Background of new heavens and new earth

On the subject of the new heavens and new earth, I know that many place them
chronologically after the millennium, but after studying I believe that John saw
the New Jerusalem coming from heaven to earth as a further explanation of what
would occur during the millennium. First, examine passages which speak of the
new heavens and new earth such as Isaiah 65:17-25, 66:22-24 and ask yourself
which time epoch is being spoken of. Surely this is an arrangement here on
earth that occurs while the LORD Jesus is physically reigning, cross reference
Isaiah 11. Death is diminished, but not completely defeated. Psalm 102 has the
setting of the LORD appearing in glory to build up Zion. Here are nations
coming together to worship the LORD. The mention of the earth and heaven being
changed at this time shows us that a new heaven and new earth will begin.

II Peter 3 gives the context that we are looking forward to a new heaven and new
earth which occurs when Christ comes with a judgment of fire upon the earth.
This is compared with the judgment in the days of Noah. What type of new heaven
and new earth emerged after the flood of Noah? It was the same planet, but a
different arrangement. In the same way, after the fiery trumpet judgments there
will emerge a new heaven and new earth whereon Christ will reign for 1000 years.

So in approaching Revelation 21, we have all of these scriptures giving a fairly
unanimous testimony that the LORD appears, Jesus comes, and the new heavens and
new earth are ushered in at that time. In Revelation 21, the New Jerusalem
descends, not to the old order, but to the new earth with the new heavens above.
It is during this period in time that the nations outside of the New Jerusalem
will learn to live by the light of that glorious city. What we have in
Revelation 21:22-27 is a parallel passage to Isaiah 60:1-3 and 62:1-5. This
arrangement continues for a thousand years after which Satan will be released
for a brief (?) period of time. After this is when the great white throne
judgment occurs.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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3 Responses to Background of new heavens and new earth

  1. Hi Mr Orange!

    Sorry for being the new annoying random commentor on your blog, but this issue of the new heavens and earth plagued me for a long time. Here is my suggested solution. Rev 21:1-8 seems to follow straight on the heels of Rev 20, after the millennium. Nothing in the context indicates and change of timeframe. The perfection seems too good to fit in the millennium, since death and pain are gone forever (v4). I see nothing in Isaiah 65-66 which parallels this. The destruction of death is shown in 20:14 at the last judgement, which is clearly what is being reflected upon in 21:4.

    However, in 20:9 something interesting happens. An angel who carried one of the bowls of God’s wrath leads John up a mountain (v10) to show him the holy city. This angel acts as a kind of time-marker, suggesting that we are being taken back to a time not too long after when the bowls of wrath were poured out. Hence I think that Rev 21:9 to 22 depicts the millennial city, unlike 21:1-8, which I think is post-millennial. Not only that, but the fact that John has to climb a mountain to see the descent of the city implies that the city descends onto that mountain during the millennium, but then descends again down to a lower spot on the ground after the millennium. This suggests that the two descents are not the same. What do you think?

    • I’m not dogmatic on this whole issue of Revelation 21-22. It seems like every time I have it figured out, someone presents a new possible twist, such as your idea here. For now, I’m comfortable with my view that the new heavens, new earth, and the New Jerusalem described in Revelation 21-22 occur during the literal 1000 year period described in Revelation 20:4-6. This is the main reason. The New Jerusalem is only one city. The promises which are appropriated seem to be effective within the city for the people of God. Even in that opening passage of Revelation 21:1-8 that seems to be the case. Further, II Peter 3 connects the new heaven and new earth following a destruction by fire at the coming of Christ. Of course I believe that coming is Pre-Millennial.

      However, this millennial arrangement allows for the conversion of the nation during this time. The New Jerusalem will consist of Israel and the church in one unit (twelve gates and twelve foundations). The light of that city goes forth to the nations during the millennium as described in Isaiah 60 and 62 (and you can throw Psalm 72 in there as well). This is the language which John uses to describe this millennial arrangement in Revelation 21:24-27. This brings healing to the nations during this time as well, Revelation 22:2. I would be interested in what a post-millennialist has to say about this idea.

      Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

      -The Orange Mailman

  2. Chris W says:

    Interested huh? Well, like most postmils (and amils) I wouldn’t interpret the imagery wholly literally. I take the New Jerusalem to represent the Church. I say this because it is the saints who are clothed in white (wedding) linen in Revelation 19 plus the wife/bride of God is a strongly established way of referring to God’s people. The descent from heaven represents heaven glorifying earth, which explains why the city seems to begin ‘near’ to heaven and then reach earth at the end of millennium. Whilst I equate the millennium with the church age, I begin that age in 70AD after the coming of Christ to judge Jerusalem and rapture his chosen ones into heaven.

    I’m sure you can guess most of the rest. The Church has been expanding and shining its light out into the nations since its birth and will continue to do so until the world is won to Christ. The Church is a source of healing and life to the nations and from her flows a river of life (the holy spirit) who brings healing/salvation. The tree of life is the cross, bearing fruit in every season.

    I know you’re not really into this non-literal interpretation stuff, but it does seem to be a more natural reading to me.

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