God will create new heavens and a new earth
One evening in 1963 I stood on an overpass near Los Angeles watching hundreds of cars whiz by. I remember thinking: The climate in the whole world will be affected by all the combustion gases we are discharging into the atmosphere.
Now in 2007 we hear much about air pollution and global warming. Our present consumption of non-renewable resources is not sustainable. In spite of efforts to reduce carbon emissions and conserve energy, the environment will continue to become more polluted. People will suffer and die because of rising seas, dike breaches and extreme weather conditions.
Do your part to help preserve the environment, but do not worry too much about this old earth. God has promised us a new one, and it will be pollution free:
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing,
And her people a joy.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
And joy in My people;
The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her,
Nor the voice of crying
God gave this promise about 700 years before Christ. Although Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Babylonians as punishment for sin, God promised to create a new Jerusalem where righteousness dwells. This new Jerusalem would be on a new earth under a new firmament.
Jerusalem lay in ruins for 70 years. Then the temple was rebuilt.
But in 70 AD, Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed again. For what sin was Israel being punished the second time the temple was destroyed? Two-thousand years have passed, and the temple has not been rebuilt. Daniel's prophesy in chapter 9, verses 24-27 was fulfilled:24 Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.
26 And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate (Daniel 9:24-27).
Christ came. The Most Holy One was anointed. The Messiah made reconciliation for iniquity (verse 24). The city and sanctuary were destroyed and the temple sacrifices were brought to an end (compare verses 26 and 27 with Matthew 24:15).
God caused animal sacrifices to cease because they are no longer relevant. The Messiah, the true sacrifice, has come to make reconciliation for iniquity. On seeing Jesus, John the Baptizer declared: Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29, 36).
Now more than 2000 years have passed. The sounds of weeping and crying are still heard in Jerusalem. The word 'Jerusalem' means 'City of Peace'. How much peace is there in Jerusalem today?
God's promise to create a Jerusalem where weeping and crying are never heard, still stands, and John the Apostle saw this new Jerusalem in a vision: Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.' Then He who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' And He said to me, 'Write, for these words are true and faithful.' And He said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son' (Revelation 21:1-7).
What will happen to this earth? Jesus said: Heaven and earth will pass away (Matthew 24:35). In John's vision, the first heaven and the first earth had passed away (Revelation 21:1).
In the Scriptures we read about three periods in man's environment.
The first transition occurred at the fall of man. God told Adam:17 Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
We know little about the nature of this curse or about conditions on earth before the fall. Paul says about the coming regeneration of the creation: For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:20, 21).
The second big change in the environment occurred at the time of the flood. Until then men lived to be hundreds of years old. But God decreased man's longevity to 120 years (Genesis 6:3). Later, longevity was decreased again to 70 or 80 years (Psalm 90:10).
Little is revealed about conditions on earth before the flood, but a world-wide deluge would certainly bring much devastation.
Thus, God created innumerable forms of life, Living things both small and great (Psalm 104:24-26). There was a degeneration at the time of the fall, and another at the time of the flood.
These two degenerations can explain the tremendous amount of carbon that is trapped in fossil form, something that could only occur by cataclysm. These degenerations also explain why so many life forms are now extinct.
The carbonized organic material that is now under the ground testifies that the earth was once covered by an incredibly large amount of vegetation that was suddenly buried by some catastrophe. The fossils testify that millions of life forms no longer exist.
Evolution is not working. Where are the people who live to be 900 years old? How many now live to be 120? In connection with the changes at the time of the flood we read: There were giants on the earth in those days (Genesis 6:4). Where are the dinosaurs? Where are the hairy mammoths that can still be found well-preserved, frozen in the northern permafrost? Millions of species have become extinct and some scientists predict that from 25% to 50% of species that now exist, will become extinct in the next fifty years!
Evolution is not working and there is no evidence that it ever has. The facts contradict the theory of evolution. The number of life forms continues to decrease and there is historical evidence, also from non-biblical sources, for the devolution of man. Babylonian records also speak of a time when people lived to be a thousand years old.
The whole creation has indeed been subjected to decay (Romans 8:20, 21).
Peter also says what will happen to this earth. Speaking of skeptics who cast doubt on Scriptural predictions, he says: For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:5-7).
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).
All this decay, extinction and pollution can be depressing for unbelievers. But Peter, after predicting the destruction of the universe, speaks of God's promise of new heavens and a new earth: Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:11- 13).
If you are not yet a Christian, believe in the Messiah who has come to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:24). Confess you faith (Romans 10:9, 10), repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38). If you are a half-hearted Christian you also should repent. Only by faithful dedication to Christ can we expect a happy homecoming on the new earth God has promised.
Even though this creation is subject to decay, it has awe-inspiring scenes of beauty. As we drove home recently, the sky was ablaze with a glorious sunset. Rita and I stopped by the road for five or ten minutes to admire the slowly changing panorama of vivid colors. Considering the beauty of this creation that in God's good time will be dissolved, we can anxiously anticipate the greater glory of the new heavens and the new earth.
Let us rejoice in the promise of God: I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create (Isaiah 65:17, 18).
The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive