God's Eonian Purpose
Chapter 20

The New Heavens and Earth

by Adlai Loudy

. . the former things passed away. . . . Lo! I
am making all new!" (Un. 21:4,5).

THIS Scripture speaks of the passing away of the order of things belonging to the old creation and the ushering in of the new. The day of the Lord closes with the great cataclysm out of which comes the new creation—the new heavens and the new earth—and the day of God. John says:

And I perceived a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth pass away, and the sea is no more (Un. 21:1).

Peter gives us a more complete description of how the new creation is to be effected in these words:

Yet the heavens now, and the earth, by the same word, are stored with fire, being kept for the day of the judgment and destruction of irreverent men [the Great White Throne Judgment]. . . .

Now the day of the Lord will be arriving as a thief, in which the heavens shall be passing by with a booming noise, yet the elements will be dissolved by combustion, and the earth and the works in it will be discovered. All these, then, being dissolved, what manner ought you to belong to in holy behavior and devouthess, hoping for and hurrying the presence of the day of God, because of which the heavens, being on fire, will be dissolved and the elements are decomposed by combustion! Yet we, according to His promises, are hoping for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness is dwelling (2 Pet. 3:7-13).


It will be well for us to recognize, first of all, the three great days of Scripture and their relation to God's eonian administrations. From the expulsion of Adam from Eden unto the "coming", or presence of the Lord, is Man's Day (1 Cor. 4:3). During this period man is given authority and supremacy, and allowed to go his own ways for proving his incompeteney. The presence of the Lord marks the beginning of the Lord's Day (Un. 1:10), which closes with the heavens passing by with a booming noise, the elements dissolved by combustion and the earth and the works in it discovered, followed by the new creation and the Day of God (2 Pet. 3:12). In the Day of the Lord, Yahweh will alone be exalted, while in the Day of God, God tabernacles with mankind, they will be His peoples and He will be with them. Thus we have revealed a divine arrangement, beginning with the estrangement in Eden, by which Deity draws closer with each order until there is reconciliation between creature and Creator in the Day of God, in which righteousness shall dwell.


The grand era of the new creation—the new heavens and the new earth—is designated, according to the time element in the Scriptures, as "the eon of the eon" (Heb. 1:8), and "the eon of the eons" (Eph. 3:21), and is the last of the great eons of time in God's Eonian Purpose.

As to cosmogony, it is the third of the heavens and earths revealed in the Scriptures. The first comes before us in Genesis 1:1, but passed by at the great disruption, in which "the earth becomes waste and sterile, and darkhess is on the surface of the abyss" (Gen 1:2), the "earth cohering out of water and through water, by the word of God; through which the then world, being deluged by water, was destroyed" (2 Pet. 3:5-7).

We are living in the second of the heavens and earths, concerning which Peter says:

Yet the heavens now, and the earth, by the same word, are stored with fire, being kept for the day of the judgment and destruction of irreverent men ( 2 Pet. 3:7 ),

When the heavens and the earth which are now flee from the face of Him Who sits on the great white throne (Un. 20:11), they will pass through the great crucible of the Divine Alchemist and be made new, indestructible, unchanging, permanent and abiding—the third and last of the heavens and earths in God's Eonian Purpose.

The new earth will have many things in common with the first, particularly that in the first, there was no sea. Water, in the form of seas, is found only on the present earth. The changing character of the earth on which we live is due largely to the presence of water. It disintegrates the solid rocks. In the form of glaciers, it grinds down the mountains. In brooks, streams and rivers, it washes the soil into the sea. Undoubtedly, it is all a parable of the impermanent moral process through which mankind is passing. But in the new creation, the new earth will be made a permanent habitation for the human race.


It is astounding how the word paradise has been perverted through the fanciful teaching of men swayed by their sentiments rather than revelation. Seldom is a funeral sermon preached that the deceased is not put in paradise! But it is to be noted that much confusion reigns as to where it is located. Some make it a part of hades, somewhere in the heart of the earth! Others say it is heaven, while others think it is the holy city!

The word paradise is Persian, meaning a park or garden filled with fruit-bearing plants. In the Septuagint it is used in speaking of the garden of Eden. In the Greek Scriptures we find it used but three times, two of which undoubtedly refer to the millennial kingdom of the restored earth (Luke 23:43; Un. 2:7), and one to the new earth of the third heaven and earth in the new creation of the last eon (2 Cor. 12:4). With Inspiration invariably applying the word to the earth, truth-lovers should be constrained to discard all current ideas not in harmony with the divine usage.

When the former things have passed by and all things have been made new, a most delightful prospect will await those whose destiny is to be found on the new earth—the paradise of God. John writes that he heard a loud voice out of the throne saying:

Lo! God's tabernacle is with mankind, and He will be tabernacling with them, and they will be His peoples, and God Himself will be with them. And He will be brushing away every tear from their eyes. And death will be no more, nor mourning, nor clamor, nor misery: they will be no more, seeing that the former things passed away (Un. 21:3,4).


And I perceived the holy city, new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband (Un. 21:2).

It cannot be too strongly emphasized here, that the holy city, new Jerusalem, is not heaven in any sense of the word, as is so commonly taught and believed today. It is heavenly as to character, but is located on the new earth. It comes down from God out of heaven, hence, it cannot be heaven. Neither is it to be the dwelling place of all. The majority, superficially following their sentiments, have circumscribed and read into the Scriptures such crude ideas concerning heaven, until there are but few indeed, comparatively speaking, who know what the Scriptures really teach concerning the subject. So in this study may we be scrupulous, and read the description of the city as the messenger has given it, noting for whom it has been prepared:

And one of the seven messengers who have the seven bowls brimming with the last seven calamities came and speaks with me, saying: "Hither! I shall be showing you the bride, the wife of the Lambkin." And he carries me away, in spirit, on a mountain huge and high, and shows me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, her luminosity, like a precious stone, as a crystalline jasper gem; having a wall, huge and high; having twelve portals, and at the portals twelve messengers, and names inscribed, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. From the east are three portals, and from the north three portals, and from the south three portals, and from the west three portals. And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lambkin. And he who is talking with me had a golden measuring reed, in order that he should be measuring the city, and its portals, and its walls. And the city is lying four-square: its length is as much as the breadth. And he measures the city with the reed—twelve thousand stadia [1378.97 miles]. Its length and breadth and height are equal. And he measures its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits [about 200 feet] of a man, which the messenger's measure is. And the buttress of its wall is jasper, and the city is clear gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the city's wall have been adorned with every precious stone, the first foundation with jasper, the second lapis lazuli, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh topaz, the eighth beryl, the ninth peridot, the tenth chysoprase, the eleventh amethyst, the twelfth garnet. And the twelve portals are twelve pearls. Each one of the portals was respectively of one pearl. And the city square is gold, clear as translucent glass (Un. 21:9-21).

This description of the holy city, new Jerusalem, is surpassingly grand. "But," says some one, "you don't suppose this to be literally true, do you?" No, in this work, we are not "supposing" anything ! We believe it to be literally true, because we have found it easier to believe God than to try to understand men's interpretationst The heavens are literal, the earth is literal, and the sea is literal in all this description, then why can the city not be literal also? In truth, this is the city for which Abraham looked, whose Artisan and Architect is God (Heb. 11:10). It will be the eonian home of "saved Israel," the "wife of the Lambkin."

A consideration of the city's dimensions reveals why the present earth must be created anew and the sea be no more when it comes down. It is 12,000 stadia, or 1378.97 miles square. Do we grasp the immense size of a city of such proportions ? It will cover 1,901,551.26 square miles ! It will occupy an area of more than one-half the size of continental United States!


We are told that the length and breadth and height are equal. This does not necessarily imply that it is to be a cube, for there is another geometical figure that has equal dimensions, and that is a pyramid. In the millennial eon, the beloved city will be elevated at the head of a great mountain, and it is very probable that the new city will be pyramidal in shape, like a great mountain when it takes its place on the new earth, especially when we consider the throne of God and the Lambkin and the illumination of the city.

And the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon that they should be appearing in it, for the glory of God illuminates it, and its Lamp is the Lambkin (Un. 21:23).

And night will be no more, and they have no need for lamp light and sun light, seeing that the Lord God will be illuminating them (Un. 22:5).

It would seem that at the top of this great pyramidal city will be prominently located the throne of God and the Lambkin, from whence will radiate the illuminating rays of glory lighting the entire city, so there will be no need for sun, moon, or lamp light, and there will be no night. This evidently refers to the city and vicinity only, and not to the outlying parts of the new earth, for there will be day and night wherever the light of the great city does not reach.


And the city is clear gold, like clear glass (Un. 21:18).

And the city square is gold, clear as translucent glass (Un. 21:21).

If this description refers to the houses of the inhabitants, it will be, indeed, a city of superexceeding beauty and splendor. Think of living in palaces of clear gold, like clear glass, with the streets and city square gold clear as translucent glass, the city's wall adorned with every precious stone, and portals of pearl! It is wonderful to meditate upon.

It may be well just here to note some of the objections usually raised against accepting the literal description of this city. Critics have scoffed at the idea of a city being built in accord with the specification which the messenger has given, and many, who propose to teach the Scriptures, insist that it is only a word picture and not a reality. However, chemistry and metallurgy in recent years have done much toward explaining the realities of the language used here. It is a demonstrated fact that carbon, of varying degrees of purity, forms lampblack, charcoal, graphite, and diamond. And it has been learned that gold, subjected to intense heat, may be made permanently transparent! Hence this is not a fanciful word picture, as many would have us believe, but a divine description of a glorious reality, prepared for a prepared people, and will be enjoyed by the sons of Israel in the new earth in the administration of the complement of the eras.


And I saw no temple in it (Un. 21:22).

Does this indicate there will be no worship in that era of the new creation? Most assuredly not; but why have a temple when the Object of worship is present—the Lord God Ahnighty and the Lambkin?

Six temples "made by hands" are indwelt by Jehovah during the eons. The first was the "tabernacle in the wilderness" (Ex. 25:8). The second was erected by Solomon (2 Sam. 7:13), and was destroyed by Nechuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:9). The third was built by Ezra at the command of Cyrus (Ezra 6:3). Herod's temple was the fourth, and was standing in the days of our Lord. The fifth is called "the temple of God" (2 Thes. 2:4), and will be erected before the close of the present eon, and is the temple that is measured in the Unveiling (11:1), in which the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet will seat himself and demand worship or death (Dan. 9:27; Mat. 24:15). The sixth is described by Ezekiel, which will be erected in the millennium (Eze. 40-43), as we have described in Chapter XVII. And here in the new earth, in the holy city, new Jerusalem, we have the seventh! No, not a seventh temple, but the true Temple, God Himself, and the true Sacrifice, the Lambkin, of which all the former temples and sacrifices were merely types, leading to the Realities.


And he shows me a river of water of life, resplendent as crystal, issuing out of the throne of God and the Lambkin (Un. 22:1).

This river of living water can be traced from the laver of the tabernacle (Ex. 30:18), through the ten lavers and the molten sea of Solomon's temple (2 Chron. 4:2-6), and the waters which flowed from the millennial sanctuary (Eze. 47), to the crystal stream here described. This wonderful river is called the "water of life," because of its life-giving properties. Earthly streams usually have their source in some mountain spring, but this river of living water, has it source in the throne of God and the Lambkin. Somewhere on that great pyramidal mountain, in the center of the city, probably at the summit, will rest the throne of God and the Lambkin, out of which will issue the river of living water, bright as crystal, flowing down in cascades from terrace to terrace, forming a scene of exquisite beauty which only the Divine Artisan and Architect could design and build.


In the center of its square, and on either side of the river is the tree of life, producing twelve fruts, rendering fruit appropriate to each month (Un. 22:2).

In the center of the city's square and on either side of the river trees will be growing. These trees are not mere shade trees, but beautiful fruit-bearing trees, called the tree of life (literally, xulon zõês, WOOD OF-LIFE), yielding twelve fruits, rendering appropriate fruit to each month. This reminds us of the promise to the conquering ones of the ecelesias of chapters two and three of the Unveiling:

To the one who is conquering, to him shall I be granting to be eating of the tree of life, which is in the center of the paradise of God (Un. 2:7).

This promise seems to carry a special privilege to all in Israel who conquer against the Wild Beast and the False Prophet during the awful time of tribulation which they are called upon to endure preceding the millennium. In the renewed earth of the millennial eon, Palestine will be made like the garden of Eden (Eze. 36:35), with Jehovah's sanctuary set in the midst of His people, and living waters passing forth with healing for everything wherever the watercourse comes.

And on the watercourse, ascending the shore, is every food tree of this and of that, whose leaf is not decaying, and whose fruit does not come to an end. Monthly there is first-ripe fruit, for its waters, they pass forth from the sanctuary, and its fruit is for food, and its leaf for healing (Eze. 47:12).

This is the paradise of which Christ spoke when answering the malefactor on the cross (Luke 23:43), and in which the conquering ones will be accorded the special privilege to eat of the tree of life during the long millennial day. The majority of the sons of Israel, as well as the nations, will not enjoy this special blessing. But in the last eon of the new creation, it will be the blessed privilege of all Israel who are then citizens of the new Jerusalem.

And the leaves of the tree are for the cure of the nations (Un. 22:2).

Here we are given a statement which shows that the "curse" is not entirely gone, especially among the nations of that era, else the leaves of the tree were useless. Evidently the privilege of access to the tree, the leaves of which are for healing, accorded the conquering ones during the millennium, now becomes the privilege of the nations here in the new earth.

The word "healing" in our common version, tendered "cure" in the Concordant Version, is literally therapeian, WARM-FROM. Instead of healing, which presupposes sickness, it seems to speak of supplying the vital properties for uniform temperature and energy necessary for preserving the human body in a state of sound, vigorous health for the eon. It must be remembered that the nations in the new earth will be in their fleshly, soulish state, and it will be their blessed privilege of partaking of the leaves of the tree of life for the preservation of perfect health compatible with their plane of glory in that era. Apparently the nations of the new earth will enjoy physical blessing similar to that of regenerated Israel in the millennial kingdom.

And now may we observe that in all this, there is not the slightest hint of "immortality." Access to the tree of life is not immortality. It is appalling to mealirate upon the loss that has come to believers through failure to rightly divide the word of truth and discriminate between the various glories revealed. To the majority, access to the tree of life is synonomous with immortality ! But this is a most serious error, for there can be no immortality apart from the life of God. Christ alone has immortality (1 Tim. 6:16). It will be the portion of all believers roused at His presence (1 Cor. 15:23). But it will not be the possession of all here in the new earth until the consummation, when death, the last enemy, is abolished.

Though there will be no death in the new earth, it is not because all have immortality, but because of the preserving action of the fruit and leaves of the tree of life.


Evil, though not enirely absent in that era, is at least segregated to the lake of fire and sulphur, which is the second death.

Yet the timid, and unbelievers, and the abominable, and murderers and paramours, and enchanters and idolators, and all the false—their part is in the lake burning with fire and sulphur, which is the second clearly (Un. 21:8).

This will not be in the new earth, but in some divinely appointed place away from the new order of things of the new creation. Neither is it the "hell" of which orthodoxy so zealously preaches and of which the Scriptures say nothing. The sacred Record says it is the second death. And though it be a tyrannical enemy, reigning over a vast host of humanity, we are assured by Paul that it is not eternal, or everlasting, in its duration. As the last enemy in Christ's all-glorious reign, it will be abolished, and its subjects will be liberated into the fullness of life in the kingdom of God to which there is no consummation. But this must await our final chapter on the Goal of the Universe.


Back in the epistle to the Hebrews we have a wonderful statement of Scripture, quoted from Psalms 45:6, 7, which reads:

Yet to the Son:
   "Thy throne, 0 God, is for the eon of the eon,
   And a scepter of rectitude is the scepter of Thy kingdom.
   Thou lovest righteousness and hatest injustice,
   Therefore God, Thy God, anoints Thee with the oil of exultation
         beyond Thy partners" (Heb. 1:8, 9).

It is here in the new creation that we find this Scripture fulfilled, when the Son of His love takes the throne, and reigns for the eon of the eon, in which righteousness dwells. This Scripture proves conclusively that aiõn, eon, does not mean "forever," else there could never be any consummation, when the Son would turn over the kingdom to God the Father (1 Cor. 15:24,28).

And there will be no more any doom, and the throne of God and the Lambkin will be in it (Un. 22:3).

Here we learn that there will be no more anything devoted to God for destruction, but that His plans will have so far been perfected, and His purpose will be so near realization, that His glory demands that there shall be no more any doom. Though none are doomed as vessels of indignation, but all blessed as vessels of mercy, reconciled and received into His presence with rejoicing, nevertheless, the day of absolute perfection has not yet arrived. Three things insist that the ultimate goal still lies ahead: the leaves of the tree of life are for the cure of the nations; government is needed; the second death is still in operation. Though the book closes on a scene of supernal bliss, we insist that it is not final, and neither does it include the universe, as a whole, in its scope. Dire loss has been suffered by believers through the widespread error of preachers and teachers going to this portion of God's Word to comfort the bereaved concerning the destiny of all the redeemed. Not one word is said here concerning the new heavens and the allotment of transcendent glory for the ecclesia which is the body of Christ, among the celestials. And let me emphasize the fact again, that the holy city, new Jerusalem, is not heaven itself, for we are explicitly told that it comes down from God out of heaven. Furthermore, if we will heed what is written, and not persist in reading into the Scriptures human traditions, the city is exclusively for the sons of Israel.

We have been taught to sing and talk about our place in the holy city, but it is a most misleading error, for there is not so much as a hint in all the book of God, that the nations will have any part or lot in the new Jerusalem. It was promised to Abraham, and we are specifically told that it will be the eonian home of the twelve tribes of Israel. And when the nations are spoken of in connection with the city, they are always outside, bringing their glory and honor into it.

And the nations will be walking by means of its light, and the kings of the earth will be carrying their glory into it. And its portals should under no circumstances be locked by day (for there will be no night there). And they will be carrying the glory and the honor of the nations into it, and under no circumstances may anything contaminating, or one who is making an abomination and a lie be entering into it, except those having been written in the Lambkin's scroll of life (Un. 21:24-27).

Now, in chapters 21 and 22 of the Unveiling of Jesus Christ, let it be remembered that we are considering passing scenes of that glorious kingdom of the Son of God's love on the new earth beyond the millennium and the great white throne judgment. Nothing is final, as is indicated by the temporary nature of God's habitation, for we are told that God tabernacles with mankind (Un. 21:3). Tabernacles denote only temporary dwelling places (Heb. 11:9). Hence we are forced to seek for the character of this eon and the outcome of all this of which John speaks here, in the revelations committed to the apostle Paul. He is privileged to write not only of the eonian times, but of the time before and after the eons and includes the entire universe, of which the new earth will be only a small part! Of this blessed time, Paul writes in the Ephesians:

. . . making known to us the secret of His will (in accord with His delight, which He purposed in Him) to have an administration of the complement of the eras, to head up the universe in the Christ—in the heavens as well as on the earth (Eph. 1:9,10).

This describes the "dispensation of the fulness of times," as our common version translates it, when all things the universe—in the heavens and on the earth will be headed up in the Christ, Who will reign until the purpose of the eons is "filled up"—completed. The kingdom of the heavens, the millennial reign, in which Christ reigns as the Son of Mankind, now becomes the kingdom of God, wherein the Son takes the throne in the assumption of God, and reigns for "the eon of the eon" (Heb. 1:8).

The millennial kingdom will be the era of restoration, in which Israel, as the royal priesthood, will dispense God's blessings to all the families of the earth, but in the last eon, priesthood will vanish and the sons of Israel will reign as kings. Then with all things—in the heavens as well as on the earth headed up in the Christ, the sweet fruition of the peace made in the blood of the cross will be realized. In this administration of the complement of the eras, the evangel of the conciliatian will be carried to every creature of the universe until every knee is bowing, celestial and terrestrial and subterranean, and every tongue in acclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord, for the glory of God, the Father (Phil. 2:9-11).

In the celestial phase of the kingdom, the ecclesia which is the body of Christ will make known to "the sovereignties and the authorities among the celestials, the multifarious wisdom of God, in accord with the purpose of the eons which He makes in Christ Jesus, our Lord" (Eph. 3:10, 11), while Israel, then "the wife of the Lambkin," in the terrestrial kingdom on the new earth, will be schooling the nations in all the ways and wisdom of God. This gives us a glimpse of the future ministry of these great channels through which God has chosen to operate, in the heavens and on the earth, until the entire universe becomes subject to Him through Christ, through the peace made in the blood of His cross. No partial fulfillment of this great purpose will satisfy the Divine heart. There must be a complete reconciliation of the universe—all things—and that reconciliation, we emphasize, will come through the powerful potency of the blood of His cross, by which He will ultimately draw all to Himself (John 12:32). Only so will God's heart be satisfied. Only so will His Son receive the reward which alone can compensate for His great sacrifice. Only so can we rejoice in God and in the success of His great venture, which never was a peradventure. All was foreseen by Him from the very beginning.

And now, may all the called, who are, and believe in, Christ Jesus, rejoice and exult in the blissful prospect set forth by the apostle Paul concerning that glorious era of the fullness of times, which reads:

Now to Him Who is able to do exceedingly above all that we are requesting or apprehending, according to the power which is operating in us—to Him be glory in the ecclesia and in Christ Jesus for all the generations of the eon of the eons! Amen! (Eph. 3:20,21).

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