Heaven Earth
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Heaven Earth
(Revelation 21.1-2)
Page 292

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband." (Revelation 21.1-2)

Ancient Jewish Peoples

New Heaven and EarthThe dream of a new heaven and a new earth has always been deep in the thoughts of ancient Jewish peoples. "See," said God in Isaiah 65.17, "I create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind." This indicated that sorrow was to be forgotten, sin was to be vanquished, darkness was to end and time was to turn into everlasting eternity. This continuing belief today points to our immortal longings, to our inherent sense of sin and our abiding faith in God that all will be resolved in the end.

No Sea

SeaIn this vision of future bliss, we also come upon one of the most interesting phrases in the Book of Revelation, "There was no longer any sea." This phrase has a much more important background than we might realize. The ancient Jewish people hated and feared the sea so much so that they had other nations like the Phoenicians bring in supplies for them by boat. Phoenicia was called a "thalassocratic" ancient Semitic-speaking Mediterranean civilization that originated in the west of the Fertile Crescent. This included the coastal areas of today's Lebanon, northern Israel and southern Syria reaching as far north as Arwad, a fishing town on an island in the Mediterranean sea, and as far south as Ashkelon a coastal city on the southern part of Israel.

Thalassocratic Phoenicia

Phoenician colonies later reached the Western Mediterranean, such as Cádiz in Spain and most notably Carthage in North Africa, and even the Atlantic Ocean. The Phoenician civilization spread across the Mediterranean between 1500 BC and 300 BC. A "thalassocratic" state was one with primarily maritime realms. Jews believed that sea water was the home to demons, hence those people who fell into the water and drowned in their thought processes had been killed by demons. The thought that there would no longer be this "menacing sea" would have been a great comfort to all Jewish peoples.

"Heaven Earth"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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