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The new heaven and new earth

By Merrill Olson

God has established an eternal home for all of His redeemed in Christ. He describes it as a place where “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

The apostle John expressed the beginning of the eternal state: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (v. 1).
This will be the fulfillment of what God promised centuries before: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17). This promise is reinforced with the words: “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).

The word “new” in Revelation 21:1 and 2 Peter 3:13 is the Greek word “kainos” and not “neos.” Therefore, we can understand clearly what the Bible is saying when it uses the Greek word “kainos” and not “neos.” “Kainos” has to do with “fresh or renewed, made new.” In other words, it is not new to time but new in quality. “Neos” means “young” and has to do with “new in respect to time, that which is recent. “ John and Peter, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, use the word “kainos” meaning “fresh or renewed, made new.”

Therefore, what is God going to do with the present earth to prepare it for the eternal ages? He is going to purge it with fire. The Bible says that the “heavens and earth which now exist are kept in store by the same word, reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up…the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:7, 10, 12).

God’s Word stresses in graphic language that this entire earth system will be completely purged with fire as God makes preparation for the pure and untainted “new heaven and earth.” This eternal dwelling place of His redeemed will bear no effects or reminders of this present earth.

Heaven and earth will be joined into one eternal realm with the “holy Jerusalem [heavenly city], descending out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:10). This city is huge by divine measurements (v. 16). In other words, it is approximately 1,500 miles high, wide, and long. If you are traveling in an airliner at a height of 33,000 feet, that is a little over 6 miles. But that is nothing compared to this city as it “descends out of heaven from God.” This gigantic city of heaven is brilliant as it glows with the glory of God (vv. 9-26).

One cannot imagine how wonderful heaven is going to be for those saved in Christ. There will be no curse of sin as the eternal ages will be bathed with the splendor of God’s glory. It will be an endless state of utter joy and perfection. Nothing on earth can describe its future reality!

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