A New Heaven and a New Earth

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth…  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. .. and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it… The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.

Revelation 21:1a, 5, 6a, 24b. 26

Not only will evil be completely gone in the consummated kingdom, but the Creation itself will be transformed. In verses 1a and 5, John expresses this in a manner very similar to the words of Isaiah Is. 65:17-19:

“See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.

God loves His Creation, and desires it to be made whole again, which is what He will do at the consummation. Notice that He makes “all things new” which is not to say that He tosses the Creation out and makes a whole new universe; He makes the present universe new again with the removal of the curse from Genesis 3. Everything that God pronounced “good” in the creation story will remain; everything that came after that is not “good” will be gone. We who have lived in the present creation will live in the new, but without all of the garbage and carnage of sin and evil.

Verses 24b and 26 show the “kings of the earth” bringing their splendor, and the “nations” bringing their glory and honor to the Kingdom. It’s interesting to note that the Greek word translated “nations” doesn’t refer to nation states as we know them; they didn’t exist in John’s day. Instead, it carries an ethnic connotation as in “tribes, languages and tongues”. All of the Peoples of our earth will be present in the Kingdom, each bringing with them that which is “good” and thus all Peoples will have their unique contribution to make. The community of God’s People will be both inclusive and rich with everything that is holy, wholesome and pure and without blemish or folly.

In the end of this world, God cries out “It is done” (Rev. 16:17). Here God is “Alpha and Omega”, first and last, the beginning and the end, the one who gives creation its birth and its goal. That goal is to be transformed into its perfect state in which God created it in the first place.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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