The New Heaven, The New Earth
and the New Jerusalem

by E.A. Larsen

A LITTLE MORE of prayerful meditation on what we read in the Bible would, we believe, eliminate much of the haziness that lies so heavily over many Bible subjects.

Quite often do we hear the New Heaven, the New Earth, and the New Jerusalem mentioned in such a way as to clearly indicate that most believers do not even suspect that these are three different places.

What is said about these in Revelation 21 and 22 is of inspiring interest, and is illuminating, indeed. If we have faith to receive it as it is written, it will expand our vision in a marvelous way. And it is not complicated and difficult. It is surprisingly plain. If we encounter difficulties they are mainly of our own creation. They are not in the description, but in our preconceived ideas of the subject, and our lack of faith,

Do you desire to get a clear, scriptural perception of these entrancing sights? If so, read in one reading chapters 19:11 to 22:5. If you can believe what is written here you will have this general outline: In the nineteenth chapter you will see King Messiah coming to establish His thousand-year Kingdom on the earth. The first manifestation of His mighty power is the apprehension of the Beast and the False Prophet, and the destruction of the armies mobilizing against Jerusalem in the valley of Megiddo. (Compare 16:11 with Zech.12:1-9 and Joel 3:1- 2).

The general outline of chapter 20 is as follows:

  1. Satan bound for a thousand years.
  2. The first, or "former" resurrection. (This is the resurrection of life," John 5:29).
  3. The loosing of Satan after the thousand years, and the last great rebellion against God.
  4. The doom of Satan.
  5. The dissolution and disappearance of the present earth.
  6. The "resurrection of judgment" (John 5:29).
  7. The "great white throne" judgment after the disappearance of the present earth.

Then in chapter 21:

  1. The New Heaven and the New Earth. We are here through with the present earth, but let us fix this in our minds: The New Earth is the earth, and not heaven.
  2. The New Jerusalem. That this is not heaven is certainly clear enough by the statement that it "is coming down out of heaven." It comes down to the New Earth. This is the city which the faithful of Israel looked forward to (Heb.11:10, 16; 12:22; 13:14). When this city is confused with heaven or rather "the heavenlies" (the celestial realms) where the body of Christ is to be after the rapture, then the reason is thoughtlessness, prejudice, or unbelief, or all three together. If we believe what is written here, then we know that this is a real city, the one "whose builder and maker is God" (Heb.11:10).

Many fascinating details are given of this glorious place, but we mention only two or three.

Its size and form: It occupies a square twelve thousand stadia on each side. Converted into English measure we have very nearly 1379 miles. And, marvelously, it is just as high. It must be pyramidal. This form permits buildings of any height. A cube- formed city is an impossibility. As a pyramid its surface area is greatly increased. Figured as such it has more area than the United States. Oh, what a city! Let us repeat: This magnificent city is not heaven and is not in heaven. It is the capital of the New Earth, and is located on the earth.

Outside the city there are nations under the rule and authority of kings (21:24). These are not celestial beings but natural, ordinary, earthly humans. As the city and even the earth is of heavenly character, but of material substance, so are these dwelling in the city and on the earth. We are here nearly back to the original sinless condition before sin entered the race, but the kings and the nations, as well as those in the city are no more spirit beings than were Adam and Eve.

And furthermore, this description of the New Heaven, Earth, and Jerusalem do not carry us to the end which Paul speaks about in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28. The book of Revelation does not even mention the last great acts which constitute the final end or consummation of the ages.

Anyone whose mind and vision is not beclouded and dominated by prejudice and unbelief will see this by a careful comparison of 1 Corinthians 15:22-28, with Revelation 20, 21, and 22. The writings of Paul have a comprehensiveness of scope and sweep of time like no other writings in the Bible. Mark his description of the end in 1 Corinthians 15. We summarize his four great marks of the end:

  1. The Son's giving up of the Kingdom to the Father.
  2. The putting down, or abolishing, of all rule, authority and power.
  3. The destruction, or abolishment, of death.
  4. The Son's subjection under God.

None of these things is accomplished in the book of Revelation. In this book we find:

  1. The Son has not yet delivered up the Kingdom.
  2. All "rule," authority, and power has not been abolished. There are kings (21:24), and the servants of the Lamb reign (22:5).
  3. Death is not abolished. It is limited to, and concentrated in, the Lake of Fire. It is not on the New Earth (21:4), but it exists (21:8).
  4. The Son is not under the Father but is seen as Co-Ruler with full authority on His Throne (22:1,3).

Believe and You shall Understand

If we believe, we shall see that the state of perfection has not been reached by this description. "The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations" (22:2). Healing remedies are needed only where there is sickness or defectiveness.

But because of the powerful effect of the healing leaves none shall die. Death operates no longer as an active destroyer, but exists in the lake of fire as a condition. At the end of the age it shall be abolished.

It is not said that there are no tears. God shall wipe away all such. It is impossible, even for God, to wipe away that which does not exist. But not all tears are tears of sorrow or pain. There are tears of joy. Sorrow shall not be there.

"And no crying." Compare John 19:6,15; Acts 22:23; 23:9 and Eph.4:31, where the same word is used in the original, and you will see what kind of crying there shall not be.

"And no pain." Let us remember that not all sickness and infirmity has pain.

"And no curse." That is: Nothing given over to destruction. The absence of these things does not prove that perfection has been reached.

Thus prayerful and diligent comparison of what Paul says with what John says brings us this undeniable conclusion: After the Great White Throne Judgment, on the New Earth, is the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, when the universe shall be headed up in Christ (Eph.1:10), at the close of which all who have not been saved before shall be "made alive in Christ" (1 Cor.15:22).

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