In the previous blogs in this “Heaven” series, we clarified how the heavens of Scripture speak of elevated perspectives and ruling powers over the Earth. We dove into what actually ‘is’ the heavens of Scripture and how these heavenly places influence and shape our lives. So how can we partake of the New Heavens and Earth?
We will now explore what Scripture means when it says; we are looking for a new heavens and earth (a). [See end notes for Scriptures] A few Old Testament prophets as well as Peter and John’s epistles speak of new heavens and earth coming from above. So we ask: When and how will the foretold New Heavens and Earth come? When are we destined to see and experience this new life?
Experiencing God’s Reigning Influence
When heaven is combined with earth as a term, “heaven and earth,” it references rule, power, and authority. Heaven refers to governing powers and systems while earth refers to the governed, those ruled over. How do we experience God’s reigning influence?
Jesus spoke often in Matthew’s Gospel of the “kingdom of heaven” as the reign of God in the earth, while Mark and Luke record Jesus often using the phrase “kingdom of God.” Even though they can sound different, Jesus used both phrases to describe God’s guiding influence in our lives; “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again…it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (b).
The rule and reign of God from heaven is experienced in our lives as we see and partake of God’s governance. Our interaction with God draws us into heavenly perceptions and experience. When we receive words and thoughts from above, our perceptions of reality adjust. By walking with God and absorbing heaven’s Light and Love, we become better reflections of heaven’s brightness.
The Apostle Paul said we are “partakers of the heavenly calling,” we “have tasted of the heavenly gift,” and “have come to the heavenly Jerusalem” (c). Paul also stated, “God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…and raised us up …seated us with Him in the heavenly places…in order that the manifold wisdom of God might be made known…to the rulers and authorities in heavenly places” (d). This is the elevated place where God-in-Christ abides. How well are we seeing and responding?
Our interaction with God draws us into heavenly perceptions and experience.
Making All Things New
While in prison on the Isle of Patmos, John wrote about the new heavens and earth that Jesus came to institute. To help get his writing past the island guards, he wrote in the veiled language of visions, using several dynamics and symbolisms of Old Testament prophets. John however was clear about his intent, starting the book with: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show…the testimony of Jesus Christ…even to all that he saw (perceived and understood) (e).
At the end of his testament, John concluded; I saw a new heaven and new earth…coming down out of heaven from God…and I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “The tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them…Behold, I am making all things new.” (f).
This bolded phrase is translated in the present tense, as the rest should be, to say; “The tabernacle of God is among men, He dwells with us, we are His people, for I am making all things new.” John conveys the new as coming from God above, to raise us into a better life on the earth.
The new comes from God above and raises us into a better life experience on earth.
Renewing and Restoring
We can now understand that God living among us makes all things new; but how does he accomplish this? There are two Greek words in the New Testament translated into English as “new.” One is (neos-3501) which means numerically new, as brand new, not as the last one. The other is (kalons-2538) which means new quality; as revised, refreshed, restored, and renewed. The coming new heavens and earth is not a brand new of neos, it is the renewed of kalons.
This Greek word, kalons is also used to say: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a renewed creature” (g), “I will make a renewed covenant” (h). “He is the mediator of the renewed testament” (i), “look for a renewed heavens and earth” (j). As with any kalons, we are renewed and restored through processes. Actually, each time the word new appears in Revelation; a name (identity), song, Jerusalem, heavens and earth, it is the renew of kalons.
What great news to know that God is in the renewing and restoring business! God takes who we are and makes us new through a process of renewing, restoring and reforming who we are.
There are no absolutes during this earthly life. A new day always starts, time comes and goes, new becomes old, and seasons change. As distant offspring or close children of God, we are all growing, developing, and arising into levels of maturity, under our Father’s guidance. Daily, we arise and look to the Father to assist our efforts to become better children.
God is in the renewing and restoring business.
Dwelling In New Heavens and Earth
The Most High declares, “My people” are from all nations (k). Jesus said His presence would be “in the midst of two or three” who interact as children of God (l). Paul further confirms, “For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them (in their midst) and walk among them” (m).
While God dwells in heaven, He also dwells in our midst, among, and with us as our enabling and encouraging guide. As we seek to partake of God’s guiding oversight in this life, we are actually partakers of the kingdom of heaven (n).
Who is the elevated authority in our life? Is it natural people, places, and things, or are we following the inspiration coming from above, the heavenly oversight of God? “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (o).
For many, this earthly life is a heavenly place because we stay focused on what God is saying and doing. We are regularly partaking of the new heavens and earth! Do not lose heart; maintain your interaction with God, your heavenly place, for He is still renewing. Then share the glorious benefits of this heavenly way to live with those you can influence.
God dwells in our midst, among, and with us as our enabling and encouraging guide.
a) 2 Peter 3:13; b) Matthew 19:23-24; c) Hebrews 3:1; 6:4; 12:22; d) Ephesians 1:3; 2:6; 3:10; e) Revelation 1:1-2; f) Revelations 21:1-5; g) 2 Corinthians 5:17; h) Hebrews 8:8; i) Hebrews 9:15; j) 2 Peter 3:13; k) Romans 9:24-26; 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10; Hosea 1:10; 2:23; Isaiah 52:10; l) Matthew 18:20; m) 2 Corinthians 6:16; n) Matthew 7:21; o) James 3:17