New Heaven & Earth
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.
I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more.
But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation;
I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem ( je-ru’-sa-lem)
Teaching of peace. Foundation of peace; founded in peace; Duel peace shall be taught; lay (set) ye double peace.
Source: EDBN, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.
namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation.
I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them,
We are therefore ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more;
Working together, we entreat also that you do not receive the grace of God in vain, for he says, “At an acceptable time I listened to you. In a day of salvation I helped you.”
neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away.”
Behold, now is the acceptable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation.
He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
When I was seven, I memorized famous bible passages as part of our church’s training. The New Creation passage in 2 Corinthians 5 was one of them. Being seven, I memorized it, but never really understood it.
(Many) years later, I remember telling a business associate about the work I was doing — building a website that brings the book of Revelation to life. His response was telling: “Wow, that’s some weird stuff. End of the world and all.” As he said this, I remembered that I too once held this view. No longer.
I’d like to compare the New Creation passage beginning with 2 Corinthians 5, side-by-side with the New Heaven & Earth passage of Revelation 21. The left-side passage promises that we are a new creation, where the old has passed away, all things have become new.
Revelations 21, on the right, tells of a new heaven & earth, for the first has passed away and the sea is no more. These appear to contain two solid connections: something new and something gone. But, the question is: what does this mean? And, how it this possible?
As the website became a reality, I shared it with a close pastor friend along with some examples. He was skeptical, saying something like, “I don’t recall seeing any golden cities descending from heaven.”
My answer, without thinking much about my seemingly confident words was something like, “Oh, that’s easy. Look at the name of the city.”
First of all, the new creation passage speaks of reconciliation, through Christ, who gave us a ministry. It is a gift, “of God.” The Revelation tells of a holy city, coming down, “from God.” The city is prepared like a bride, like a gift, or perhaps a ministry.
The meaning of the name Jerusalem is what connects these two passages. Jerusalem means, “teaching of peace.” New Jerusalem means, “the new teaching of peace.” The city comes in the form of teaching, from heaven, like a bride (like the church). These things, this new teaching, is a gift “of God” and “from God.”
I believe it’s telling a deeply spiritual story, where the new teaching of peace becomes part of us.
The next part of the parallel seems to confirm this, and say exactly how it works. God, “committed to us” the word of reconciliation. The original language is more like “placed in us.”
The Revelation says God will dwell with us. Here again, the original language for “dwell with” us is to “take up residence with” us. I believe the technical term for this is the “indwelling,” Christ in us and us in Christ.
If Christ is part of us, spiritually speaking, we are made new. The old has gone, the new has come.
The parallel continues to build on the indwelling idea. Therefore, we are ambassadors, which means something like a legal representative of the authority (Christ) who sent us. We are his people. He is our God. His word is in us. His word is in our words.
The New Creation passage says this explicitly, “as though God were entreating by us.” In other words, God, speaking in us and through us.
The next part of the parallel seems to articulate the, “so what’s” of all of this. Jesus became sin, on our behalf, so we could become like him, be part of him, and live, “in him.” He’s already died. He’s been reborn. In him, we have too.
Spiritually speaking, death is gone. In the heavenly city, which we are part of, God wipes away every tear. Death is no more.
One of the things I’ve observed in the design of the bible is something I call mirrors. Here, we “receive” the grace of God. Or, we’re told not to receive it in vein.
This part of the parallel is a mirror to the part above, where God “gave” us the ministry. As I said, it is a mirror. Zerah.com, by the way, keeps track of mirrors. That’s a topic for another story.
Connect the two passages. Together, they suggests the “first things” have passed away, replaced by the gift of grace. The first things – judgment, wrath, guilt, condemnation – or the old stuff is gone. Peace – and even more specifically the teaching of peace – has come.
Now is the time
The 2 Corinthians 5 parallel ends with a powerful punchline (not in the funny sense, but in the this-is-really-important sense.) “Behold, now is the time. Behold, now is the day.” Jesus, who sits on the throne says, “behold, I am making all things new.” As in right now.
This, to me, reveals something new. The only way all this is possible, without actual golden cities physically descending from heaven, is through the teaching of peace that comes from Heaven. And, a spiritual fulfillment.
To me, a spiritual fulfillment is far more important than a physical. The spiritual, it seems, is eternal.
Fulfillment in Him
The fulfillment of God’s promises can be seen throughout the book of Revelation. First, in Christ himself. Second, within us because of him. Two revelation passages appear to clearly demonstrate this fulfillment.
The Son of Man passage in Revelation 1:14 shows the fulfillment in Christ. The Before the Throne passage in Revelation 7:12 shows the fulfillment in us. Let’s compare each of those Revelations to the New Creation promise.
Click on the “Son of Man” link below, or the right arrow.
To explore these passages directly, click this button: