Renewed Heaven and Earth
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77. Renewed Heaven and Earth
Revelation 21.1-4

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now God's dwelling is among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain, for the old order of things has passed.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these are trustworthy and true words.'" (Revelation 21.1-4) ✞

New Heaven and Earth

New Heaven EarthJewish peoples have always dreamed of a renewed heaven and earth. "See," says God in Isaiah 65.17, "I create new heavens and a new earth. I will not remember the former things, nor will they come to mind." Gone is sorrow, sin, and darkness. Time will turn into an everlasting eternity. Our beliefs today point to our immortal longings, to our inherent sense of wrong, and our abiding faith in God that, in the end, he will resolve all injustices with a new heaven and earth. There will be no death, pain, sorrow, or crying in this heavenly eternity. What a beautiful truth! No matter what you are going through, it's not the last word. God writes the final chapter, and it is about true fulfillment and eternal joy for those who love him. Immortality with God will be more wonderful than we can ever imagine! The famous American evangelist, Dr. Billy Graham (1918-2018), was once asked by a reporter what he would do in heaven. He replied that once he got there, he expected that God would send him off to evangelize a new world elsewhere in the Universe! He once wrote, "my home is in heaven, I'm just traveling through this world" and "I've read the last page of the Bible. It's all going to turn out right." We will certainly not be bored in heaven!

No Sea

SeaIn this futuristic vision, we also come upon one of Revelation's most intriguing phrases, "There was no longer any sea." This phrase has a much more significant meaning than we might realize. Some Jewish people believed that the seas were home to demons. Evil spirits killed those who fell into the water and drowned them. The thought that there would no longer be this "menacing sea" would have been a great comfort to many Jewish people. Ancient Jewish people hated and feared the Mediterranean Sea so much that they employed other nations like the Phoenicians to bring in supplies by boat from different Mediterranean parts. Phoenicia was a "thalassocratic" state in that they operated "with primarily maritime realms, a seaborne empire." This ancient Semitic-speaking Mediterranean civilization originated in the Fertile Crescent's west. Phoenicia held 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. It also controlled the coastal city of Ashkelon in Israel's south. Phoenicians reached the Western Mediterranean and even the Atlantic Ocean from Cadiz in Spain and Carthage in North Africa. Phoenician civilization spread across the Mediterranean Sea between BC 1500-300.

Heavenly Eternity

Old OarRevelation describes a "renewed heaven and earth" where God will wipe every tear away from every eye. He is making everything new. There will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain. There is a story of an elderly sailor who was weary of battling the sea. He placed an oar on his shoulder and set out to journey inland until he reached a people who knew so little of the sea that they would ask him what this strange thing was that he carried. In Jewish dreams, the end of the sea was the end of a force hostile to God and human beings. Isaiah 25.8 longs for relief, "He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and he will take away his people's reproach from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken." The holy city, the New Jerusalem, is where God will erase all pain and sorrow. God will "wipe every tear away from their eyes."

Eternal Experience

InfinityThe one seated on heaven's throne promises an endless, eternal experience for those who love him. Eternity is a place prepared for us, an infinite, everlasting experience not hindered by physical properties, where everything is unique. We will have new bodies like Jesus in this futuristic eternity. We will experience a new environment and an exciting intimate sense of God's presence. Most of the descriptions of eternal bliss are hints using terms and ideas from our present experiences to describe the unknown until we arrive there ourselves.

Book of Life

Heavenly EternityChristians who persevere will stand firm in the end. They will receive God's promised blessings, including fruit from the tree of life. They will escape the lake of fire to be given a unique name and authority over the nations. They will be included in the Book of Life and sit near Christ on his throne. Such will be our eternal experience. ✞

"Renewed Heaven and Earth"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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