New Heavens and Earth
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80. New Heaven and Earth
Revelation 21.1-5

"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. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God 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 or mourning or 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 words are trustworthy and true.'" (Revelation 21.1-5)✞

Ancient Jewish Peoples

New Heaven and EarthThe thoughts of ancient Jewish peoples have always turned towards the dream of a new Heaven and new Earth. "See," says 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." Gone is sorrow, sin, and darkness. Time is to turn into an everlasting eternity. Our continuing belief today points to our immortal longings, to our inherent sense of sin and our abiding faith in God that, in the end, God will resolve all things with a New Heaven and a New Earth.

No Sea

SeaIn this vision of future bliss, we also come upon one of the most intriguing phrases in the Book of Revelation, "There was no longer any sea." This phrase "no longer any sea" has a much more significant background than we might realize. Jews believe that the seas are the home to demons. Therefore, the demons kill those who fall into the water and drown. Ancient Jewish people hate and fear the sea so much that they have other nations like the Phoenicians to bring in supplies from different parts of the Mediterranean for them by boat. Phoenicia is called a "thalassocratic" state. They operate "with primarily maritime realms, an empire at sea, or a seaborne empire." This ancient Semitic-speaking Mediterranean civilization originated in the west of the Fertile Crescent. A "thalassocratic" state is one with primarily maritime realms. Phoenicia 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. Phoenician colonies later reach the Western Mediterranean, such as Cádiz in Spain and most notably Carthage in North Africa, and even points on the Atlantic Ocean. The Phoenician civilization spread across the Mediterranean Sea between BC 1500 and BC 300. The thought that there would no longer be this "menacing sea" would have been a great comfort to all Jewish peoples.

Revelation Heavenly Eternity

Old OarRevelation describes "holy heaven and a new earth." God will wipe away every tear from every eye with no more death, mourning, crying, or pain. There is an old story of an elderly sailor who was weary of battling with the sea. He placed an oar over his shoulder and set out with the intention of journeying inland until he reached a people who knew so little of the sea that they would ask him what this strange thing is that he carried on his shoulder. In Jewish dreams, the end of the sea is the end of a force hostile to God and human beings. Isaiah 25.8 extends this thought, "He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken." The Holy City, the new Jerusalem, is described as the place where God will do away with all pain and sorrow. God will "wipe every tear away from their eyes."

Joy For Ever

Heavenly EternityForever, 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 joy in eternity for those who love him. Eternity with God will be more wonderful than we can ever imagine!✞

Eternal Experience

InfinityThe One seated on the throne in Heaven says that he is providing an unlimited eternal experience for those who love him, and is making everything new. Eternity is a place prepared for us, which is an unlimited everlasting experience not hindered by physical properties, but where everything is unique. We will be like Jesus and have new bodies in this future eternity. Our experience will be wonderful. We will have a new environment, a new sense of God's presence, new emotions, and no more death, tears, or pain. Most of the brief descriptions of this eternal experience are hints using terms and ideas from present experiences to describe what we cannot fully grasp until we arrive there ourselves.

Book of Life

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

"New Heaven and Earth"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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