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New Heavens and a New Earth

11/05/2021

TableTalk – A New Universe.

READ. 2 Peter 3:1-14.

Do you remember that lovely song that Louis Armstrong sang, extolling the virtues of this created orb on which we live? 

Click to listen to ‘What a Wonderful World

Armstrong sang, “I see trees so green, red roses too, I see them bloom for me and you. And I think to myself what a wonderful world. I see skies so blue and clouds so white. The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night. And I think to myself what a wonderful world. The colours of the rainbow so pretty in the sky. Are also on the faces of people going by… And I think to myself, what a wonderful world! Oh, yea!  The world is truly beautiful, and it is God’s wonderful creation.  Everything in it should fill our hearts with joy.  And think of our own existence, our truly blessed lives, in this world.  Everything is so much better than it was, even just 100 years ago.  Medical advances mean that we are living longer, and healthier.  Yet the Bible tells us that one day, perhaps soon, everything in this world will be destroyed.  Peter wrote, 10 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.  What! God is going to destroy this wonderful world!  And Peter wants us to be happy about that, in fact to look forward to it with great anticipation.  To hasten his coming.  12 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?.  But why?  Why would we want to see this world destroyed?  

The fact is that all the ‘wonderfulness’ of this world is superficial. Scientific advances have made life much easier, and new technology brings the world so much closer, keeps us entertained and informed.  We have better food, better health, better dwellings, better protection, yet somehow we have more unhappiness, more mental illness and more suicide than ever before.  The underlying problem is that despite its beauty, this world is falling apart, labouring under the burden of the Fall and the sinfulness of everything, deeply cracked and broken and groaning as it awaits a future day when it will purged of its futility and restored to its original purpose.  Paul expressed it like this, in Romans 8:9 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

LISTEN TO THIS AS A PODCAST – CLICK THIS LINK.

Everything in this world is broken, and it cannot be fixed.  One day God will destroy it and will make it all over agin, there will be a new heaven and a new earth, in which righteousness will prevail and the saints of God God will dwell in peace and serenity for all of eternity.  I’d like to know how and when that will happen.

1 Heaven and Earth Relinquished.

In all of our previous ‘Table-Talk’ eschatology  studies, we have noticed over and over again, that there will be a day coming when the Lord Jesus will return.  On that day there will be a series of events, taking place so quickly that it will seem that they are simultaneous.  They will happen in the blink of an eye.  Jesus will come from heaven with all his holy angels and the redeemed souls that are in heaven with Him.  The dead in Christ will rise first, and those souls will be reunited with their new, resurrection bodies, just like Christ’s resurrection body, perfect and without corruption.  Those who are alive and remain will also rise to meet them in the air, where they too will receive their eternal bodies.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.  Simultaneously, the lost, who are on earth, and in the grave will also be raised, unto eternal judgement.  John 5:28-29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.  They shall appear – in the air, before the Great White Throne of judgement, where they too will receive their new bodies, bodies full of corruption, disease, pain and filth, and, judged by their sinful works, condemned under the broken law, cast forever into the Lake of Fire.  Revelation, 20:13-15 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  

Now, let’s think this through, and work our what will be happening in heaven and earth during this split second that I’ve just described.   If Jesus and the angels and the saints are in the air, if the earth has been vacated, then both heaven and earth,  are EMPTY.  At that very moment something truly cosmic will be happening.  This earth, and the created universe will be utterly destroyed in a great cataclysmic inferno. 2 Peter 3:10-12 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. … 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?  The only exception to this great inferno will be the place called Hell.  It will remain, for it is already a place of fiery judgment.  As this inferno takes place, as everything in this sinful world is burned up, every trace of sin, every effect of the fall will be destroyed for ever.  John describes this inferno like this, Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

2 Heaven and Earth Recreated2 Peter 3:13 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

What happens when the fire has burned away all the sin and filth and wretchedness of this world? God will make this worldly over again. There will be a perfect place for perfected people.  Jesus promised us this, in John 14:1-4; that in that heavenly home there will be mansions in glory for God’s people.  John describes it too in Revelation 21:1-5, 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. 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. … 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. The universe instantly RECREATED – a new heaven and new earth, for us! 

3. Heaven and Earth Reconciled.  

One of the things that we learn about this present world in Romans 8, is that it is subjected to ‘vanity.’  20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, The word ‘vanity’ here is not as we would think of vanity, someone who is self-obsessed, someone who dresses up to attract attention to themselves, vain people. AMP: For the creation was subjected to frustration and futility, not willingly [because of some intentional fault on its part], but by the will of Him who subjected it, in hope. This ‘vanity’ means ‘hopelessness.’  The writer of Ecclesiastes talks about it too,  telling us that everything done under the sun, without God is vanity, pointlessness.  Ecclesiastes 1:2-4 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. 3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? 4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.  

But when earth is recreated, this pointlessness; the vanity and frustration of this present universe will be no more.  Creation will achieve its purpose, its full potential will be realised, and peace and harmony will prevail.  In figurative language, Isaiah prophecies of this time, in Isaiah 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. 18 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… 25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.  In the new heaven and earth, no-one will die of Coronavirus, there will be no cancer, no depression and no suicides, there will be no more sickness or death or tears or parting or suffering.  The universe and all within it shall be at peace with their God and with each other, and perfect fellowship and harmony shall pertain.   Rev 20:3 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, 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.

Let’s find some practical applications.  Peter encourages us to think about this in V11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,…

  1. Let’s not get too fond of this world, or its comforts.  Remember that everything here is perishing and passing away.  Remember too that no matter what this world offers us, the New Heaven and Earth will be much, much better.  1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  There will be our perfect dwelling place.
  2. Let’s not be distracted by sceptics who scoff when we talk about the Lord’s Return.  The very reason that Peter wrote this passage is because so-called clever men were saying that nothing has changed from the beginning of time, and it never will.  Peter reminds them of God’s interventions in the past, at Creation and at the Flood, when he promised that he would never flood the earth again.  It will be fire next time.  2 Peter 3:3-7 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.  Look at verse 5.  This worldly scepticism is deliberate!  5 For this they willingly are ignorant of!  They don’t WANT to believe in the Lord’s return because the implications of that event are so frightening that they simply want to put it out of mind.  
  3. Let’s remember that God’s timetable is not remotely like ours.  8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  If the Lord has not yet come, it is because of his patience, giving time for mankind to repent and trust him.  9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
  4. Let us work towards that day! 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God,  – we are to hasten the coming of the Lord by prayer and evangelism.  By prayer, as we seek the will of God, to fashion our own lives in preparation for heaven, and in evangelism, calling others to repentance, while the patience of God endures.
  5. Let us be ready!  Peter warns us that to be with the Lord on that great day, we must be found by Him, in peace, spotless and blameless! 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.  But how can we be?  We are sinners, at war with God, and stained by sin and guilty under the Law.  The only way that we can be at peace with God, spotless and blameless before God is to be IN CHRIST, clothed in His righteousness, and not depending on our own foul-smelling filthy self-righteousness.  Only He was/is fully at peace with God, spotless and blameless. (1 Peter 1:18-20, 1 Peter 2:21-23) To be ready for that day is to be trusting only in Jesus!   

So, there will be New Heavens and a New Earth in which the saints will dwell for ever and ever.  Let us long for it, and hasten after it, and prepare ourselves and others for its arrival!

© Bob McEvoy May 2021

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