Just realized I never posted the notes from last Monday night, when we began the end of our series on the Bible’s teaching about the end times by starting to look at what it teaches about the New Creation. Here are the notes:
Read Rev 21:1-16a, 22-27; 22:1-6
Seven Things that Are True of the New Creation:
- New (Different)
- Physical (Continuity)
- Pure (Holy, no sin)
- Spiritual (God is there)
- Joyful (Community, Meaning/Work, No Sickness/Pain, no fear)
- Eternal (Never ends)
- What is Old has passed away. (Isaiah 24:4-6, 51:6, Mt 24:35)
No More Sea (21:1); No More Sun and Moon (21:23); No Night (21:25)
- New Creation: Mentioned in Isaiah 65:17, 66:22, and 2 Peter 3:13
- A tired, ruined earth is remade, or replaced.
- What humans have done in ignorance or sin will not be final. All mistakes and evil will be undone.
- This does not make our actions meaningless for ourselves, since they impact us and our personal destinies eternally. If God has to undo what we have done, then we ourselves are undone. What it does mean is that we cannot undo God’s purpose.
- No evil finally triumphs. No work of ruining or breaking will last forever. Every old thing will be replaced and remade by the new.
- “Heaven and Earth” — the idea is a completion of the circle: Genesis 1 (old) to Rev 21 (New).
- Not alien, or “Ethereal.” Not clouds and harps. Continuity with this world, to the extent that John could recognize what he was looking at. A total fixing and restoration of what God made. From God’s perspective: God wins. He gets the earth, full of people, forever, never to be ruined. From Our perspective: We know in some sense what we’re looking forward to. Our ideas of what we want aren’t out of whack. Our future hope is something we can really look forward to. It will feel like home.
- Continuity: “Heaven & Earth” (Universe); River (22:1); Trees (22:2);
- City: Walls (21:12), Gates; Foundations (21:14), it is “laid out” (21:16); Streets (22:2)
- We “serve” him (22:3) – There are things to do in this city, and in this earth. (Rev 14:13) “This tranquility is not inaction, but unfettered vitality. The quality of life is raised, not lowered in spiritual energy, being free from sin. It is more a rest of singing than sleeping, more a life of praise than sloth.” (Thomas Oden)
- The final state is physical. The physical is affirmed and made eternal. Jesus’ body is there with us (3, 23)