NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH
THEIR LITERAL LOCATIONS
Our speech is often ambiguous but, in general our friends understand what we mean to say. In discussing the ‘New Heaven and the New Earth’ I, therefore, wish to be specific. When God says that He will create a New Heaven and a New Earth He means exactly that – two distinct places. The creation of a New Heaven and a New Earth is referred to at least 7 times in the New Testament and at least 9 times in the entire Bible. If we are to inhabit resurrection bodies and meet with Him in the air then surely either location is potentially possible.
"Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words"
This is not so in the case of the Millennium when we are obviously still on the Earth and the Father Himself is in heaven (Revelation 20:9). The New Heaven and New Earth will be an entirely new concept according to Isaiah, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17). Interesting, isn't it? Perhaps for the good of all. Who would want to remember the despicable people we were before Christ transformed us?
Since there will be two locations it is surely legitimate to ask, “Who will live where”? Who will live in the ‘New Heaven’ and who will live on the ‘New Earth’? I believe that the Bible provides some clues.
To answer this question we must begin with the first prototype of the kingdom of God, Eden and the Garden of Eden, and compare it with what Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “And Jesus said to him, truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Had Jesus spoken in ancient Hebrew instead of Aramaic or Greek Jesus would have said, “Today you shall be with me in Eden”. These two names refer to the same place. They are synonymous. Eden refers to a luxuriously vegetated walled garden such as ancient kings in Persia might have had. Paradise is a Persian word. As a Bible teacher once said on TV, the Bible begins with Eden and ends with Eden. Actually, if you really look at the Bible you will find that the Bible begins with God and ends with God, but for our purpose his statement is consistent with what I wish to say. In other words, according to the book of Revelation, what Adam and Eve forfeited will not only be redeemed but be re-created in much greater splendour.
CONSIDERING THE DIFFERENT LOCATIONS WITHIN EDEN
There are three distinct locations mentioned in the biblical account of Eden. Firstly, there was the expanse of Eden in which was located the Garden of Eden towards the East. The Tree of life was in the midst of the Garden. The Tree of Life represented resurrection life. Had Adam and Eve eaten of it they would have been condemned to live eternally in resurrection power while still bearing their sin (Genesis 3:22). They would have ended up in hell.
In His mercy God evicted them from the Garden and prevented their return by posting fiery cherubim to guard the gate. Adam and Eve exited into Eden but not before being clothed by God with fresh skins (a blood sacrifice, speaking of the beginning of their redemption). Much later on Cain forfeited that protection by despising the blood offering, and walked away from his parents into the world.
What is the third location that is clearly evident in this account? Adam and Eve heard God walking (Strong’s Hebrew 'Halak', H1980) in the Garden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). In the early chapters of Genesis, in particular, the verb Halak has the connotation of present continuous in the sense of habitually walking in the Garden, such as ‘in a river flowing’ or as in ‘Noah walking daily with God’ (Genesis 2:14; 3:8; 5:22; 5:24; 6:9; 8:3; 12:9, etc). It implies that Adam and Eve had lived for quite some time in the Garden of Eden and that they regularly received visitations from God for fellowship.
Randy Alcorn of Eternal Perspective Ministries puts it this way, “There’s no definitive proof, but the passage’s implication (of Genesis 3:8) seems clear to me. I think it would be odd for God to first come walking in the garden with Adam and Eve only after they had sinned. God walking with people normally suggests closeness and intimacy and fellowship. The natural connotation, to me, is that God often did this, perhaps daily ‘in the cool of the day’, but what was remarkable this time was that man was afraid because he had sinned”.
Under normal circumstances Adam and Eve would have been delighted to share their discoveries in the garden, especially the interesting names Adam would have given to the animals. Thus, Adam and Eve spent several days in the Garden of Eden which I have more precisely specified in the 15 articles on the true age of the earth and in my book (under this same menu).
We surmise that God Himself did not reside in the Garden of Eden nor even in Eden which He made. God was above all that. He came down from heaven for his daily visitations as He certainly did every time He presented Himself in the Tabernacle of Moses.
Therefore, in the book of Genesis we read about three specific locations -
A walled garden within Eden (Genesis 3:23-24)
The expanses of Eden outside
DURING THE 1000-YEAR MILLENNIUM IN PARADISE
The Millennium is a 1000-year period of rest in the presence of Christ, referred to in Revelation 20:2-7, Hebrews 4:8 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. According to God’s reckoning of time, 1000 years on Earth is equivalent to one of God’s days in Heaven (2Peter 3:8). Jesus prophetically spoke of a coming three days,
“And he said unto them, Go ye and tell that fox; behold, I cast out devils and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected” (Luke 13:32).
This cannot possibly be about His three days in the grave, but was prophetic of the three thousand years lying ahead. Only the redeemed and Jesus will be in the Millennium, in total peace, in their perfected resurrection bodies. During the same period Satan has been bound in chains for 1000 years (one ‘Day’) but then, at the end, he will be released briefly before being finally cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:7-10). The Lake of Fire/Gehenna is the eternal location of hell, as opposed to Sheol/Hades which is the temporary ‘waiting room’ for hell. There, people are awaiting their final judgement (it also is a place of no return but it is not an eternal abode as I see it, Luke 16:19-31).
The prophecy given by Jesus about His three days is an exact mirror of Hosea 6:1-2, "Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight". These three days correspond to 3000 years, the third day referring to the 1000-year Millennium. The approximate timing of the Second Coming is discussed in the adjoining article on the "Second Coming" and more comprehensively in my book ("End Times: According to Scripture") available shortly in four formats, including an audio version.
AN AMAZING OBSERVATION ABOUT THE RESURRECTION OF LAZARUS; IT WAS A PROPHETIC REPLAY OF THE 4000-YEAR GAP BETWEEN ADAM'S SIN (WHEN DEATH ENTERED IN) AND THE COMING OF CHRIST
"On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days" (John 11:17). Have you ever wondered why it was odd for Jesus to deliberately delay another two days once He heard that his friend Lazarus was sick in Bethany (John 11:6)? By the time Jesus eventually got there Lazarus had been in the tomb for 4 days. Doesn't sound nice does it? But Jesus had to walk a prophetic timetable appointed by the Father.
The four days of delay were prophetic of the 4x1000-year days between Adam and Christ. Adam, representing the whole of mankind, was dead in sin for 4 days before Christ went to the cross which brought resurrection life to all of us and to all our righteous forefathers, retrospectively.
Concerning 1000 years for one prophetic day, there is also a tantalizing parallel in Psalm 84:10 which provides further evidence alongside 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4,
"For a day in Your courts (Heaven) is better than a thousand (On Earth). I would rather be a
doorkeeper in the house of my God (Heaven) than dwell in the tents of wickedness (On Earth)".
This is in keeping with the teachings of Jerry Wells at Oxford Bible Church, in Oxford UK, and those of countless others such as Motueka Christian Fellowship in New Zealand. Consults also my articles "The Holy of Holies" and "Patterns in Passover" on this website as well as in my book on end times.
A CRITICAL VERSE, REVELATION 20:9. THE THREE LOCATIONS IN THE MILLENNIUM
“And, when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of Heaven, and devoured them. And the devil, that deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:7-10, NKJV).
All the redeemed have already been celebrating in the presence of Christ for 1000 years on this earth. During this time believers no longer experience grief or terror, nor burning heat or frigid cold, for there is no more sin. Christ and His church are like Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden except that this second Eden is far more glorious and is accessible to hosts of holy angels. Now, take careful note of the three locations we can discern in verse 9 above (in green). Remember that, in one of His parables, Jesus promised to those who used their minas well that they would be rulers over cities or villages (Luke 19:11-19), these will be scattered around the ‘beloved city’ in Paradise (see my Kindle book on the 'New Jerusalem').
Therefore, there are three locations in the Millennium:
A city, the holy city (the tabernacle/temple in prototype).
A ‘camp’ (villages/smaller cities) surrounding the city (the many tents around the Tabernacle).
God the Father in Heaven who sends out fire to protect the kingdom of the Son - Christ and the church.
Is this layout not reminiscent of the layout of the church in the wilderness in the days of Moses and within the Tabernacle itself?“
The green insert is not to scale. The Most Holy Place which contained the Ark, where God would often present Himself, was cubic as are also the dimensions of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:16).
WHO MIGHT RESIDE IN THE NEW HEAVEN? A THOUGHT BASED ON THE DIVINE PATTERN
In the Millennium we are given a picture of Christ, together with His redeemed, in the Kingdom of the Son ("But to the Son He says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom”’, Hebrews 1:8). At the very end, when the universe is altogether destroyed, before the creation of a New Heaven and the New Earth, the Son will put His Kingdom under the Father.
"Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all" (I Corinthians 15:24-28, RSV).
Thus we also have a total of three creations, the last of which is the New Heaven and the New Earth:
1. The first creation - 6 days plus rest
2. The progressive redemption of the Earth back to its state as it was before the Fall - 6 days plus the Millennium
3. The New Earth - eternal
Does the pattern that has been revealed here stir in you a possible answer as to who might occupy the New Heaven and as to who will occupy the New Earth? The tabernacle of Moses would suggest that His very presence is reserved for those Christians who have ventured to enter, in their Christian experience on Earth, through all the 3 'doorways' that lead to the Ark of the Lord; from salvation and repentance, in the Outer Court, to those totally pure in heart.
"Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail" (Revelation 11:19, RSV).
After all the judgements are finalized, that are to take place, the Son will place His kingdom under the wings of the Father for all eternity.
This topic and the early prototypes of the New Jerusalem are more extensively developed under the various subheadings of ‘The New Jerusalem’ in my Kindle book “Supernatural Visions and Dreams: Personal Experiences”.
The painting of the camp in the wilderness is the work of Robyn Uglow, Mount Evelyn, Victoria. The images of the Tabernacle of Moses were obtained from Shutterstock.com and the green insert from Lightstock.com