The Coming Kingdom 036Revelation 21-22 • Dr. Andy Woods • February 21, 2018 • The Coming Kingdom
The Coming Kingdom
2-21-18 Revelation 21-22 Lesson 36
If you’ve been tracking along with us we’re basically in chapter 14 of this book I wrote on the Kingdom and if you’re new to the study and didn’t get a book let me know because we’ll get you one after class. We’re looking at what does the Bible say about the Kingdom, really Genesis to Revelation. There’s basically the ground we’ve covered, 1-10. [1. Eden, 2. Abrahamic Covenant, 3. Mosaic Covenant, 4. Divided Kingdom, 5. Times of the Gentiles, 6. Old Testament Prophets, 7. Post exile, 8. Offer of the King/Kingdom, 9. Rejection of the Offer, 10. Interim Age] And we’ve also covered 11-16. [11. Kingdom Mysteries, 12. Church, 13. Israel’s Discipline & Restoration, 14. Re-offer of the King/Kingdom, 15. Transfer of Kingdom Authority, 16. Kingdom Establishment 17. Eternal State]
That’s a lot of ground, isn’t it? Last week when we were together we finished talking about the manifestation of the kingdom. So the kingdom is the thousand year duration we read about in Revelation 20:1-10 and basically the whole Bible has been building to that point. So we talked about that kingdom, how long it’s going to last, what the world will be like. Last week’s study shouldn’t be too much of a surprise because we’ve been tracing this all the way from the Book of Genesis onward. Revelation 20:1-10 is just sort of the end of the matter.
And now what we’re moving into tonight, probably for the next couple of studies is the eternal state, what happens after the kingdom is established and runs its thousand year course? We are on the far right of the screen, an area called the eternal state, sometimes called the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21 and 22. And Lewis Sperry Chafer in this quote that I gave you basically described the transition from the thousand year kingdom to the eternal state. And I like his summary and so I wanted to share that with you. He says the transition will have seven parts to it.
Number 1 you’re going to have the release of Satan from the abyss. Remember Satan is let out for one last hurrah, at the end of the thousand years. Then you will have the revolt on the earth with judgments upon Satan and his armies. And stopping there just for a minute, this chart that I’ve given you gives you the seven-fold defeat of Satan. [1, the release of Satan from the abyss. 2. The revolt on earth initial eviction from heaven. 3. the passing of the old heaven and old earth. 4. the great white throne judgment. 5. creation of a new heaven and new earth, 6. the descent of the bridal city from God out of heaven, and 7. the surrender of the mediatorial aspect of Christ’s reign and adjustment to the eternal state immediately following.” Vol. 5, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993), 359.]
Satan isn’t defeated in one fell swoop; he is progressively defeated as you go through the Scriptures. And Revelation 20:10 is the end of Satan, his final defeat. Remember all the way back in Genesis God said there’s coming one from the seed of the woman that is going to crush the devil’s head, or the serpent’s head. Genesis 3:15. [Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” [NIV]
So the Scripture has traced that for us and finally we get to the ultimate crushing of Satan’s head at the conclusion of the millennial kingdom in Revelation 20:10. It says, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” So once that happens Satan becomes a thing of the past. So if you can imagine a world with Satan not in it at all that’s the eternal state.
Back to the Chafer quote, the transition from the thousand year kingdom to the eternal state, you have number 1, the release of Satan from the abyss. Number 2, the revolt on the earth with judgments upon Satan and his armies. Number 3, the passing away of the old heaven and old earth. And we’re going to talk about that tonight. And number 4, the Great White Throne Judgment. The Great White Throne Judgment, which we’re not going to get into, I guess I’m a little bit thankful we’re not going to get into it tonight because it’s a very depressing scene; it takes place right between the millennium but before the eternal state begins. It’s described in verses 11-15.
[Revelation 20:11-15, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.  And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”]
It’s a judgment only for unbelievers. And unbelievers are summoned and put in resurrected bodies and as their names are not found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, meaning they have never trusted in Christ for salvation, and it’s documented because their name isn’t in the Book of Life, they’re transferred from Hades, where they have been, into the Lake of Fire. So that’s the Great White Throne Judgment.
And you’ll notice here in this quote that Chafer puts the dissolving of the old heavens and old earth before the Great White Throne Judgment. And where does he get that from? I think he’s getting that from verse 11 of Revelation 20, which says, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away,” so a lot of people believe that when it says “the earth and heaven fled away” that’s the destruction of the old heavens and old earth and that’s going to take place just before the Great White Throne Judgment, after the millennial kingdom.
I have a slightly different order, for what it’s worth I put the dissolving of the new heavens and new earth after the Great White Throne Judgment just prior to the beginning of the new heavens and new earth. And I get that from chapter 21, verse 1, which follows chronologically the Great White Throne Judgment. Revelation 21:1 says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.” So you’ll find people slightly disagreeing over this; we agree on the important things, that this world is going to pass away. Some put it prior to the Great White Throne Judgment, other people put it after the Great White Throne Judgment. I’m more in that latter camp. I don’t know if it’s something worth starting a new church over necessarily, but you should recognize that there’s kind of a difference of opinion concerning exactly when the old heavens and old earth are dissolved prior to the eternal state. So Chafer says, number 3, the passing of the old heaven and old earth, then he has the great white throne judgment, then he has the creation of a new heaven and new earth.
Then, number 6 is the descent of the bridal city out of heaven, and I believe that that city, called the New Jerusalem exists right now. And I get that because it’s described in Galatians 4:26 with a present tense verb “is,” it “is” in heaven Paul says. [Galatians 4:26, “But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.”] So I believe that it exists, it is in heaven, it’s a beautiful city, it just can’t come to the earth right now because the earth is corrupted. It’s only going to be fit for a new heavens and new earth. So it’s there dispended in space somewhere, waiting for the right time to come to earth. It won’t be the earth as we know it, it’ll be the new heavens and new earth.
So number 5, the creation of the new heavens and new earth. Number 6, the descent of the bridal city from God out of heaven, which we’ll talk about a couple weeks down the road. And then number 7, something we may get into tonight, the surrender of the mediatorial aspect of Christ’s reign and adjustment to the eternal state immediate following. Jesus, throughout the thousand year kingdom, is reigning on David’s throne and what I’m going to try to show you is that reign of Christ is never relinquished as you move into the eternal state. The reigning continues, it just gets adjusted as I’ll try to show you the throne of God the Father and the throne of God the Son merge together. So we’ll try to unpack that a little bit as well. But anyway, I like this quote because it just gives you seven things which describe the transition from the thousand year kingdom into the eternal state.
So what we’re moving into now is really the last part of our study in terms of the chronology of the kingdom, and we’re looking at the eternal state, Revelation 21 and 22, and so to help us understand it we’re going to look at five things; we won’t get through all of these this evening, we’ll maybe get through three of them, perhaps four.
Number 1, we’re going to look at how this new heavens and new earth has to come into existence at a certain time. It can’t come into existence any other time, it’s got to come into existence at a certain time, after the office of theocratic administrator during the thousand year kingdom is restored. We’ll talk about that. Number 2, we want to get into the subject of new creation versus renovation. There’s a lot of people out there, I’m shocked as I’ve been trying to look into this to learn how many people believe that the new heavens and new earth is really this same earth, it’s just kind of renovated a little bit. It’s kind of like God just kind of takes the existing earth and He kind of slaps a coat of fresh paint on it, but it’s the same earth. So there’s a lot of people out there teaching that that’s what the new heavens and new earth is. I don’t agree with that. I think the thousand year kingdom is on this earth renovated but the eternal state is a completely new, ex nihilo, something out of nothing new creation.
And number 3 we’ll look at is this stuff really literal; by now you know me well enough to know my answer to that is I think it is very literal but a lot of people have this sort of nebulous idea of what the afterlife is going to be like, you know, we’re just going to be kind of sitting on clouds wearing sheets and we’ve got halos over our heads and we’re going to strum harps and we’re going to sing the Hallelujah Chorus a million times and be bored to death. And we just don’t really look very carefully into what God says about the future. The new heavens and new earth, the eternal city, that city is just as real as any other city on planet earth today. It’s just as real as Houston or Dallas or San Antonio or Los Angeles, it’s an actual physical geopolitical reality on earth but it’ll be a new earth.
And then number 4, we’ll try to explain how the Davidic reign of Christ is going to continue on into the eternal state. And then finally, number 5, this is the part we definitely won’t get to, I’ll give you an in depth description of what the eternal state is going to be like. I think that’s a healthy thing to consider because we’re going to be there forever; we’re not even going to be there for a thousand years, we’re going to be there forever so we ought to figure out what does God say about it.
So here we go; let’s start with number 1, and I want us to understand that the eternal security comes into existence at a specific point in time. It comes into existence after the office of theocratic administrator has been reasserted on planet earth. And there’s a very precise chronology that God gives us; He gives us the thousand year kingdom, then He gives us the Great White Throne Judgment, and then after that He gives us the eternal state. And the order, I think, is very, very significant as far as God is concerned.
What has happened during the thousand year kingdom is God has successfully reestablished His authority over this world. And this is a quote we saw many times in our study, really going all the way back to the beginning, Charles Ryrie asks a very important question. He says, “Why is an earthly kingdom necessary?” Why do we have to have a thousand year earthly kingdom. “Did He not receive His inheritance” that’s Jesus, “when He was raised and exalted in heaven?” And a lot of people think that Jesus at the right hand of the Father is sufficient and we’re trying to say that’s not sufficient. “Is not His present rule His inheritance?” If you were learning this material from an amillennialist they would basically tell you that, they would say that we’re in the kingdom now and Jesus is now reigning from heaven on David’s throne, supposedly it’s in heaven somewhere. And this is as much of an earthly reign as we’re going to have. So Ryrie is asking why cannot that be true. He asks, “Is not His present rule His inheritance? Why does there need to be an earthly kingdom?” Now here comes the answer. “Because He” that’s God, “must be triumphant in the same arena where He was seemingly defeated.” That’s why. “His rejection by the rulers of this world was on this earth [1Cor. 2:8]. And therefore “His exaltation must also be on this earth. And so it shall be when He comes again to rule this world in righteousness. He has waited long for His inheritance; soon He shall receive it.”
See what happened in Eden, and we’ve talked about this many times, is the authority of God was challenged. The original blueprint of God was to rule through the first Adam and his wife. And the two of them were to govern creation for God. And that’s what’s called the office of theocratic administrator, somebody who governs for God.
And when you go back to Genesis 1 you see very clearly that’s what God had in mind. You see all this dominion language, God said to Adam and Eve, “let them rule over the fish of the sea,” see how earthly these things are? “over the birds of the sky” over the cattle, over all the earth, “ and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” And then God said to them subdue it, see the kingdom language? “…rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth. [Genesis 1:28’]
So that’s the original intent of God. And that’s what you see happening in Genesis 1 and 2. Genesis 3 you have a talking snake who is the devil. And what happens is he gets Adam and Eve, not to govern creation for God but to listen to creation and rebel against God. And the moment that happened the office of theocratic administrator left planet earth. So the goal of history is how this structure is restored. And the time period that it’s restored is not today but it’s in the thousand year kingdom. See that? Because in the thousand year kingdom God the Father is going to govern, not the first Adam but the what? The last Adam. Who would that be? Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ along with His wife, who do you think His wife is? The church of Jesus Christ. That’s why the New Testament tells us we’re destined for authority. That’s why Paul says things like… to the Corinthians that are suing each other, don’t you know that you’re going to judge the angels one day. [1 Corinthians 6:3, “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?”] Can’t you get along, can’t you handle these little minor problems of life.
So the New Testament kind of narrates that we’re destined for this throne. Why is that? Because this is when the office of theocratic administrator is reasserted. So God is going to… God the Father will govern the last Adam along with his wife (that would be the church) and we will govern creation for God. And that structure has to come back exactly like God set it up in Genesis 1 and 2 or God has lost the battle. Do you see that?
So there has to be a time in history where the office of theocratic administrator is reasserted over this planet. And if you don’t have that in your thinking somewhere then God goes down in history as a permanent loser. See that? So one of these ways God is going to win. And the time in history where this structure comes back is the thousand year kingdom. And it elapses for a thousand years. what God established in Eden is now reasserted, in the millennial kingdom the thousand year kingdom, following the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
That has to run its course and only after that runs its course is God now free to start over. See that? So that’s why in the Book of Revelation the thousand year kingdom comes before the dissolving of this planet and the replacing it with the new heavens and new earth and bringing the eternal city down. If that happens too fast, if that happens too quick you don’t have a time in history where the office of theocratic administrator is established on this earth. It may be established on the next earth but not this earth, and if it’s not reestablished on this earth then God has permanently lost.
So that’s why this world, despite all the Star Wars movies that we see about the earth exploding and things, that’s why this earth can’t disappear until this office is reestablished. Do you see that? And that’s why God says things to Noah in the Noahic Covenant, all the way back in Genesis 8, I think it’s around verse 22, He says as long as there’s “seed time and harvest … summer and winter, and day and night” the earth “shall not cease” to be. [Genesis 8:22, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”]
Why does God say things like that? Because if the earth dissolves before this office is reasserted then God has lost. So with this office now reasserted and the thousand years have run their course and God is the winner of history He’s now in a position to dissolve the earth and replace it with a new heavens and a new earth. So one of the things I want you to see is the order that we have here in Revelation 20, moving into chapters 21 and 22, is there for a reason. If you don’t have Revelation 20:1-10 being fulfilled somewhere in your Bible you’ve got all of these themes that start very early on in Biblical history that never get their resolution. The earthly kingdom of a thousand years is a time in history where God takes all of these themes and allows them to find their natural resolution. So we have the resolution, God has reasserted His authority over this earth, now God is in a position to get rid of this earth and replace it with a new earth. So the first thing I want you to see is the order here is really specific.
The second issue is when God dissolves this world and replaces it with a new world is that a renovation or is it a new creation entirely. And I’m going to try to make the case that Revelation 21 and 22 is just as much a brand new creation of God as is Genesis 1. And the Latin term that people use to describe this kind of creation is a term called ex nihilo, which means something out of nothing.
So when God put our current world into existence that was an ex nihilo act. There was no earth there, there was no heavens and earth there and God spoke our present heavens and earth into existence, Genesis 1:1, a verse you know well, it says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” So there were no heavens and earth and then God spoke and the heavens and earth came into existence. A wonderful Psalm on the ex nihilo creation of God is Psalm 33:6. The rest of the Scripture sort of reflects what God did in Genesis 1. Psalm 33 has a lot of information on it. Psalm 33:6 says, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host.” So you shouldn’t get the idea that it was like a junk pile floating around in space somewhere and God kind of stitched it together to create our world. There was no world and God at a specific time in history spoke our world into existence. That’s called ex nihilo.
If you look at Psalm 33:9 it says basically the same thing, “For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” So all God has to do is speak and things come into existence and that’s the best way I know of to understand Genesis chapter 1.
So when the new heavens and new earth come into existence basically that’s what God is doing; He is speaking something new, completely and totally new into existence. And this is very different, what I’m talking about here, than the millennial kingdom. The millennial kingdom is very much a renovation project. This world will have survived the seven year tribulation period; the Lord will reclaim His authority over this earth and the millennial kingdom is going to be a wonderful thing but it’s not the eternal state. It’s even something less than the eternal state because it’s largely God fixing something that was busted. That’s what’s going on for a thousand years.
Now by the time the thousand years are over and God has already reasserted His authority over the present heavens and earth He’s now in a position to start something totally new so He takes this present earth and He dissolves it and He speaks into existence a brand new earth, a brand new universe. Why do I think this? Why do I think that the eternal state is not a renovation but a brand new creation? And you’d be surprised at the number of people out there that will treat the eternal security as a renovation. One of the most popular books on heaven out there is the book, I think it’s entitled Heaven, by Randy Alcorn, and I really like Randy Alcorn as a writer but when you look at his book on Heaven he’s basically treating the eternal state as a renovated earth, not a new creation. And I’m of the view that it’s a completely new creation.
So let me give you what I would consider to be five reasons why the next world that’s coming has to be totally new, ex nihilo, something out of nothing, just like Genesis chapter 1 was ex nihilo, something out of nothing.
The first reason is sin has contaminated this present world. Everybody today wants to talk about the environment and they want to talk about ecology. Here’s the reality of the situation: the greatest environmental ecological disaster that has ever hit this planet is in Genesis 3. The fall of man in Genesis 3 didn’t just severe man’s relationship with God, what it did is it brought destruction, if you will, to this planet and marred it. That’s why I’m always a little bit nervous when we sing in church, many times, and kids sing it in Sunday School, and I grew up singing it too, you know the song, This is My Father’s World. I mean, you think about that, is that true? I mean, we’ve got a world with earthquakes and tsunami’s and cancer and death and drive-by shootings and the ground itself has been cursed. I know what people are trying to say, this is my Father’s creation, but it really is not the world that God designed it.
So when you go back to Genesis 3:17-19 it very clearly describes how the fall affected the earth. And notice what it says here. It says, “Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; cursed is the” what? What does it say there, “cursed is ground because of you;” isn’t that interesting, “in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.” And then it says,  “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field;  By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, [till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”] And so you can clearly see that man has to go out now and make a living and making a living is difficult because the earth itself has been cursed.
Now labor, or the institution of work and industry, that’s pre-fall because God put Adam in the Garden to till it; you see references to that in Genesis 2, God always intended man and woman to be working entities. But now when the curse comes in, now you have to work to survive. That was never God’s intent. And here we are in the United States of America totally blessed. Our biggest problem is not worrying where our next meal is coming from; it’s keeping the calories off. But you go to other parts of the world and they’re working the ground and they don’t really know if the harvest is going to come in or where the next meal is coming from because the world that we’re living in has been cursed. The ground itself has been cursed.
Paul, in the Book of Romans, chapter 8, verses 19-22 picks up on this and he says: “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revelation of the sons of God.” Now here creation itself is personified, this is a personification, it’s a figure of speech where you assign to an inanimate object living qualities to get a point across. And Paul is saying that the creation itself can’t wait for the return of Christ because the creation itself is in a state of bondage, presumably because of what happened in Genesis 3. He says in verse 20, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly,” in other words, the creation in this personification didn’t want it this way, “but because of him who subjected it,” now who would the “him” be? The first Adam, “…in hope  that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
And then look at verse 22, “For we know” look at the adjective in front of “creation” there, “that the whole creation” see Adam’s sin affected everything. I interpret this as it affected the heavens and the earth as well. And think of how many stars are out there. You know, with the Hubble telescope we’ve discovered that there’s so many stars and so many galaxies out there it would be impossible from a mathematical point of view to count them all up. And what I’m understanding this is saying is Adam’s sin affected everything out there; it affected this earth and the whole creation itself. It’s in a state of travail; it’s personified as groaning, like a woman “groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”
So Adam’s sin had an ecological and environmental effect on the cosmos as we know it. And so as you read that imagery very carefully what you learn is the creation is in a state of bondage. And if this all is true how could God keep this earth around? You can’t fix this, you can’t slap a coat of fresh paint on it, you can’t pretend it’s something that it’s not. The only thing you can really do is dissolve it and start over, which God is now free to do because He’s asserted His authority over this corrupted mess during the thousand year kingdom.
The millennial kingdom, what you have to understand is the curse continues into the millennial kingdom, the thousand years. The curse is rolled back to some extent but when you study the Bible very carefully you learn that the curse is still there. For example, in Isaiah 65:20, a millennial passage, it talks about people dying at the age of 100 and when someone dies at the age of 100 everybody is going to sit around and say isn’t that a shame such a young man died. [Isaiah 65:20, “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be thought accursed.”]
So obviously it’s a time period where life expectancy is increased significantly but death is there nonetheless. Do you see that? And when you look at Ezekiel 45:22, this is a great description in these chapters of the millennial kingdom and the millennial temple, you still see the curse involved. It’s rolled back, it just hasn’t been eliminated yet. Ezekiel 45:22, says, “On that day the prince” that’s the high priest offering sacrifices in the millennial kingdom, “On that day the prince shall provide for himself and all the people of the land a bull for a sin offering.” So before the priest can minister the sacrifices in the millennial temple there has to be a sacrifice for a known sin. See that? So the sin is obviously continuing even in the millennial kingdom.
When you look at Zechariah 14:16-18 you’re going to see people there that just start resenting Jesus and they’re not going to want to go to Jerusalem to worship Him on the Feast of Booths. And God deals with that directly by not allowing them to have any rain or moisture for their crops. [Zechariah 14:16-18, “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.  And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.  If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.”]
What I’m showing you is as you go through passages concerning the millennial kingdom this sin problem is still there in the cosmos. So the millennial kingdom is very much a renovation; the eternal state is a new creation entirely. And didn’t we study, I think it was last week, that there’s going to be a rebellion at the end of the millennial kingdom, when Satan is loosed from the abyss. Remember we looked at that?
Revelation 20:7-10 says, “When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,  and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.” That’s a big chunk of people, isn’t it?  “And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.  And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
So the curse is rolled back but it’s still there; there’s still a simmering rebellion in the hearts of people towards God, even in the millennial kingdom. So what am I trying to get at? My point is simply this: the world that we’re living in is a cursed world. It’s been that way since Genesis 3 and that curse is going to continue on even into the thousand year kingdom and therefore you’ve got to take this world and get rid of it because God’s intention is to have a world with no rebellion in it at all. Revelation 21:4, of the eternal state, says, “and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Now how can you have a world like that if this world is still around. See that?
Revelation 21:8 says, ““But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Now how can you have a world like that as long as this world, touched by original sin, still exists. So I believe that the eternal state is going to be a brand new ex nihilo creation. And the first reason I say that is because of sin’s contamination of the present world.
The second reason I say this, it’s going to be a new creation entirely, is because of what Peter describes. Take a look at 2 Peter just for a minute, 2 Peter 3:7, and the way Peter describes the dissolving of this earth it doesn’t look to me like a chargrilled steak or roasting a marshmallow, it looks to me like it’s a total destruction. 2 Peter 3, look at verse 7, it says, “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” And then jump over to verse 10, 2 Peter 3:10 and notice what the Apostle Peter says there. He says, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will” what? “disappear,” see that? They “will disappear with a roar and the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth everything in it will be laid bare.” And then verse 11 is the application, “Since all these things are going to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be,” in other words, why are you hanging on to everything in this world so tightly when the whole thing is going to burn. You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God. [2 Peter 3:11, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.”]
And verse 13 is a description of what’s coming after this world is dissolved. “But according to His promise we are looking for” a what? “new heavens and a new earth, in which” dwells what? “righteousness dwells.” You can’t have that until you dissolve what exists. Do you see that? So the way Peter describes this it does not look to me like a renovation at all; it looks like a total dissolving of this planet.
And if you’re sensitive to this as you travel through the Bible you’ll see this warned about over and over again. What did Jesus say in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not” what? “pass away.” 1 Corinthians 7:31 says virtually the same thing. It says, “and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.” It looks like picking up milk at the grocery store and someone stamps on there not good after a certain date, not good after the expiration date. That’s the Christian way of looking at this world. Even though God is going to reassert His authority over it for a thousand years the whole thing is on very borrowed time.
Over in Hebrews 1:10-12 you get another description of this, which says,  “And, You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Your hands:  They will perish; but You remain; and they will all become old like a garment;  And as a mantle you will roll them up; like a garment they shall be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.” It doesn’t look like renovation at all; it looks like destruction.
And then over in 1 John 2:17 it says, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts, but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” This is why we’re exhorted in these verses to not love the world or the things in the world. Why not? Because they’re all marked for destruction. See that. And I do believe in global warming, by the way. Global warming is coming to planet earth, I just put it in 2 Peter 3:10. People say well, do you believe in the Big Bang? Yes, I do, I just think it’s at the end; all the scientists are telling me it happened at the beginning but 2 Peter 3:10 says, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will disappear with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” So that’s the second reason I think this is not renovation; I think it’s going to be an ex nihilo creation because of Peter’s description of how this world is going to dissolve.
The third reason I think that we’re going to have a new heavens and new earth entirely is because the new heavens and new earth that’s coming is described completely differently than this world. It’s still a literal planet in a literal universe but the changes are very, very different. For example, the world that we’re living in has an ocean on it, doesn’t it? In fact, in Genesis 1:9-10 you can see a reference to the sea. [Genesis 1:9-10, “Then God said, ‘Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear’; and it was so.  God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.”]
But you look at Revelation 21:1 and what does it say there, this new world that’s coming starts to be described. It says, at the end of the verse, “there is no longer any sea.” [Revelation 21:1, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.”] Now I don’t know how you interpret that, I take that literally. Think of the oceans on this planet; you go out on a cruise or you fly internationally on an airplane and the oceans just go on and on forever. I think someone told me that somewhere between 75-80% of this planet is ocean or sea. And think of a world with no ocean in it at all. Now that to me doesn’t look like it’s this world fixed up a little better. It looks to me like a completely different world.
And beyond that, when God created this world on day four He created the luminaries, Genesis 1:14-19, He created the sun and the moon and the stars. I mean, the sun and the moon and the stars are just a reality that we have come to accept and love. [Genesis 1:14-19, “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years,  and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.’ And it was so.  God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.  God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth,  to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.”]
But look at how this new heaven and new earth is described. Revelation 21:23, it says, “And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it,” why not? “for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” And then if you go over to Revelation 22:5, the world that’s coming, it says, “And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.” So think of a world with no sun, s-u-n, the sun, s-u-n won’t be necessary because the world is going to be illuminated by the Son, S-o-n, as we see His glory being described here. So the sun, s-u-n is no longer needed, the moon is no longer needed, the stars are no longer there and even the concept of day and night that we’re so accustomed to, that’s not there either.
And you factor in the fact that there’s no ocean any more, or no sea, it just doesn’t look to me like it’s this world repackaged. I think what’s happened is this world is totally dissolved and God is replacing it with a brand new world. And by the way, people get really hot and bothered about something in Genesis 1 which to me, the way I think, is not a problem at all. Genesis 1:3, God says, “Let there be light,” that’s on day one of creation. Now the sun, the luminaries, s-u-n, were not created until day four. So at some point in your Christian life some skeptic is going to ask you well, if you think the Bible is true how do you have light on day 1 when the sun wasn’t even created until day 4. Well, is that such a hard problem to answer? The “light” is God, isn’t it? And God, watch this very carefully, intentionally ordered it this way because He knew throughout human history that people would worship the creation rather than the Creator.
So what have people done throughout history? They’ve worshiped the sun, s-u-n. And to refute that tendency in people God allowed light, I would assume coming from Himself, I think it’s in 1 Timothy chapter 6, you might want to look that up on your own, it talks about how God is clothed in unapproachable light. [1 Timothy 6:16, “who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”] So God, through Himself, allows light to exist before the sun because He’s trying to get humanity to see that He is not dependent on some secondary source to give light. God doesn’t need the sun to give light; God is pretty good at it and in the eternal state that’s exactly what’s happening. There is no sun, s-u-n because the Lamb is its light. And God, I believe, allows light to come into existence before the sun because of the human tendency in people to worship the created thing rather than the Creator.
And over in the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 4 and verse 19 you’ll see this tendency in people to worship the sun, s-u-n. Deuteronomy 4:19 says, “And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.” God knew exactly what was in the human heart; He knew that they would worship the created thing rather than the Creator. They would worship the sun, the moon and the stars and so for God to permanently get this settled, said that’s a silly thing to do, allowed light from Himself to come into existence before the sun comes into existence on Day four, showing humanity where the ultimate source of light is. Not the sun but God who created the sun.
And that’s how it’s going to be all the way through the eternal state; there’s not going to be a sun, there’s not going to be a moon, there’s not going to be stars, there’s just going to be God! So it’s a refutation in creation and in the eternal state of the human tendency to worship the luminaries instead of God. My point is the world that’s being described here is so radically different it’s just hard for me to believe that it’s this world with a fresh coat of paint on it.
Here is my fourth reason why I think that they eternal state is going to be an ex nihilo creation. It’s because of the verb aperchomai, which is found in verse 1 of Revelation 21 and it’s found in verse 4, just a few verses later. And look what it says. [Revelation 21:1] “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away,” that’s aperchomai, “and there is no longer any sea.” Now what everybody today is trying to tell me is that’s just renovation language. That’s new creation language, that’s renovation language. But notice the repetition of the exact same verb just a few verses later. Look at verse 4, Revelation 21, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, no longer be any crying, no longer be any pain; for the first things have” what? “passed away.” Repetition of aperchomai.
So how you treat the verb in verse 4 I think should control how you treat the verb in verse 1. I mean, what is the new world that’s coming just God taking a death and putting a coat of fresh paint on it? Crying and putting a coat of fresh paint on it? Pain and putting a coat of fresh paint on it? No, those things are totally removed. They’re a thing of the past, they’re totally dissolved and if that verb cannot be describing renovation in verse 4 then why in the world would we think it’s describing renovation just a few verses earlier? It’s the repetition of the same verb by the same author in the same chapter in the exact same context.
And then one other thing I’ll bring to your attention then we’ll call it a night. A lot of people build their renovation concept on 2 Peter 3:6. 2 Peter 3:6 says… by the way, why is it that Peter talks more about the flood than any other biblical writer? Anybody know? He was a fisherman. Why is it that Luke talks more about the prenatal activities of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ than any other Biblical writer? He was a physician, Colossians 4:14 says that. [Colossians 4:14, “Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas.”]
Why is it that Luke says that when Judas killed himself his body fell off a cliff, the rocks tore open his body and his intestines gushed out? [Acts 1:18, “Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out.”] I read that in Acts 1 and I say that’s more information than I was looking for. If you’re a physician or a doctor those things naturally come to you. See that? Why is it that only in Matthew’s Gospel do you have the story of Jesus and Peter going fishing and they catch a fish and they pull out of the fish a coin and they use that to pay… Jesus says to Peter use that to pay the temple tax. Why would Matthew be the only Gospel writer to talk about that story? Because Matthew is a tax collector. Why does Matthew talk about monetary sums more than anybody else? Talents, which are sums of money in that day, and so forth? Because Matthew is a tax collector.
So what you have to understand about inspiration is when God used these writers He did not override who they were. See that? They were carried along by the Holy Spirit to pen God’s Word but as they penned God’s Word God was using their unique gifting, temperaments, skill set, life experiences to pen His Word. And that’s called dual authorship. People say well did man write the Bible or did God write the Bible? And the answer is “YES!” Men wrote it using who they were, God never overrode who they were but He carried them along. The end of 2 Peter 1 tells to pen God’s message.
And when the devil takes over somebody in possession, in demon possession, he subverts the person. You’ll find this when you read accounts of demon possessions in the New Testament. The devil comes into a person and completely subverts who they are. That’s how the devil works. God, when He uses people, doesn’t work that way. Even in inspiration He’s using the uniqueness of who these people are because God is the author of those experiences and biographies as well as His Word. Amen. Do you see that? So anyway, that’s a little sidebar.
But 2 Peter 3:6 people say, “through which the world” three-quarters cosmos, “at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.” Now people that believe that the new heavens and new earth is just a renovation, they say well look at the word “destroyed” there, when God destroyed this world through the flood He didn’t annihilate the world; the world continued on, didn’t it? It was cleansed, the Nephilim were cleansed off the earth, those strange creatures that you see coming into existence in Genesis 6, God sent the flood as judgment. The Nephilim were cleansed off the earth but when Noah got out of the boat it was still this world, right. So people say well, renovation makes perfect sense, look at that word “destroyed.” When God “destroyed” this world He didn’t annihilate it, He just renovated it. And so they think that’s what God is going to do when He establishes the new heavens and new earth; He’s just going to sort of renovate it as well and not annihilate this earth. And they build their whole case from this word “destroyed” from 3 Peter 3:6.
But what you have to understand is the word “world” there is not talking about the earth. It’s talking about the people. Many times in the Bible cosmos is not making a statement about the globe, it’s making a statement about the people. See that? You all know John 3:16, “For God so loved the world,” now what is he talking about there? Is he talking about the globe or is he talking about the people on the earth? He’s talking about the people.
So when 2 Peter 3:6 says, “through which the world” cosmos, “at that time was destroyed” and people want to build sort of a renovation case out of that word destroyed they’re not understanding here that Peter is not primarily dealing with the impact of the water on planet earth. He’s dealing with the impact of the water on the population. And that’s why it’s only through the writings of the Apostle Peter that we discover that only eight were saved. Who would those eight be? Noah, and Mrs. Noah, then you’ve got Noah’s three sons, Ham, Shem and Japheth, and their respective wives, eight total in the ark. So this word “destroyed” here is not making a statement about the planet; it’s making a statement about the people. So therefore you can’t, I don’t think, use 2 Peter 3:6 to argue for a meaning of destroyed which also applies to what Peter says later on in the chapter concerning the dissolution of this earth.
All of that to say I believe that the world that’s coming is going to be a brand new ex nihilo creation. Why do I think that? Five reasons: Number 1, sin has contaminated this whole world so God has to get rid of it. Number 2, Peter’s description of how it dissolved. Number 3, the total topographical changes that will exist in the new world pertaining to the ocean and the luminaries. Number 4, the repetition of aperchomai, that’s used in verse 1 and verse 4 of Revelation 21. And then finally number 5, the analogy that is used in verse 6, the focus is in the wrong place. Peter is not talking about the planet, he’s talking about the people. So I think the thousand year kingdom is the renovation but the new heavens and new earth is going to be an ex nihilo new creation.
So we’ve learned, number 1, the order. First comes the office of theocratic administrator’s reassertion, then the eternal state. And number 2, we’ve learned that we think, at least I think, that the coming new heavens and earth is not a renovation, like the millennial kingdom was, it’s a new creation entirely.
So we’ll keep marching through that list next time.