A Brick in the Valley

The New Earth
March 4, 2008, 5:34 am
Filed under: Recommended Links

If you asked me what is one of the least understood, most important areas of theology, I would say, “It is the continuity between this Creation and the eternal destination of believers.”

Contrary to what many envision, the Bible always envisions an earthly destination for God’s people.  We won’t spend eternity floating in clouds.  (See quotes below).

Fortunately, there is an increasing recognition of the need for more teaching about the New Earth, including in the blogosphere.

Recently, the Jollyblogger has posted about a Nightline interview with N.T. Wright. 

Tullian Tchividjian’s has developed this area on more than one occasion.  See, for instance, his post about Cosmic Renewal.

Tangent on the Rapture 

Dr. Jolly rightly questions one point by N.T. Wright.

One more caveat – while I do appreciate [N.T. Wright] taking some digs at the whole Left Behind phenomenon, there is a place in the interview where he says he doesn’t believe in a rapture.  The interview seemed to cut at that point so I don’t know if he intended to elaborate on that or not. But left alone I think it is improper to say there will be no rapture.  We do believe that a day is coming when the dead in Christ will rise and we will be changed (I Corinthians 15:51ff).  So it is proper to believe in a rapture, we just need to specify that the bible doesn’t support all of the baggage that is loaded into the Left Behind views.

Rev Jolly rightly asserts that it is wrong to dispense categorically with the idea of the rapture.  I concur, especially given that the word rapture comes from the Latin Vulgate translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 – – completely dispensing with the idea of “rapture” would mean eliminating that verse from the Bible – – though, like Pastor Jolly, I don’t accept all the Left Behind baggage that comes along with it.

 Below are Some Important Quotes About the New Earth

 Seiss quote. “If the nature of the fall was to destroy the existence of man as a race and to dispossess him of his habitation and mastery of the earth, the nature and effect of the redemption must necessarily involve the restitution and perpetuation of the race, as such, and its rehabilitation as the happy possessor of the earth; for if the redemption does not go as far as the consequences of sin, it is a misnomer, and fails to be redemption.”

Ladd quote. “In typical dualistic Greek thought, the universe was eternal spiritual order. Salvation consisted of the flight of the soul from the sphere of the transitory and ephemeral; to the realm of eternal reality. However, biblical thought always places man on a redeemed earth, not in a heavenly realm removed from earthly existence (Ladd’s commentary on Revelation, 275).”

David Turner from Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary. “The new universe in Christ is none other than the old Adamic universe gloriously liberated from its cacophonous groan to a harmonious song of praise to the One who sits on the throne.” David Turner, ‘The New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:1-22:5: Consummation of a Biblical Continuum,’ in Dispensationalism, Israel, and the Church, published by Zondervan, 1992), page 265.”

“So the Christian hope is not merely that someday we and our loved ones will die and go to be with Jesus. Instead, the Christian hope is that our departure from this world is just the first leg of a journey that is round-trip (Mike Wittmer, Heaven is a Place on Earth, page 17).”

“. . . we earthlings are made to live here – – – on this planet. This is where we belong. We’re already home. . . So we may conclude that this world is not our home, but only if we’re speaking in an ethical rather than an ontological sense . . . We were made from the earth so that we might live here forever. In this ontological, though not ethical sense, we’re already home (Wittmer, 74,75).”

Gale Heide, writing in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS 40/1 (March 1997), page 40, writes, ” . . .[there has been] neglect towards passages teaching continuity between the old and new earth. Certainly these problems are being corrected, but as yet the corrections have not reached the people in the pews.”

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In May 2005, Alienated Planet Earth and the End that will be Coming to Our World which is a Christian eschatology had been published by Trafford Publishing and is available on-line in softcover or downloadable e-Book version at: trafford.com/04-2823

There is a continuity for whosoever believes in Jesus (Hebrew: Yeshua). Yeshua did not die but he was resurrected and rose into heaven from whence He came. His faithful New Testament believers, His faithful angels and Old Testament saints who looked toward His First coming in faith will all return with the Lord, Yeshua at His second Coming when He takes up His title and His righteous rule and reign transitioning our world into an initial theocracy from the fallen world’s past secular (and Satanic) human reign and rule.

For the first 1,000 years, the original fallen world will be used to establish the Kingdom of God as a Theocracy upon our Earth making heaven upon our earth under the Messiah, Yeshua’s righteous reign and rule. Thereafter, the Lord will destroy the old earth and create a new heaven and a new earth in our universe where He will reign forevermore with His faithful creatures who gladly and voluntarily submit to His reign and rule in all their affairs.

Once the Rapture Event takes place, it will take approximately 1007 years to accomplish all that Yeshua had planned in establishing God’s Kingdom upon this earth and in another 1,000 years following His Second Coming, He will destroy the old earth by fire and then make a new heaven and a new earth.

So the faithful must realize that Yeshua has not completed His redemption by simply dying upon the cross, although He did make a way through His mercy and grace for the faihful to partake in the coming Kingdom of God which He is going to establish in the future.

He still must accomplish His prophesied second coming when He returns with His redeemed believers and His faithful angels to establish God’s Kingdom upon our fallen world and then creates a new heaven and a new earth after 1,000 years to complete His mission with full continuity forever – for whosoever believes in Him.

May He come quickly.

In Yeshua’s Name,

Jonah Immanu,
Christian Eschatological Author

Comment by Jonah Immanu

A theology of the new heavens and new earth has been one of the most important developments in my own theology. Scot McKnight’s Embracing Grace added a great component: envisioning our lives in the new heavens and new earth informs how we should live our lives today. Obviously we will be unsuccessful, but Eternity starts today for the Christian and is completed upon Christ’s return.

I’ve not read Jonah’s work (post above), but I’m not one who supports an ex nihilo creation at the end as his post seems. I think the world will be refined by fire, just as the world was refined by water in the flood. There is continuity, not destruction and starting over.

Comment by brianmcl

I agree with an emphasis on continuity. I may take a look at McKnight’s book.

Comment by cdbrauns

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