Peter is the first to tell us “we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).
At the end of time, Revelation 21 describes “a new Heaven and a new earth.” And it’s not a passing comment; the last two chapters of the Bible are devoted to it. God will recreate everything and make a whole new order. It will be an eighth day of creation—a re-creation, if you will. The whole physical universe will certainly be affected along with Heaven itself.
Revelation 21:1–4 says the “new Jerusalem” will come down from Heaven—the one we think of now, where mankind goes to be with God. In this new Heaven and earth, the opposite happens: God comes down to live with mankind. And throughout the chapter, the descriptions of the place and what goes on there are quite physical. It makes sense then that 1 Corinthians 15:44 says we will have resurrection bodies. We’ll discover how they work in this new existence.
The new Jerusalem is described as being 1400 miles long, wide, and high. Present physics wouldn’t allow such a thing; gravity would severely limit movement in such a structure and would implode it into a sphere. The new Jerusalem as described requires a whole new order of creation—which is exactly what the Bible indicates throughout the chapter. And this place is made of precious stones and pure gold. Whether that description is physical or human-language imagery of something greater, we’ll see. It will certainly overwhelm us.
In the new Heaven and new earth, particularly the new Jerusalem, where God will dwell with us, “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). God himself will be the temple, his glory will shine light everywhere, and there will be no night; given all that, it seems strange that the earth will still have nations and kings (21:22–25). All evil will be cast out, and nothing impure will enter; only believers will dwell there (21:8, 27). And we “will reign for ever and ever” (22:5), perhaps over creation as God originally decreed in the Garden of Eden.
For everything God reveals, we could ask endless questions. So it’s no surprise to me he didn’t reveal more.
When I think of what he did reveal, I wonder: If Heaven is such a wonderful place, why do so many of us care so much about having a good earthly life and cling to it as if there were no Heaven?
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