We’ve set aside this year’s SummerFest to talk about what the Bible says about eternity – the world after this world. Because this world is NOT all there is – can I GET an AMEN? I mean, this world can be pretty good…but as good as it is, it’s always stained with a certain element of sin and brokenness. Nothing can fulfill us perfectly in this world.
I was talking to the kids at Solid Rock last week and talking about Summer – how that last day of school is probably one of the best feelings in the world. All the visions of grandeur dance in your heads of how perfect you think it will be. Until it’s not, right? As good as this life is, it can’t be perfect. There is always the presence of sin – either your’s or someone else’s!
Last week at SummerFest, we spoke of our bodies – how they will be perfect and sinless, and a PHYSICAL body resurrected after judgment and Christ’s return. This week, we want to look at where these perfect (big theological word: glorified) bodies will reside forever!
So, let’s head over to Revelation 21:1-6 and let’s see what the Bible has to say here. 4 truths we can pull from Revelation about the new earth.
- There will be a new, physical earth that we will spend eternity in with our new glorified physical bodies. [v1-2]
- A physical place, not merely a state of mind.
- Heaven and earth will not be separate from each other (Henry). “Heaven” here may not mean where God resides, but rather “the heavens” (sky) where birds and clouds are. “Heaven” is used different ways in Scripture.
- This is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 65:17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth…” (Isaiah 65:17 ESV)
- Why did the old ones have to end? Sin. “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (Romans 8:20–22 ESV)
- How they will end is unclear [apocalyptic language/visions; destroyed completely or just renewed, etc.] – 2 Peter 3:10 gives us some info – “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” (2 Peter 3:10 ESV)
- There probably is some continuity [familiar things – trees, sky, Chipotle, wine, musical praise to God]
- “New Jerusalem” = church – believers. Finally we will have the PERFECT CHURCH!
- Church will also be eternal = the saints.
- God will dwell with believers [v3]
- How? Sin is incompatible with God! But….sin has been finally and permanently removed!
- Fulfillment of Lev 26:11-12 – all about holiness. “I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you.And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.” (Leviticus 26:11–12 ESV)
- Like Jesus dwelled [tabernacled] among us – John 1, we will dwell with God bc sin is removed! God is perfect, therefore no impurity and sin allowed!
- GOSPEL – final part of our story. Sin was defeated on the cross, but with the final judgement, it will be permanently removed so that we will spend a sinless eternity in the new earth!
- THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: The biggest blessing of all will be to be with God. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalms 16:11 ESV)
- Wayne Grudem “When we finally see Jesus face to face, our hearts will want nothing else.” [Systematic Theology]
- John Piper “The critical question for our generation–and for every generation–is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever say, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?” [God is the Gospel]
- The goal of the gospel is God himself. We will inherit the kingdom of God [Gal 5:21] this is true final adoption.
- No more sin or it’s effects [v4]
- God reversing the curse of Gen 3
- No more effects of sin!
- What are some examples? [sickness, slow drivers, sorrow/sadness…etc.]
- This should have tremendous impact on how we endure trials and pain now. One author writes “All our hurts are temporary.” Indeed they are, with the reality of the new heavens and new earth.
- I believe that all of our pain here, if properly handled in light of the gospel, will only seek to increase our capacity for joy and wonder in the new heavens and the new earth.
- Will there be work? Probably…work was before the Fall – the Fall just made it hard. I think there will be, but it be perfect. Everything will go perfectly, rewarding, no unruly bosses, unrealistic demands, or harsh work environments.
- The new heavens and earth are the full circle of creation = Alpha/Omega [v5-6]
- God created everything “good” in the original creation and it was stained by sin. This is the renewal and restoration of his original perfect creation.
- First and last letters of Greek alphabet are “Alpha” and “Omega.”
- Bookends of the grand redemptive story of the Bible – Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration
- God’s work – God is silent in Revelation until he proclaims “I’m making all things new!”
- “All things new” – material things will be reborn as we are made new in Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)
- Unparalleled beauty – think of the most beautiful nature scene you’ve ever seen and it won’t compare.
Implications for now –
- Which earth are you living for?
- What we do now, every day, has eternal implications. This connects to our hearts and what we value/worship…
- “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19–21 ESV)
- Where are our hearts in all this? Hoping in this world above the next?
- Takeaway thought: Live on this earth in purposeful anticipation of the new earth.