Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer the sea. Revelation 21:1
All will change and everything will become new, with no traces of sin. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. But why a new heaven? Afterall, one may see the heavens today as truly beautiful, especially as we contemplate its immensity by night. However, astronomers will also tell us that the universe is utterly chaotic.
One the one side, science confirms that at the present time, every star in the universe is either burning or imploding into itself. So, the Bible then presents an eventual solution indicating that all this will pass away only to make room for a new heaven and surely with it, a multitude of other stars. We will get to explore all of this in the Eternal State: Heaven will not be boring!
A New Heavenly Shoreline
As for the new earth, it specifies that there will no longer be the sea. This can be disappointing news for those of us who love beautiful shorelines. But this does not mean that we will be without gorgeous white sandy beaches. Let’s examine what is meant by the sea. Notice the definite article before the word sea.
In the context of Revelation, it refers to the sea from where evil rose, as in Revelation 13 where we read that the Beast rises out of the sea. It may also refer to Revelation 17, and the waters upon which Babylon sits.
The sea then represents a source or brooding place for evil, something that the Eternal State will be devoid of. Furthermore, while the oceans occupy more than 70% of our planet, something that continually reminds us of the flood, in the Eternal State the earth will be free from the presence of that judgment as well as from the loss of habitable space suffered by all that water.
The Sea may also remind us of Psalm 66:6 where it says that this body of water separated the Israelites from the Promised Land. He turned the sea into dry land; They passed through the river on foot; There let us rejoice in Him!
Why a New Jerusalem?
Revelation 21:1 confirms a new heaven and a new earth. This would be required since everything that was tainted by sin, would be destroyed and a new creation would replace them. However, what do we do with verse 2 which says, And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
This city, the New Jerusalem is God’s dwelling place and surely does not need any remodeling or improvement since it is the holiest of all places. What then, will be new? It must be the presence of all the believers with God in this new phase of eternity. Finally, all redeemed humanity will now dwell with God.
This is why, initially, God created man in His own image, so He may share all with mankind. This is, after all, the requirement of love; to share and to give. In the Garden of Eden, God walked with man, then sin entered and separated them, but soon we will be reunited with our Creator as we read in these powerful verses of Revelation 22: 3-4, There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. This is what is awaiting everyone who has made Yeshua His Savior.
Revelation 21:12 says, It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. In this New Jerusalem we learn that there are 12 gates. Why is there the need for gates and why an angel at each gate?
The presence of these gates indicates how busy and dynamic our life in heaven will be. If there are gates it is surely because we will be coming in and going out of our home, perhaps to explore the newly created earth and heaven.
Notice that each of these gates has a message for us: A piece of Israel’s history in her struggles and in her victories. On each of the 12 gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. These names will be displayed for eternity. This is a strong message for those who continue to think they can erase Israel from the map. Whether it be from religious and or political motivation, these enemies are the subject of an end time prophecy found in Psalm 83: 4 which registered their motive as, “Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, That the name of Israel be remembered no more.” vs. 4 Revelation confirms that it is impossible, 12 times over, to wipe out the name of Israel, for they have found their permanent abode on the gates of Heaven.
Furthermore, Revelation reminds us that in the eternal state, there will be the complete fulfillment of the many promises given to Israel. One of Yeshua’s last words are found in Revelation 22:16 where He says; I am the root and the descendant of David. Why would Yeshua speak of Himself as the root and the descendant of David right at the end of this last book of the bible, and right at the beginning of the Eternal Order. This verse is often skipped and perhaps considered irrelevant, but no words of God are irrelevant. This verse is mentioned to confirm the Davidic Covenant affirming that Yeshua is the fulfillment of this prophecy whose permanency can never be negotiated. What we learn here is that the Davidic Covenant does not die. This covenant promises a King who is Yeshua, and a Throne forever for Israel, even into the Eternal State.