Heaven (Part 30) - Knowing About Bad Things Happening on Earth; What Will the New Earth Be Like?


Heaven (Part 30) - Knowing About Bad Things Happening on Earth; What Will the New Earth Be Like? 49. How can it be heaven if we are aware of bad things happening on earth? A. There is evidence in the Bible that we will be aware of at least some things happening on earth, even bad things. (See Section X, 48 - Will we know what is going on down on earth?). B. If that is the case, then how could it be heaven (paradise, happiness, no sorrow, no tears, etc.) for us? C. Being aware of evil happening on earth wouldn't stop heaven from being heaven. Consider the following. i. God is in heaven now (Mat 6:9). ii. God knows about all the evil that is happening on earth (Pro 15:3). iii. God sees the affliction of His people from heaven (Exo 3:7) and is afflicted by it (Isa 63:9), nevertheless heaven is still heaven for Him. iv. Jesus saw the persecution of His people on earth and considered Himself being persecuted by it (Act 9:4-5), but that didn't make heaven cease to be heaven for Him. D. The Lord Jesus Christ and the angels see people tormented in hell (Rev 14:10), but that doesn't stop heaven from being heaven for them. E. Abraham and Lazarus saw the rich man suffering in hell (Luk 16:23-26), but that didn't stop heaven from being heaven for them (this is not a normal occurrence as far as I can tell). F. We will have the mind of Christ unencumbered by the flesh when we are in heaven (1Co 2:16). i. Therefore, if we know of evil happening on earth while we are in heaven, we will be able to process that information without it causing us grief and making heaven cease to be heavenly for us. ii. We would be comforted knowing that the evil happening on earth cannot harm us and that God is in absolute control of it (Isa 46:10), and is allowing it to accomplish His good purpose (Pro 16:4). G. "At the same time, people in Heaven are not frail beings whose joy can only be persevered by shielding them from what's really going on in the universe. Happiness in Heaven is not based on ignorance but on perspective. Those who live in the presence of Christ find great joy in worshiping God and living as righteous beings in rich fellowship in a sinless environment. And because God is continuously at work on Earth, the saints watching from Heaven have a great deal to praise him for, including God's drawing people on Earth to himself (Luke 15:7, 10). But those in the present Heaven are also looking forward to Christ's return, their bodily resurrection, the final judgment, and the fashioning of the New Earth from the ruins of the old. Only then and there, in our eternal home, will all evil and suffering and sorrow be washed away by the hand of God. Only then and there will we experience the fullness of joy intended by God and purchased for us by Christ at an unfathomable cost." (Randy Alcorn, Heaven, p. 73) 50. Will there be a literal new earth? A. Yes. B. The current earth will be burned up and melted with fervent heat (2Pe 3:10). C. God will then create new heavens and a new earth to replace it (2Pe 3:13). D. The new earth will be just a real and literal as this current earth. E. The new heaven and the new earth described in Rev 21&22 are therefore literal, not figurative or spiritual, which is clearly demonstrated by comparing Rev 21:1 with 2Pe 3:10-13. 51. Will heaven be like what earth was before the fall? (Austin) A. Yes, the new earth and heavens will be a restoration and glorification of the original earth and heavens. B. See Section IX - The nature of the new earth. 52. What will the new earth be like? A. Since it is called a "new" earth (Rev 21:1) it will bear similarity to this current earth. i. Jesus will make all things new (Rev 21:5), not make all new things. ii. New adj. - I. 1. a. Not existing before; now made, or brought into existence, for the first time. 3. a. Coming as a resumption or repetition of some previous act or thing; starting afresh. iii. New things are sometimes things that have been renewed and have the same characteristics of the old. a. Such was the case with the new book that Jeremiah dictated to Baruch after the king destroyed the old one (Jer 36:32). b. It contained all the words of the former book, plus some additional like words. c. It was new in the sense of being made of different paper and ink, but it was not new in terms of character and content. iv. Sometimes new things bear similarity to the old, but are not exactly the same as it. Examples include: a. The new king of Egypt (Exo 1:8). (i) The new king was similar in some ways to the old king such as: 1. He was a man (as opposed to an animal), and therefore bore a resemblance to the old king. 2. He reigned over the same land as the old king. 3. He had the same authority as the old king. 4. He likely wore the same royal apparel. 5. He likely sat on the same throne. 6. He was called by the same name (Pharaoh) (Gen 50:6 c/w Exo 1:11). (ii) The new king would have been different from the old king in some ways such as: 1. He was a different person, so his looks would not have been exactly the same. 2. He might have been better looking than the old king. 3. He was most likely younger, so he would have looked less worn out. 4. He may have been somewhat taller or shorter than the old king. 5. He may have had a different personality than the old king. b. A new meat offering (Lev 23:16). (i) The new meat offering was similar in most ways to previous meat offerings such as: 1. It was the same kind of food (loaves, flour, etc.). 2. It was prepared the same way. 3. It was offered in a very similar quantity and size. (ii) The new meat offering was different in some ways to previous meat offerings such as: 1. It was not made of the same molecules as the previous meat offering. 2. It would not have been the exact same shape and size as the previous meat offering. c. New things often bear many similarities with the old and are not entirely foreign and different from them. d. So it is with the new earth: it bears many similarities to this current earth, but it will not be entirely identical to it because it will excel it in many aspects. v. The new earth will be like our new man which is renewed into a more pure and holy version of itself (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10). a. When a man is regenerated, he still retains his identity, his personality, and many aspects of his person. b. But his sinful nature is changed into a holy nature. c. The new earth will retain many of the things that the old earth did, but it will not have the corruption that the old one had. vi. When the church exercises church discipline and removes sinners (leaven) from its membership, it is made into a new lump (1Co 5:7). a. The new lump in this case is the original lump with the impurities removed. b. It's still the same church, just without a commonly known sinner in it. c. The new earth will be the old earth without the impurities in it plus some incredible enhancements. B. The old earth is called the first earth which demands that the new earth will be the second earth (Rev 21:1). i. If new earth bore no resemblance to the first earth, then it would not be called "earth" ― it would be called something else. ii. The fact that the new earth is called "earth" is evidence that it will have features that will be recognizable to those who lived on the first earth.
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