The new heaven and the new earth
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The New Heaven and the New Earth. Revelation 21. Opening Question. What is your view of heaven? What is heaven? A physical place or a state of mind? What will life be like in heaven? What will we be like in heaven? Is there time in heaven? What will heaven look like?

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Opening Question

  • What is your view of heaven?

    • What is heaven?

    • A physical place or a state of mind?

    • What will life be like in heaven?

    • What will we be like in heaven?

    • Is there time in heaven?

    • What will heaven look like?

    • Do you really look forward to heaven?

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Heavenly Myths

What the Bible does not say about heaven (Sanders, 1993)

  • Our main occupation in heaven will be sitting on a cloud, plucking strings of a golden harp

  • Everything in heaven will be bland and not interesting

  • Life in heaven will largely consist of rest and contemplation

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Heavenly Myths

What the Bible does not say about heaven

  • The music in heaven will be dull, heavy and repetitive

  • Peter guards the pearly gates

  • That we become angels, wearing halos and wings

  • Longing for heaven is weakness and a form of escapism

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Why myths are dangerous

Revelation 22:18-19

  • For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

  • And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

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What is Heaven?

  • The Greek word translated “heaven” is used in three ways in the Bible:

    • The aerial or atmospheric heavens

      • Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…”

    • The sidereal or starry heaven

      • 1 Kings 8:27 – “The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you.”

    • The eternal abode of God

      • Matthew 6:9 – “Our Father in heaven…”

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Biblical Heaven

Revelation 21:1 – 22:6

  • Events in these passages take place after:

    • The return of Christ (19:11-21)

    • The thousand years (20:1-6)

    • Satan’s doom (20:7-10)

    • The final judgment (20:11-15)

  • “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…” (21:1)

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Eternal Heaven

The place were God dwells

  • Isaiah 66:1 – “Heaven is my throne…”

  • Matthew 6:9

  • 1 Peter 3:22 – “(Jesus) has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand - with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”

  • Heaven is the place where God most fully makes known his presence to bless.

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Is Heaven a Physical Place?

  • Often denied outside the evangelical word

    • Existence only known from the testimony of Scripture

  • Even some evangelical scholars have been questioning this

    • “… heaven is both a place and a state, it is primarily a state” (Erickson, Christian Theology)

    • Heaven is not so much a place, but the presence of a person, God (Guthrie, New Testament Theology)

  • What do you think?

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The Case for Heaven as a Place

  • Jesus’ ascension

    • Acts 1:9-11

  • Stephen’s death

    • Acts 7:55-56

  • Jesus’ promise

    • John 14:2-3

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The New Earth

  • God will make “a new heaven and a new earth”

    • Isaiah 65:17, 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13, Rev 21:1

  • Physical creation will be renewed in a significant way

    • Romans 8:19-21

  • The earth will be as God intended it to be at creation

    • Genesis 1:31 (“very good”)

    • “Paradise”, “utopia” etc…

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Renewed or Replaced?

Some Scripture seem to suggest that earth will be completely destroyed:

  • Hebrews 1:11-12

    • Heaven and earth will perish, grow old, be rolled up, changed

  • Hebrews 12:26-27

    • Remove what was shaken, so what cannot be shaken remains

  • 2 Peter 3:10

    • The earth and all its work will be burned up

  • Revelation 20:11

    • Earth and sky fled away, no place was found for them

  • Revelation 21:1

    • The first earth has passed away, and the sea was no more

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Replaced or Renewed?

  • Completely destroying the earth, however, would seem to give the devil the last word

    • The original earth that was “very good” (Genesis 1:1) would be scraped

  • Earth will not be “new”, not in the sense of a new creation, but new in character

  • Disagreement in the Protestant world on this

    • Lutheran: entirely new creation

    • Reformed: present creation will be renewed

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Believers in Heaven

  • Similar to heaven and earth, believers will have new resurrected bodies (Glorification)

    • 1 Corinthians 15:12-58

  • All things will be subject to us, under the kingship of Christ, forever and ever

    • Hebrews 2:6-9; Rev 22:5

    • Matthew 5:5 – we will “inherit the kingdom”

    • This was according to God’s original plan at creation (Genesis 1:26-28)

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Life in Heaven

  • Life in heaven include many features that are part of God’s physical or material creation

    • Eating and drinking (Rev 19:9; Luke 22:18)

    • River of the water of life, street of the city (Rev 22:1)

    • Tree of life will bear twelve kinds of fruit, each in its month (Rev 22:2)

    • Heavenly city (the New Jerusalem) with gates, a wall, foundation etc (Rev 21:10-11, 21-26)

    • Music (Rev 5:7-14; 14:2-3)

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Eternity = Timeless?

  • Will time be no more in heaven?

    • No Scripture support

    • “There shall be no night there” (Rev 21:25)

    • Due to light from the God’s glory (Rev 21:23)

  • Most description of heaven imply sequence or succession of moments

    • Rev 21:24-26; Rev 22:2

  • For us, eternity means living in a succession of moments that will never end

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Life in Heaven

  • Heaven will be a place of great beauty and abundant joy

    • A holy city…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev 21:2, 11, 18-21)

    • No more death, mourning, crying, pain (21:4)

    • Drink freely from the fountain of life (21:6)

    • Free from all evil (21:7)

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Life in Heaven

  • Most importantly, we will be in the gloriouspresence of God and enjoy unhindered fellowship with Him (Rev 21:3-4)

    • See also Jude 1:24; Romans 3:23; 8:18; 9:23; 1 Cor. 15:43; 2 Cor. 3:18; 4:17; Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 2:12; Heb 2:10; 1 Peter 5:1, 4, 10

  • We will experience genuine worship of God and shall see His face (Rev 22:3-4)

    • See also Psalm 16:11; 27:4

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ApplicationTwo Questions for Reflection

  • Will we be going to heaven?

    • Revelation 21:27; Matthew 18:3

    • See perseverance of the saints:Romans 8:35-39; John 17:24

    • Does our life reflect our hope in heaven?

    • Present life is temporary (2 Peter 3:11-13)

    • Storing treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21)

    • Stewardship – eternal consequences (Matthew 25:14-28)

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Next Lesson

Chapter 22