First off I would like to begin with a Happy New year to all the friends of Berean Watchmen Ministries. I hope like us you are looking forward to the prospects that 2011 has to offer, and we hope and pray that God will bless you in this New Year.
As I sat down to write this article I couldn't help but think about Revelation 21:5 when Christ resounds, "Behold, I make all things new".
New Year's has traditionally always been a time of looking forward; a time for New Year's resolutions. Resolutions that typically would include the repudiation of chocolate and other indulgences and the promise to resume (or begin) working out at the gym. This traditionally then ends up in the depression of failure due to the fact that chocolate is just plainly too powerful an adversary for many of us. If history is to serve as witness, it becomes apparent that more times than not a New Year's resolution is something that goes in one 'year' and out the other.
Here in Revelation 21 we have a similar promise of something new. However, unlike the promises we try to keep to ourselves, this promise is trustworthy and will undoubtedly come to be true. Upon the completion of the White Throne judgment of Revelation 20, John is shown another vision - this time of all things renewed.
"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." - Rev. 21:1
There have been many commentaries and discussions made on the meaning of the "first heaven" and "first earth" passing away. Some have said that the world will be completely destroyed and a new earth will be created. Others have said that this existing earth will simply be renovated.
I hold to the second option.
Reasons for a Renovated Earth Position
1. The Purpose of the Millennium
It would seem very strange to have the curse reversed, and the earth return to its glorius state of eden during the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth just to have it completely destroyed immediately following the 1000 years of restoration. Even if the final battle of Armeggedon was something of huge maginitude, the battle itself is nothing more then a gathering of those against Christ the King, and then fire raining down on them all and wiping out the offending army. (Rev 20:9). So why completely destroy what was already well on it's way to being renovated into the Eden as once created.
2. God said he would make All things new and not all new things.
Perhaps I'm reading too much into the language here, but 'all things new' holds a different meaning than 'all new things'. The Greek word 'were passed away' from verse 21:1 is παρέρχομαι (parerchomai) which means to 'go by' or to come to neglect, go or pass. This same word is found in Matthew 14:15 (as well as other places) where it is rendered 'past'.
"And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals." - Matthew 14:15
The time was not destroyed. It merely past.
In the Garden when Christ prayed in Gethsemane, he prayed, "Father if it be possible, let this cup pass [parerchomai] from me..."
The meaning of past away in Revelation 21:1 can be paralleled in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away [parerchomai]; behold, all things are become new." 2 Cor. 5:17
I’m sure you would agree that 2 Corinthians is not suggesting that the ‘old man’ is all in out destroyed, but rather, renovated and made new. Our old self is in essence dead and we are again made alive in Christ, but our bodies, soul and mind are not 'destroyed' and recreated.
The language in Revelation 21 is likewise - "Behold, I make all things new."
3. Mark 13:19
Mark 13:19 tells us that the ‘Great Tribulation’ will be the greatest affliction creation has ever seen, nor will ever see.
"For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be." - Mar 13:19
For this to be true, total destruction of that same creation would seem somewhat out of character.
As we look ahead at the year 2011, I would encourage each of us to do more for our King than we did last year. Christ called the servant who did nothing with the Master’s money (the Lord’s work) a ‘wicked and lazy servant’. May it be said of us what Paul declared in 2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
May 2011 be a year of ministry for each of us. May it be a year remembered when the master returns and He would say the words of us, "Well done my good and faithful servant". (cf Luke 19:17)
We've all made promises before. We've all made resolutions. Some are kept, but most not. May I place a charge before us this year - "Promise little and do much."
Until next time,
Go Serve your King.
- J.R. Hall