THE NEW EARTH
On the new earth, in which righteousness dwells, God will provide an eternal home for the redeemed and a perfect environment for everlasting life, love, joy, and learning in His presence. For here God Himself will dwell with His people, and suffering and death will have passed away. The great controversy will be ended, and sin will be no more. All things, animate and inanimate, will declare that God is love; and He shall reign forever. Amen.
(Isa. 35; 65:17-25; Matt. 5:5; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 11:15; 21:1-7; 22:1-5.)
1. WHAT IS THE NEW EARTH?
Recounting the visions God gave him in Revelation 21:1-3, John quotes the Old Testament book of Isaiah saying that God will make a “new heaven and a New Earth.”
Then John adds that God showed him a beautiful city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven. The city where God lives is going to relocate to Earth so He can live with us forever! Sounds amazing, right?
But wait! Revelation 21:1 (NIV) says, “for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” So, what happened to the earth? Are we getting a new planet?
Not exactly. We are going to get a restored earth. Scripture says that all creation, the entire planet, is suffering because of our sin. Just like we can be restored as a “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17) through Jesus, the earth will also be restored to its original perfection as a new creation.
The earth will still be our planet, but it will be restored to God’s original plan for humanity. Just like you will still be you, but you will be the person God intended you to be when He makes you “new.” Your personality will be the same, but your mind and body will be transformed into what God intended at creation.
Both heaven and earth have been negatively impacted by sin (Revelation 12:7–10). When sin is finally eradicated from our existence God will make everything new—as if sin never existed.
“For I will create a new heavens and a new earth; the past events will not be remembered or come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17, CSB, emphasis added).
On the New Earth, in which righteousness dwells, God will provide an eternal home for the redeemed. It will be a perfect environment for everlasting life, love, joy, and learning in His presence.
There will be no more sin, or suffering, or even negative thoughts!
“Nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27, CSB).
2. THE NEW EARTH IS MADE AFTER WE SPEND 1,000 YEARS IN HEAVEN
According to Revelation 20:4, 5, we will spend 1,000 years there alongside Jesus Christ—a millennium. God is going to give the redeemed 1,000 years in heaven to learn about what’s behind His judgement of humanity.
As you can imagine, we will have many questions! Why did this happen? Why did this person choose this path? Why is this person in heaven and not that person?
This millennium is a privilege from God. He invites us to ask our questions and invites us to share in His knowledge of everything that happened on earth.
Before the earth was created, sin had its origins in the angel Lucifer’s heart. He became jealous of God’s sovereignty and he questioned God’s judgement. He even started a war in heaven (Revelation 12) when he indulged the thought that he could be better than God. Lucifer, now called Satan, started the Great Controversy—a spiritual war of good versus evil.
This makes the millennium particularly meaningful for those in heaven with Jesus, as they will be shown how God’s judgment was fair and just. Satan’s accusations will be ultimately disproved.
While this is happening in heaven, Satan is alone and bound to the broken earth for those 1,000 years (Revelation 20:2, 5). Satan gets a cosmic time-out from God, allowing him one last chance to acknowledge God’s power and goodness.
In Revelation 20 we also learn that the wicked who had died throughout history and those who were killed at the Second Coming of Christ are resurrected at the end of the 1,000 years. At that time, Satan tries to mobilize them to war against God.
However, over the past millennium the saints have already seen that God’s judgement is right, so the attempt at war will be fruitless. God will then cleanse the earth with fire from heaven (Revelation 20:7-10).
Now the earth is free from sin. The Great Controversy has ended (Revelation 21:1-8). God is free to recreate the earth, recreate a better world. The earth will be restored to the beautiful paradise that we find in Genesis.
3. THE NEW EARTH AND THE BIG PICTURE
God created our world to have everything we need to sustain us. Then He planted a special garden He called Eden, or “delight,” because He wanted us to enjoy living in the perfect world that He created. God created it all because He loves us and wants a relationship with us.
Then mankind let sin in (Genesis 3). Sin cursed and destroyed God’s perfect world. But, the Bible says God had a plan to save us, to redeem us, “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:3-6). So before God started creation He had a plan for our salvation through Jesus Christ!
God had given us “dominion over the earth” before The Fall. His plan of salvation includes not only saving us from death, but restoring us and all creation. It will be as if sin never happened!
Jesus says, “Behold, I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5)
The New Earth is a way to re-create and restore the paradise the earth was supposed to be.
4. WHO WILL LIVE ON THE NEW EARTH?
The “saints” will live with God in the New Earth. In Isaiah 35:9-10 we are told, “But only the redeemed will walk there, and those who the Lord has rescued will return.”
Salvation is a gift from God made available to anyone who wants it (Ephesians 2:8)!
In Matthew 28:18-20 (known as The Great Commission) Jesus told His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations.” He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 KJV).
All you have to do is believe that God loves you and will keep His promise of salvation (John 3:16). You are meant to live on the New Earth!
But sadly not everyone will choose God’s free gift of salvation. The wicked will be destroyed at the Second Coming of Jesus (Revelation 6:15-16). They must be. Sin must be completely destroyed. So anyone still clinging to sin or selfishness will be destroyed along with it, or it would continue to pollute the planet.
In order for paradise to be restored sin will have to be eliminated once and for all. In Revelation 21:8 we learn about the “second death.” This death is complete separation from God. It is total non-existence.
5. WHAT WILL THE NEW EARTH BE LIKE?
First, it will be a world completely without sin. Can you imagine a world with no more pain and suffering? God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4, NKJV).
Not only that, but the whole earth will be restored in such a way that all things, animate and inanimate, will declare God is love! So there will be no more pain and suffering, and we will be surrounded by God’s love through every detail of His creation.
We will live in the presence of God Himself forever!
Isaiah 11:6-9 (ESV) tells us that all of creation will live in harmony:
“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, … the cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together, … the nursing child shall play over the hole of a cobra, … They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain’ for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
What a beautiful picture to look forward to!
Eden will be restored.
We will eat the 12 fruits from the Tree of Life.
The River of Life will flow through New Jerusalem.
There will be no night due to God’s glory.
There will be no more death, sadness or pain (Revelation 21:4)
We will see Jesus face-to-face!
We are also told the saints “will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isaiah 35:10). There will be singing and everlasting joy!
Speaking of singing, the Bible says that creatures in heaven will sing a new song praising Jesus. And they will declare that we will reign over earth with Him forever! “And you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10, ESV).
All of creation will be in harmony. Eden and the Tree of Life will be restored to us. God will reinstate our dominion over the earth again as we reign with Jesus forever. We will then be ready to perfectly tend the New Earth for eternity.
6. THE NEW EARTH IS MORE THAN A PRIZE
The New Earth isn’t really a reward at all. It is a restoration of what humanity lost.
We sinned and ruined everything that God made. The New Earth is the result of God cleaning up the mess of sin and restoring creation. We will finally get to live in the world He intended for us. This time, without the possibility of sin ruining it ever again!
Seventh-day Adventists look forward to the New Earth because it is the end of the Great Controversy—it is the end of sin. It is also the restoration of God’s perfect original plan for us. It is the fulfillment of His covenant promise of salvation.
There is hope and salvation for suffering mankind through Jesus and He promises,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me, that you also may be where I am” (John 14:1-3).
The real prize is not a city of gold, but a face-to-face relationship with God. Living in paradise will just be icing on the cake! Paul says we can’t even imagine the wonderful things that God has planned for us (1 Corinthians 2:9).