Psalm 103 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
God is Holy and He lives in heaven and we are on earth dead in sin.
But His love is as high as the heaven from the earth – that He came through Jesus from heaven down to the earth and died with us in our sins and made us ALIVE with Christ, so that He raised us with Christ and seated us in heavenly places when we believed!
Ephesians 2 “4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”
What a wonderful love of God our Daddy through Jesus!
He took away our sins on the Cross and made us righteous and perfect, spiritually seating us with Christ in the heavenly places – which we received by grace through faith in Christ and not our works!
He will come again to give us glorified bodies just like His own and we will live in the literal new heaven and earth with God and Jesus without any more death, tears or pain! He will bring heaven to the earth one day in the future – and this is the glorious hope of the believer in Jesus Christ.
Revelation 21 “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…..And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.””
But for those who do not believe in Jesus, today is the day of salvation. The Lord is near and if we repent and believe in Jesus, then His love (Word) will come down from heaven to earth and save you – Jesus died on the cross for your sins and was raised from the dead on the third day – so that if you believe in Jesus Christ, all your sins will be forgiven and you will have eternal life!
Isaiah 59 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”
We cannot earn salvation by our works – no man can ascend into heaven – Jesus has already done that! He is the one who gives us righteousness by faith in Him.
Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. 5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Additional Notes: New heaven and earth (Isaiah 64-66 vs Revelation 21-22)
In Isaiah 65-66 we see the description of a new heaven and earth, but is that talking about our future? Let’s find out by reading the context.
Isaiah was written before Israel was taken to exile in Babylon before their 1st Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians.
Isaiah 64 “Our holy and glorious temple, where our ancestors praised you, has been burned with fire, and all that we treasured lies in ruins. 12 After all this, Lord, will you hold yourself back? Will you keep silent and punish us beyond measure?”
The Israelites were in exile after their 1st Temple was destroyed and they ask God for restoration:
God promised to restore them back to their land:
Isaiah 65 “I will not destroy them all.
9 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
and from Judah those who will possess my mountains;
my chosen people will inherit them,
and there will my servants live”
God said that He would create a new heaven and earth with Jerusalem no longer being a city of judgment and weeping (As it was when Babylon burnt it in the fire)
Isaiah 65 “
17 “See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.
20 “Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach a hundred
will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain,
nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
they and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.”
God spoke through Isaiah the prophet that Jerusalem would be blessed after the Israelites returned back from exile in Babylon. He said that people would still die and build homes but there would be no judgment on them.
In the next chapter, Isaiah tells Israel that God is not mainly interested in temple buildings but that He looks for people who are humble and honor His Word.
“This is what the Lord says: Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me?
Where will my resting place be?
2 Has not my hand made all these things,
and so they came into being?”
declares the Lord.
“These are the ones I look on with favor:
those who are humble and contrite in spirit,
and who tremble at my word.”
Then Isaiah reminds the reader of the destruction of their 1st Temple and their return back to the land from exile:
6 Hear that uproar from the city,
hear that noise from the temple!
It is the sound of the Lord
repaying his enemies all they deserve.
7 “Before she goes into labor,
she gives birth;
before the pains come upon her,
she delivers a son.
“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice greatly with her,
all you who mourn over her.
11 For you will nurse and be satisfied
at her comforting breasts;
you will drink deeply
and delight in her overflowing abundance.”
12 For this is what the Lord says:
“I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
and dandled on her knees.
15 See, the Lord is coming with fire,
and his chariots are like a whirlwind;
he will bring down his anger with fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For with fire and with his sword
the Lord will execute judgment on all people,
and many will be those slain by the Lord.
19 “I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations. 20 And they will bring all your people, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord—on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the Lord. “They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the Lord in ceremonially clean vessels.21 And I will select some of them also to be priests and Levites,” says the Lord.
22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure. 23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord. 24 “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”
Isaiah prophesied to the Jews that God would destroy their 1st Temple through the Babylonians. From the history of Israel, we know that their 10 northern tribes were scattered by the Assyrians and their 2 southern tribes were scattered by the Babylonians. But after 70 years of exile in Babylon, the Israelites who were scattered from all nations returned back to Jerusalem and their “new heaven and earth” to build a 2nd Temple.
The “heaven and earth” referred to their land and Temple which was a copy of the heavenly sanctuary. This is why the Jews were told that their 2nd temple would be a “new heaven and earth”
Hebrews 8 “5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” “
But this “new heaven and earth” in Isaiah 66 was only talking about the return of Israel back to their land and Jerusalem after their Babylonian exile and NOT the future 2nd coming of Christ. How do we know that?
- Isaiah 65-66 says that there will be death and curse. But in Revelation 21-22 there is no more death, curse or tears. This clearly shows that Isaiah 65-66 is not about the Church but it was about Israel’s return from exile. In Revelation 20, we see that death is abolished and thrown into the lake of fire at the final Great White Throne Judgment. In Revelation 21-22 we see that a “new heaven and earth” is created and there is no more death, pain, tears – this is clearly not a reality today. We are waiting for the future judgment and resurrection of the dead at Christ’s 2nd coming, when death will be abolished forever and the saints will inherit the kingdom on earth to live in glorified immortal bodies without any more death, pain or curse.
- Isaiah 65-66 shows that the Israelites from all nations return back to their land and some of them are Levites chosen to serve in the TEMPLE as priests of God. This clearly happened when Israel returned back to their land as we see described in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. But in Revelation 21-22, we see that there is NO TEMPLE in the new heaven and earth and that ALL people are priests of God. So the big difference is that in Isaiah 65-66 we have a Temple and only some are priests, but in Revelation 21-22 there is no Temple and ALL believers are priests. So then clearly Revelation 21-22 is about the future when God resurrects all believers in the new heaven and earth.
Looking further at Revelation, we see that there will be a future judgment of the world when the old heaven and earth are destroyed and there will be the resurrection of the dead. At the end of that resurrection, death itself is destroyed in the lake of fire.
“11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Then we see a new heaven and earth where the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven – this is the resurrected Church who will see God and Jesus and they will be with us forever. There will be no more death, pain or tears and God wipes away all our tears from the suffering that we experienced on earth during our lives.
“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
There will no Temple in this New Jerusalem and the glory of the nations will enter because their names are in the Book of Life – this means that the Christian believers from all nations enter the New Jerusalem by the resurrection and everyone else is judged outside. (This is a description of the Great White Throne judgment)
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Again, there is NO MORE CURSE because the curse of Adam has been removed. The believers eat from the Tree of life and LIVE FOREVER (Adam was barred from the tree of life in Genesis 3 due to this sin and prevented from living forever). This is why there will be no more curse and we will see God and Jesus face-face after the future resurrection.
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”