New Heaven and New Earth

new heaven and new earthRevelation 21:1 says, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more.” New Jerusalem will come “down out of heaven” (21:2) to be on the new earth.

Because the names heaven and earth are retained, we should expect some resemblance to what is familiar. The notable absences described in the context are “the sea is no more” (21:1) and “death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire” (20:14). The outstanding addition is New Jerusalem.

In 21:1 the word “new” is used in regard to both heaven and earth. Both will be new. In the New Testament two Greek words are translated “new” in English. One is neos (νέος) and the other is kainos (καινός). In 21:1 both times the Greek is kainos. Here the word means new in quality contrasted with that which has been worn out through use or marred by age.*

The old heaven and earth had been corrupted and worn down by the rebellion of Satan and by the fall of man. Today the entire creation suffers under “the slavery of corruption” (Romans 8:21). The millennial kingdom will be “the times of the restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21). However, that will only restore the original creation. New Jerusalem is of the new creation and belongs in the new heaven and new earth.

* Richard C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1953 and later reprintings of the 1880 edition.

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