The Eternal State

CHAPTERS TWENTY-ONE and TWENTY-TWO reveal the new heaven and the new earth along with the Holy City, the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. Here is described the eternal and consummated kingdom of God and the saints on the new earth.

After John witnessed the Lamb’s wrath and judgment through a manifold series of visions consisting of conflict, evil, judgment and doom, Christ reveals a dazzling vision of the Eternal State, the new order of things. From the smoke, the eternal day dawns clear and sparkling like a diamond.

Death will cease when the Millennial Kingdom merges into the Eternal State and God the Son hands over the kingdom to God the Father.

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet”. Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

There are seven new things and the passing of seven old things revealed in these two chapters:

THE NEW THINGS
1. A New Heaven, 21:1 1.
2. A New Earth, 21:1 2.
3. A New Jerusalem, 21:2 3.
4. Everything New, 21:5 4.
5. A New Paradise, 21:1-5 5.
6. A New Source of Light, 22:5 6.
7. A New Place for God’s Throne, 22:3 7.

THE OLD THINGS
1. No More Sea, 21:1
2. No More Death, 21:4
3. o More Sorrow, 21:4
4. No More Crying, 21:4
5. No More Old Order, 21:4
6. No More Sun, Moon, Night, 21:23: 22:5
7. No More Curse, 22:3

Contrasts between the City of Babylon and the Holy City, the New Jerusalem:

BABYLON THE GREAT
1. The climax of human rebellion
2. The fall of the Dragon, and Beasts
3. The doom of the Prostitute
4. Going down with the earth
5. Weeping and fear of man
6. End of the old creation

THE NEW JERUSALEM
1. The fulfillment of divine purpose
2. The triumph of God and the Lamb
3. The crowning of the Bride
4. Coming down out of heaven
5. Peace and fellowship with God
6. Beginning of the new creation

Chapter twenty-one may be divided into three parts:

1. Visions of a new heaven, earth and city, 1-4
2. God’s promises and warnings, 5-8
3. Visions of the New Jerusalem, 9-27
a. Its splendor, 9-14
b. Its measurements and its foundation, 15-21
c. Its glory and purity, 22-27

These final visions of the apostle John detail what the LORD promised through the prophet Isaiah.

Behold, 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 for ever 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 (Isaiah 65:17-19).

Since nothing of the former things will be remembered nor come to mind, there must be nothing left of the original creation!

THE NEW HEAVEN (21:1). This chapter opens with a kai, which is usually translated “and,” but modern translations have “then.” The idea is that these visions follow the thousand-year reign of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment. John is saying after these things, I saw ouranon kainon (a heaven new, or a new heaven).

The Greek term kainon does not denote “new” in time, but “new” as to form or quality, of different nature from what is contrasted as old. When used of form and substance it means “recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn, of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, or unheard of.” Isaiah 65:17 employs the Hebrew word vdx (chadash), which denotes a fresh new thing that has recently come into existence. Hence, the new creation is not something new in time (neov) or restoration (diorywsiv) but something entirely new.

The Hebrew term for heaven (Mymv) is always plural but the Greek word (ouranov) can be singular or plural. Here the singular is used. What heaven is new? Paul was caught up to the third heaven, the Paradise of God (2 Corinthians 12:2); the second heaven is universe; and the first heaven is what surrounds the earth. It is most unlikely, John saw a newly created heaven surrounding the earth and the other two remained as originally created.

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded (Psalm 102:25-26 quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12).

THE NEW EARTH (21:1). Obviously, all the saints are removed from the present earth to the third heaven before it is destroyed by fire and a new earth is created by God. It seems more than likely that all the saints and holy angels will be witnesses of the Great White Throne Judgment in heaven as the present heaven and earth flee from Christ’s presence.

There are seven stages to this present earth:

1. The Original Earth, Genesis 1-2
2. The Cursed Earth, Genesis 3
3. The Flooded Earth, Genesis 7:4
4. The Post-Flood Earth, Genesis 8:13 -Revelation 6
5. The Tribulation Earth, Revelation 6-19
6. The Millennial Earth, Revelation 20
7. The Earth Destroyed by Fire, 2 Peter 3:10

NO LONGER ANY SEA refers to the world system under the control of Satan, not a body or bodies of water that cover approximately one-third of the face of the earth. Symbolically, the term sea denotes danger, storms, separation, and barriers as well as the nations. None of these things, except nations, exists on the new earth. The Eternal State is entirely different from the Millennial Kingdom. Some commentators take sea literally. But what body of water: all seas, or the Mediterranean Sea?

Romans has its “much mores” (5:9, 10, 15, 17, 20; 9:22; 11:12, 24); while Revelation has its “no mores.”

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