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A New Heaven, a New Earth, a New Jerusalem
We Didn't Even Know How to Dream!

From the Writings of Marvin J. Rosenthal
Published in Zion's Fire Magazine in May/June, 1993

Recently, a young Hebrew Christian couple we are particularly fond of stayed in our home while vacationing here in Orlando. They are Israelis; the son and daughter-in-law of two of our dearest friends. The young lady is an American citizen, but she had not been back to the States since she was a little girl. Her husband, Israeli born, has been to America only once in connection with his work and had little time for leisure. After a few days of visiting many tourist attractions here in Orlando, they asked my wife and me if we could show them some of the model homes being built throughout the city.

Having been to Israel on many occasions, we knew that most of Israel's land is, literally, owned by the government and not for sale. Much of the housing is built and subsidized by the government. In the case of private housing development, the land is leased from the government for an agreed-upon number of years and then reverts back to the State. The same would be true of land allocated for farming or industry. The only private land available for purchase is land that was privately owned before the rebirth of the nation of Israel in May of 1948. As a result, it is rare indeed for an Israeli Jew to own a private home with land around it. Ownership of a quarter acre would be rare; a half acre, rarer still; and a full acre, almost unheard of. Housing in Israel consists almost exclusively of what we would call high-rise condominiums that could easily cost the equivalent of $150,000 in United States currency. They are generally small (800 to 1000 square feet) compared to average American housing, with few of the luxury and designer items in American homes. Though Israel has made astounding advancement in the quality and size of its housing in its short modern history, we knew it was not yet to be compared with American housing.

But if our young friends wanted to see American housing here in Orlando – housing they would see. We began with average-priced homes of fifteen hundred to two thousand square feet, but before long, we moved on to upscale, attractive homes of four, five, and six thousand square feet. Most had cathedral ceilings, three bathrooms, a spectacular kitchen, four and five bedrooms, a dining room, living room, and family room, plus a two- or three-car garage. Most were on a large lot, meticulously landscaped, with a beautiful, screened, in-ground pool. As our friends walked out of the last model of the day, highly impressed with the beauty, size, amenities, and unbelievable value (by Israeli standards) of America's housing (and yet very content with the home God had provided them in Jerusalem), their comment to me was both humorous and insightful. They said, “We didn't even know how to dream!”

We who are citizens of Heaven through faith in Christ are rightly persuaded that, among other things, we have a “mansion just over the hilltop.” But I suspect that, like our beloved Israeli friends – even more than they – we too don't “even know how to dream” about our future home in Glory. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Perhaps the Lord knew that if we had too many details, we could not be contented here. It took God six days to create the entire universe. And yet, almost two thousand years ago, before leaving, Jesus said to His disciples: “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 14:3). If it took six days to create the universe – and the Lord has been working for two thousand years on our future home – what kind of home must it be!

A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH – WHY?

As, the beloved and aged Apostle John reached the final and climactic section of the Book of Revelation (Revelation 21-22) and, in many respects, the apex of human history itself, he wrote, “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). The heaven and earth that John saw was not new with respect to origin. It was new with respect to quality. John was beholding the present heaven and earth – totally cleansed, completely regenerated, and absolutely perfect. He was beholding heaven and earth in all of its pristine beauty as Adam and Eve saw them in the Garden before the advent of sin and consequent curse upon all of creation.

In the Greek New Testament, there are two primary words translated “new.” The one word is neos. It means “new” in time – recent, just appearing, young. When the Bible speaks of new wine, it is neos wine; that is, it is this year's crop – “new” in time. The second word for “new” is kainos. It means “new” in quality – superior to the old. In the upper room, the Lord instituted the “new” (kainos) covenant. It is a covenant that is qualitatively better than the old or Mosaic covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 8:8). The Apostle Paul taught that a believer in Christ is a new (kainos) creation (2 Corinthians 5:17); that is, he is qualitatively superior to what he was in his unregenerate state in Adam.

When John speaks of a new heaven and a new earth, he uses the Greek word kainos and is emphasizing the “quality” of the new heaven and earth – not that it is new in time or origin. It is the same heaven and earth, but cleansed and regenerated from the consequence of sin. It is kainos – “new” in that it is qualitatively superior to the old. It is the present heaven and the present earth which, when purged during the Day of the Lord, becomes, when “touched by the Master's hand,” the new heaven and the new earth.

Doctor Henry Morris, in his helpful commentary The Revelation Record, in commenting on Revelation 21:1, has written:

The new cosmos [world] is not a novel cosmos [world]; it is a renewed cosmos [world]. It is just like the first, except that all its age-long ravages of decay have been expunged and it is fresh and new again.

The present heaven and earth are not blotted out, not swept into nothingness; but retouched, changed, renovated, cleansed, and brightened up – regenerated from all its old disorders and imperfections.

Joseph Seiss, in his commentary on Revelation, though written more than ninety years ago, continues to speak with eloquence and considerable insight. He wrote concerning the new heaven and earth:

Think, then, what its regeneration must bring! – an earth which no longer smarts and smokes under the curse of sin, – an earth which needs no more to be torn with hooks and irons to make it yield its fruits, – an earth where thorns and thistles no longer infest the ground, nor serpents hiss among the flowers, nor savage beasts lay in ambush to devour, – an earth whose sod is never cut with graves, whose soil is never moistened with tears or saturated with human blood, whose fields are never blasted with unpropitious seasons, whose atmosphere never gives wings to the seeds of plague and death, whose ways are never lined with funeral processions, or blocked up with armed men on their way to war, – an earth whose hills ever flow with salvation, and whose valleys know only the sweetness of Jehovah's smiles, – an earth from end to end, and from centre to utmost verge, clothed with the eternal blessedness of Paradise Restored!

Not long ago, my wife and I looked at our home and decided that the elements, a pet dog, a son, and entropy (the tendency of things to run down) had taken their toll. It was time for severe measures: the old shingles were taken up and new shingles put down; the old exterior paint was scraped away and new paint applied; the front door, aged and improperly hung, was unhinged and a new door carefully hung in its place. Inside, the old carpet was removed and replaced with new, and, in the bathroom and kitchen, my wife scraped away the old wallpaper and, in its place, carefully hung new paper. Faulty plumbing, a broken screen door, and other areas of deterioration were removed and replaced.

When the tasks were all completed, we viewed the substantial changes and with a sense of approval said, “Our home is like new.” It was the same home, but all that defiled it had been removed and replaced. We had purged and renovated – it was the same home, but qualitatively it was new. Obviously, the illustration is inadequate. As sinful beings, our purging of what defiled was not perfect, nor was our renovation perfect. When God purges the cosmos by fire and renovates it, Planet Earth will be qualitatively perfect. It will be a new heaven and a new earth.

All nature, with anticipation, awaits that day so that it may be freed from the curse of sin (Romans 8:19-22). The Apostle Peter, in one of his early sermons, links that day with Christ's return and calls it “the restitution [restoration] of all things” (Acts 3:21). The Lord himself speaks of that day in conversation with His disciples. He taught, “Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). The word “regeneration” means “new birth” and is used by the Apostle Paul to describe the believer's “new birth.” (Titus 3:5). Thayer, in his Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, has written concerning the word “regeneration”:

It is that signal and glorious change of all things [in heaven and earth] for the better, that restoration of the primal and perfect condition of things which existed before the fail of our first parents....

If someone should suggest the old heaven and the old earth are said to “pass away” (Revelation 21:1) and, therefore, the present heaven and earth cannot be the new heaven and earth, let it be noted that the Greek verb translated “pass away” in the King James Bible comes from the root parerchomai (see also Matthew 5:18, 24, 34-35; Mark 13:30-31; Luke 16:17, 21, 33; 2 Peter 3:10). This verb means “to come, come forth, go, pass, pass over, or transgress.” However, neither in the Bible nor in classical Greek is there an illustration of this verb ever meaning “annihilation or passing out of existence.” That it means “great change” is evident. It is speaking of a “passing” from a corrupted and polluted heaven and earth to a renovated, perfect heaven and earth – from this age, to the age to come. Only in that sense is the present age said to “pass away.”

It is sometimes argued that terms used by the Apostle Peter are describing the annihilation of the present heaven and earth. In speaking of the Noahic Flood, he wrote, “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:6). And a similar fate, Peter argued, is still in store for the earth. Only the next time it will be judgment of the earth by fire rather than water. But was the earth annihilated when it “perished” in the days of Noah? Clearly, the answer is “No.” The world “perished,” but the earth remained. The world “perished,” but eight souls (Noah, his wife, three sons, and three daughters-in-law) continued on. The world “perished,” but animals representing all species of life – two by two – disembarked from the ark. And, on this side of the flood, God blessed Noah and said, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1). The heavens and the earth remained after the world “perished.”

Peter also spoke of the elements in heaven melting with a fervent heat and the works of earth (all of man's accomplishments in every area of endeavor) being burned up (2 Peter 3:10). In light of these certain realities, Peter rhetorically inquired, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11). The word translated “dissolved” literally means “to loosen.” It was the word which the Lord used when He said of the colt, “Loose him;” and of Lazarus, when he came forth from the tomb with burial wrappings, “Loose him, and let him go;” and of the four angels bound at the Euphrates, “Loose them;” and of the devil, “He must be loosed a little season.” The teaching of God's Word is that by reason of the fall of man the present creation is in a state of captivity, tied down, bound (Romans 8:19-23). The dissolving of all things, of which Peter speaks, is not, in the words of Joseph Seiss, “the destruction of them, but the breaking of their bonds, the loosing of them, the setting of them free again to become what they were originally meant to be.” The “dissolving” of the heaven and earth is not their annihilation; it is their long-awaited deliverance from the curse of sin.

On the second of the six days during which God created the universe, He created the heavens (Genesis 1:6-8), and on the third day He created the earth (Genesis 1:9-10). The divine commentary on all that God created is this: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). But soon Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and with that disobedience, a curse was placed on man and the domain of heaven, earth, and sea over which he was authorized to reign (Genesis 1:28). The heaven and earth which were created “very good,” now became very bad. Before the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, there could be no death, disease, famine, war, natural catastrophe, cancer, weed, rust, pollution, hatred, murder, rape, lying, corrupt government, wife-beating, child-molesting, greed, and a thousand other ills that have plagued man for six thousand years of history. Every broken body, every disturbed mind, every hurting heart – the collective tears of the human race – can trace their origin back to the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As a consequence of sin, man has polluted the ocean, raped the earth, and poisoned the heavens, the very sphere which God committed to man's authority. Is there any wonder, then, that the present heaven and earth must be dissolved (that is, be purged by fire to loose it from the consequences of sin) to make way for a new heaven and earth?

A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH – WHEN?

For the unsaved, a new heaven and a new earth is a horrifying prospect, for all which they possess (even their very lives) is associated with the present heaven and present earth which is one day going to be burned up (2 Peter 3:10). How quickly values change when one truly understands that basic fact!

For those made righteous in Christ – a new heaven and a new earth is a glorious prospect. All that has brought sadness and tears will be dissolved and replaced by all that brings joy and peace.

But when do the new heaven and the new earth commence? The popular view from among those of us who hold to the premillennial return of Christ is that the new heaven and new earth will commence at the end of the Lord's thousand-year reign.

First, it is suggested that John's beholding of a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1) follows contextually on the heels of a discussion of the Millennium (Revelation 20). Therefore, the new heaven and new earth must occur at the end of the Millennium. Such reasoning, however, does not necessarily follow. John noted that Satan was bound by chains for a thousand-year duration (Revelation 20:2). What happens to him at the end of the thousand years naturally becomes a crucial issue. And John does not leave us in doubt. Satan will be loosed for a little season, deceive the nations, and finally be cast into the lake of fire.

John also calls attention to the fact that the faithful martyrs of the Great Tribulation are going to be resurrected at the beginning of the Millennium as part of the first resurrection unto life (Revelation 20:4). And once again, natural inquiry would be directed to the status of the unfaithful who have died. How does the resurrection impact them? John does not leave us in doubt. They will partake of the second resurrection at the end of the Millennium and will be eternally consigned to hell at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). In the cases of both Satan and the wicked dead, their status at the end of the Millennium is given only to complete the discussion of events which occur at the beginning of the Millennium. The discussion of the new heaven and new earth in Revelation 21 can quite naturally, therefore, have as its focus the beginning (not the end) of the Millennium.

Second, it has been argued that in connection with the new heaven and new earth there will be no sea. The Apostle John wrote, “. . . for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” (Revelation 21:1). However, the Bible indicates that there will be a sea during the Millennium (Ezekiel 47:1, 8-12). Consequently, the reasoning goes, the new heaven and earth must occur after the Millennium has run its course.

The solution to this objection is a closer look at Revelation 21:1. It does not say, as many affirm, that there will be no sea in the new heaven and earth. What it does say is that the sea, as with the heaven and earth, “passes away.” The sea, as part of man's domain, must also be cleansed from the defilement of sin to pass into the new age. In connection with the pouring out of the second vial during the Day of the Lord, it is written, “And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul [thing] died in the sea” (Revelation 16:3). At that time even the rivers will be purged of defilement: “And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood” (Revelation 16:4). The heavens and the earth are spoken of generically for all which God created (Genesis 2:1); thus the new heavens and the new earth would include a new sea.

Finally, in defense of a commencement of the new heaven and new earth at the end of the Millennium, many appeal to Peter's prophetic discourse (2 Peter 3). Their logic follows this track:

First, Peter shared information regarding the Day of the Lord. He wrote, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).

Second, he clearly linked his teaching on the Day of the Lord with the new heaven and the new earth. He exhorted with these words: “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13).

And finally, these teachers, by placing the time of Peter's Day of the Lord at the end of the Millennium, insist that the new heaven and new earth must likewise commence at the end of the Millennium as part of the eternal state. But, is this position justified by the text of 2 Peter 3, particularly in light of the fact that every other Day of the Lord scripture is related to Christ's second coming before the Millennium?

The Day of the Lord has been defined by noted scholar, F. F. Bruce, as “the Day when Yahweh [the Lord] will vindicate Himself.” Colin Brown called it the time of “God's decisive intervention into history for judgment.” It is the outpouring of His wrath when His long-suffering has reached its end.

A compendium from the prophets' descriptions of the Day of the Lord reveals the following. The Day of the Lord will be:

A time where God “ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” (Isaiah 2:19).

A time of destruction from the Almighty (Joel 1:15).

A time of divine wrath and fierce anger (Isaiah 13:13; Zephaniah 1:15; 2:2).

A time when God will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity (Isaiah 13:11).

A time when God's indignation and fury will be directed against the nations (Isaiah 34:1, 2; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:14-2:3; Zechariah 14:3).

A time when God's vengeance will be revealed (Isaiah 34:8).

A time of darkness in the heavens (Isaiah 13:9-10; 34:4; Joel 2:31).

A time of fire from the Lord (Joel 2:3, 5, 30; Zephaniah 1:18; 3:8).

In this writer's view, if the major point of Peter's teaching in 2 Peter 3 is understood, placing his Day of the Lord at the end of the Millennium is impossible. Follow Peter's logic in this important discourse (2 Peter 3). He taught:

  • In the last days, there would be scoffers walking after their own lusts (v. 3).
  • They would, ridicule the promise of Christ's return (v. 4a).
  • The reasoning of the false teachers was based on their presumption of an uninterrupted flow of history. Things would continue as they always had (v. 4b).
  • Contrary to the philosophy of the scoffers. God, in fact, did intervene in the course of human events with judgment through the Noahic Flood (v. 6).
  • The present heavens and earth are reserved for judgment once again. The next time it will not be by water (flood), but by fire (v. 7).
  • Judgment has been withheld by a long-suffering God, giving man the opportunity to repent (vv. 8-9).
  • The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, and the heavens and the earth will be judged by fire (v. 10).
  • In the light of the certain fact of the coming Judgment, men are to live holy lives, looking for the coming of Christ (vv. 11-12).
  • His coming will be followed by a new heaven and new earth (v. 13).

Peter's whole argument revolves around the fact that God entered the flow of human history for judgment with the Noahic Flood. And He will enter human history for judgment once during the Day of the Lord. If the Day of the Lord of which Peter speaks occurs at the end of the Millennium (an absolute requisite for the new heaven and new earth to commence at that time since the two are linked), then the Lord's second coming, during which time He will imprison, execute the Antichrist, purge the earth, destroy false religion, judge the wicked, and bring in a thousand-year messianic age, cannot be viewed as a divine intervention in history.

Such a conclusion – a necessary requisite if Peter's Day of the Lord is placed at the end of the Millennium – flies in the face of this text and the clear, compelling, and consistent testimony of Scripture.

Premillennialist, Robert Culver, in his classic work, Daniel and the Latter Days, summed up the timing of Peter's Day of the Lord succinctly. He wrote:

...as to time, the new heavens and new earth, anticipated by Peter and the other prophets, are to appear at the beginning of the Millennium, and that in nature and extent the conflagration which introduces the new heavens and new earth shall consist of a strictly limited renovation rather than annihilation of the existing natural order.

Since Peter clearly linked the new heaven and earth with the Day of the Lord and since the Day of the Lord occurs in connection with Christ's second coming, the new heaven and new earth must be associated with the beginning of the Millennium – not its end.

Among some of the additional and conspicuous facts that require the new heaven and new earth to commence at the beginning of the Millennium, note the following:

(1) When Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, speaks of the Day of the Lord, which is clearly associated with Christ's second coming, he says that it will come “as a thief in the night.” Peter uses the exact same language in describing the Day of the Lord: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” (2 Peter 3:10). Since Paul's Day of the Lord is associated with Christ's second coming, it is hard to escape the fact that Peter's Day of the Lord is discussing the same event.

(2) Jesus cannot come as “a thief in the night” at the end of the Millennium. The Millennium is His earthly Kingdom. He will already be physically present. The Millennium is His earthly rule.

(3) The chronology of Isaiah 65 and 66 clearly teaches that the new heavens and the new earth will be renovated before the Millennium begins, not at its end. Isaiah wrote, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17). Compare 2 Peter 3:13 where the same expression “new heavens and a new earth” is used. Following the creation of the new heavens and earth, a partial listing of millennial blessings is given. Jerusalem will be restored and blessed (Isaiah 65:18-19); life expectancy will be expanded (v. 20); men will “build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them” (v. 21); and “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock” (v. 25). The new heaven and the new earth of which Isaiah speaks are a renovated heaven and earth and commence at the beginning of the Millennium, not at its end.

(4) Eight Old Testament prophets (plus Dr. Luke, Paul, and Peter in the New Testament) write in considerable detail concerning “the Day of the Lord.”

A careful examination of their descriptions of that day and a comparison with the events which unfold with the blowing of the trumpets and pouring out of the bowls in Revelation 8-19 will indicate that the same period of time and events are in view. Premillennarians almost universally agree that Revelation 4-19 is depicting the second coming of Christ before the Millennium commences.

(5) Old and New Testament writers alike declare that a judgment of fire in heaven and earth, similar to the one Peter describes, will immediately precede the establishment of the messianic Kingdom (Isaiah 34:4; 64:1-4; Joel 2:30-31; Zephaniah 3:8-9; Malachi 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 – to mention a few).

If anyone should argue that some of the passages speak of disturbances at the beginning of the Millennium and others of disturbances at its close, they should note Hebrews 12:26 (quoting Haggai 2:6), in which the Lord distinctly promises, “Yet once more [not twice] I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.”

(6) When the King of Glory returns to usher in a golden age – to rule and reign for a thousand years – the curse of sin will be lifted. Peace will become a reality, life expectancy will be extended, the earth will give her full bounty, the wolf will lie down with the lamb, men will turn their spears into pruning hooks, and righteousness and justice shall be established among men. All of that and more will be brought about by the purging and regenerating of the heaven and the earth in connection with the Lord's rule. It is neither comely nor logical to entertain the thought that the Lord of Glory would rule for a thousand years over a cursed world which, like a basket of overripe summer fruit, is still smelling and decaying from the effects of man's sin.

A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH – FOR WHOM?

A new day is coming. How bleak would be man's future if such were not the case! Heaven and earth are destined to be restored to the perfection that was theirs before the advent of sin. How glorious that new age will be! How blessed its occupants! But who will they be? Who will inhabit the new heavens and the new earth?

Following the Rapture of the Church – which occurs immediately prior to the opening of the seventh seal (Revelation 8:1) – God's wrath will commence. It will be for the purpose of purging the cosmos (world) from everything that has been defiled by sin. But during that period of time, God's grace will continue to be manifested. There will be two witnesses who will continue to prophesy until the end of the seventieth week (Revelation 11:3). There will be 144,000 men from the twelve tribes of Israel sealed for protection and evidencing their fidelity to God (Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5). And there will be an angelic being “having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth” (Revelation 14:6-7). As a result of these testimonies, there will be an ingathering of precious souls at Christ's physical return to earth at the end of the seventieth week of Daniel when “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15). Among those who have physically survived to that point in time will be people designated by our Lord as “sheep” and “goats”: “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:32). The goats will be sent “away into everlasting punishment” (v. 46a), but the sheep “into life eternal” (v. 46b). This latter group, still in mortal bodies – cleansed through faith in Christ – will enter the new heaven and earth. Based on the cataclysmic events described in the Book of Revelation, we can make an assessment that only a relatively small number of men and women from among the earth's more than four billion people survive the seventieth week. Those judged to be sheep will enter the Millennial Kingdom. With the absence of death, war, disease, famine, or natural catastrophe, they will quickly repopulate the new heaven and earth.

But what of those who were resurrected or raptured at Christ's coming and possess glorified, immortal bodies? How do they relate to the new heaven and new earth?

A NEW JERUSALEM

Not only did John see a new heaven and a new earth. He also saw “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2).

The first reference to Jerusalem in the Bible is the occasion when Abraham encountered Melchizedek upon his return from rescuing his nephew, Lot (Genesis 14:15-20). The name “Melchizedek” literally means “king of righteousness.” He was a priest of El Elyon, the most high God, and he ruled over the city of Salem (peace), which is understood to be the historical city of Jerusalem.

Her divinely appointed destiny is to be seen in the very first mention of the city. Jerusalem is to one day become the city of peace, ruled over by One who is a royal priest, the King of Righteousness, and Priest of the most high God.

It was to Jerusalem that Abraham came when he was willing to offer Isaac as a sacrifice.

It was to Jebus that King David came to defeat the warlike Jebusites and make their fortress his capital and call it Jerusalem.

It was on Mount Moriah at Jerusalem that King Solomon built a temple to be a habitation for God on earth.

It was at Jerusalem where the Lamb of God died for the sins of the world.

It is to Jerusalem that Jesus will return for coronation as the Lion of the tribe of Judah to become King of kings and Lord of lords.

JERUSALEM – the center, hub, and capital of human history.

NEW JERUSALEM – the center, hub, and capital of eternity.

It is the city that father Abraham looked for “which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10).

It is a city built for the Church, the Bride of Christ (Revelation 21:9-10).

It is a city which will descend out of heaven and rest upon the earth (Revelation 3:12; 21:10).

It is a city in which God himself will dwell (Revelation 21:11, 22-23).

It is a city constructed of the most precious of materials (Revelation 21:18-21).

It is a city of safety and perpetual day (Revelation 21:25).

It is a city where nothing that defiles can enter (Revelation 21:27).

It is a city whose inhabitants will know only good and endless life (Revelation 22:1).

It is a city of unending abundance and provision (Revelation 22:2).

It is a city whose inhabitants shall have intimate access to the Lamb (Revelation 22:4).

It is a city of spectacular dimensions (Revelation 21:16-17). It will be a square, twelve thousand furlongs in each direction – an equivalent of 1380 miles wide, deep, and high (a distance comparable to that from Maine to Florida or the Atlantic Ocean to Colorado), if it is composed of floors at one mile intervals, there would be 1380 levels. The city would dwarf the surface area of the present earth. Never, never was there a city like the new Jerusalem. And it is your eternal home, if you belong to the King.

To summarize:

(1) The new heaven and earth is the present heaven and earth purged by fire and regenerated.

(2) The new heaven and earth commences at the beginning of the Millennium, not its end.

(3) Those on earth after the Rapture of the Church who survive the Day of the Lord and exhibit faith in Christ at His return are the “sheep” who will enter the new heaven and new earth.

(4) New Jerusalem coming down from heaven will be the capital city of the new heaven and new earth and will be the dwelling place of the true Church, the Bride of Christ.

Our friends from Israel, upon seeing some of our beautiful homes here in America said, “We didn't even know how to dream!” And we who love the Lord, even with the help of John's stellar description of the new Jerusalem, do not really know how to dream. “For now we see through a glass darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12). But we can exhibit faith, for “faith is the substance [title deed] of things hoped for, the evidence [proof] of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith makes invisible things visible, absent things present, and things that are very far off to be very near to the soul.

ABOUT THE NEW JERUSALEM
  • Its dimensions are said to be 12,000 furlongs – a cube of approximately 1,380 sq miles (1,380 miles in width, height, and depth). It appears as a chandeliered city over Jerusalem.
  • In an effort to put its size in a perspective we can understand, consider the distance of Maine to southern Florida, or from the Atlantic Ocean to Colorado.
  • If you allocated 1 mile of height per floor level, then there would be 1,380 floors, with each containing 1,904,400 square miles. Therefore the total surface area of the new Jerusalem would be 2,628,072,000 square miles.
  • The total surface area of the Earth is only 510,100,000 square miles. The surface area of the new Jerusalem is more than 5 times the surface area of the Earth.
  • The new Jerusalem would appear to be the home/dwelling place of the glorified Church.
  • The Earth would be the dwelling place of those who survived the 70th week of Daniel and who are the sheep of Matthew 25. They are still in mortal bodies and will procreate with an extended life expectancy

A New Heaven, a New Earth, a New Jerusalem
We Didn't Even Know How to Dream!

From the Writings of Marvin J. Rosenthal
Published in Zion's Fire Magazine in May/June, 1993