Last Updated on : Saturday, November 22, 2014
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AN EXPOSITION OF THE APOCALYPSE
2. The New Heaven and New Earth
The reason given why a New Heaven and a New Earth are introduced is “because the Former Heaven and the Former Earth had passed away”. The Millennial Constitution of the World, as may be perceived from Isa. 65, is not perfect. It will be a great advance upon both the old Mosaic, and the Times of the Gentiles; but it will fall far short of the constitution and order of things beyond the Thousand Years.
We learn this from Paul in his reference to the visions and
revelations granted to him, as it would seem, for his own
exclusive benefit, for he would not, could not, or might not,
communicate what he had seen and heard to others (2 Cor. 12:1).
Speaking of himself, he says, “I have known a man in Christ
fourteen years ago (whether in body, I know not; or without
the body, I know not: the Deity knew), such an one suddenly
transported unto a THIRD HEAVEN. I have known such a man,
that had been transported in the PARADISE. and had heard secret
things, which it is not lawful for the man to utter”. This
third heaven, or paradise in full manifestation, is John’s
New Heaven and New Earth, in which “there is no more sea”.
In the “Former Earth” which passes away, there is sin, and
generation, and death; and because of the existence of sin,
and flesh and blood, and death, there are mediatorship, and
priesthood, and ruling with an iron rod, in the “Former Heaven”.
These things are not to continue permanently. Sin, which is
the transgression of law, must be wholly and finally suppressed;
flesh and blood must be exterminated from the earth; disease
and death, which are “the wages of sin,” abolished; mediatorship,
and priesthood, necessary in the offering to the Deity of
gifts and sacrifices for the sins of the erring and the ignorant
(Heb. 5:1,2) “delivered up to the Father;” and religion, which
is a Divinely appointed remedy for an existing breach between
the creature and the Creator, superseded, as having answered
its purpose, and being therefore no longer necessary. All
these things pertaining to the former, or Millennial, Heaven
and Earth, John saw had “passed away”. In the final annihilation
of the Devil by the judicial fire of the Deity in the destruction
of the postmillennial Gog and Magog rebellion against the
government of the Saints, the bruising of the Serpent’s Head
by the Woman’s Seed, is consummated. Henceforth, the earth,
not burnt up, but perfected, and rendered the paradisaic arena
of all the unutterable joys and beauties and ecstatic things
beheld and heard of Paul, becomes a fitting habitation of
Deity in unmediatorial intimacy with the humblest of mankind;
for then the Father will be “the all things in all men”.
How truly great, then, is the voice John heard out of the heaven, saying, “Behold the tabernacle of the Deity with men, and he will dwell with them; and they shall be his peoples, and the Deity himself will be with them, their Deity”. They shall all of them be Divine people, like to the Saints then the rulers of the nations for the past thousand years. Having come forth from the graves, they become, together with the living who suffered not themselves to be deceived by the Devil and Satan, and seduced from their allegiance to the King of kings, in the Gog and Magog revolt, the postmillennial harvest of the dead and living, of which Jesus and his Brethren are the Firstfruits. “The Rest of the Dead” being thus added to these, the whole number given by the Father to the Son, is complete. “And the Deity shall wipe away every tear from their eyes and there shall be no more death; nor shall there be sorrow nor crying, nor pain any more: for the former things have passed away”. “And there shall be no more curse” (ch. 22:3).
Such is the consummation of the Divine purpose in the creation of the heavens and the earth. He formed it to be inhabited (Isa. 45:18): to be a tabernacle for Himself with men. He could, had it pleased Him, have created it perfect, and filled with immortal inhabitants, at the beginning. To have done this would have prevented all the crime and misery that blot and crimson the record of the past; but then the world would have been a characterless automaton; and unfit for association with the Governor of the Universe, whose attributes are moral, as well as intellectual and potential. He desired a society for our planet consisting of tried and faithful friends, such as Abraham, who loved Him better than his dearest son. He proposed to develop it upon the principle of belief in His promises and obedience under trial; and to crown the whole with incorruptibility and life. Having prepared such a society as this, and concentrated it from all ages and generations into one glorious community, He would then put His hand to the final completion of its dwelling-place, as he declared to John, saying, “Behold, I make all things new”. When these true and faithful words are fulfilled, “IT IS DONE”. Everything is finished by the Alpha Spirit, Who began the work in the week of days: and, as the Omega Spirit, the Beginning and the End, completed it in the week of thousands of years. The invitation to a participation in the sublime inheritance is liberal, and worthy of Deity, who saith, “I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh, shall inherit all things, and I will be Deity to him, and he shall be to me a son”.