Where do you get your ideas from? The Bible teaches that this earth as we know it will be destroyed. It is not going to be turned into a paradise.


I was wondering where you get your ideas from. The Bible teaches that this earth as we know it will be destroyed. It is not going to be turned into a paradise. Rev. 21:1 says, ‘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.’ 2 Pet. 3:10 says, ‘But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.


The Bible talks about heavens and earth with more than one meaning. Sometimes the ground on which we walk, the planet we inhabit, is referred to as “earth.” For example Ps. 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.” Or Ps. 115:16, “The heaven, even the heavens are the Lord’s; but the earth he has given to the children of men.” In other passages of Scripture, the term earth or heaven is used in a symbolic sense. For example, in Gen. 6:11, we read, “The earth also was corrupt before God.” The physical earth, i.e., the soil, the land, could not be either corrupt or good. The very next verse states the same fact in plain language: “So God looked upon the earth, indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.” The problem was with the people on the earth, not the earth itself. But the people on the earth were called “the earth.” Another plain statement of the fact is in Gen. 6:5, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth.”

The first chapter of Isaiah uses heaven and earth with this same meaning, addressing two levels of people, the rulers and those ruled over. In Isa. 1:2, the prophet says, “Hear, O heavens, and give ear O earth!” We realize immediately that someone must have ears to hear or the prophet’s message is lost. But he answers his own question, as he immediately addresses the problems of the nation of Israel. In verse 10 he is very specific about his audience: “Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; give ear to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah.” Heavens in (vs. 2) are “rulers” in (v. 10); “earth” in (v. 3) are populace in (v. 10).

In the book of Psalms, heavens and earth are used as terms for people. Psalm 148:4 is an example: “Praise him, you heaven of heavens, and you waters above the heavens! The inhabitants of the heavens, not the heavens themselves, praise the Lord.
The Bible is very definite that the physical earth will not be destroyed. Ecclesiastes 1:4 states this fact in clear, simple language; “One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.”

If the physical earth exists “forever,” how will a new heaven and earth replace “the first heaven and first earth,” as John saw in vision (Rev. 21:1)? We do not believe John was speaking of a new physical heaven and physical earth but rather of earth’s future inhabitants in two categories, rulers (heavens) and general populace (earth). This same symbolic “new heavens and new earth” is described in 2 Pet. 3:13 as a place “in which righteousness dwells.” The quality of righteousness (right conduct, right doing) is a fitting description of righteous, God-fearing people; but could hardly be thought of as a quality of physical masses of matter.

Isaiah 65:17 speaks also of God creating a “new heavens and a new earth,” and in the next verse describes the nature of that creation: “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” (Isa. 65:18-19). What is the nature of the “new heavens” and “new earth”? It is a “people,” who are filled with rejoicing and joy, in contrast to the former state of sadness and weeping.

The remainder of the chapter gives even more information about this “new” creation, prophetically describing its “earth” (people). They will “build houses and inhabit them,” who “plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of my people, and my elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble; for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them” (verses 20-23). No need to imagine the creating of a new mass of matter to orbit in space! God’s making-new process removes the old, faulty human systems and replaces them with new and better.

Why did Peter describe the removing of the present heavens and earth in such graphic terms? Why did he say the heavens “shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up”? (2 Pet. 3:10). His language is figurative. Compare the language of Revelation 18, which describes the removal of the same system as the fall of a city termed “Babylon.” The results are catastrophic: weeping, wailing, crying, because “in one hour such great riches came to nothing” (v. 17). They cry out when they see “the smoke of her burning, saying,… ‘Alas, alas, that great city'” (v. 18-19). Then the next verse speaks of the “new” heavens which will take the place of the old. “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets”—in contrast to the rich extravagance of the city that fell, the “new heaven” will be composed of holy apostles and prophets” (v. 20).

Can’t we imagine that when the present heavens, those currently having authority, are deprived of their authority, they will protest? God will have to use force, even the “fire” of His judgments, to remove them. Fire is used very often in Scripture as a symbol of Divine judgment, destruction with finality (i.e., Sodom and Gomorrah were said to have suffered “the vengeance of eternal fire” —Jude 7. Paul said that “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed… in flaming fire…taking vengeance on them that know not God… who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” —2 Thess. 1:7-9).

When God’s work on earth is complete, He will have a world filled with righteous people, where there will be no violence, no crime, no war, and no dissention (Isa. 60:12, 14; Ps. 46:9). “Old things” will have passed away, “all things” will have become new (2 Cor. 5:17) on a worldwide scale. In the words of the Revelator, it will be the glorious time when “the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people. God himself shall 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” (Rev. 21:3-4). Notice the next statement about this superlative state: “He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold I make all things new'” (Rev. 21:5). “All things new” includes new heavens and new earth, new ruling authorities and a whole new populace, with all the old problems gone forever. In the words of 2 Pet. 3:13, it will be “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

And notice the guarantee which Jesus tells John to add: “… these words are trustworthy and true” (Rev. 21:5 NIV).
We look forward eagerly to this wonderful new creation!