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THEOLOGY > Future > New Heaven and New Earth > All Things New


John records the declaration of the One sitting on the throne: “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5), an authoritative and predictive declaration from the Sovereign Lord. What He announces will take place, and it will take place in the future; therefore, the statement is related to God and the end-time. The statement is both Theological and Eschatological. The concept of “new” in connection with end-time events is a theme in both Testaments:

I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered . . . but be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create (Isa. 65:17-18);

“the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord (Isa. 66:22);

Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne” (Matt. 19:28);

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all things about which God . . . long ago (Acts 3:19-21);

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now (Rom. 8:19-22);

who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body (Phil. 3:21; see: I Cor. 15:35-49);

The heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire . . . the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved . . . the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved . . . the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (II Pet. 3:7-13);

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away . . . and He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:1, 5).

The meaning of “new”

“New” in Rev. 21:1, 5 is the translation of the Greek word, kainos. According to Trench, in contrast to neos, which means recently to have come into existence, kainos speaks of something new from something that already existed (Synonyms, 219-225). Neos focuses on that which is more recent or younger, while kainos gives emphasis to that which is fresher,  different, or unused, newer in contrast to older.

It should be noted that some scholars place more emphasis on the similarity of the words, almost denying any significant difference between the two words. They point out, for instance, that the “new covenant” is called both neos (Heb. 12:24), as well as kainos (Heb. 9:15). While their point may have some validity, still it is possible that the early nuances of the words are maintained in the New Testament, establishing the fact that the words speak of the same phenomenon, but from different perspectives.

Accepting something of the distinction between the two words, which is found most definitely in examples from early Greek, the implication for Biblical eschatology would be that the “new” things that are spoken of are not new in the sense of recent—newly created—but new in the sense of contrast to the old, or as a development from the old. It is not new as having never been but new in the sense of transformation, regeneration, renewal, or transfiguration. It is “the times of the restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21).

So the new heaven and the new earth does not anticipate the annihilation of the present heaven and earth, with a completely new heaven and earth that is ex nihilo; but a new heaven and a new earth arising from the old or the original heaven and earth. In eternity the believer will have a body, not the old body, but a new body, however, a body like or similar to the old body (I Cor. 15:35-49; Phil. 3:21).

So it is with the heaven and earth; there will be a new heaven and a new earth, not the old heaven and earth, but a new heaven and earth like the old, with features reminiscent of the original.

An orthodox Christian eschatology
speaks not of the annihilation of the earth
but of its renewal and restoration.
Steven Prediger-Bouma

There will be a new creation; the one we know is not the final one

While there is continuity of the new creation with the old creation, as suggested in the Greek word kainos, also there is a disconnect between the two; the new arise out of the old but is different from the old. The creation that we know is not the final one.

The text informs us that “all things” will be new, not some things but all things. On Solomon’s porch Peter spoke of “the time for restoring all things” (Acts 3:21). In some sense these statements look back to the time of creation for that is when all thing came into existence. But all things were defiled and cursed because of sin (see: Man’s Disobedience), and all things are awaiting deliverance from slavery to sin. Therefore, when all things are restored—made new—it must refer to every aspect of the original creation.

The new will be a time and place where “righteousness dwells” (II Pet. 3:13). God will “wipe away every tear” from the resurrected and transformed eyes of believers (Rev. 21:4; see: Isa. 25:8), and “there shall be no more death” (Rev. 21:4; see: Isa. 25:8). Such will be the order of things when creation is “set free from its bondage to corruption (Rom. 8:21; see: Subjected to Futility). Mourning, crying, and pain will be no more (Rev. 21:4).

When these events take place, then creation will “obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21). This phrase from Paul indicates something of the fullness or comprehensiveness of the renewal or transformation of the old into the new; in Revelation God simply predicts: “all things.”

God is the One who will bring about the new creation

God proclaims: “I make” all things new; this is the statement of the One sitting on the throne (Rev. 21:5). Such an utterance is inconsistent with the essential nature of any being or any existent thing with the exception of the Almighty—such a declaration is only consistent with who He is.

For the present order to be transformed requires the act of Deity. Man cannot improve his creation, for only God can accomplish that. Original creation took place because of His will and omnipotence, and the coming renovation will take place because what He avows will not return to Him empty, or without fulfillment.

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