"Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea." Revelation 21:1 NKJV
Do you recall a program on television from a few years back called “Extreme Makeover”? What it was about was that they would find a home badly in need of restoration and bring in a host of volunteers to work for a week and totally transform it from its state of disrepair into a practically new and unrecognizable home. How often I wished they would somehow choose my home for one of their projects, but of course that never did occur. Yet it was at the very end, when the new home was revealed to the owners, that the climax occurred as we watched their faces as they saw their transformed home for the very first time.
I believe it is entirely possible that many of us are unaware of the magnitude of the coming transformation of this world that we are promised in this passage from the book of Revelation. Where many might believe in a simple “makeover” of what is already here, a closer reading makes it clear that God intends to completely do away with the old and again create a new world for mankind to inhabit. Have you ever read the creation account in the book of Genesis and wished you could somehow have watched God create the world we live in? Very soon it would appear we will get the chance to observe that very thing again.
"So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Matthew 19:28 NKJV
In this passage from the book of Matthew, Jesus speaks of this very event as a “renewal” of all things. The Greek word for regeneration used here is the word paliggenesia. It is translated to mean; a new birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation, regeneration, hence renovation, regeneration, the production of a new life consecrated to God, a radical change of mind for the better. The word often used to denote the restoration of a thing to its pristine state, its renovation, as a renewal or restoration of life after death. I am sure most of us would agree that what is soon to occur is not only desperately needed, but probably long overdue, yet would it surprise you to know we are not the only ones impatient for this event to take place?
"For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now." Romans 8:19-22 NKJV
According to this passage, the creation itself has been groaning and laboring, waiting for the Sons of God to be revealed so it can finally be released from the imperfect state it has been forced to endure by the choice of mankind to invite sin into this world. We have discussed this passage before, considering the fact that the seismic events which seem to be increasing are in truth a sign of this world’s awareness of the nearness of the presence of God, and its coming liberation from the state in which it is in. Although the thought of creation itself having “awareness” might be something we struggle to accept, the Word of God makes it clear that this is, in fact, exactly the case.
"Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and all its fullness; Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the LORD. For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth." Psalms 96:11-13 NKJV
Not only will mankind, believers already with the Lord as well as those who survive the tribulation rejoice, but this passage from Psalms tells us that the heavens will rejoice, the earth itself will be glad, the sea will roar, the fields will be joyful, and even the trees will rejoice at this time when Jesus returns at the end of the Great Tribulation to judge the world. Consider if you will this excerpt from a great commentary on the book of Revelation by the late Jack Kelley;
“The judgments of the Great Tribulation served in part to prepare the Earth for its restoration. In all probability, its orbit and axis will have been returned to their original configurations, bringing again the world wide sub-tropical environment likely enjoyed by our first parents. The vast oceans, silent witnesses to the enormity of Noah’s flood will be hoisted back into the outer atmosphere, restoring the water vapor canopy that protected early man and allowing the return of long life spans they experienced (Isaiah 65:20). The sea floors will be elevated and the mountains lowered, and Earth will once again resemble the Garden Planet it was when Adam came on the scene. Its atmosphere will no longer be the haunt of demons, and the heavens will have been purified of Satan’s rebellious minions forever.”
If you choose to take the Bible at its word, what will occur at the end of the tribulation period is not a simple “makeover” but an entirely new creation. The old will be destroyed by fire and God will again create a new and wonderful world for man to inhabit which will by all accounts, be like nothing we have ever seen before. Of course, this is just the world that this passage is referring to. As raptured believers, the Church will inhabit an even more amazing and wonderful place, and that will be the New Jerusalem. We will see what the Bible tells us about our new home next week.