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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Hundred-Fifth (New)

How are you doing this week? I hope you had a good one, and you were able to see some blessings come your way. Isn't it interesting how there seems to be some evil at work around the time when you get some big blessing? I've noticed, at least, that shortly before or shortly after something good happens it's as if Satan tries to kick our butt. Or, we're at a place of vulnerability as we rest on our laurels, so to speak, and something sneaks in to spur our anger or instigate a depression.

These are the trials that we go through to strengthen our faith (1 Peter 1:7, 1 Peter 4:12) and hone our armor (Ephesians 6:13). These trials make you wonder what life is like after this heaven and this earth pass away. What will we do? Who will be there? What exactly are we looking forward to?

While I certainly don't have all those answers, we can take a look at some verses that talk about this period and see what they say. We may figure some things out, or we may just come up with more questions! That's just a part of studying scripture though, so let's get started!

The obvious first place to start is Revelation, so let's start there. First, we find that this earth and heaven have to pass away before the new heaven and earth come. We also see that the new earth doesn't have any sea (Revelation 21:1), which I find very interesting. To me, this is a sign of the unity this earth will have. There is no separation of peoples such that they cannot readily interact with one another. Additionally, I believe this is how the current earth was originally designed. I believe the flood was the point at which the oceans came into existence.

The next thing we find is that there will be a new Jerusalem that comes directly from God, prepared like a bride (Revelation 21:2). My Bible has a footnote (technically a margin note!) that sends me to Isaiah for this description...more on that later. This is not the first time we see a correlation to a bride, or at least to a wedding in general. John the baptizer made a reference to Jesus being the bridegroom (John 3:29). Also, we find parables referencing participants in the traditional Jewish wedding (Matthew 22:1-14, 25:1-13).

In each of these parables, we find that people in the earth are participants in the wedding, but not the bride specifically. Meaning, we will not be the bride, no matter who we are: the guests, the wise virgins or the foolish virgins. If we jump a little further ahead we see the bride is actually the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9-22:5). And this thing will be massive. It is a perfect cube, and all dimensions are 12,000 furlongs. That's 1,500 miles!

This will be a place where God and Jesus dwell, with no death, sorrow, crying or pain (Revelation 21:3). They will be the light of it, so no sun or moon required (Revelation 21:23). There will be a fountain of life (Revelation 21:6) and a river of life (Revelation 22:1), as well as a tree of life (Revelation 22:2). This is where the more questions than answers comes in because why would we need these things "of life" if we are in transformed, incorruptible bodies? I have not yet figured that out, but I would welcome your take on it!

This seems like a very exciting place to live, just with being able to be with Jesus and God, let alone all the other stuff! But let's take a journey down that Isaiah rabbit trail I mentioned earlier. My Bible sends me to Isaiah 52:1 when Revelation talked about the Holy City, new Jerusalem. This verse is the beginning of a description of Jerusalem that seems to reference characteristics of the new Jerusalem while rebuking Israel for what they did in the past (Isaiah 52:1-12).

This description comes after verses that talk about a little bit of new heaven and new earth type stuff, but also great tribulation type stuff (Isaiah 51:17-23). However, when we take a look a little earlier, we see a description of the transition point between the heaven and earth and new heaven and new earth. Some interesting phrasing is used to talk about this transition (Isaiah 51:6) and we find similar wording also in 2 Peter (2 Peter 3:10).

But, if we take a look a little farther in Isaiah, we will find another reference to the new heaven and new earth and a little more detail in things that will happen there (Isaiah 65:17-25). We see a distinction between Jerusalem and her people in verse 18, which supports what we saw earlier of Jerusalem not being a representation of the church or of Israel in these instances. We also see a confirmation of there being no crying or weeping in new Jerusalem (verse 19).

But here is where we may come up with more questions than answers. We find a slightly confusing verse (verse 20) that makes it seem like there's still sinners and dying in the new heaven and new earth. Also, if we read further, we see there's building and planting and harvesting. Are these hobbies? If we have transformed bodies why would any of that be needed? Are the planting and harvesting as well as the "of life" items correlated? Do they indicate there will still be people in corruptible bodies in the new heaven and new earth?

Like I said, we may come up with more questions than answers, but hopefully this got you thinking about what this new heaven and new earth will be. Something to include in your pondering is the description of the white thrown judgment does not say that all non-believers will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). It says those not in the book of life, so what is the criteria for being in there? Take a look, and dig in. These kinds of topics are fascinating, and it's important to have your own, Holy Spirit led, view of scripture so you're not led down the wrong path by someone else.

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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