“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.”
The bumper sticker read, “There is no Planet B.” But this, and many other scriptures say differently. God’s plan from before the creation was to put in place a new heavens and a new earth.
Why would he have to do that? It started with the disobedience of Adam and Eve to God’s command in the garden of Eden, as recorded in Genesis 3. In Genesis 3:17-19 we read about the curse that God put on the earth because of their sin, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” The creation was cursed by God because they disobeyed.
Romans 8:19-22 reveals the same thing, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” There needs to be a new earth.
But why new heavens? There are at least three times in scripture where it is recorded that the enemy, satan, is in God’s presence: Job 1, Job 2, and Zechariah 3. Apparently, in God’s mercies and humility the enemy is allowed to have access to God’s presence. But the day is coming when he will be removed from heaven. Revelation 12:7-10 tells us, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”
Here we learn two things. First, the end of the passage tells us that the enemy of our souls uses his access before God to accuse the saints. And he does it day and night! This reminds of Zechariah 3. The other thing we learn is that his access will end on the yet-to-come day when he will be cast out of heaven, with all of his minions, never again to enter there, as told in Revelation 12. Their next destination is the lake of fire. Never again will they come before God to accuse the saints, or for any other reason!
Those hallowed halls have endured the footprints of the enemy and his demons ever since the fall of man, perhaps even before. The glorious presence of the Lord God Almighty has been assaulted by the comings and goings of him who is not only the enemy of mankind, but the enemy of God! Revelation 12:10 shows rejoicing in heaven at the enemy’s departure.
So, there is also a need for a new heavens. God’s plan from before the foundation of the world was to provide redemption for mankind, and to undo His great creation and replace it with another: both heaven and earth. In 2 Peter 3:10 we read, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” According to timing revealed in scripture, this verse covers around 1,007 years. The end refers to the heavens passing away, and the earth being burned up. This will make way for the new heavens, and the new earth, described in Revelation 21 and 22.
Concerning that coming time of the end, in Revelation 22:12, 13 Jesus said, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” He is the beginning and the end. John 1:3 says of Jesus, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.,” revealing that He was the beginning of all of creation. In that He is the end, this suggests that the end of all things, discussed above, is also in His almighty and capable hands. We can do nothing to coerce Him or force His hand. The day of the end will come at the time that He has set, and not a minute sooner.
Unlike a “Plan B” as we call it, where the first and best plan fails, so contingencies are put in place, God’s new heavens and new earth will be better than what we know now. As Peter tells it in 2 Peter 3:13, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” There is the difference. This earth seems void of righteousness, and as noted above, the enemy and his minions have access to God’s presence for a while, which will end in God’s timing. But the new heavens and the new earth will be characterized by nothing but righteousness! The new heavens and new earth will be glorious!
At the end of the verse above we read that there will be no more sea. This interesting comment reminds of Micah 7:19 where we read, “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” According to this, until the day of the new heavens and new earth, the depths of the sea contain the sins of those that are redeemed. And in the new heavens and new earth, there will be no more sea. It and its contents will be taken away, never to be seen again. How wonderful is that!
John saw the Heav’n and earth made new,
The first had passed away,
The holy city coming down,
The new Jerusalem.
And God Himself shall dwell with men,
And wipe away all tears,
There is no sorrow, pain or death,
Throughout the coming years.
Behold, I make all things anew,
These faithful words are true,
To him who overcometh sin,
On earth with God shall rule.
In beautiful Jerusalem,
God’s glory gives it light,
All kings and nations walk in it,
For there shall be no night. (Louise Lapp)