41 • The End of Everything as We Know It—The New Heavens and the New Earth
When Jesus ascended to heaven, things in this world really changed. God sent His Holy Spirit to abide powerfully and permanently within all His people. Just as God destroyed the inhabitants of the world about 4500 years ago with a global flood (Genesis 6-8), so God will destroy the heavens and this earth with fire after Jesus Christ has come again on the clouds (2 Peter 3:10,12). The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:10-12 that the heavens will be dissolved with fervent heat and the earth and its works will be burned up. No materialist, those infatuated with what money can buy, will be among those in the new heavens. In 1 Timothy 6:7-9 we read, ‘…for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out…but those who desire to be rich fall into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.’
The Bible is not specific about the timing of events that will precede and follow the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. The most important thing to know about His return is that we must always be ready for this event and make sure that our relationship with God is right. Jesus said He will come like a thief in the night, unexpectedly. Therefore, we must always watch and pray (Matthew 24:42-44). It is written in God’s Holy Book that the heavens and the earth will pass away, but that His words will never pass away (Matthew 24:35; 2 Peter 3:10). Jesus and His holy prophets prophesied about these future events.
There will also be great opposition against God and His people before the end of this world (Revelation 20:7-9). But the good news is that God is going to make everything new! The old order where sin, corruption, debasement and rebellion ruled because of the devil and the sins of mankind will come to an end. In the last book of the Bible, God says He is going to create a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1-5). There will be no pain, suffering, evil, sin, death or tears there. In the old Jerusalem, Jesus was crucified outside the gates of the city. But in the New Jerusalem, the holy city, Jesus will reign forever and ever. The Lamb of God that was slain will rule as the Lion of Judah in all His glory (Revelation 5:1-11).
This place is described in the Bible as possessing exquisite beauty: a street of transparent gold, trees that yield fruit 12 months of the year, gates of precious jewels, with a river which flows from the throne of God (Revelation 21:18-21; 22:1-3). Those saved from the nations (ethnic groups) will come in and be healed from their sicknesses and will bring their riches before God (Revelation 21:24). But all this will not be the greatest wonder of the New Jerusalem: the greatest wonder will be the manifest presense of God. And the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will be worshiped and praised and admired in all Their brightness and glory; and God’s children will reign with Him on the new earth forever.
Truth to consider: God’s Holy Book says in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 and in Revelation 21:8 that cowards, the unbelieving, the abominable, murderers, the adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals, sodomites, drunkards, thieves, revilers, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone. They will have no place in the Kingdom of God and in the new heavens and the new earth.
Read: Genesis 6-8; 2 Peter 3:10-12; 1 Timothy 6:7-9; Matthew 24:44-46; Matthew 24:35; Revelation 20:7-9; Revelation 21:1-5; Revelation 5:1-10; Revelation 21:18-21; 22:1-3; 21:24; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Revelation 21:8.