A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH #2
Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
The Apostle Peter has been writing of the physical heavens and earth in this third chapter of his second letter. He has foretold that its “elements shall melt with fervent heat.” Then he uses a word to inform us that he is not exclusively affixing his mind on these future events, but instead, has his heart and mind focused on the new gospel world which, contrary to the world of the law, brings in righteousness. And that word is Nevertheless! That is, no matter about the seriousness of the end time destruction of the physical earth, nevertheless we are looking, according to the promise of God, for the spiritual heavens and earth of the gospel era.
We have shown in our previous article, (See October 15, 2017 issue), that there are only two eras – two separate dispensations – for the history of the earth. There was the era of the law, as given by Moses. And that was replaced by the era of grace, brought by the Lord Jesus Christ. John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
And since Moses’ law could not be perfectly kept by man, and since not one single sin was ever cleansed by the blood of animals, that era was replaced by the era of grace, provided by the sacrifice of the body of the Lord Jesus! Hebrews 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
But we must also look at the phrase immediately following Peter’s word, Nevertheless! For he then states, “according to his promise.” And remember, there was nothing but the writings of the Old Testament available to him! But before we go back to read that which Peter only had available to him, let us remember that we shall be reading in the ‘shadowy’ language of the law those things which shall reveal the New Testament knowledge. Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
And now let us begin to read of these Old Testament writings. Isaiah 51:16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.
Isaiah 26:2 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. These two verses reveal to us that when God’s gospel word is placed within the mouth of the New Testament believer, (like a mother spoon-feeding strained apple sauce into the infants mouth), there would come along with it the knowledge of the heavens and earth that should ‘house’ God’s people!
Then he states that the entrance into the awareness of God will be opened to that ‘nation’ of righteousness who keep “The Truth.” And we find Peter stating just who that ‘nation’ really is! 1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
And ‘the truth’ that this ‘holy nation’ – which is the church – keeps, is not just a body of doctrine; but is the Person of the Truth – the Lord Jesus Christ! John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
For this holy nation does not just hold to a systematic theology, but they hold to the Person of the Truth Himself! Too many are going to hear, “Depart! I never knew you,” that have devoted themselves to religion, and not to Christ! John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
Mary and Martha both ascribed their brother Lazarus’ resurrection to an event in time. But they did not know that Jesus of Nazareth IS The Resurrection! John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Those, like them, who hold to events and not to Christ, fully expect him to come in a timely fashion to prevent troubles. John 11:21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. Then we stand and loudly sing, “The way of the cross leads home!” And have well read this verse in their bibles – Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. But still they prefer to have an event to deliver rather than Christ to resurrect! They want deliverance from trials, not faithfulness in tribulations!
They even imagine and promise themselves a “pre-tribulation rapture.” But we have been in the tribulation ever since Cain killed Abel! THE Great Tribulation happened to the Jews at the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, the Roman general, in 70 AD. Matthew 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. Because they had very God in human form among them and received him not, their tribulation was great! There was none like it before, nor ever shall be again!
Here is the Lord’s mind concerning his own deliverance from his cross. John 12:27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
Here are some other verses concerning the new heavens and earth in the Old Testament. Isaiah 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. 18 But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. 19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
Concerning that verse seventeen, we read in Jeremiah 3:16,17; And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. 17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
Amazing! But how very true! Do any of those who have come today to Mount Sion, which is the church (Hebrews 12:22-24), ever think, or speak of the ark of the covenant for their safe keeping? Of course not! We only study those Old Testament items as types fulfilled by New Testament blessings in Christ! We also think of this verse when we read that the former things are passed away, not to be remembered: 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (or creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Then there is also this passage: Isaiah 66:18 For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. 20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. 21 And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD. 22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
Here we read of those who are redeemed of Israel being used to “gather all nations.” This can only be assigned to the new, gospel heavens and earth! At first, when still under the old dispensation, we read in Matthew 10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
But after his resurrection the Lord gave a far different command, based on his exalted position! Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
And we only have to read in the fifth chapter of Revelation to see that this was effectually carried out! Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
This is an entirely new world! – a new heaven and earth. Now redeemed Gentiles sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus! For this is where they have been raised to have their “conversation,” – that is, their ‘manner of life.’ Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
The church is an entirely new organism, created by the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ. National identities are abolished, for all things have become new! Ephesians 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Colossians 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
Abraham was an uncircumcised Gentile when God chose to reveal himself to him. He was the Gentile “root” from which the Jewish nation grew. Then the Jewish branches were broken off, due to their unbelief, and the Gentiles were grafted in! Romans 11:1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
All this was an entirely new world! For the gospel age is the new heavens and the new earth! Revelation 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Pastor Gene Breed
October 19, 2017