Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The New Earth

Part 4 of a Bible study series called Heaven



"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Rev. 21:1-2).


Introduction 

In eternity, heaven and earth will no longer be separated as they are now. As the hymn “This Is My Father’s World," says, “Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and heaven be one.” The new earth is mentioned in Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1. According to the ESV Study Bible, “‘New’ could mean ‘newly created’ but probably means ‘renewed, made new’” (p. 2423).


Discussion 

Randy Alcorn writes, “We are homesick for Eden. We’re nostalgic for what is implanted in our hearts. It’s built into us, perhaps even at a genetic level. We long for what the first man and woman once enjoyed—a perfect and beautiful Earth with free and untainted relationships with God, each other, animals, and our environment. Every attempt at human progress has been an attempt to overcome what was lost in the Fall” (Heaven, p. 77). What is mankind doing to overcome what was lost in the fall? 


Explanation

In the Bible, there are three phases of earth’s history: (1) humanity’s past on the original earth (Gen. 1-2), (2) our present experience on the fallen earth (Gen. 3-Rev. 20), and (3) our promised future on the new earth (Rev. 21-22).

Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “Everything will be glorified, even nature itself. And that seems to me to be the biblical teaching about the eternal estate: that what we call heaven is life in this perfect world as God intended humanity to live it. When he put Adam in Paradise at the beginning, Adam fell, and all fell with him, but men and women are meant to live in the body, and will live in a glorified body in a glorified world, and God will be with them.” Read Gen. 3:17-19; Rom. 8:18-23. How was the earth was damaged by mankind’s sin. 

Read Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:3; Rev. 2:7. Heaven is called “paradise.” Paradise has been lost, but it will be regained. Rev. 22:3 says, “No longer will there be anything accursed.” The hymn “Joy to the World” is theologically correct: “No more let sins and sorrows grow nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.” God will lift the curse, not only morally (in terms of sins) and psychologically (in terms of sorrows), but also physically (in terms of thorns in the ground). According to Rev. 21-22, how will the new earth be similar to the original paradise? 


Application 

Read 2 Peter 3:11-13. Since the old earth will pass away, “what sort of people ought [we] to be”?