God’s Rightful Place
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. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.(Revelation 21:1-2) KJV
During the month of December our devotion is going to be a study of heaven, which is to say, the next life. We’re going to see if we can clear up some misconceptions about what comes next.
We refer to the life which comes after this one as “heaven” because we haven’t paid attention to what the text says. We’ll eventually live in a new Jerusalem at the the location presently occupied by our Earth.
There’ll be a new heaven and a new Earth. But let’s pay attention to how these words are used. The heavens which we presently observe in our time has two natures:
- day time, when we have to avoid looking directly at the sun,
- night time, when we can observe a panoply of stars.
In our present age and in the Millennial Kingdom the heavens are spoken of as plural. Three heavens are described in scripture:
The Three Heavens
- Open firmament, atmosphere or sky
- where birds fly, winds blow and clouds form.
- Celestial realm, cosmos, observable universe or space
- where the stars are set in their courses.
- Dome, firmament, or heliopause
- a sea of glass which is the location of God’s throne.
All of the stars fall to Earth during the tribulation or are vaporized at the end of the age. The firmament rolls up like a scroll. That only leaves an atmosphere but it’s consumed with the Earth. The Earth collapses in on itself because of the expansion of hell, but then hell is cast into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is Venus which is sent drifting off into outer darkness. Whatever’s left of the Earth is vaporized at the end of the age along with what was left of the former heavens. There’s nothing occupying the physical space where the Earth presently resides.
However, the gravitational singularity around which the Earth formed is still present. How do we know? Let’s pay attention to our text. Up and down, above and below, were established on the second day when gravity was created. If the holy city, new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven, the sky, then the orientation which was established on the second day is still in effect. We won’t be living in heaven, an empty sky, we’ll be living in the new Jerusalem which will be set upon the original singularity.
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.(Revelation 21:23) KJV
We should pay attention to the fact that the heaven of the new heaven and new earth is singular. As such, the new heaven is going to be a sky which has nothing in it. There’ll be no sun or moon or anything else to detract from the glory of God or that could be worshiped as an idol. The new heaven is simply the atmosphere surrounding the new Jerusalem.
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. And God shall 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 are passed away.(Revelation 21:3-4) KJV
A tabernacle can be a tent, booth, abode, dwelling, mansion, or habitation. It can also be used figuratively to refer to our earthly body, the dwelling place of the soul. Here are a couple of examples:
Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.(2 Peter 1:13-14) KJV
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.(2 Corinthians 5:1-5) KJV
The tabernacle of God is Jesus Christ. We’ll be living with him in the new Jerusalem. God the father has spent the whole of our age dwelling in a realm of light on the periphery of space. It was necessary for him to do this so that we could experience sentient life with free will and be sinful.
When sin has finally been vanquished and it’s no longer an option then God the father can take up his permanent abode at the center of creation with his people. We’re going to live with God in a city at the center of creation.
Pleasantly there are some reasonable artistic impressions of what the new Jerusalem may look like. We are borrowing an image made by Michael Takeo Magruder.
We have frequently said that popular science (SciPop) is really nothing but a pseudo-scientific validation of the Star Trek universe. Guess what? The peer review propaganda is winning the battle for your mind. Behold the Borg Cube. It’s foursquare. It’s populated by aliens who intend to assimilate us. It would be funny if is wasn’t so disturbing.
We will eventually live in a new Jerusalem at the the location presently occupied by our Earth.