forever and men would have lived forever, so there is a vestige of that idea in man that this world must continue, but God says it is not so. We read it in 1John, chapter 2: “And the world passeth away.” Here, in Luke, chapter 21, it says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away.” It is a Biblical fact. God who cannot lie and who knows the end from the beginning and is the Creator of the world is declaring this in an absolute way. There is no question about it. There may be questions about when it will take place and we have delved into that matter, but there is no question that the end of the world will take place. This world will be destroyed and it will pass away.
God says in 2Peter 3:10-13:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Here, God is saying again that the heavens will pass away and He goes on to give a vivid description of the heavens passing away with a great noise and elements melting with fervent heat. In the same passage He mentions that the people of God look for a new heavens and a new earth, because it will be simultaneous with the destruction of this world.
We are looking forward to this with good expectation. I know that is hard for some people to hear and they shake their heads. They do not understand the Bible and the promises God has given to His people, but God’s people are looking forward with great expectation to that time when God will fulfill His promise and complete His salvation by giving His people new resurrected bodies. He will complete His promises given long ago to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that they would receive an everlasting possession for a dwellingplace. The Lord used the land of Canaan as a type and figure of the new heaven and new earth. The physical land of Canaan is part of this present world and we just read in 2Peter, chapter 3 that the world will melt and this would include the land of Canaan, so it cannot be the everlasting dwellingplace for the people of God. Canaan typified the new earth and God promised Abraham that he would receive the land and dwell upon it for evermore. Let us look at that, again, in Genesis 17:7-8:
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
Again, obviously, it cannot be understood literally as the physical land of Canaan. People that insist upon a literal understanding of the Bible end up with all sorts of contradictions that they cannot solve. So they think that God will give the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession, but does not God also say that He will destroy this world? Yes, He does and 2Peter, chapter 3 is the main place, but in numerous places God insists He will destroy the world. What happens to the land of Canaan when God destroys the world? Does God destroy the entire world except the land of Canaan? Does God destroy the heavens and the sun, moon and stars and 99.9% of the earth, except the land of Canaan? No, that cannot be. God will destroy the land of Canaan with the rest of the earth. Again, we see the superiority and necessity of understanding the Bible’s deeper, spiritual dimension. If you fail to look into the Bible for the spiritual teaching, you will come up with wrong conclusions. Those that are looking for only a literal meaning of Scripture are a million miles away from truth. The truth is the meek shall inherit the earth. The seed of Abraham shall inherit the earth and it will be their eternal possession and eternal dwellingplace and it can only be that “new earth” that the meek will inherit. Then we have harmony and everything fits together and that only comes through a spiritual understanding of the promise made to Abraham in the Book of Genesis. Of course, that is how the entire Bible must be understood. You have to look for the deeper spiritual meaning and then all kinds of verses begin to fall into place and harmonize.
In our verse in Revelation, chapter 21, the Lord said in Revelation 21:1:
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away…
But it says in 2Peter 3:13:
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth…
So, yes, October 7, 2015 will, in all likelihood, be the destruction of this present heaven and earth, but, simultaneously, God will create a new heaven and a new earth. If we are correct, it will all take place at that time. It will be the end of time and the celestial bodies will be destroyed and the celestial “clock” that governs time in this world and we will enter into eternity.
It is according to God’s promise, so let us look at some places where God promises this. It says in Isaiah 65:17-18:
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
I am going to stop here for a second and read what our next verse is going to be in Revelation 21:2:
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And in Isaiah 65 it said that He will create a new heaven and He creates “Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.” It is the heavenly Jerusalem comprised of all God’s elect. It is also identified as the “bride of Christ,” so God created a people and He creates a “land” (the new earth) where His people will dwell for evermore. This is what we are reading of and it is beyond wonderful and it is the expectation of each child of God.
You know, these promises of God are comforting. In 1Thessaloians, chapter 4, God speaks of the rapture and the day of the resurrection when His people are lifted up to be with the Lord for evermore and then He added, “Therefore, comfort one another with these words.” It is comforting to the child of God in trials, tribulations, affliction, sorrows, and sickness and in the death of family, friends and neighbors. Death and disease and corruption and sin are all around us in this world and the souls of the righteous are vexed, day by day, as we sojourn in this world.
But we have citizenship in the heavenly kingdom. Our citizenship is in “new Jerusalem,” so God gives us His Word and His promises and He tells us to keep our thoughts above on the goal of the resurrection and look forward to that time wherein our bodies will be transformed. We will find ourselves a totally new creature – the former things are passed away and we will be an entirely new creature in body and soul and we will dwell in an entirely new heaven and new earth. It will be super glorious and super wonderful and we will experience abundant riches and everlasting joy, happiness, peace and love.
But we are not there yet. We are still in the world and still living under time constraints. The sun rises and the sun sets and we are all aging, but we must be patient and continue to hope and continue to look toward the “recompence of reward” because it is a great recompence that is in store for every child of God. Therefore, we have this comfort of soul to ease the burdens and to ease the affliction. It is the comfort of a future that is beyond compare and above everything anyone can imagine. It is the greatest future possible and it is our future.
Therefore, wait upon the Lord. Continue to wait today. Do not put any demands upon God and do not dictate to Him. Do not dare to do that because we do not deserve anything. We experience a time of affliction for a season and a fiery trial, but, very well. Do we deserve better? Sometimes when we are in a rush to get out of these things, it is almost as if we are saying to God, “Look, I do not deserve this. I do not deserve to be tried in this way.” Well, who are you or who am I to think or say such things? Who are we to act this way? Maybe we do not say it, but we may act this way. We are acting as if we are not heirs of the new earth and heirs of eternal happiness and eternal riches. We are not acting that way, but we are acting as if we deserve better and we should not be here in this present “fire,” but we must glorify JEHOVAH in the isles and glorify Him in the fire and let us endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ, enduring to the end. May each one of us glorify Him as He moves in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.
It goes on to say in Isaiah 65:19-22:
And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.