What the Expression "New Heaven and Earth" Means
The creation week is highly significant, highly symbolic, highly important. God made the physical heaven and earth in six days—He was done with the work of creation by the sabbath day. The “new heaven and earth” which God is making (Isaiah 65:17) is taking six one-thousand-year “millennial days” to create. The seventh one-thousand-year period will be a finished, “new” heaven and earth. We also call it “the world tomorrow.“
Major changes are coming to the world as we know it. God is creating something brand new. It's taking a long time, seven thousand years to be precise. Understanding this concept gives you the grand explanation of the purpose of the Bible! Let's dig in.
Genesis 2:1-3—note where it says, “Thus the heavens and the earth . . . were finished.” “Thus” means “as a result of,” meaning that the first six days are what produced the end result, the seventh day being that result. See also Exodus 20:11 and Exodus 31:17.
Notice that everything from day 1 lasted through the rest of the week; everything from day 2 lasted through the rest of the week. No day erased the previous day’s work, and once a thing was established it remained. Once day and night were established, there was always a day and a night to each day. Once the sky established the boundary between the clouds and the water below, there was always a sky—and so on.
It is like this with the millennial days. Each 1,000 year period involves events and lessons that, once established, remain. Take a look at the Second Millennial Day, in which the flood occurred and wiped out life on earth. The rainbow was a sign that this would never happen again—that God has created an environment for life on earth that will never be eliminated.
2 Peter 3:5-13
There have already been several eras, or “worlds,” on earth. The term “worlds” in this sense means periods of time with definite boundaries or benchmarks between them. The first world was the dinosaur age, ruled by Lucifer and his angels. That world was destroyed in the angel rebellion, a cataclysm of universal proportions (2 Peter 2:4, Revelation 12:7-9). The second world, or time period, was that which began with Adam and Eve, created in six days, destroyed by the great flood in Noah's time. When Noah and his family got off the ark, our “present evil world“ (Galatians 1:4) began. This world will continue until Jesus returns. Then the “world to come” (Hebrews 2:5) will appear. That world will never end (Daniel 2:44, Ezekiel 37:25, Joel 3:20, Luke 1:33, Revelation 11:15, etc.). It will begin with the world tomorrow (Seventh Millennial Day), and will last forever. This is the “new heaven and earth“ described in Isaiah 65:17-25. Notice that it will include human beings (Isaiah 65:21-23, 66:22-23) and animals (Isaiah 65:25). The expression "heaven and earth," is synonymous with the term "world."
In the flood account of Genesis chapters 6-8, we find expressions which say that all life on earth died at that time (Genesis 7:4, 21-23). And yet we find that Noah, his family, and everyone aboard the ark survived. This same principle applies to the passages referring to the end of this world—passages like Isaiah 13 and 24, or 2 Peter 3, where it sounds like all life on earth will be destroyed. You have to put it all together. Everything will be destroyed--except for what God has predetermined to save alive (see Matthew 24:21-22, Isaiah 65:8-9, 22). There won’t be a literal “ark” to bring people through the great tribulation, but God has already determined that there will be survivors from both Israelite and Gentile nations—Revelation 7 indicates that. So does Jeremiah 50:20 along with many other Scriptures pertaining to the restoration of Israel.
Realize that we are to be looking for “new heavens and a new earth” as mentioned in 2 Peter 3:13. The apostles were looking for it, and wanted to pass that zeal on to the whole church before they died. They knew this “new heaven and earth“ was to coincide with Christ’s return (compare II Peter 3:10 with I Thessalonians 5:2). This was their hope! They looked for the new world--the new heaven and earth—and so do we!
Establishing this new heaven and earth -- the seventh millennial day of human history -- will be the greatest thing ever to happen in the history of the universe! It is the beginning of a time without Satan’s evil influence. It is correcting the sin of the angel rebellion once and for all. It’s that incredibly exciting “beginning” with which Mr. Armstrong ended his book Mystery of the Ages. He describes an “eternal life of accomplishment, constantly looking forward in super-joyous anticipation to new creative projects, and still looking back also on accomplishments with happiness and joy over what shall already have been accomplished.” Restoring the earth to beauty and physical perfection, after 6,000 years of being polluted by a Satan-inspired mankind, is a project which God values as of the highest importance! God’s kingdom will never end—Daniel 2:44. The world tomorrow will never end. The new heaven and new earth will last forever.
How great this is!
This Bible study was given by Matthew Kalliman on 8/28/09