54 A New Heaven and a New Earth
by Hubert F. Sturges, www.everlastingcovenant.com, December 2013
And I saw a new heaven and a
new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;
and there was no more sea. Revelation 21:1
Jesus prepared the
Jesus Christ Himself constructed the spectacular New
Jerusalem. Nothing of beauty or usefulness has been left out. After
2,000 years of emptiness and inactivity, the city is about to be filled
with the joyous, teeming, human race.
Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary
was the watershed event of the everlasting covenant. Anticipation based
on the prophecies became a fact to which end-time generations looked in
faith. It was the crowning event of the great controversy between Christ
and Satan. The Son of God was victorious. He established forever love,
persuasion, and freedom as the basis for the government of God. Through
art, science, praise, and song, the uncounted multitudes of humans and
angels respond to the Redeemer who came, to the Father who gave, and to
the Holy Spirit who made effective the grace of God in each life.
The everlasting covenant has achieved its purpose. This is not the
end, but rather the beginning-the beginning of a life that has no end,
with no separations, and no limit to what God’s children can learn and
do.I Have Called You Friends
The disciples had lived for
three and half years learning from the master Teacher. His grace, love,
and sinless personality drew to Him all who did not resist His drawing.
He had become to them a friend, and their attachment to Him was deep.2
When it became apparent that He would soon leave them, their only
question was: When will He come back again?3
Jesus spoke of
eternal life and other glorious gifts for those who followed Him. In
Revelation 21 and 22, the apostle John described the home of the saved
in detail, Nonetheless, there were hints of future glory before this.4
God So Loved the World
At the creation, “God saw every thing
that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the
morning were the sixth day” (Gen. 1:31). God was proud of His
creation-especially the humans that He made. “God loved the world so
much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him
may not be lost, but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NCV). Jesus’
statement speaks of the plan of salvation laid in the council of the
Godhead before the creation.
The perfection of Eden
we can only imagine, yet we still see hints
of its beauty in this world. Even with our most vivid imagination, we
fall short of knowing what God has in store for us, for “No eye has
seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for
those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9, NIV).Reigning With Him
When Jesus comes again, He takes the saints to heaven where “they shall
be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand
years” (Rev. 20:6). While Satan spends a lonely 1,000 years in
contemplation of his evil course, the saints are in heaven taking part
in a judgment of the wicked. During this time, all questions about the
justice and mercy of God are answered. Every person must understand why
some people were saved and others lost. Above all, the sorrow of the
angels and the pain felt by Jesus in Gethsemane and on the cross will be
portrayed. The saints will shed many tears, which will be wiped away in
the New Jerusalem. Through this judgment, the saints’ love and
appreciation for what Christ has done will grow to such dimensions that
no one will ever cross into sin. Affliction shall not arise the second
It is only after the judgment that Satan and the wicked are
brought to life again. It is only at this time that the New Jerusalem
descends to this earth, and the saints are permitted to enter. The Bible
does not state the exact sequence of events, but it appears that the
holy city, new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2) arrives before God purifies this
earth. Satan and the resurrected wicked of all ages encircle “the camp
of the saints” (Rev. 20:9) in an attempt to take the city.
then that Satan, his angels, and the wicked of all ages are cast into
the lake of fire. Sin and sinners are destroyed for all eternity. It is
a fire that burns for a short time and then goes out.5
The saints will
then live in a new earth and a New Jerusalem without taint of sin or
decay. The beauty of the new earth cannot be imagined. The redeemed will
enjoy perfect health, boundless energy, and expanded powers of the mind.
Revelation 21 and 22 describes in more detail the perfection of the new
earth. Even more than the beauty of the place is that Jesus is there!
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the
tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they
shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their
God. (Rev. 21:3)
Jesus, who drew all people and loved them on
earth, will draw them even more strongly in the new earth. Jesus has
chosen to become a human being for all eternity and live among the human
What more could one ask? This is a greater gift than the riches
and beauty of the new earth.
Given to Humanity
His tender compassion fell with a touch of
healing upon weary and troubled hearts. Even amid the turbulence
of angry enemies He was surrounded with an atmosphere of peace. The
beauty of His countenance, the loveliness of His character, above all,
the love expressed in look and tone, drew to Him all who were not
hardened in unbelief. Had it not been for the sweet, sympathetic spirit
that shone out in every look and word, He would not have attracted the
large congregations that He did. The afflicted ones
who came to Him felt
that He linked His interest with theirs as a faithful and tender friend,
and they desired to know more of the truths He taught. Heaven was
brought near. They longed to abide in His presence, that the comfort of
His love might be with them continually.7
When Jesus came to this earth, became human, and lived as
a man among men, He gave to humanity a gift that He will not take back.
When He ascended to heaven, the angels said, “this same Jesus which is
taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have
seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). In the following verses, Scripture
more fully describes Jesus’ eternal gift of humanity:
“Beloved, now are
we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we
know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see
him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
“Even as a human being He will bear the
marks of His crucifixion through eternity. His radiance is like the
sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, and there is the hiding of
His power” (Hab. 3:4, NASB).
“And one shall say unto him, What are these
wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was
wounded in the house of my friends” (Zech. 13:6).
“Beloved, now are we
the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we
know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see
him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
“That in the ages to come he might shew the
exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ
Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).
The science of redemption is the science of all sciences; the science
that is the study of the angels, and of all the intelligences of the
unfallen worlds; the science that engages the attention of our Lord and
Saviour; the science that enters into the purpose brooded in the mind of
the Infinite”-kept in silence through times eternal”; the science that
will be the study of God’s redeemed throughout the endless ages.8
This is the highest study in which it is possible for man to engage. As
no other study can, it will quicken the mind, and uplift the soul.”
The themes of redemption will employ
the hearts and minds and tongues of the redeemed through the everlasting
ages. They will understand the truths which Christ longed to open to His
disciples, but which they did not have faith to grasp. Forever and
forever new views of the perfection and glory of Christ will appear.
Through endless ages the faithful Householder will bring forth from His
treasures things new and old.9
Affliction Shall Not Rise the Second Time In the new earth, when
God’s people understand what their redemption cost, their gratitude and
love will deepen, and their praise will be louder. They will dedicate
their praise, songs, and creativity to return to Him the glory He gave
up to redeem mankind.
Mankind will still have power of choice. If
God should take away the human power of choice, then Jesus need not have
made His sacrifice on Calvary. We have this promise: “What do ye imagine
against the Lord? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise
up the second time” (Nahum 1:9). Fellowship with Christ and knowing Him
as a friend and the cost of our redemption will raise a barrier against
sin in the minds of every intelligent being. Sin shall not rise again!
In this life, even the best of plans can be spoiled by faulty human
beings. Will it be different in the new earth? When Jesus comes again,
“this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on
immortality” (1 Cor. 15:53). The sinful nature we each inherited from
Adam, He will cleanse. Pride, selfishness, and unbelief, He will remove.
We will forget the sins we have committed. The people who were offended,
those who saw the offense, and even God Himself will not remember!
With Christ enthroned in each person’s heart, he or she will gladly
keep the law of God. Each person will bring forth love, joy, peace,
patience, gentleness, goodness, and faith. “They shall not hurt nor
destroy in all my holy mountain” (Isa. 11:9; 65:25).Endnotes
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also
in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I
would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and
prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself;
that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:1-3).2.
the believer’s friend (Luke 12:4; John 15:13-15).3.
Jesus come back? The question and the answer are in John 14:2, 3 and
Hints of the glory to come are in Isaiah 60; 62;
65:17-25; 66; and 1 Corinthians 2:9.5.
The lake of fire burns a
short time and then goes out (Rev. 20:10, 13, 14; Rom. 6:23; Mal. 4:1,
3; Isa. 47:14).6.
Jesus will be human for eternity (1 John 3:2;
Zech. 13:6; Hab. 3:4).7.
Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages
(Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898), p. 254