In the two previous blogs in this “Heaven” series, we clarify how our Bibles use the word ‘heavens’ to speak of the atmosphere above the earth and of authorities over the earth’s population. We also found the heavens of Scripture speak of our personal beginnings; beliefs that become as strongholds in our mind.
Since Scripture is given to assist our life in this earth, we will explore what is meant when it says: “We are looking for a new heavens and earth.” (a) [See endnotes for Scriptures] A few Old Testament prophets as well as the New Testament Peter and John spoke of new heavens and earth coming from above, foretelling a reign from above. So we ask – when will we see the new heavens and earth?
Jesus spoke in Matthew’s Gospel of the “kingdom of heaven” while he is recorded most often speaking of the “kingdom of God” in Mark and Luke. Jesus is recorded in one place using both phrases to speak of the same thing: “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) Both phrases speak of the governance of God in our lives.
How does the rule and reign of God come from heaven, as from above? When we receive insightful thoughts and words from above, our perceptions of reality adjusts. As we partake of God’s governing guidance, we are drawn into His perceptions and experience a better quality of life. By walking with God and absorbing His Light and Love, we become better reflections of His brightness.
The passing of the old ruling order is spoken of in the New Testament as “The world is passing away and its lusts,” (c) and “for the form of this world is passing away.” (d) Additionally, we are “Not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away,” (e) for “darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.” (f) The kingdom reign of God from above was already being experienced in those days, as the old was deteriorating and was in the process of passing away.
It is helpful to realize there are two very different Greek words in the New Testament that are translated in our Bibles as “new.” One is (neos-3501) which means numerically new, as brand new and not like the previous. The other is (kainos-2537) which means new quality; as revised, refreshed, restored, and renewed. The coming new heavens and earth is not a neos as brand new, it is the renewing kainos.
As with any kainos, in this earth we are never done or finished, we mature. So, kainos is a continual renewing and restoring process. The New Testament Greek kainos is used to say: “I will make a renewing covenant,” (g) “He is the mediator of the renewing covenant,” (h) “Look for a renewing heavens and earth,” (i) and “If anyone is in Christ, he is a renewing creature.” (j)
What great news! God is in the renewing and restoring business! He takes who we are and progressively renews, remakes, restores, and reforms us into better expressions of His heart. Our beginnings do not have to maintain control over our lives. We can be transformed by the process of renewing.
We can be transformed by the process of renewing.
Understanding Renewed Jerusalem
When Scripture combines ‘heaven and earth’ as a term, it speaks of the governing systems of this world. Heaven speaks of the ruling powers, systems, and authorities while earth refers to the governed.
While in prison on the Isle of Patmos, John wrote about the new heavens and earth. To help get his writing past the island guards, he wrote in the veiled language of visions, using many of the dynamics and symbolisms of Old Testament prophets. John however was clear about his intent, starting the book with: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ…the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (k) This book was to encourage people regarding the ongoing purpose, ministry, and Kingdom reign of Jesus Christ.
It is important to realize that each time the word ‘new’ appears in the book of Revelation it is kainos. Consequently, we are given a renewing name (identity) and we sing a renewing song. We enter a renewing Jerusalem coming down from above and we experience a renewing heavens and earth.
At the end of his book, John stated; “I saw a renewed (renewing) heaven and renewed (renewing) earth…coming down out of heaven (above) 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 renewed.’” (l)
John spoke of what God was already doing. The renewed Covenant Kingdom reign of God in people’s lives was already happening. The renewing process was coming from above, raising people in this world into a better life experience. The presence of God-in-Christ is really with us, among us, and in our midst.
We want to remember, God-in-Christ is the light of the world. (m) The renewing Heavens and renewing Jerusalem coming down from above speak of a spiritual reality in the earth. This is where natural people experience the enlightening presence of God and their lives are transformed into more godly expressions of His light. This God-Light is a spiritual reality that dwellers of the renewing Jerusalem experience.
This God-Light is a spiritual reality that dwellers of the renewing Jerusalem experience.
Abiding in Heavenly Places
The “heavens of Scripture” are trying to convey that God’s guidance actually improves and elevates our quality of life. “The heavens are telling of the glory of God,” (n) “declare His righteousness” (o) and “praise Him.” (p) A “renewing heavens and earth” is experienced (q) as “coming down out of heaven…making all things new.” (r)
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.” (s) Paul also said, “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.” (t) Heaven is the elevated place in our minds and hearts where God-in-Christ abides.
Jesus said His presence would be “in the midst of two or three” who interact as children of God. (u) Paul confirms: “For we (together) are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them (in their midst) and walk among them.” (v) The Most High declares: “My people are from all nations.” (w)
While God dwells in what we call heaven, He also dwells in our midst, among, and with us as our insightful, enabling and encouraging guide. As we seek to partake of God’s guiding influence in this life, we are actually partaking of the kingdom of heaven. (x)
Who is the elevated authority in our life? Is it people, places and things, or the inspiration coming from above, God’s heavenly oversight? “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” (y) 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 renewing heavens and earth!
God invites us to partake of His transforming insight and live above this world’s restricting ways. Do not lose heart; maintain your interaction with God, for He is still renewing in the heavenly places of our minds and hearts. Share the glorious benefits of this heavenly way of life with those you influence.
Share the glorious benefits of this heavenly way of life with those you influence.
a) 2 Peter 3:13; b) Matthew 19:23-24; c) 1 John 2:17; d) 1 Corinthians 7:31; e) 1 Corinthians 2:6; f) 1 John 2:8; g) Hebrews 8:8; h) Hebrews 9:15; i) 2 Peter 3:13; j) 2 Corinthians 5:17; k) Revelation 1:1-2; l) Revelations 21:1-5; m) John 9:5; 8:12; n) Psalm 19:1; o) Psalm 69:34; p) Psalm 50:6; q) Isaiah 66:22; r) Revelation 21:1-5; s) Hebrews 3:1; 6:4; 12:22; t) Ephesians 1:3; 2:6; 3:10; u) Matthew 18:20; v) 2 Corinthians 6:16; w) Romans 9:24-26; 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10; Revelations 5:9-10; Hosea 1:10; 2:23; Isaiah 52:10; x) Matthew 7:21; y) James 3:17