Our theme for this month: “Understanding Salvation”
Our Bible verse for today: “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.” Revelation 21:1 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “God will make all things new.”
As we continue to explore the consummation of the salvation process we now come to the final fulfillment of the consummation. The first part of the consummation phase was the time we spend in the intermediate heaven after the death of our physical body. But that is not our final state for the rest of eternity. Instead, we will spend eternity in the New Heaven and the New Earth, and in a new resurrection body.
The first thing we need to understand about our eternal existence is that it will be a real existence in a real place, and in the Bible it is described for us in ways that we can understand and relate. God doesn’t promise us a non-earth but a new-earth. And He doesn’t promise us the old heaven, but a new heaven. We will evidently move freely between both, but most of our time will be spent on the new earth.
I’m actually pretty excited about this because I love earth. I love the ocean and the crashing waves, and I love the mountains with their snowcapped peaks. I enjoy watching the sunset and the sunrise, and I enjoy beautiful flowers and green grass and bubbling creeks. It’s fun to watch a puppy play with a toy, and it warms my heart to see people smiling and to hear them laugh. There is so much about the earth that I love and enjoy, and they are things I would like to continue enjoying for all eternity.
The good news is that we will. The Bible describes the New Earth in terms we can relate to from the current earth. We don’t have time this morning to look at even a fraction of the Biblical references which support this understanding (for that you can refer to Randy Alcorn’s book “Heaven”), but even a quick read of Revelation chapters twenty-one and twenty-two is enough to convince us of this. There the New Earth is described for us with images of atmosphere, mountains, water, trees, people, houses, buildings, streets, and even entire cities. Other passages speak of animals, feasting, and music.
The picture the Bible paints of the New Earth is essentially of a new Garden of Eden – but a greatly enhanced Garden of Eden. Imagine if sin had never entered the world and if all of creation, including people and civilization, had continued to advance and grow for thousands of years in absolute perfection. Now you have a glimpse of what the New Earth will be like. Randy Alcorn writes,
“Some of the best portrayals I’ve seen of the eternal Heaven are in children’s books. Why? Because they depict earthly scenes, with animals and people playing, and joyful activity. The books for adults, on the other hand, often try to be philosophical, profound, ethereal, and otherworldly. But that kind of Heaven is precisely what the Bible doesn’t portray as the place where we will live forever.”
The picture we are given of the eternal earth is fascinating and inviting. So we will explore it a little more tomorrow.