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“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And there was no more sea” (Revelation 21:1). The hope of a new order of existence is what makes the concept of eternal life desireable. If we had to spend eternity living as we do now with pain, suffering, loss, and shallow, empty and negative relationships, not to mention the constant harassment of the devil, eternal life would truly be the eternal hell that many Christians believe in. But the believers through the ages “all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth…They desired a better, that is a heavenly country” (Hebrews 11:13,16).

The “lake of fire” which will destroy the unrepentant at the final judgment is the cleansing fire that prepares the earth for being made new. “The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up…Nevertheless, we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:10,13).

The destruction of the unrepentant will be the last abhorrent reminder of sin, ushering in the new reality. “For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me, says the Lord, so shall your descendants and your name remain…All flesh shall come to worship before Me’ says the Lord. ‘And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh” (Isaiah 66:22-24). Fortunately, the worms will not die and the fire will not be quenched until they have done a total and complete job of removing every trace of sinners and the effects of sin. This is emphasized by the fact that there was no more sea.” In both Daniel and Revelation the sea is the symbolic source of the fearsome enemies that persecute God’s people (Daniel 7:3, Revelation 13:1).

God Himself will comfort His people of every sorrow that may result from remembering the sin experience, especially the pain associated with the memories of those who have perished. And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17). This is not to say that God will perform some kind of brainwashing technique, but everything about the new creation will be such as to delight the heart and mind, and drive out the negative memories of sin. There is no doubt, however, that there will be enough remembrance of the terrible epoch of evil that no one will ever want to be involved with it again. “Affliction will not rise up a second time” (Nahum 1:9).

A world without pain or sorrow is so out of the realm of human experience that God reiterates the promise with a personal guarantee: And He that sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful” (Revelation 21:5).[1]

Continue to next section:    21:2,3  EARTH, CAPITAL OF THE UNIVERSE

[1]  Even though God revealed many unbelievable things to John, it is those that have to do with the awesome privileges that God has planned for his people which called forth His personal guarantee. In chapter 19 the angel speaks of the blessing which will come to those who have been invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb, “And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God” (Revelation 19:9).  Again, in the verse under consideration, after promising to make all things new the angel says, “These words are true and faithful.”  And in chapter 22 the angel reveals that God’s servants “shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads…and they shall reign forever and ever.’  Then he said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true” (Revelation 22:4-6). Perhaps He makes these guarantees because we intuitively know how entirely unworthy of these privileges we are.

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