AND EARTH MADE NEW.
according to his promise, look; for new heavens, and a new earth.”—2
Pet. 3: 13.
who have been taught to believe that the earth is to be destroyed find it hard
to accept the truth of the perpetuity of the earth.
There are many Scriptures that seem to teach the destruction of all
things earthly. It is the purpose
of this chapter to set such Scriptures in their proper light.
One chief objection raised by some to the perpetuity of the earth has
already been considered. We refer
to the expression “end of the world.”
All we would say here is that the phrase “end of the world” should
read, in every case, “end of the age.”
Time is divided into ages; and that each age has an end is certain; but
there is no Scripture, when properly viewed, to teach that this material world
shall ever end.
obstruction in the way of the acceptance of this truth is found in the phrase,
“at the last day” (Jno. 6: 39, 40). Some
think that this means that there will be a day which no day will ever follow,
that the judgment will be the last of all days.
Now, this is not the necessary conclusion.
Paul speaks of the “last days” as perilous times (2 Tim. 3:
1‑5); while Isaiah uses the very same phrase used by Paul, and speaks of
those days as most glorious times (Isa. 2: 1‑4).
Paul and Isaiah draw quite different pictures, though the fulfilment of
each prophecy is located in the “last days.”
It is evident that the two prophecies refer to two different periods of
time, although both periods are termed the “last days.”
The explanation of this lies in the fact that the “last day” does
not necessarily mean that “day” will cease; but that this expression, so
often used in the Bible, simply refers to the closing events of
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
present condition of the world. If
man had not sinned the present condition of the world would not have been.
Death is one king that reigns during the world’s present condition.
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”—1 Cor. 15: 26.
Hence, Jesus said: “I will raise him (the believer) up at the last
day” (John 6: 40); “at the last day” meaning at the end of the present
order of things. “At the end of
the days” (Dan. 12: 13) means the same time.
In Rev. 10: 6, it is stated “that there should be time no longer;”
but the best authorities prefer the translation: “That there shall be no
more delay.” (See many revised
texts.) Even so, verse seven
tells us just what is meant by there being “delay no longer,” viz., that
“the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants
the prophets. Even so, in Rev.
16: 17, we read: “It is done.” What
is done? Everything earthly?
Nay, by no means. The
present evil age will be done, and there will be no longer delay in the coming
of a better day.
“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and
watch unto prayer.”—1 Pet. 4: 7. If
“all things” here is to be understood in the absolute sense, then it would
do no good to “be sober, and watch unto prayer.”
It is evident that “all things” is here used in a relative sense,
and that it includes only those things that have an “end.”
Some things are declared to be everlasting; and the earth is one of
The next objection we consider here can be found in 1 Cor. 7: 31 and 1
John 2: 17. “The fashion of
this world passeth away,” and “The world passeth away.”
Certainly so; and thank God for it.
The Greek for “world” in each of these passages is “kosmos.”
Peter uses the same word (1 Pet 3: 3) in the sense of adornment.
It is there translated “apparel.”
The verb used in each case is in the present tense, and indicates that
the fashions and lusts and adornments of this world are continually passing
away, and will finally all go for-
AND EARTH MADE NEW.
which thing is true; but the earth itself shall abide forevermore.
Another obstacle is found in these words: “Heaven and earth shall
pass away.”—Matt. 24: 35. (Mark
13: 31; Luke 21: 33.) The first
question to arise is, What is here meant by “heaven”?
Surely, it can not mean the throne of God.
“Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne.”—Isa. 66: 1.
A similar passage is found in Rev. 20: 11: “I saw a great white
throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled
away: and there was found no place for them.
Here we have the throne after the fleeing of the “heaven;”
and as God says heaven is His throne, the “heaven” that shall pass away
must be another “heaven.” Paul
said that he was caught up “to the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12: 2).
Moreover, the word “heaven” often applies to space (Gen. 1: 8), and
to the elements that surround the earth (Job 28: 21; 35: 11; Psa. 76: 2,
etc.). Even so, the word
“heaven” here must refer to the “heaven” of which the fowls are
inhabitants, that is, to the elements surrounding the earth.
This is farther confirmed by the statement in Rev. 21: 2: “I John saw
the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.”
This takes place after the statement that “the heaven fled away,”
which proves, therefore, that all heaven does not flee away.
Next, what is meant in these passages by the word “earth”?
In Rev. 20: 13, we learn that, after the earth had fled away, John saw
Hades deliver up the dead which were in it.
Now, Hades, as we have before proved, is in the heart of the earth.
If the literal earth is destroyed in Rev. 20: 11, then there could be
no Hades to give up the dead in Rev. 20: 13.
Inasmuch as Hades still remains after the throne appears, it is evident
that the fleeing away of the earth does not mean the destruction of this
planet. Moreover, the word
“earth” is often used in a moral sense, meaning those things which are
corrupt; as, “The man of the earth” (Psa. 10: 18), and “speaketh of the
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
3: 31). The word “earth” here
may be taken in like manner.
Now, we know it to be a fact that the earth is corrupt.
In our last chapter we detailed numbers of things on earth upon which
the curse has fallen. We found
the ground itself, the human heart, the state, the nation, society, and
everything earthly to be under the curse.
Gen. 6: 11 states: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the
earth was filled with violence.” The
word “earth” in this verse can refer to both the planet and the things
upon it. The heaven, the elements
that surround the earth, is certainly corrupt.
It is filled with disease, death, and storms of every
kind—whirlwinds, hurricanes, tornadoes—all those things which come from
disturbed elements. In Eden it
was not so. All those things are
results of the fall. So when God
says: “Heaven and earth shall pass away,” He perhaps means the corruptible
heaven and earth, or rather the corruptible things of heaven and earth, but
not the entire literal heaven and earth themselves.
God is holiness itself; and before His holiness everything that is
corruptible must flee away.
Furthermore, the words “pass away” and “fled away” are but little understood. The same Greek word is used in Matt. 24: 35 and in 2 Cor. 5: 17, and in each case it is translated “pass away.” The first text is speaking of the earth’s passing away; and the second text is speaking of the change of heart in an individual. The second says: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation (R. V.): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Does the passing away of all things in a man’s change of heart mean that the man himself is destroyed? Certainly not. He can wear the same coat, same hat, and the same shoes as he did before; yet, “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,” and “he is a new creation.” Does it not mean the same in regard to the earth? The very same word is used. Indeed, the same thing will take place in regard to the earth as takes place in a
AND EARTH MADE NEW.
heart by the operation of the Divine Spirit.
The “old things” that Pass away refer to sin; and so “heaven and
earth” that pass away refer to those things that are corrupt.
Even so, everything that is corruptible about “heaven and earth”
will pass away—flee before His face as the dew before the sun—“They
shall be changed” (Psa. 102: 26), but the change will be for the better, for
He hath said: “Behold, I make all things new.”—Rev. 21: 5.
Next, let us notice Peter’s prophecy concerning the earth.
He says: “The earth also and the works that are therein shall be
burned up.”—2 Pet. 3: 10. This
seems to be the most formidable objection to be found.
If the earth is to be literally burned up, reduced to ashes and these
scattered to the winds, then we have made a mistake in taking the many
passages on the perpetuity of the earth as meaning anything.
Will the earth be literally burned up?
The Greek, according to the best authorities, is “heurtheseta.”
This word does not mean “burn up” at all, but “discovered.”
In most of the revised versions, either in the text or in the margin,
you will find “discovered.” What
will it mean for “the earth also and the works that are therein” to be
“discovered”? It will mean
just what I am teaching in this chapter.
When man sinned a curse came upon everything earthly.
From that time the earth has been dressed in filthy garments.
No one today sees the earth as God created it.
The earth’s glory and beauty lies covered with filthy rags, the
curse. At the coming of the Lord
“the elements shall melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3: 10), fire shall
“come down from God out of heaven” (Rev. 20: 9), the earth will be
literally baptized with fire, every thorn, brier, nauseous weed, etc., every
vestige of disease, every disturbing element, and every effect of the curse
will be purged out of the earth and atmosphere that surrounds it, everything
that is corruptible will be destroyed, and the primary state of the earth will
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens
and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”— 2 Pet. 3: 13.
John says: “I saw heaven new, and earth new.” —Rev. 21: 1 (R.
V.). Not a different heaven and a
different earth from what we now have; but the “heaven,” that is now
filled with death‑dealing plagues, made new; and the “earth” that is
now filled with violence, made new. John
saw “heaven new, and earth new” after he saw that “the earth and the
heaven fled away” (Rev. 20: 11). And
“the earth is mentioned again still later—even after the New Jerusalem
comes down from God out of heaven (Rev. 21: 24).
“For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.”—Rev.
21: 1. “For, behold, I create
new heavens and a new earth.”— Isaiah 65: 17.
The same truth is further enforced by Peter in the same connection with
the above text from him. He says,
in speaking of the days of Noah: “The world that then was being overflowed
with water, perished.”—2 Pet. 3: 6. What
was it that perished about the world in the days of Noah?
Certainly it wasn’t the ground itself.
Even so, Peter further states: “The heavens and the earth which are
now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of
judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (verse 7).
So, it is the ungodly that will be destroyed, and not the earth itself.
For the fire that destroys the dross will make heaven and earth new.
Thus we see, that when properly viewed, the very Scriptures that many
use to offset the truth of the perpetuity of the earth, are the Scriptures
that teach that the earth will be renewed and perpetuated.