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).
We’re having our celebration service for Jeri Calkins today. She’s been in heaven for a few days now and is having a much better time there than we are here. Paul said in Philippians 1 than to depart and to be with Christ is far better.
One of the books I am reading for the second time now is Heaven by Randy Alcorn. In the book he made a statement that has stuck with me: As humans, we will forever be connected to the earth.
Heaven is not our final home, earth is! Heaven is a temporary place that we go to if we leave our physical bodies in death before the second coming of Christ. At His second coming, we come back with Him from heaven (that’s one reason I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture of the church – See Revelation 19). Jesus rules the earth for one thousand years when He returns (Revelation 20). He reigns until all of His enemies are subdued (1 Corinthians 15). And we are right there with Him the whole time.
But then after the millennial reign of Christ and after the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20: 11-15), there is a new heaven and a new earth. They are not new in that the old has completely disappeared and has been replaced, but new in that they undergo a renovation. All of the effects of sin are removed from the new earth and in eternity we will be able to travel between heaven and earth.
The thought I want to get to is that in eternity we will be back on this planet that we are accustomed to, but with all of the negative effects of the fall removed. There will be plants and trees and animals. There will be cities and commerce and travel. We will be busy and active here as we are about our Father’s business.
Most folk don’t look forward to heaven and the afterlife here on earth because they think that we won’t be doing anything but sitting around singing churchy songs! That is totally wrong thinking. Purpose and productivity are innate in the human and will be a part of us in eternity. God gave you gifting and talents not just for life on this fallen planet, but also to be used in eternity with life on the new earth!
In eternity you will be the you that we know now minus your personal flaws. You’ll have your unique personality, your personal likes and dislikes, your personal tastes, your personal items of interest just like you do now. The only difference will be that the flaws produced by the personal weakness of the flesh and sin will be removed!
Our precious friend Jeri loved to paint pictures. She’ll do that in heaven! She loved to help others. She’ll do that in heaven and in the new earth! She’s learning new laws of locomotion and physics right now while we’re still in a limited world. She’s learning secrets that we’ll learn one day. And she’s being who she is!
I’m personally excited about going to heaven one day to be with my Father God. And I’m excited to think of the plans He has for my future life. I personally believe that He’ll give me a wonderful library of books there! And I believe that the Father will open my understanding to new realms of truth. I’ll enjoy music that fits my tastes, scenery that brings me delight and so many things that I experience and enjoy now: That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:7).