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Revelation Twenty

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

 

 

 

   
     

 

 

REVELATION TWENTY
by L.R. Shelton, Jr.

 

Chapter 6


Dear friend, we have now completed our commentary on Revelation chapter 20, and yet our commentary is not complete. We have been studying the Great White Throne Judgment and the final abode of the wicked in the lake of fire which is the second death; but what about the righteous? Where will they spend eternity?


THE FINAL ABODE OF THE
RIGHTEOUS


So today we desire to consider the final abode of those who will be standing on the right hand of the righteous Judge of the Universe. In our mind’s eye, let us picture them as they stand there, absolved of all their sins upon the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God Who came and paid their sin-debt in full; and clothed in the righteousness of the Lamb; ONLY BECAUSE OF THE DISTINGUISHING GRACE OF GOD Who wrote their names in the Lamb’s BOOK OF LIFE and called them by His grace into fellowship with His Son; Who justified them by His blood through faith, kept them in the narrow way of sanctification by His indwelling Spirit; and now has presented them faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24), that they may share His glory in this glorified state forever and ever-and this in answer to His request to His Father in His High Priestly Prayer of John 17:24. To these He speaks the blessed words: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34).
 


Notice now that verse 1 of Revelation 21 begins with the word “And…”, for it is a continuation of the same scene found in verses 11-15 of chapter 20; if there were no chapter division, these first eight verses would belong to chapter 20, to complete the story by showing us the final abode of the righteous. Let us read verses 1-7 together: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

 

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”  Now let us hear what these verses are teaching us; John, the writer of this Book of Revelation, has seen the wicked cast into the lake of fire which is the second death; and then he sees the new heaven and new earth “wherein dwelleth righteousness”, the fulfillment of God’s promise to His people (II Pet. 3:13). Then he sees the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, and hears the voice out of heaven reminding the people of God that God, their Father, has kept and was now fulfilling the promises He had made to all His children in Christ from Genesis to Revelation, that He would come down on this NEW EARTH and dwell with them and be their God.


A Perfected State


You see, although God indwells His people, His church, now, this eternal state will be more glorious, for then we will have finished with sin; and He will dwell with us in that perfected state on the new earth, wherein dwells righteousness! Oh, praise the Lord that one day we will be finished with sin! for Rev. 21:27 tells us that “there shall in no wise enter into it (the holy city) any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

 


Former Things are Passed Away



Listen closely now! It seems that after the Holy Spirit had given John those first three verses, He began to impress upon him that the first century Christians and all the people of God down through the ages needed to be encouraged to wait, pray and live for this glorious day which was coming for them: for He says, “God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (verse 4).  Dear child of God, think of this when you are in the midst of sorrow or pain, affliction, trials, suffering or dying: there shall be a day when these things will no longer affect you; they shall all pass away when you are given your new body, and you will dwell upon the NEW EARTH with your blessed Lord and with the dear people of God forever!

 

Oh beloved, that precious Scripture in which you have often delighted will then be fulfilled: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (I Cor. 2:9). Remember that there is a day coming when these things shall surely be yours, when God shall make up the jewels for His crown.  Then to confirm all of this, the voice of the One Who sat upon that judgment throne-the Lamb of God-was heard to say, “Behold I make all things new! Just as I made you a new creation in Myself by My Holy Spirit in the new birth, and just as I fulfilled all My promises unto you day by day in your walk upon the earth, then surely I will make all things new for you in this golden age. I make a NEW HEAVEN and a NEW EARTH, a new order of society wherein dwelleth nothing but righteousness! And I will also give you NEW BODIES-glorious bodies like unto Mine-so you will enjoy and share My glory forever and ever!” (Phil. 3:21). Beloved, isn’t that precious? It is to my soul today!


Thirst Satisfied



And to give greater encouragement to our hearts, in verse 6 the voice of God in Christ, the Lamb, cries,”…these words are true and faithful, for I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Write these words, for I will surely give all these things to him who thirsts after Me: I will give him the water of life from the fountain of life to quench his thirst, and I will give it freely. Write these words, encourage the people of God, for these words are true and faithful.”



Oh my dear weeping, sorrowing, thirsting child of God today, hear these words and wipe away your tears, for He said freely He gives this water of life to the thirsty, to those who long and thirst after Him! Do you cry like David in Psa. 42:1,2: “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?”” Or like the Psalmist in Psa. 63: “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary” (vv. 1,2)?

 

He freely gives the water of life to all those who have this thirst in their souls. Oh how gracious and merciful our God is to thirsting souls and to all His children, to give us His life and His grace, thus fulfilling His precious promises to us, for He has said, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses” (Isa. 44:3-4). And as surely as He answers the prayers of all those who cry and thirst after Him now in this life, so forever our souls will be satisfied throughout eternity!



Do you have a thirsty soul, my friend? Are you one who is longing to see His face and thirsting to be filled with His presence and His glory? Are you crying out in your soul, “I want Him, I desire Him, ‘Oh that I knew where I might fine Him!” (Job 23:3)? If this thirst is in your soul, come to Him by faith today and be filled, for He says, “I will give unto him who is athirst of the water of life freely.” Bring Him your empty and thirsting soul, and look to Him to give you of this water of life freely to satisfy your soul. Cry after Him as the Psalmist did, for He will quench that thirst; He will give you a foretaste of His glory here, and when He brings you into that eternal state, He will fill you with that water of life forever and ever! Oh beloved, what a blessing and what a joy! We can bring Him the empty vessel and He fills it, just as He commanded the filling of the empty waterpots at the marriage feast in John 2, when He turned the water into wine! (vv. 1-11).



Then in verse 7 of our text, our Lord Jesus confirms the same promise that He gave us in verse 3: “…they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God”; for He says, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” And this promise He has given us all through Scripture! (see Exo. 4:22 and II Cor. 6:16-18). What encouragement to press on, thirsting soul! You shall have your heart’s desire, so don’t give up or turn back; remember, we are “more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Rom. 8:37). The day of triumph is coming, and we shall be like Him in all things!
 



The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth

 


And what about verse 8 of Rev. 21? What a contrast! John looks for the last time at the wicked in their fearful abode: “…but the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Yes, my friend, “evil doers shall be cut off…” (Psa. 37:9). This is God’s Word, and it is true and faithful! “-but those that wait upon the LORD, THEY SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH.” And all of God’s promises to His people down through the ages are fulfilled when the Lord makes all things new as He says in Rev. 21:5, and gives them a NEW EARTH as their final abode. You see, over and over He has promised them in His Word, “…the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace…For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; …The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. …Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it” (Psa. 37:11, 22a, 29 and 34). And when He was upon this earth, again He said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5). Then before going back to heaven, He told his disciples, “…I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
 



THE NEW EARTH



So now has come the fulfillment of all these promises made to the children of God over the centuries, that they shall inherit the earth; and also the fulfillment of the prayer our Lord had taught us to pray: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). We see Him now bringing His bride out of heaven to the NEW EARTH John saw in Rev. 21:1, and confirmed by the angel in Rev. 21:9-11: “…Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God…” Yes, the holy Jerusalem is the bride, the church, coming down from heaven and dwelling upon the NEW EARTH with her blessed Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for her “that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:26,27).

 


The questions are asked, “Why a NEW EARTH, and why so much emphasis put on it here, that the righteous will inherit it and dwell upon it with Christ forever and ever?” Well, to answer these questions and to fully understand why and how the righteous shall dwell upon a new earth as their final abode with the Lord Jesus Christ we must go back to the beginning and begin with God and His eternal purpose.

Now I desire that you would listen intently to these next studies, for I want to set before our hearts some very great and glorious Biblical truths from the Holy Scriptures. These truths on which we must be clear and for which we must have spiritual understanding, for they affect our entire life and destiny. So I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, will give unto us the spirit of wisdom and knowledge of Himself, that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened, and that we may know the things that God has made for our peace. Follow us now!


Seven Great Biblical Truths



First, we will look at the earth as it came forth from the hand of God in creation, in its perfect beauty and perfect glory. Second, we will look at man as he came forth from the hand of God in creation as a free moral agent in the image and likeness of God. Third, we will look at man as a sinful, fallen creature in a cursed state in body, soul and spirit. Fourth, we will look at this earth in its cursed state now because of man’s sin. Fifth, we will look at the eternal purpose of God in planning and carrying out His great redemptive work in the Lord Jesus Christ. Sixth, we will consider our Kinsman-Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, and what He has done in redeeming fallen man from this cursed state in spirit, soul and body. And, seventh, we will se the final act of God’s redeeming work in Christ in giving His redeemed people all that they lost in Adam-a completely restored earth on which to live forever in that blessed state of holiness and righteousness, and in their glorified bodies which are made in the image and likeness of their blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.



Now some of you may be wondering why we must go all the way back to eternity past and to creation in speaking upon the NEW EARTH and the final abode of the righteous. But you see, dear friend, we must start with God in eternity past, to end with God in eternity future! In other words, we must understand the beginning to understand the end. You see, it is this failure to start with God in the study of Christ and the End Times, that has led to the mass confusion today in regard to sin, salvation, death, heaven, hell, the intermediate state; and also in regard to the work of Christ in all of His offices of Prophet, Priest and King, His present reign in His kingdom now, His glorious second coming, the Great White Throne Judgment, the final abode of the wicked in the lake of fire, and the final state of the redeemed children of God!  Keeping this in mind then, follow us as we begin with God’s eternal purpose in creation and trace out the results of the fall, and then see the great redemptive purpose of the Lord Jesus Christ in acting as the Kinsman-Redeemer, to restore all that man lost in the fall, even completely restoring this earth on which man will live forever and ever.
 



Creation: the Earth in its Perfect State



Turn with me to the first chapter of Genesis, where we find a description given of the creation: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”…and then follows the account of the six days of creation. Then in Gen. 1:31 we read: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” reading on into chapter 2, we find these words: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (vv. 1-3). Beloved, this world came into existence by way of direct creation! Let everybody in the world argue about evolution and creation, but I’ll take the Biblical account of it, and it must be by faith: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God-” (Heb. 11:1). And that’s the only way we’ll ever know it, because you see, only God was there, and He had to reveal it to us. It came as a revelation from God to Moses, and he wrote it down in the Holy Scriptures, God’s Book, and by faith God has revealed it to my soul; that’s why I believe it. 

 

So in these Scriptures by faith we see God producing a complex, diverse and intricate world that is perfectly harmonious; for “God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” And He made everything upon this earth so it would be perfectly suited for His crowning act of creation, which was the creation of man-a perfect man, clothed in His own moral image and likeness-perfectly suited for that perfect earth; and as Isaiah 45:18 tells us, God formed this earth to be inhabited, and that forever and forever. Neither was His purpose thwarted by the fall of man, for this truth is not only stated in Genesis 1 and 2, but runs throughout the entire Bible, concluding with a redeemed earth on which dwells redeemed man, clothed and made in the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ!


Creation: Man in theImage & Likeness of God



Now in our second thought, we see man as he came forth from the hand of God in creation as a free moral agent-a free moral creature-made in the image and likeness of God. This we read in Gen. 1:26-28 and 2:7. Listen to how God revealed it to us! “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth”…”And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

 

Then follows the Biblical account of how God made the first woman, who was also perfect like the man-Listen! “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him-And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Gen. 2:18, 21-25).
 


Dear friend, from these Scriptures, we see that the God of the universe created man to inhabit the earth for His own pleasure and glory. Here in the midst of that complex, diverse and intricate but yet harmonious environment, He put a perfect, upright, intelligent and responsible man and woman, and told them to replenish the earth and subdue it. And what did He mean by that? He meant for them to discover its laws and harness them to use for God’s glory and their own good.  Can you imagine a world in which all is harmonious? a world without sin and sorrow, heartache and suffering? without strife and bitterness, hatred and murder, war and famine, sickness and pain? Can you imagine a world like that, where the man and the woman walked with God in the cool of the day in perfect love and obedience, and where all creation moved about in peace and tranquility? Yes, this is hard to imagine, but it was so! That’s the way the earth and man came forth from the hand of God, and that is the way it shall be again when God’s children come to be upon the restored earth, all because of God’s grace and mercy towards sinful man in Christ.
 


Remember now that the account we have read today in God’s Word is God’s account of creation: both of the perfect earth and heaven, and of the perfect man and woman. And he who would deny this creation as being the very work of the triune God, also denies the eternal Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, for He Himself quoted these words to those around Him: “…Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:4-6). So you see, Christ our Lord put His stamp of approval upon His own creation; therefore, he who would deny Christ and His Word, also denies the God of the universe, and abides under His curse.
 


I ask, “Why does man deny the Biblical account of creation?” And I answer, “He hopes to rule out God because he does not want a God to rule over him; for you see, he thinks if he does away with the Biblical account of creation, saying that it came into being by chance or evolution, then he doesn’t have to abide by God’s authority!” But you can’t put God out of His universe, my friend, and you can’t put Him out of your life! Even though you may say “no God for me”, God calls you a fool (Psa. 14:1), for you know there is a God! There’s no true atheist living upon the earth today, nor ever has there been; this fact is plainly stated in Rom. 1:19-21. Although you may try to do away with the Biblical account of the creation of this universe, including the starry heavens and the earth, and also of man, thinking that by so doing you do not have to bow to the authority of the God Who made you, yet you can’t get rid of God that easily; one day you must give an account to Him, your Creator. Though you have fallen in Adam, yet you are responsible to Him Who created you.



Then from Genesis 2 we see that not only did God make man and woman in His own moral image and likeness, but He gave them free moral choice: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (vv. 16-17). You see, when the Lord put man in the Garden of Eden to dress and keep it, this was the only stipulation that God put upon him: he was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or he would die, both spiritually and physically; he would be cut off from the presence of the true and living God forever!

Keep in mind now, that everything God had made was very good (Gen. 1:31); there was nothing lacking! There was a perfect environment for two perfectly holy and intelligent beings, made in His own moral image and likeness, to inhabit, to “be fruitful and multiply, and replenish…and subdue” (Gen. 1:28). And He told man to dress and keep the beautiful Garden of Eden, giving him that mental capacity and responsibility to obey and walk with Him as a free moral agent. Now how long Adam and Eve stayed in this place of perfect tranquility and harmony, the Scripture does not say, but I would venture to say it was the same amount of time our Lord was tempted in the wilderness after His baptism-40 days.

 

We know from the Scriptures in Genesis 3 that the first Adam disobeyed the commandment of God and lost all he had in the fall; and that we fell in him (which will be the next truth we’ll study); but praise the Lord that our blessed Redeemer, the second Adam, the perfect God-man, did not fall, but passed every test and stood for us as the perfect man, taking that perfect body, and offering it upon the alter at the cross where He poured out His life’s blood, that we might be redeemed by His marvelous grace! For God’s eternal purpose to have a people made in His own moral image and likeness, and a perfect environment in which for them to live and walk with Him forever, He will carry out!




The Fall: Man in a Cursed State



But my friend, that which left God’s hand in a perfect condition and which was blessed of God, soon came into a sad state of chaos and ruin, utter confusion and death (Gen. 3). What happened? Man, who was made in the moral image and likeness of God, and given free moral choice with only one stipulation-not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil-disobeyed the commandment of God and brought immediate death and the curse upon the earth, himself and his posterity, for God had said, “…in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Yes, now he is forever banished (separated) from the presence of God, experiencing immediate spiritual death, as Rom. 3:23 tells us, “the wages of sin is death.” And in Rom. 5:12 we read, “…by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Then 930 years later, Adam experienced physical death, and so do we.



But why did death pass upon all men because Adam sinned? You see, Adam stood as a representative for the whole human race, as we read further in Rom. 5; so when he sinned and fell, so did we. We’re sinners because we fell in Adam. Listen to these brief sentences from this chapter: “Judgment was by one” (that is, Adam) “to condemnation” (vs. 16); “…by one man’s offence death reigned by one” (vs. 17); “…as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation” (vs. 18). Therefore, verse 21 tells us “…sin hath reigned unto death”; and sin yet reigns and will reign until the Lord Jesus Christ returns, for the last enemy He shall put under His feet is death (I Cor. 15:26).

 


We also see that this fall into sin, judgment and death was complete in all the faculties of man; in other words, in the fall, man became a totally depraved sinner before God. Listen to the description given of this complete fall of man-every man-in Rom. 3:10-18: “…There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.” And verse 23 sums it all up: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
 


Dear friend, we should read and re-read the account of our fall in Adam found in Gen. 3, and meditate upon it, for therein we find the awful state of men and women, the animal kingdom and the earth in sin and misery-all came under the curse of God because of man’s sin. Here we find the animal and inanimate creation cursed for man’s sake, and remaining so to this very day. And we see man and woman trying to run away and hide from the face of the Lord, with Whom they had walked and talked in sweet fellowship. Listen to verse 8: “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” Why did they hide? You see, as soon as they had disobeyed God and sinned by eating of the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked; so they tried to make themselves aprons of fig leaves to cover their naked bodies, and they did as all of their posterity has done since then-they tried to hide themselves from the living God.

 

Why? Because they were sinners and could not stand in the presence of a holy God; the light of His holiness only made them feel their sinfulness and shame and guilty condition all the more. Although they did not take the blame, they understood that they were guilty before God and felt their guilt. And so man yet tries to disregard the account given in the first chapters of Genesis wherein we find the awful curse that fell upon man physically and spiritually, for it tells him that he’s in a sinful condition and abides under the curse of God unless a ransom is found for his never-dying soul!



Let us continue reading God’s account of the just curse that fell upon sinful man and God’s perfect earth because of man’s sin, in Gen. 3 beginning with verse 9: “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou was naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman who thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” And so man has been passing the blame for his sin ever since then, and only takes the blame himself as God the Holy Spirit works miraculously in his soul. You see, Adam and Eve never saw themselves to be guilty or took the blame before God; that’s the reason they were never saved!

 


But I want you to notice from vv. 14-15 that before God brought the curse upon the man and woman for breaking his law, and before He cursed the earth for man’s sake, He gave it promise of redemption! “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Yes, this is the very first promise in the Bible, that God would restore what Adam had lost, and that this restoration would be by the woman’s seed, Who was to be Christ Jesus the Lord. He would restore all things by defeating Satan’s seed (the seed of the serpent) at the cross. Thus by the redemptive work of Christ, the Eden which was lost in the fall would be restored. For you see, the fall of man did not take God by surprise; it only gave Him the opportunity of showing forth all His gracious and glorious attributes in carrying out what He had purposed and planned by redemption: to have a perfect man upon a perfect earth, and that forever!



Then in verse 16 of Gen. 3 we read, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” And I say, no wonder the feminist movement of today hates the first chapters of Genesis! for therein we are told that the husband is to rule over the wife, and that because of her sin, she shall have pain and sorrow in childbirth. Also from this we can understand why man in His rebellion tries to do away with childbirth by the awful sin of murder-killing millions of unborn children in their mother’s womb. They want the pleasure of lust without the sorrow of childbirth, so they try to do away with the curse upon their sin! But you cannot do away with God’s curse that way, my friend; it is murder and be sure your sin will find you out! God holds you accountable; and every mother, doctor, nurse or midwife who is responsible for these abortions is also accountable for their sin. The only way God’s curse can be set aside for you is in the work of the lord Jesus Christ, for the curse fell upon Him at the cross.



Now listen as God speaks to Adam: “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field, in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return…and the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” (vv. 17-19; 22-24).




The Fall: The Earth in a Cursed Condition



Dear friend, again we want to put you in remembrance of the truth that at all times the earth must correspond to the state of man who lives upon it, so a perfect man, as he came forth from the hand of God, necessitated a perfect earth, which God had provided; but when perfect man sinned and came under the judgment of God, then a sinful and cursed man necessitated a cursed earth, as we read in Gen. 3:17: “…cursed is the ground for thy sake.” So it’s because of our sin that we now live upon a cursed earth; and the curse will not be removed until Christ returns and removes it for the sake of His glorified people. And this our blessed Lord will do for His people, because paradise regained is part of the salvation God gives us, based upon the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 


Did you know that because of the curse upon the earth, all creation groans and travails in pain, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God at the second coming of Christ? Yes, even creation knows there is a day when the curse will be taken off the earth, and it will be completely restored to a perfect state. Listen as we read this from Rom. 8:18-23: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”



I understand that it is generally believed that this portion refers to a partially restored earth in a so-called millennium, but this has nothing to do with that. These verses of Scripture call for the complete restoration of the earth, which will take place at the second coming of Christ. For we see in verses 22-23 that the groaning of creation for deliverance from the bondage of corruption is inseparably connected with the groaning of the children of God for deliverance from their bodies of this humiliation. Yes, we who are the children of God have been delivered from the corruption and the bondage of sin, but because our bodies have been left in this state of corruption, “even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (vs. 23).



You see, these verses are a source of encouragement to the children of God, for the apostle says that the sufferings of this present time “are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (vs. 18). So we can expectantly await that glorious day of our Lord’s return, when He will complete that which He started in our souls (Phil. 1:6), completely removing the curse of sin from our bodies and from the earth in glorification. This is why all of God’s creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God: for then it too will be glorified with them!



Let us look a little further into this subject! What does the apostle mean when he says that “the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that has subjected the same in hope”? Well, because man had become cursed and needed a corresponding environment in which to live, God subjected the earth and all creation to emptiness and void and vanity-all the irrational creation with the material creation, animate and inanimate, organic and inorganic; the animals, the vegetation, the flowers, the grass, the rivers and the streams, and the mountains and hills-all of these were subject to the curse. Even the oceans and tides, the winds and clouds-everything that goes to make up our weather, were cursed for man’s sake. And all were subject to vanity; that is, they became futile and empty and could not fulfill the function for that which they were intended. For when the creation came forth from the hand of God, is was meant to be perfect, and it was.

 

 But when God had to curse it for man’s sake, now creation does not measure up to that for which it was meant to be; it does not attain to self-realization, but its potentialities are cribbed, confused and confined. It is subject to arrested development, and though it aspires, it is not able to achieve. It may be compared to a very powerful man, a world- champion boxer or wrestler, who is chained in such a manner that he cannot make use of his tremendous physical powers. Thus it is with the present universe which lies under the curse. Everywhere we see disease and death. Every variety of organism seems to be working at cross purposes, so it cannot be truly said that nature is to any extent man’s willing servant. Fear and dread rest heavily upon the various conflicting domains of this universe; there is warfare everywhere.
 


So we see that creation is in a state of bondage, of physical corruption, putrefaction, decay, and there seems to be something destructive which reduces everything to that which is null and void and empty-to vanity; nothing is stable. And beloved, death and destruction are alien things to the creation that God made; this all came about because of man’s sin! And try as it will, creation cannot free itself from its corruption; it cannot rid itself of this element of decay and corruption that renders it ultimately vain and utterly futile.

 

The oceans, the tides and the winds try their best to tear loose from this bondage by hurling their forces against the land masses in hurricanes and tornadoes, blizzards and rain storms, hail storms and droughts-all nature is in revolt against man’s sin! And it looks like every spring nature is going to come out of this bondage as it waits for that bondage to be fulfilled; it comes into the beauty and glory of summer, but then comes fall and bleak winter…no, it didn’t come out of bondage this year, but it may next year…so it keeps waiting for that day when it shall be delivered from that bondage of corruption to which it was subjected because of man’s sin. For all creation knows that it “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (vs. 21).
 


And this brings us again to verse 23: “And not only them, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Why does the child of God groan within himself? Because he knows the condition of his body and of the world. He knows that because sin is in the flesh, he will continue to have the problem of his body in this life; and that there will always be a conflict between the flesh and the Spirit (Gal. 5:17), so he groans within himself as he awaits the redemption of his body. And what makes his groaning more meaningful is that he has already tasted of the firstfruits of the Spirit, and having tasted, he wants more, so he anxiously waits and longs for that day when he shall be made like unto his blessed Lord. So until that day of complete restoration, he reckons himself to be dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God through Jesus Christ his Lord (Rom. 6:11), as he awaits the redemption of his body.


Yes, I know that the children of God would like to believe as some do, that provision has been made in the atonement for the redemption of our bodies now, and that sin can be eradicated from the life and body in this life, but we cannot go against Scripture and actual experience.  For nowhere do the Scriptures promise that the body will be redeemed in this life. And neither can we do away with the problem of sin that has cursed this earth, or change the world situation with all of its corruption, so we don’t try; and we don’t put any confidence in man’s remedies or what he says he can do by legislation, etc. to do away with the problem of sin; we continue to hope and long and wait for that change which God has promised-that day when God will complete the salvation He has given His people by the redemption of their bodies and the complete restoration of the earth.



Dear friend, do you not see from these verses in Romans 8 how the redemption of this earth is bound up with the redemption of the children of God, and both groan and travail and await that day-their eternal state-with earnest expectation? Further, these verses teach that God will not leave creation nor His people in a state of corruption and bondage. His glory and His honor, and His very character-that which He is, the all powerful great Creator, with all rule and authority at His command-all make it impossible that He should leave creation in bondage and vanity, as it is at the present time; nor will He leave His children as they are, but He tells us “we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (I Cor. 15:52-53).

 

And this corresponds with our text in Rev. 21 where we read: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful” (vv. 4-5). Also in Rev. 22:3-5: “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” In all of this we see a complete restoration of all things, and not a partial restoration for 1000 years as some would have us believe today.
 



The Eternal Purpose of God:
REDEMPTION



Now as we go further into the study of this subject, we see from the Word of God that God’s eternal purpose was for the new earth, the restored earth, which Adam had lost in the fall, to be populated by the sons of Adam who would be saved by His sovereign grace, and that the Head of that redeemed race would be the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. In this again we see that the fall of man did not take God by surprise; so I desire that you would listen and ask the Holy Spirit to take these precious truths home to your heart.
 


The Apostle Paul tells us in Eph. 1:9-11 that which the Lord had revealed to him, that it was His great eternal purpose for all things to head up in the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, and not in the first Adam who was made from the dust (see also I Cor. 15:45). Listen to God’s Word: God would “according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself…gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him…according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” And Paul said this was a mystery hid from the foundation of the world, but was revealed to the children of God to show forth the great grace of God (Eph. 1:13-14).
 


Also in the letter to the Colossians this same truth is set forth in 1:19: “For it pleased the Father that in him (that is, Christ) should all fullness dwell.” Listen to the preeminence given to the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, as He was set up in God’s eternal purpose as Head over all things! “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

 

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Also in Col. 2:9-10 we read: “For in him (Christ) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”
 


Now this is the heart of our message, dear friend! The Scriptures are clear that the eternal purpose of God in creating man and letting him fall into sin, thereby losing all he had been given-spirit, soul and body, even this earth and paradise-was that God might display all of His glorious attributes to the sons of men which He had made for His own pleasure and glory; and these glorious attributes would shine forth in His eternal Son, Who would be Head of the redeemed race, those who would be called and redeemed by His own precious blood. We find this truth set forth in I Pet. 1:18-20: “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,…but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”:-And when did this plan of redemption take place? “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” Yes, all of this-the salvation of His people, the headship of Christ over all things, and the setting up of the redeemed race upon the restored earth in Christ-all was purposed and planned before the foundation of the world!
 


Also this same truth of God purposing redemption for His people in Christ is brought out in Peter’s message on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:22-24: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know. Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, (that is, by the definite and fixed purpose of God according to His foreknowledge) ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”

 

You see, dear friend, “known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18), so with the fall of Adam and all his unborn posterity with him, the stage was set for the great redemptive purpose of God to be unfolded, whereby He Himself in the Person of His Son, incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth, would buy back all that His elect people of the sons of Adam had lost in the fall; and this He would do as their KINSMAN-REDEEMER. In other words, God did not intend that the first Adam would get any glory for anything he ever did by working out his own righteousness, but He Himself is the Author of eternal redemption for the sons of men, and would give all the glory to His Son for working out a perfect righteousness for His redeemed people to make them His very own.


Oh the grace, the mercy, and the glory of it all! that God Himself would desire to buy back all that His people lost in Eden and restore them to fellowship with Himself! For by His redemptive grace He cleanses them from all of their sins and clothes them in His own righteousness so they can stand before Him, holy and without blemish, spot or wrinkle; He adopts them into His family as His children that He might fellowship with them, and gives them of His Spirit so they might be made like Christ; and then He prepares for them a sinless, glorified body made like unto the glorious body of His eternal Son, and a new earth restored to its original, pure and uncorrupted, unsoiled condition for His people’s inheritance and eternal abode, there to dwell with them in fellowship forever-He with them and they with Him, the living God, as He is manifested in the Lord Jesus Christ. No wonder the apostle cried, “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!…For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:33-36).


Redemption: Our Kinsman-Redeemer



Now let us look at this great work of the Lord Jesus Christ as our Kinsman-Redeemer in buying back all we lost in Adam-spirit, soul, body and this earth; and see if by the Holy Spirit’s operation in us, we can open up this blessed truth. Turn with me to Leviticus 25, where we will read of the law of redemption by a near kinsman. First we see that the Kinsman redemption was of persons, of inheritance and land. Verses 47- 48 tell us that if an Israelite sold himself to a stranger or to a neighbor, he may be redeemed again by one of his brethren, a near kinsman, who may be “either his uncle, or his uncle’s son…or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family…; or if he be able, he may redeem himself” (vs. 49). And in vs 25 we read, “If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.”



Then we find in Ruth 4:4-6 that the kinsman-redeemer must be willing to redeem as well as able; that is, he must have the money with which to redeem. And so we see how Boaz, a near kinsman of Naomi and Ruth, was able and willing, and as their kinsman-redeemer, he bought back everything Naomi and Ruth had lost, paying in full all that was owed.

 


According to the law of redemption by a near kinsman then, one must be found who could redeem us and our inheritance which we had lost. And the Scriptures are filled with the story of the blessed Lord Jesus, the eternal Son of God, coming and acting the Kinsman-Redeemer’s part, to pay for and buy back by the price of His own precious blood all that we had lost in Adam’s fall, including this cursed earth on which God’s redeemed people will live with Him forever. Listen to Gal. 4:4-5: “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” We were “sold under sin” (Rom. 7:14) and could not redeem ourselves, but God’s only Son came as our Kinsman-Redeemer, to redeem us from the curse of the broken law.

 

Eph. 1:7 tells us it is in Him that “…we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” And in Eph. 1:11,13-14 we see that He paid the price to buy back all we had lost through Adam, including our inheritance of this earth: “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance…” and “…after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”  Next, according to the law of redemption, the one who did the redeeming had to be a near kinsman. So we read in Heb. 2:14-15 that our Lord Jesus became a near kinsman so He could redeem us; listen! “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
 


The law of redemption also required that the near kinsman had to be able and willing to redeem. And how precious is the thought that our Kinsman-Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, was able; because in Him was no sin. He was the spotless Lamb of God, the One “…who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Heb. 7:26). So the blood He shed at Calvary’s cross for the redemption of His people was God’s blood (Acts 20:28), pure and sinless.  And was He willing? Listen to what He Himself said in Jn. 10:11,17-18: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep”…”I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” Yes, He was not only able, but willing to redeem us and buy back all we had lost in Adam.
 


And then last, the law of redemption said that the kinsman- redeemer must pay the full price demanded by the law. And our blessed Kinsman-Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, paid our sin debt in full; listen to Gal. 3:13: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” What a Redeemer! He bought us from off the slave market of sin and the world, bringing us back to God as reconciled souls; and He has given us “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Pet. 1:4,5). So as in Ruth 4, our praise will forever be “Blessed by the LORD, who hath not left thee this day without a kinsman (or redeemer) whose name is famous in Israel, who shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life” (vv. 14-15).


Redemption: A Completely Restored Earth



Now to show that there is to be a complete and actual restoration of this whole earth, there are many Scriptures in the Old Testament, as well as those verses in Rom. 8 which we have studied, that speak of this, proving that God will not leave this creation or His people in a state of corruption and bondage. “Because the creature itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21). For when the children of God are resurrected at the last trump and receive their new bodies of glory, they will have a restored earth on which to live, which also has been delivered from the curse of sin, just as they have been.

 

And it will be an earth that has gone through a baptism of fire which burns out all the taint and marks of sin, and is restored to its pristine beauty as it came forth from the hand of God. This is to what Isaiah 35:1-2 refers, for we read: “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing”…When? in that day when the glory of the Lord and the excellency of our God shall again be upon this earth, for “…the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of God.”



Then in symbolic language, Isa. 11:6-9 tells us of the peace and quietness, the love and the obedience, that shall be upon the new earth, inhabited by the glorified people of God; listen! “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.  And again in Isa. 55:12-13 we read of the joy and happiness of the eternal state upon the redeemed earth, again in symbolic language: “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
 

Dear friend, the whole Bible calls out to the believing children of God to believe and understand that they have a completed salvation when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back to earth again; and it is for this they are to look and wait expectantly; listen to II Pet. 3:13: “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” What could be more plain? This refutes the error that is promulgated today of the partially restored earth after the second coming of Christ, which causes such confusion. For those who preach and teach this error say we must give vs. 4 of Rev. 20 a literal, physical and material meaning, saying that Christ will return to reign on a physical throne in present Jerusalem temporarily-for only 1,000 years-with the Jewish nation being the principal people and having dominion over the Gentiles.

They claim that upon the earth at that time not only will there be believers with their new bodies but there will be believers still in their bodies of humiliation; also, sinners who will be saved sometime during this 1000-year period, and sinners who will never be saved but only await a time when they can rebel against Christ and try to tear Him from His throne. For they say, this day will come after the 1,000 years, when the devil will be released to make war against Christ and His people, wherein will be a state of conflict, sin and confusion-while Christ stands helplessly by, until fire comes down from heaven to aid Him! And they say that the portion in Rom. 8:18-23 refers to this partial restoration, and that the glory of which the apostle speaks is only a temporary glory. But God is not the Author of confusion! (I Cor. 14:33).


Scripture plainly teaches the complete restoration of all things at Christ’s return, as we have shown you; the curse shall be removed from this earth and the creation of God, and all vestige of sin will be burned out so the children of God can dwell with Him in their glorified bodies on a glorified earth, under the glorified heavens. For remember what we have told you before: a redeemed, glorified body demands a redeemed, glorified earth-a new earth; at all times the earth must correspond to the state of man who lives upon it.



Now the question is asked, “How will the restoration of this earth take place? and how are we to understand II Pet. 3:7,10-12 and Rev. 20:11?” Listen as we read these verses of Scripture, looking to the Lord to enlighten our spiritual eyes to see the truths contained therein. “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.”
 


Again we must compare Scripture with Scripture to determine just what the Holy Spirit is giving us so we may rightly divide the Word of Truth. I believe the key is found in II Pet. 3:5-7; listen! Speaking of the mockers in verses 3 and 4, “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” Here we are told that the world went through a judgment by water in the days of Noah (Gen. 6,7 and 8), as the deluge of the flood overflowed the earth and destroyed all living things except those eight persons in the Ark. The earth was not annihilated but was purged of all vestige of sin and wickedness that was upon it; and this changed the face of the earth to a great degree, but it was the same earth.

 

So in like manner, fire shall be used of God to purge this earth of all its sin and wickedness and the curse; the works of all men shall be burned up (I Cor. 3:13), and all ungodliness shall perish as God by His power restores the earth to its pristine beauty as when it left His hand as recorded in Gen. 1:31. So again it will not be annihilated, but shall undergo that change spoken of in Matt. 19:28 called the regeneration. In Acts 3:21 it is called the restitution of all things and in Rom. 8:21, a deliverance from the bondage of corruption.
Beloved, it is the same as God saving His people. We are made a new creation, but we are in bodily form the same individual. We will have new bodies and be perfect, but they will be likened unto our old body in identity. So when we read that the heaven and the earth shall pass away, it means that all the works of sin and wickedness that marred and cursed the earth because of man shall flee away, because God shall purge the earth with fire.
 


I want you to note that there is one difference between the purging effect of the flood in the days of Noah and the purging effect of the judgment of fire at the last day. You see, whereas Noah and his family were spared from the judgment by water, they still had their Adamic bodies and sin in the flesh; they were not changed. But in the judgment and purging by fire, all the children of God shall pass through this fire because they are in Christ, and at His coming “in a twinkling of an eye at the last trump” they were changed (I Cor. 15:52); so they have no sin in or upon them, therefore the fire shall not touch them, and they shall pass on to the new and restored earth as sinless beings. This, dear friend, is grounds for praise and thanksgiving!

 


So we see that God has put a RESERVE SIGN upon this earth to judge it by fire, and man cannot destroy it today or at any time with all his nuclear weapons! Let the great powers of the earth with their great arsenal of weapons threaten all they please;  God will not allow them to destroy the earth, for He Himself has reserved it for His judgment of fire!  But the question is always asked, “How can God burn up the elements with fervent heat using the fire of judgment, and not destroy or annihilate this earth?” Dear friend, our God has all varieties of fire for His purposes: the fire to burn wood; the fire of the lightning bolt that strikes through the sky in an instant; the fire that burns in the sun; the fire to change the heavens and the earth at the last day; and yet another most terrible-the unquenchable fire for the devils and the damned in hell. He tells us in Exo. 3:2 of the bush in the desert that burned with fire and yet was not consumed, as the angel of the LORD appeared unto Moses “in a flame of fire” out of the midst of the bush. So also the earth can be burned with fire and yet not consumed.



Further, if man can invent an instrument such as the laser beam and use it to destroy just a small portion of the eye to remove a cataract, and not destroy the whole eye, cannot God create the fire of His design that will burn out all vestige of sin and wickedness from this earth without annihilating it? Of course He can! For the judgment by fire is to renovate, to renew and to purify this earth that it may again be that perfect habitation for His people, where they will dwell in their glorified bodies forever with their blessed Kinsman-Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. And remember, the Scripture cannot be denied, for those found in Psalms 78:69, 104:5, and Eccl. 1:4 show and teach the perpetuity of the earth; and as we have shown you before, our blessed Lord Himself said, “the meek…shall inherit the earth.” It is then, by God’s grace and the redemptive work of Christ, that heaven shall come down to earth and the prayer of Matt. 6:10 shall be completely answered! - ““Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”




A WORD OF APPLICATION



Now beloved, what effect should these great truths have upon us who know the Lord? Let us go back to II Peter 3 for our answer: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (vv. 11-13). Yes, dear children of God, it should encourage our hearts that there shall be a complete restoration of all things in the resurrection-including the glorification of our bodies, which we will consider in more depth in our next studies. And all of these marvelous truths should inspire us to live for Him Who died in our place to purchase for us SO GREAT SALVATION, as we read in verse 14 of II Peter 3: “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, BE DILIGENT that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” For He not only delivered us from the penalty of sin in justification, and is delivering us from the power and pollution of sin in sanctification, He also holds out the hope for us that He shall yet deliver us (II Cor. 1:10) from the very presence of sin in glorification, and for this I praise Him!


Also, these truths should make us search our hearts to see if indeed our groaning is because of sin still in the flesh, and not only because of sickness or old age, poverty or world conditions: do we really groan because of hatred for sin and because of our longing to be free from its presence and memory forever?  How about you, my dear sinner friend? What hope do you have? Should you not long for and desire Christ, the provider of that good hope through grace? For although these great truths encourage the people of God, they can hold out no hope for you unless you are in Christ, having trusted your never-dying soul into His hands. Oh how I pray that even today the Holy Spirit might work in your heart that work of grace that only He can work, to bring you down at the feet of our glorious triune God in repentance and faith!


“A City Which Hath Foundations”


From Egypt lately come, Where death and darkness reign, We seek our new, our better home, Where we our rest shall gain.


To Canaan’s sacred bound, We haste with songs of joy; Where peace and liberty are found, And sweets that never cloy.


There sin and sorrow cease, And every conflict’s o’er; There shall we dwell in endless peace, And never hunger more.


There in celestial strains, Enraptured myriads sing! There love in every bosom reigns, For Christ himself is King.


We soon shall join the throng And all their pleasures share; And sing the everlasting song With all the ransomed there.
 

by Kelly

 

(Click Here For Chapter 5 of this series on Revelation Twenty)


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