New Heavens, New Earth, New Jerusalem ~ All PreMill

My views on the new heavens and new earth are not usually shared by other Pre-Millennialists.  I view the new heavens and new earth as occurring at the beginning of Messiah’s millennial reign.  This new heavens and new earth will be like those that Noah inherited after the flood.  It will be the same heavens and earth, but renovated because of the destruction that occurred during God’s wrath.  My views on the New Jerusalem also seem to be in the minority.  I believe the New Jerusalem will descend to earth at the beginning of the Messiah’s millennial reign.  This bride of Messiah is where believers will dwell during the 1000 year period.  Let’s start with Isaiah 65-66, then turn to II Peter 3, and finish up in Revelation 21-22.  These are the key texts for understanding the new heavens and the new earth.  Open your Bibles, and…. begin!

 

At the time of the other cataclysmic events of Isaiah, the new heavens and new earth will be created (65:17) along with a new Jerusalem (65:18).  Death will be restricted but not eliminated as people will live longer but still die.  Sinners will have their lives cut short (65:20).  Those who belong to the people of God will have their lives like the life of a tree, long enjoying the work of their hands (65:22).  Animals will live at peace with each other (65:25 which parallels 11:6-9) taking us back to Eden like conditions.

 

In the midst of this description of the new heavens and new earth, God reminds His people that they really cannot build Him a resting place (66:1-2).  With heaven for a throne and the earth for a footstool, what more could He want from us?  What the LORD really desires is for someone to be humble, contrite, and to tremble at His word.

 

The people of the earth are called to rejoice with (alongside) this new Jerusalem (66:10).  She will have a glorious abundance from which many may drink deeply from (66:11).  The LORD will extend peace to Jerusalem like a river as she functions like a mother to the nations of the earth (66:12-13).  There is a cause and effect in 66:14-16.  Effect:  Rejoicing and flourishing because the hand of the LORD will be known to His servants.  Cause:  The LORD will show His indignation against His enemies with fire, fury, and the sword.  So, because the LORD will pour out His fury, this flourishing of the kingdom will come after that.  Individual Israelites scattered throughout the Gentile nations will be brought to the holy mountain as a type of living sacrifice to the LORD (66:20).  Of these the LORD will take many for priests (66:21).

 

The new heavens and new earth which the LORD will create will remain before Him, just like the offspring of Israel will remain before Him (66:22).  It seems like the offspring of Israel regathered at this time are living under the new heavens and on the new earth since they are set forth in the same context.  New moons and sabbaths are observed within the nation of Israel as the entire world comes to worship before the LORD (66:23).  There has been a judgement which has some type of lasting effect whereby people can view the burning carcasses (66:24).

 

Summarily, the new heavens and new earth, based on an examination of Isaiah 65-66, will be fulfilled in the Messianic Kingdom.  It seems like the Messianic Kingdom, the new heavens, the new earth, and this new Jerusalem will begin as the LORD comes in judgement.  This will be the beginning of God’s plan for Israel to become a blessing to all nations, Isaiah 2:2-4.  This will not be the entire fulfillment, but one step toward the ultimate goal.  This will also be a step in redeeming earth as a whole according to the Seed Promise (Gen. 3:15) in light of the creation mandate (Gen. 1:28).

 

II Peter 3 concerns the coming of the LORD.  They ask (II Peter 3:4), "Where is the promise of His coming?"  Peter explains that in the days of Noah there was a wicked generation who thought the same thing (II Peter 3:5).  That wicked generation was ignorant that the earth they were standing on and the heavens they lived under were slated for judgement by flood (II Peter 3:6).  Noah was faithful, moved with fear, condemned the old earth, and inherited the new earth (Heb. 11:7).  The same earth that we stand on is also slated for judgement by fire at the coming of the LORD (II Peter 3:7).

 

The Day of the LORD will come as a thief in the night in conjunction with the coming of the LORD, the judgement by fire, and the destruction of the present heavens and earth (II Peter 3:10).  Because of this, we should have a holy conduct since we know that this fiery judgement will come in such a fashion (II Peter 3:11).  We look for this judgement to occur during the Day of the LORD (Day of God) when the heavens will be on fire and the elements of the earth will melt with such fervent heat (II Peter 3:12).  We look according to His promise [contained in Isaiah 65-66] for that new heavens and new earth where righteousness will dwell (II Peter 3:13).  It seems to me that Paul uses the phrase “His promise” to denote something written in the scriptures which would be a clear reference to Isaiah 65-66.

 

Laying the two prophecies over each other we see that the new heavens and new earth of II Peter 3 are the same new heavens and new earth of Isaiah 65-66.  They are said to begin with the coming of the LORD, with the Day of the LORD, and when a fiery judgement is enacted upon the current citizens of this present earth.  Those in the church will live in the new heavens and new earth which will be a place of righteousness.

 

Now for Revelation.  Revelation 20 briefly glimpses ahead to the period in time following the Millennium and following the little season to explain the devil’s ultimate doom.  Then in Revelation 21:1 the emphasis shifts back to the glory of the LORD Jesus at His coming, only this time the focus is on the glory of the bride who comes with the LORD Jesus.  The New Jerusalem is the bride of Messiah having the identity of the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles both engraved within her.  It will be Israel and the church in one holy union.  At this time God will personally be with His people in an ongoing way, Rev. 21:3, John 14:1-3, Ezekiel 37:27, 36:28, Jeremiah 31:33, Hosea 2:23.

 

From Revelation 21:9 through 22:5 is a description of the New Jerusalem which descends just as the new heavens and new earth are seen by John (Rev. 21:1-2).  The New Jerusalem will be a city here on the earth.  This description is not a description of heaven.  It is not a description of the new heavens and new earth.  It is a description of one city in relationship to the other nations which will exist here on earth at that time.  I know we’ve all heard about the streets of gold in heaven, but that’s not what the Bible says.  The streets of gold are in the New Jerusalem which descends from heaven to earth.

 

Revelation 21:24 speaks of certain nations which are saved and walk in the light of the New Jerusalem.  The kings of these saved nations will bring their glory and honor to the New Jerusalem (21:26).  Its gates will never be shut by day allowing the kings of the earth to come (21:25).  While some nations may send envoys to the New Jerusalem, the prohibition is that nothing sinful may ever enter into the city (21:27).  The leaves of the tree of life are for the purpose that some nations may receive healing (22:2).  Within this city there will be no night since God’s light shines continually (22:5).  For those living outside the city, they may be allowed at some point to enter the city and partake of the tree of life, but only if they obey (22:14).  Outside the city there will still be many sinful people (22:15).

 

This language that the prophet John uses to describe the New Jerusalem reminds us of so many prophecies from the OT scriptures.  Joel 3:17 states that the LORD will dwell in Zion which would be holy and no foreigners would pass through her again.  Isaiah 60:3 speaks of kings coming to the light of Zion.  The gates will never be shut so that kings may come, Isaiah 60:11.  Psalm 102:15-16 foretells that nations will fear the name of the LORD as He appears gloriously in Zion.  Micah 4:1-5 envisions the Word of the LORD going forth from Zion as all nations flow unto the holy mountain.  The similarity in language cannot be overlooked by the serious student of the Word.

 

Conclusion:  when we read about the New Jerusalem, we are reading about a city here on earth from which Messiah rules, in which the church lives with God, from which Israel is governed, and from which the nations of the earth receive their light. 

 

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

 

-The Orange Mailman

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7 Responses to New Heavens, New Earth, New Jerusalem ~ All PreMill

  1. Kathy says:

    I\’m there too Darrin. That is how I see it now. A question for you. In Rev. 21:12 it says at the twelve gates are twelve angels. We are not given their purpose for being at the gates, but my thoughts immediately went to Genesis 3:24 where God stationed the cherubim after He drove Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden, to guard the way to the tree of life. I\’m thinking these angels stand guard, to keep the unrighteous out…what do you think?

  2. Darrin says:

    Wow Kathy, that\’s a great insight. I hadn\’t pondered the significance of the angels before. But that seems right on target to me. Especially in light of 22:15.

  3. Kathy says:

    It was comparing scripture with scripture (Isaiah, 2 Peter, Rev.) that brought me to where you are also Darrin. And then with 21:9-22:5 all being a description of the holy city itself. With that being the context, not the eternal state, and with 22:3, John\’s statement that there shall no longer be any curse; that would mean any effects of the curse are not inside the city. Then on to 22:14 which talks of who may go in the city (those that are clean) and 22:15 with who are outside the city (sinners, where the effects of the curse remain)…all of those things brought me to the conclusion that the NJ is on the earth during the Mil. When I read about the angels being at each gate I wondered what would be their purpose and that is what I came up with. It\’s been difficult to keep my mind on my VBS lessons this week with all these things bouncing around in my head! I just see it so clearly now… There is one thing however…in Malachi 4:1 – Malachi describes the day of the Lord as coming like a burning furnace. Then he uses 100% words. "And ALL the arrogant and EVERY evil doer will be chaff." So, I see God\’s wrath taking out all sinners. The earth fills back up again with sinners who are the offspring of the righteous who enter the kingdom after the rapture. What do you think?

  4. Brian says:

    Hi Darrin,This is an interesting post. I\’ve considered the possibility that The New Jerusalem will descend to earth during the Millennium. The only thing that keeps me from actually embracing this view, is the description of Ezekiel\’s Temple (Ezek. 40-48), which is clearly Millennial in scope. I don\’t see how the two can exist on earth at the same time. For this reason, I see the NJ as descending at Christ\’s return, but being placed ABOVE the earth. Its actual descent to earth follows the renovation of the earth mentioned in Rev. 20. Let me know what you think.Also, let me know if you\’d be interested in doing another podcast in the near future. That last one we did proved to be a big hit (by blogdom\’s standards, of course). Meanwhile, hope all is going well with you!Brian

  5. Darrin says:

    Kathy, I have a hard time reconciling the judgement at the coming of Christ not being the final judgement. But we know it to be so. We know that Jesus will come, there will be a judgement, but the final judgement will not have occurred. So in looking at texts like Malachi 4, I see Malachi speaking as a prophet. He saw a judgement out in the future and urged his brothers to repent in light of that future judgement. The exact "when" of that judgement may not be known, but the judgement is certainly coming.So in a passaged laden with prophecies to be fulfilled at Christ\’s second coming, should we expect that all the judgement prophecies in such text will occur at the same time? Or should we expect that the judgement will come some time, but not necessarily with these events? I myself see that God\’s Word will be literally fulfilled. This judgement of all flesh will occur. But God in His mercy will allow a reprieve of the ultimate judgement until after the millennium. For those already dead, it\’s not much of an issue. For those alive and living in certain countries, the bowls and trumpets are certainly devastating, but will not bring the ultimate judgement whereby the entire earth is cleansed from every single sinner. Malachi\’s words will come to pass, it\’s just a question of when. Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13-The Orange Mailman

  6. Darrin says:

    Hey Brian-Thanks for the comment. I hope you don\’t mind that I quoted your "utopia" post in a recent post of mine. As far as reconciling Ezekiel\’s temple with the New Jerusalem, there would definitely be some issues. First off, the prince (I believe it\’s Jesus) comes to Ezekiel\’s temple, but we know that the Lamb lives in the NJ. A river flows out from Ezekiel\’s temple much like the river of life, but in the NJ it flows out from the throne. Within the city of the NJ there is no temple, the presence of the LORD supplanting any need for such temple. But there will be a millennial temple according to Ezekiel\’s vision. But are these issues insurmountable? Do they create actual contradictions?I believe that the millennial kingdom is hard for us to envision. I find it hard to see myself ruling here on earth with Jesus. What will He have me doing? I find it hard to see Jesus in a role as supreme ruler of the earth or something like that. To me, He is Savior. But we know that He will rule for 1000 years. We know that we will rule with Him for 1000 years. Think of this, if Jerusalem is to be the capitol of the entire earth, if all nations will be in subservience to this one city for 1000 years, how many suburbs will this city proper have? The NJ will be heavenly in nature, but there will be outlying areas outside of the NJ which will be considered for all intents and purposes to be Jerusalem. Ezekiel\’s temple will exist outside of the NJ but here on earth. Our dwelling place will be the NJ, but where will be work? I imagine us getting up in the morning, going out into the earth to do our chores, and then coming back in the evening and playing all night. It\’s fanciful thinking, but what will life in the NJ actually be like? What will it be like to have a resurrection body during the millennial kingdom while the earth awaits its final transformation? I confess that there is much I don\’t know.I believe one of the old school Pre-Millers believed that NJ would be above the earth during the millennium. I forget which one. So you\’re in good company. I\’ve thought about it as a possibility, but I still believe (for now) that NJ will descend right to earth at the beginning of the millennium. As far as a podcast, I really enjoyed the last one. I\’d like to do another. I\’ve got a couple weeks vacation in August which would work out pretty good.Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13-The Orange MailmanP.S. I keep tabs with the Anti-Preterist blog regularly even if I don\’t comment that much.

  7. Brian says:

    Hi Darrin, Thanks for the explanation! Yes, I too believe that we\’ll be reigning from the NJ. It is difficult to tie all the Scriptures together, to me it\’s something that takes prayerful study. I appreciate the writings you\’ve made available. I know that a lot of your material sheds light on difficult passages of Scripture. For instance, the much-disputed Gog and Magog passages. BTW, there\’s a twist on that which I learned just recently. But I\’ll wait till we speak again to tell you. And yes, an August podcast sounds great. Just let me know when you have some free time, and we\’ll get it in the mix. You have my email. Also, I don\’t mind your quoting my article at all. That dominion idea is something which I believe will lead many Proestants right back to Rome.Peace & Health,Brian

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