One of the joys and hopes of every believer is the hope of heaven. In John 14 Jesus said I’m going to prepare a place for you and I’m not just going, I’m coming back to get you. This is the great expectation of every Christian (at least I hope it is) – to be with Jesus forever.
This place that Jesus talks about is pointing to our eternal home where God has promised a new heaven and a new earth. Well what exactly is the new heaven and new earth? I figured since you are going to be spending a long time there (eternity is a long time) it makes sense to know what it is all about.
If you were to try to think of imagery to describe the New Heaven and New Earth, what comes to my mind is Creation 2.0.
If you recall prior to the fall of man, Adam and Eve lived in a perfect, sinless world. They are the only human beings who ever lived on this planet that know what that experience is like. The world we live in now has been corrupted by the influence of sin which has brought every type of problem along with it. I don’t think I need to remind you, just look at the news.
The New Heaven and New Earth will be God resetting and recreating the heavens and the earth, where sin and the effects of sin will no longer be present. You will be able to enjoy the beauty of God’s presence in all of his glory, unhindered by the presence of sin.
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What Will the New Heaven and New Earth Look Like?
Isaiah 65:17-19 - “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.”
2 Peter 3:13 – “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”
Revelation 21:1 – “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.”
Isaiah 66:22 - “‘As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,’ declares the Lord, ‘so will your name and descendants endure.’”
As you can see even going back to the Old Testament, this was always part of God’s plan.
I want to help you get a better picture of what the New Heaven and New Earth is, and fortunately the Bible gives us some idea of what to expect. I will say that regardless of the description, I don’t know if our minds can fully comprehend what it will be. Let’s take a look.
The most detailed and vivid description comes from John in the book of Revelation. I would encourage you to read Chapter 21 of Revelation but I want to pull out some of the highlights:
“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 21:2).
“It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Revelation 21:11-14).
“The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass” (Revelation 21:18-21).
“I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Revelation 21:22-23).
“Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).
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3 Things to Highlight from These Verses
1. It’s a Place of Unimaginable Beauty
One of the first things you will discover is the beauty of this place. I know in our world, people have created stunning and gorgeous pieces of architecture that will literally take your breath away. I don’t think the most beautiful piece will be able to hold a candle to what God has prepared.
2. It’s a Place Where God’s Presence Dwells Freely
Regardless of how much of God’s presence you have ever experienced, it is not humanly possible to experience God’s presence fully in this human body. What you experience whenever you enter God’s presence is just a part or a taste. In 1 Corinthians 13:12 Paul points to this -
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
God not only creates a New Heaven and a New Earth but he gives us an incorruptible body so we can enjoy it all. Paul talks about this a great deal in 1 Corinthians 15 if you want another point of reference.
3. It Is a Place Where God Reigns and Sin Doesn’t
Verse 27 reminds us that nothing impure will ever enter it. This means we will never again have to deal with the impact, influence, or consequences of sin because they will have been dealt with forever. That alone is worth the price of admission. In fact, Romans 8 reminds us that all creation is waiting for this moment to happen because creation has also paid the price for the impact of sin.
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What Will Happen to the Old Heaven and Earth?
2 Peter 3:10 says “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”
There is a day coming where God will bring a final and complete judgment of sin. Not to get too deep into the descriptions of the events but here is a general timeline of what will happen:
- Rapture of the church
- Second Coming of Christ
- Millennium (The thousand year reign of Christ on the earth)
- Satan’s Final Judgment
- The Great White Throne Judgment
- The New Heaven and New Earth
After the completion of the Great White Throne Judgment, which is the judgment for all who have chosen to reject Christ, John mentions he saw the New Heaven and New Earth. So it appears that we will see this once the final judgment is completed.
When you look at 2 Peter 3:7, you see that God’s method of judgment on the earth and the way the old one will pass away is by fire.
“By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly” (2 Peter 3:7).
Within the book of Revelation there is description of great judgment being poured on the earth. Included in those judgments is the destruction of the earth with fire. It is possible and probably likely that this is part of God fulfilling what Peter mentions here. This process will eventually destroy the old order or way of things which will lead up to the earth, as we know it, passing away and being no more.
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What Is Your Responsibility?
“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?”
Quite honestly, this is the question that matters most because as beautiful as it is and will be, how you live now matters most. Consider Peter’s answer to this question:
“You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:11-14).
Your life now is like a dress rehearsal for when we get there. Since heaven will be a place where sin will not dwell, let’s live the types of lives now where sin does not dwell in them. Let’s live in ways that are spotless, blameless and at peace with Jesus. After all, this will be your best preparation for the New Heaven and New Earth.
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.