|(Artwork is William
Blake’s Ancient of Days)
|Regeneration. The new heaven and new earth described here
are just that: new. They are made by
regeneration (the Greek clearly implies this), in the same sense that any man
in Christ is a new creature. That this
order of things is so different as to be beyond our comprehension is obvious,
for we see that there is no sorrow, nor is there death. It is clear from the first -- the rules
|God with men. One clear reason for that is that God is
now with men. You will recall that in
the Old Testament the shekinah of God dwelt in the Tabernacle, between
the cherubim. This was a picture --
but a picture of God before the new heaven and earth. Indeed, the word for tabernacle in the
Greek is related to the root for the word “dwell.” It is the same root as is used in John 1:14
where Jesus “dwells” among us. The
implication is a physical closeness -- whatever that might happen to mean
under these new rules..
|No more sea: much is made of this. The symbolic interpretation is clear (to
the futurists, of all people). There
will no longer be any distinct nations (sea = nations, in Revelation). This seems less than obvious in light of
later passages, where the kings bring in their glory. It has been suggested that the ancients
feared the sea, traveling as little as possible on it, and that there is no
more sea to fear. Or, perhaps, that
the sea represents separation from loved ones -- again, gone. Chuck Smith says that the function of the
sea is to neutralize pollutants; since
we won’t have any pollutants then, we won’t need a sea.
|Wild ideas. One of the problems with this heavily
symbolic language is that it calls forth wild ideas. McGee tells us (on the basis of verse 1)
that the new earth will orbit the New Jerusalem, as will the rest of the
universe. He also concludes (from the
fact that there is no sea) that there will be no fish during the Millennium,
and that therefore man will be a vegeterian during the Millennium. Smith holds that the entire planet will “go
nuclear” and be converted into a giant fireball. Since, in the futurist view, the New
Jerusalem descends at the beginning of the Millennium, it therefore
follows that it must be gotten out of the way at the end of the Millennium --
like a yo-yo.
End. The words here mean more than
they say. In Greek, beginning = arche,
meaning not only beginning but also source.
End = telos means not only end but goal. So we have it that Christ is the source of
all creation -- and the goal of all creation.