June 16, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
What Will Heaven Be Like? It might be more appropriate to ask, “What will the new heaven and new earth be like?” John tells us in Revelation 21:1, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.” In verses 9 through11 of chapter 21 John records,
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last
plagues came to me…saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed
me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, hav-
ing the glory of God.
So apparently, this holy Jerusalem is set down upon the new earth which is surrounded by the new heaven. And although the new earth – coming from God’s creative power – will be perfect, it is separate from the holy Jerusalem. It says in Revelation 21:24 through 27:
And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings
of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at
all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and
the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything
that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written
in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Looking ahead to Revelation 22:14 and 15 it says:
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have right to the
tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs
and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever
loves and practices a lie.
So it seems the whole of the new earth is inhabited by the faithful. Verse 15, quoted above, seems to suggest that this is not so – that there is evil lurking just outside the gates of the holy Jerusalem! But outside does not necessarily mean just outside the city gates! It could mean “…outside…[the] new heaven and…new earth.” Bible teacher Oliver B. Green thinks it points back to Revelation 21:8, which says, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Unrepentant sinners will be excluded from God’s new and perfect creation! And the only way to properly deal with sin before God is to be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ! (see I Peter 1:18 and 19; I John 1:7; Revelation 7:14).
What will this new creation be like? And why has God allowed all the old to pass away, as it plainly says in Revelation 21:1 above? The earth will be destroyed because it will be the scene of man’s final rebellion at the end of the thousand year Millennium. Read about this battle of Gog and Magog in Revelation 20:7 through 10. Even after a thousand years of the devil being bound (Revelation 20:2), and the Son of God personally reigning over the earth (Revelation 20:4 and 6) – a perfect and godly environment – man still will follow in rebellion the one who wants to depose the King of kings, and take His place! II Peter 3:10 through 13 describes this destruction and remaking of creation.
Concerning heaven being destroyed, this refers to the first heaven in Jewish thinking. It is the realm of the atmosphere and the clouds. The second heaven is the realm of the sun, moon and stars. The third heaven – to which Paul was caught up (see II Corinthians 12:2 through 4) is the dwelling place of God. The atmospheric first heaven has been polluted, and I’m not referring to environmental pollution about which many are concerned today. Before God, the first heaven has been spiritually polluted! For it is the dwelling place of the devil and his demons! Is he not called in Ephesians 2:2, “…the prince of the power of the air…”?
Back to the question at the beginning of this blog – “What will the new heaven and new earth be like?” The Greek word means freshness, and so newness. But it is not so ‘other’ that we will not feel at home in it! But it does say in Revelation 21:1 that “…there was no more sea.” The land mass of the new earth will be greatly expanded since the oceans cover two thirds of the earth’s surface. But the seas in the Bible are often likened to sinful humanity (see Isaiah 57:20), and this may give a hint to why the oceans will be gone.