The New Heavens and New Earth: A 9000 Word Article
The Bible speaks of a time when God will usher in new heavens and a new earth. This radical renewal and restoration of creation will take place after God judges the world and defeats evil once and for all. The new heavens and new earth are part of God’s plan to reconcile all things to Himself through Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:20).
While the new heavens and new earth are sometimes spoken of in highly symbolic terms, they point to a very real future with several key characteristics according to Scripture:
A Renewed Creation
The new heavens and new earth will be this earth and starry sky renewed, restored and resurrected to their original perfect state before the entrance of sin, corruption and decay.
The apostle Peter wrote, “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). The word “new” in Greek (kainos) refers to something completely refreshed and restored – not just brand new.
The new creation will be free from the corruption of sin that has tainted every part of this present world (Romans 8:21-22). God’s curse on creation will be no more. Pain, sickness, disease, degeneration, and death itself will be gone.
The prophet Isaiah declared, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17). The perfect new creation will be so amazing that the present corrupted world will be mostly forgotten.
The apostle John was given a vision of the future new creation: “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). The word “passed away” does not mean destroyed but restored. This present universe will be cleansed and redeemed when God makes all things new.
A Restored Relationship with God
The greatest blessing of the new heavens and new earth will be the full restoration of fellowship with God. Because of sin, humanity lost the privilege of direct access to God. But in the new creation, God will once again make his dwelling with His people.
The apostle John heard a loud voice from the throne proclaim, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Revelation 21:3). To dwell in the unfiltered presence of holy God will be breathtaking.
In the new Jerusalem John saw, “its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Revelation 21:22). Instead of an earthly temple, God Himself will be the new temple. The illuminating glory of God will replace the sun and moon so that “night will be no more” (Revelation 21:23, 22:5).
The new creation will fulfill what God intended from the beginning before the fall: a perfect paradise in intimate relationship with Himself. The tree of life will return (Revelation 22:2) along with direct access to the river of life flowing from God’s throne (Revelation 22:1).
The old hymn-writer Fanny Crosby captured the beautiful promise: “My blessed Redeemer is coming someday, coming for me in that city so fair. Then I shall see Him more clearly His glory, the light of that city He’ll help me to bear.”
No More Sin, Curse or Pain
A key aspect of the new creation is that sin and evil will be completely banished. Today the earth groans under the weight of human wickedness, grief, pain and death – the consequences of the fall and curse (Romans 8:22). But the day is coming when God will purge away all remnants of sin and its vile fruits.
The apostle Peter proclaimed the promise of the new creation: “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). Righteousness and justice will rule the new earth under Christ’s authority.
The apostle John declared, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away…Nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false” (Revelation 21:4, 27).
With sin and evil barred, the new creation will be characterized by unspoiled happiness. The tree of life will bloom again (Revelation 22:2) along with the river of life-giving water (Revelation 22:1). The curse imposed in the garden of Eden will be no more.
The prophets foretold of this coming day:
“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).
“They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord, and their descendants with them” (Isaiah 65:23).
In short, God will restore the peace and harmony of Eden to the new earth. The splendor and beauty of the renewed creation will surpass anything mankind has ever known.
The Centerpiece is the New Jerusalem
The focal point of the new heavens and earth will be the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God (Revelation 21:2). This dazzling holy city will be the sanctified home for God’s people. The New Jerusalem is described in detail in Revelation 21.
The New Jerusalem’s walls will be high and broad (Revelation 21:12,17) – indicating protection, security, and exclusivity. The city gates will always be open (Revelation 21:25), and the nations will walk in its light (Revelation 21:24).
The New Jerusalem will glitter with the radiance of precious jewels and metals (Revelation 21:18-21). It will lack any temple because “its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Revelation 21:22).
The city dimensions are a cube of 12,000 stadia or around 1,400 miles on each side (Revelation 21:16). This signifies a holy of holies writ large. The New Jerusalem will be the tabernacle of God’s presence and glory in the renewed creation.
The beloved hymn “Beulah Land” captures the splendor: “Far away the noise of strife upon my ear is falling; then I know the sins of earth beset on every hand. Doubt and fear and things of earth in vain to me are calling; None of these shall move me from Beulah Land.”
The Timing of the New Heavens and Earth
Only God knows the precise timing when He will usher in the new heavens and new earth. Several key events must occur first according to Scripture:
1. The return of Jesus Christ (the Second Coming)
2. The defeat of God’s enemies and the judgment of the ungodly.
3. The 1000 year reign of Jesus on earth (the Millennium)
4. The final rebellion crushed and Satan cast into the lake of fire.
5. The Great White Throne judgment of all the dead.
6. The old earth and universe will be dissolved and pass away.
Then finally…the New Heavens and New Earth will appear when God makes all things new!
The Bible warns that the day of the Lord’s coming cannot be predicted. Jesus stated clearly that no one knows the day or hour – not even Himself during His earthly ministry (Matthew 24:36).
Rather than speculate on dates, Christ exhorted His followers to be ready and living faithfully no matter when He returns. The apostle Peter declared that believers should “look forward to and hasten the coming of the day of God” through holy conduct (2 Peter 3:12).
The new heavens and earth are certain but the timing is unrevealed. The actual event could occur possibly soon or not for another 1000+ years. But regardless of when, the resurrection of Christ guarantees the future renewal of creation.
The day is coming when the Lord will complete His conquest of sin and death. The old world scarred by sin will pass away. And God will fulfill His original purpose for a paradise in perfect relationship with Himself. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
Life in the New Heavens and Earth
While many details are left undescribed, Scripture gives glimpses of what life in the new heavens and earth will be like:
– Nearness to Christ. Dwelling directly in Christ’s presence with His glory above us. Never separated from the Lamb who is the light, temple, and river of life.
– Rule and Reign with Christ. Believers will be given authority to rule with Christ over the new creation. “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21).
– No Temptation or Sin. The new creation will never be marred by sin or temptation. With the serpent gone, God’s people will flourish in perfect righteousness and holiness.
– Health and Wholeness. No sickness, injury, handicap, deformity, or weakness. Resurrected bodies and minds will be whole. The leaves of the Tree of Life will bring healing to the nations (Revelation 22:2).
– Joy Unspeakable. Every shadow of sorrow will be forever dispelled. Tears will be wiped away. Laughter, joy, and singing will overflow. The Lamb will shepherd with eternal delights.
– Meaningful Work. The new earth will not be floating on clouds. God’s people will engage in meaningful work and stewardship to God’s glory. “They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit” (Isaiah 65:21).
– The Wedding Feast. The exalted marriage supper of the Lamb will commence the endless celebration and feasting of the new creation. The Bridegroom will rejoice over His Bride.
– Exploration and Discovery. Our adventures will just be starting on the new earth. With all the time in eternity, there will be no end to growth in the knowledge of God’s majesty through His vast creation.
– Wonder and Worship. Every enjoyment will be saturated with praise and thanksgiving to the glory of the Creator. With unlimited time, we will barely begin to offer all the worship He deserves throughout the ceaseless ages.
The joys of the new heavens and earth will certainly exceed the highest expectations. As the hymn writer proclaimed: “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.”
Waiting with Hope
As believers in Jesus wait eagerly for the new creation, we can have patience and hope knowing that this fallen and flawed world is not our final home. God has prepared for us a city with eternal foundations. It will be our joy to dwell with Him in a new paradise surpassing Eden.
The trials of this life are brief and light compared to the eternal weight of glory to come (2 Corinthians 4:17). The Spirit gives us a foretaste now of the powers of the age to come (Hebrews 6:5). This hope produces holiness and perseverance.
No matter how difficult life becomes, nothing can separate God’s children from His love or diminish His faithfulness (Romans 8:35-39). Reflecting on the surpassing splendor to come will renew strength, courage and patience for running the race marked out for us.
The new creation should fill our hearts with expectation and gratitude. The old hymn writer proclaimed: “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus, life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ. One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase, so bravely run the race ’till we see Christ.”
Maranatha! Even so, come Lord Jesus!