It have been a long time since I posted something her at my english blog, actually 4 1/2 month since last time. Despite of my lack of posting, both here and on my Norwegian blog, it have come some comments on some of my post. Those post have obvious interested some people more than other post.
One of the post I wrote a while back ago, regarding the Bride and the New Jerusalem which is a part of the blog-series I have about Revelation of John. Not unexpected and very pleasant, there have been questions about these things. It is not entirely unexpected comments from close friends who are “millennial-believers” (dispensationism) and who wish me back to the prokrust-bed. What I have to say is that I’m finished customizing the Scripture and the prophecies to my size of bed, but I think it might be helpful to write a bit more regarding the Bride, the New Jerusalem and New Heaven and New Earth. It may help both, me and you.
You can read this topic in Norwegian her.
Let us first look at the New Creation as I see as an incredibly important part of the biblical eschatology and the goal of the history, among many other writers and theologian. Many times i ask my self why do so many Christians have a limited understanding of the new creation? Why are they not able to truly appreciate its splendor and importance. And you may ask why do I ask this? Vel, as mention above, I have even been in the same street and seen a big differens in how this different visions affect us. Of course, this is not how a person experiences the salvation.
I think the lack of understanding is often linked to the premillennial eschatology and the various types of dispensational eschatology fail to fully grasp the immense redemptive transformation who Christ began in his incarnation. The effect of this redemption / salvation, they postpone to the end of history after the historically discontinuous coming of Jesus. This happens twice in dispensationalism: once in the rapture before the tribulation and the second coming at the end of the tribulation just before the beginning of millennium. Not strange that they struggle over the question of when the rapture will occur, pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation or post-tribulation.
I will not bring up all the “-ism” here, but I like to mention that others tends to remove the blessings that come from this transformation, into either above or beyond history, either to heaven or to a perfect new earth. I personally actually expect the Christ’s redemptive work will be a power to transformation that works in time and on earth, like it does in me as a person in time. I mean it will be a continuous present spiritual realities that have already been set in motion by Christ. (Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. (Luke 11:2)).
Lets look at the Scripture, in Isaiah 65:17-25, and here we find the really great biblical section that describes this spiritual transformation into a new creature.
«For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. (Isa. 65:17-19 – ESV).
This is a grand and wonderful scene Isaiah have presented for us here, and in my opinion, a dramatic image of the importance of the order of the gospel in history. In other word, we can say that the “order of the gospel” will evolve through a “multi-step process” that culminates in the final judgment. It will gradually change the world ethically and spiritually so it looks like a “new heaven and a New Earth” and “the former shall not be remembered or to reach any heart” (Isaiah 65:17). I know it still much evil going around the world today, but look at this in a Christian view.
Isaiah’s vision is the background for 2. Corinthians 5:17 where Paul refers to the modern spiritual realities:
«Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.» We can see, that according to New Testament theology the Second Adam, that is Christ, stands at the head of a new creation» (Rom. 5:14; 1. Cor. 15:22, 45).
Those who are born again, born of the power of the gospel are a new creatures, «For in Christ Jesus neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” (Gal. 6:15 WEB) . This power of the gospel transforming and creates a “new man” or new people by two warring groups or factions, – Jews and Gentiles (Eph. 2:15-18).
To be a “gospel-transformed” new creatures is to lay aside the old self and cloth you with the new (Ephesians 4:22-23), which is “created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24, cf. Col.. 3:9-11). This is because they are “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
This is truly a wonderful interpretation of a new “people”, a new creature. But a new creature will also need a new city, so it will involve a “new Jerusalem” for them. A new people and a new Jerusalem (Isaiah 65:18-19).
When we have come to the point where we understand that a “new creation” needs a “new land” or as I said, city, then it is quite interesting to read Galatians 6 and see that Paul is talking about this new creation in context of a transformed “Israel of God” existed in his day:
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. and as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, even upon the Israel of God” (Gal 6:15–16; cf. Ro 2:28–29).
Paul also urges for a commitment to “Jerusalem there” in the same letter (the heavenly Jerusalem, write in the same letter and urges Heb. 12:22) rather than throw out the Jerusalem that is now (the historical capital of Israel, Gal. 4:25 – 26).
So, finally we get to the book of Revelation where the heavenly Jerusalem is described (Rev. 21:2 to 22:5). We find that it is the bride of Christ who is coming down from God to replace the earthly Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2-5). You may also note that this happen in the first century, because immediately after his description we read:
«He said to me, “These words are faithful and true. The Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel to show to his bondservants the things which must happen soon» (Rev. 22:6 c.f. V.10).
With shaking and destruction of ancient Jerusalem in 70 AD, the heavenly (spiritual) Jerusalem replaced the old earthly Jerusalem. We learn this in Hebrews where we read:
«Whose voice shook the earth, then, but now he has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, [ie the Levitical ritual system] that those things which are not shaken may remain. Therefore, receiving a kingdom that can ‘t be shaken, let us have grace, through which we serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe.» (Heb. 12:26-28, cf. 8:13).
Paul spoke of his “pre AD 70 audience” as they where standing at the city border of the new Jerusalem which is about to enter into history:
«For you have not come to a mountain that might be touched, and that burned with fire, and to blackness, darkness, tempest… But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of angels» (Heb. 12:18, 22).
When the temple was destroyed in AD 70, the new Heavenly Jerusalem appear in to history. The earthly ancient Jerusalem come to an end in AD. 70 and was immediately followed by the earthly impact of the New Jerusalem.
The New Jerusalem is therefore the new creation, the new city, a new country, a new kingdom – the kingdom of God where Jesus our Lord is King. For He is given «all authority in heaven and on earth» and He is with us «always, to the end of the age» (Mat. 28: 18, 20).
What is very clear is that He, Jesus, has power over the earth today and we also read clearly that this will last right up to the very end and that’s when He, «Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.» (1. Cor. 15:28).
But we are still on the same earth that we have been since the creation of. How can we say that we are on a new earth today, for it is clear that “earth and sky fled away” before Him and a “new heaven and a new earth” will appear? Ok, enough for this time. I will let you wait for the next post for that answer, where I want to go a little bit deeper in Revelation 20:11 and 21:1 to show you.
What do you think so far?
Version of Scripture in use: ESV and WEB