The New Heavens and the New Earth
The first verse in the Bible reads, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” We also read that God saw that everything He made was “very good.” What an amazing work this was! The psalmist wrote of this in Ps. 33:6-9: “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” Our Lord made this earthly creation a perfect habitation for man. We have just the right conditions in which human life can exist. The air we breathe, the proper atmosphere, the correct gravitational pull, and on and on. In fact, we read in Isa. 45:18: “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”
There are many exquisitely beautiful places on planet earth. There are blue oceans, snow-capped mountains, lush fields of grain, beautiful forests, and many other delightful features. Many people who are financially able take vacations to many exotic places. But, note this: even as we look at this beautiful earth, the beautiful skies and other pleasant features, we are still looking at a universe which is under the curse of God. When Adam and Eve fell into sin, not only were they cursed, but the very creation also fell under the curse. This is recorded in Genesis 3:14-19. If you think the earth has some beautiful features now, what must it have looked like before the Fall? We have seen some beautiful botanical gardens, but they are far inferior to the Garden of Eden prior to the curse.
When Adam sinned, he died immediately as far as close fellowship with God is concerned. He also began to die physically. He did not die immediately but the seed of death was sown in him, and he began to deteriorate until finally he was dead. The same is true of all of humanity. As the Apostle Paul put it in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “our outward man is perishing.” The creation is also perishing. This present existence will not remain forever. The earth is, as it were, running down. Someday the heavens and the earth will be completely destroyed. Scripture references this in several places, most prominently in 2 Peter chapter 3. This destruction will be awesome beyond comprehension. 2 Pet. 3:10: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” We cannot even fully grasp in our minds such an awesome and fearful event. In summary, because of sin our bodies and the creation around us are destined to be utterly destroyed. A dismal picture indeed.
But wait! All is not lost. There is an unspeakably glorious future awaiting the children of God and their heavenly environment. 2 Pet. 3:13: "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” Our heavenly environment will be an actual place and we, with truly glorified bodies and souls, will enjoy its unsurpassed and indescribable beauty forever and ever! What a prospect: glorified saints in a glorified new heavens and new earth. This truth is described in Romans 8:19-23. In that portion of Scripture creation is personified. Creation is seen as groaning because of the curse brought on it by Adam’s sin. The creation is groaning, like God’s children are groaning, greatly desiring to be glorified. This is explicitly taught in Rom. 8:21: “Because the creature (creation) itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
Can you just imagine a little what is being taught here? A glorified new heavens and new earth and the saints of God with bodies and souls which will enable them to fully enjoy this environment! Our bodies are great gifts of God to us even now. David spoke of this in Psalm 139:14: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” But in their present state our bodies are subject to corruption and death. However, when they are risen from the dead, things will be far different. Paul wrote of this in Philippians 3:21: “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” He also wrote more extensively of it in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44: “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” The Apostle John also wrote of this in 1 John. 3:2: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
Let us do a little thinking. In our heavenly environment and our spiritual bodies, we will have amazing eyesight with which to see the incomparable beauties of heaven. Our hearing will be so acute we will be enabled to fully enjoy the sounds of praise and adoration that are constantly being rendered to our Lord Jesus Christ. Our minds will have a level of brilliance that we cannot imagine with which to know more of the depths of God's glory. We will have unlimited energy. Our minds will not be corrupted with sin. There will be perfect peace and harmony in our relationships. There will be neither sadness nor worry. All this will last forever.
The best part of all is that we will be face to face with Jesus Christ! It is His profound desire that we enjoy this environment with Him. He prayed in John 17:24: “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”
I have just scratched the surface. The half has not been told. Let us pray ardently, “Dearest Lord, please come soon and take me to be with You in the new heavens and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness!"
Zack Guess is one of the pastors at Grace Chapel Primitive Baptist Church Memphis, Tennessee.