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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 21

1. The Former Heaven and Earth



“The Former Heaven and the Former Earth had passed away”.

YAHWEH Tz’vaoth having punished the host of the high ones in the heavenlies, and the kings of the earth upon the earth (Isa. 24:21); and having established the Great White Throne in the heaven without pope, emperor, or king to dispute his supremacy and sovereign will; the Moon is effectually confounded, and the Sun put to shame. Reigning on Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, before his Ancients, the twenty-four elders and the four living ones, gloriously, there is developed in the world a new constitution and order of things, ecclesiastical, secular, and spiritual. In the prophetic style, this “economy of the fullness of the times” (Eph. 1:10) in which “all things in the heavens,” thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, and “all things upon the earth,” peoples, nations, and languages, are gathered together under one head, anakephalaiosasthai, is termed “A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH”.

Now the heavens of this new economy are the successor of those that fled from the Elohistic forces of the Eternal Spirit sitting upon the Great White Throne in Zion; and for which no vacant spot is found upon earth for their continued existence. In the new heavens nothing can find place but Elohistic Spirit; for flesh and blood, which are corruptible, cannot inherit the kingdom of the Deity, which is indestructible, ever-continuing, and to be left to no other people, as successors of those who establish it in the hour of premillennial judgment (Dan. 2:44; 1 Cor. 15:50). These Heavens, which destroy and rejoice over Babylon the Great, and transform the constitution of “the Air” upon which the terrific judgments of the Seventh Vial exhaust themselves, are bright with the glory of the Deity, which radiating from Zion, enlightens the world. In them the Sun of Righteousness is the orb of perpetual day; and his Bride, the Moon and Constellations, which reflect his splendor. In these heavens there is “glory to the Deity in the highest;” nor is there anything unclean, or that worketh abomination, or loves and invents a lie. On the contrary, “they declare the glory of Ail; and the expanse showeth the work of his hands”. They that be wise are the bright expanse; and they that turn many to righteousness, the stars of olahm and beyond (Dan. 12:3). Their happiness and honor will be to “show forth the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9): so that as children of the light, and of the day (1 Thess. 5:5) “day unto day will utter speech; and night unto night will show knowledge. There will be no speech, and no words, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out in all the earth; and their words to the ends of the world. Among them he hath set a tent for the Sun; and he, as a bridegroom coming out from his chamber, will be joyful as a mighty man to run the course. His going forth is from the end of the heavens, and his circuit unto the ends thereof; and there is nothing hidden from his heat” (Psa. 19:1-7). Paul quoted from this beautiful passage in his letter to the saints in Rome, ch. 10:18, and applied the fourth verse as predictive of the universality of the apostolic proclamation. But this was not all that the prophecy intended. How much more fully will it be accomplished when Christ and all the prophets, apostles, and saints, accepted and approved of him, shall have brought all nations into the blessedness of Abraham and his Seed.

The New Heavens and New Earth, styled Apocalyptically “the Former Heaven and the Former Earth,” and termed in ch. 21:4, “the Former Things passed away,” are the Second Israelitish Heavens, reckoning the Mosaic as the First; the destruction of which is treated of in 2 Pet. 3; Heb. 8:7-13. But though the Mosaic Heavens were to be fired, and dissolved, and their elements melted with the fervency of the heat, he consoled his brethren of the circumcision who believed with the assurance that they would be succeeded in the appointed time by “New Heavens and a New Earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness”. These are the Millennial Heavens, to establish which is an important element of the work to be performed by Christ at his appearing in power. “I have put my words in thy mouth,” saith the Eternal Spirit to him in whom He would afterwards manifest Himself; “and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant THE HEAVENS, and lay the foundations of THE EARTH, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people”. When this work is accomplished, Zion will have put on her strength, and Jerusalem, the Holy City, her beautiful garments; and thenceforth there will no more come into her the uncircumcised and the unclean (Isa. 51:16; 52:1). When the Lord Jesus and his Brethren come to be enthroned, the King and Princes of the State, Jerusalem’s widowhood will be ended; and she will no more be the afflicted and the tossed with tempest, and the uncomforted. They will be the precious stones of her foundations; and the constitution of the kingdom restored again to Israel will be the New Heavens and the New Earth; and “the former (Mosaic) shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create; for, behold I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall no more be heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die a hundred years old; but the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat; for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of YAHWEH, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock; and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith YAHWEH; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of YAHWEH. as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 65:17-25; 11:9).




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