Nathan DuBois: Revelation 21 and the Church (2002)

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This is declaring the spiritual dominion of the church. God’s church is the vehicle that is used to bring glory to the Father. The nations are changed because of it.  It also declares the forever and lasting establishment of the church. It is open to all who turn to Christ.


Revelation 21 and the Church

By Nathan DuBois
2002


In Revelation 21, The New Jerusalem dwells as already being in the New Heavens and the New Earth. Some people take the characteristics of the New Jerusalem and apply them to the New Heavens and the New Earth. They then use their own misdirected descriptions to justify a New Heavens and New Earth that has no wickedness in it and no death. This is NOT the case. One thing often overlooked is there are wicked people who are present in the New Heavens and New Earth, but cannot enter this New Jerusalem. The nations are subject to this New Jerusalem but wickedness appears to still be in the New Heavens and New Earth.

There is an element of “Dominion” that the New Jerusalem has over the New Heavens and the New Earth. The New Jerusalem is the only place that the Bible declares righteousness to truly dwell.

Compare the following:

Hebrews 12:18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers entreat that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, The assembly of the saints. and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.

The heavenly Jerusalem in Hebrews is clearly the body of believers. The church. Revelation 21 speaks symbolically of the truths concerning the church.

Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

You will NOT be able to agree with me if you see the New Heavens and Earth as literally being a new planet and new atmosphere.
The “heavens and earth” used by Christ, Peter and in Revelation are Biblical references to the Old Covenant and Old Promised Land and the New Covenant and New Promised Land. I will not go into that defense, but rather wish to show that Revelation 21 is a symbolic picture of the church itself in the New Covenant. Describing the Edenic relationship restored between God and man.

2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband;

The only Bride betrothed to Christ is his church.

2Co 11:2 – I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband.

Revelation 21:3 and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them;

Is this not a present, New Covenant reality? Revelation 21:1-3 is parallel to the Hebrews passage.

The New Jerusalem is the Heavenly Jerusalem. The Church!

Hebrews 8:10 This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Next:

Revelation 21:4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”  This sounds familiar!!

2Co 5:17 – Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.

Ga 6:15 -For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

Matt 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Again a current New Covenant reality!! Revelation followed it’s heavenly Edenic descriptions of no sorrow or pain declaring those a reality due to “all things” being “made new.” Linking it directly to Paul’s own words. If we are to take Christ’s words seriously that we should not worry for anything, or that He provides rest for our souls, why are we to assume that Revelation 21:4-5 is describing anything but our condition in Christ as saved individuals who dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem?

Revelation 21:…Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And 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 from the fountain of the water of life without payment. 7 He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”

Wait a minute!!

Why is he still rewarding and punishing righteousness and wickedness after the “end of the days?” After the resurrection?

Aren’t all the wicked already in the lake of fire?

Read again!

8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”

All this is still going on after the resurrection and the New Heavens and Earth are already there!!

Why?

Because it is the picture of NOW in the New Covenant. These truths apply now because Revelation is fulfilled!

9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

The angel declared to John that he was showing John the redeemed, the Church!   These are symbols of the church.  By the way, they resemble the symbols of the priesthood and temple!

10 And in the Spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed;

Because the nation of Israel was the gate through which God revealed the law, oracles and promises!!

13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Because the Apostles were the foundation of the church and Christ was the Chief Cornerstone.  Read the description Paul gives to the Ephesians. Again confirming Revelation 21 as a description of the body of Christ, the Church.

Ephesians 2:17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Revelation 21 continues it’s description.

15 And he who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its breadth; and he measured the city with his rod, twelve thousand stadia; its length and breadth and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits by a man’s measure, that is, an angel’s. 18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates shall never be shut by day–and there shall be no night there; 26 they shall bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.

This is declaring the spiritual dominion of the church. God’s church is the vehicle that is used to bring glory to the Father. The nations are changed because of it. They are under the power of the righteous (when we decide to wield that power)

It also declares the forever and lasting establishment of the church. It is open to all who turn to Christ any time, any day, forever and ever. And to it there will be no end!

Ephesians 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Again Revelation concludes with it’s pronouncement that wickedness will not enter this city. Wickedness can not have it’s part in the New Jerusalem, in the TRUE church.

Also confirming the presence of wickedness in the New Heavens and New Earth, but NOT in the New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:27 But nothing unclean shall enter it, nor any one who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation 21 CANNOT be viewed literal. It is full of symbols! It is declaring a return to the Edenic covenant of God with man. It is the state of affairs AFTER the resurrection and the rapture (better known as the “change”).

The mysteries of Revelation are not so mysterious in the light of the rest of the Bible as a whole!


  • Re: Revelation 21

I am not sure what Nathan’s answer would be, but my answer is no. It had to be physical. I wrote an article on this topic a while back:

http://planetpreterist.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=798


Completely concur that it is real.
God created this planet and people for a reason.
His covenant with man, the new covenant, was fashioned in the way of His Edenic covenant with Adam.
His whole goal and plan was to restore through Christ, what Adam had lost, our life with Him.
Christ did so at His second coming. However the effects of sin are still in this physical world, but through Christ, He is saving it (John 3:17).

Nate,
“You will NOT be able to agree with me if you see the New Heavens and Earth as literally being a new planet and new atmosphere.” That is a very true statement. When I talk with folks about the New Heaven and New Earth the most common response is “This is not the New Heaven or New Earth”! Your view is interesting. It gives me more to think about. Here is my question regarding vs4. What are the first things that have passed away? From my reading of the verse the “first things” have caused tears, death, mourning, crying and pain.

Some people are like cement all mixed up and permanently set.

  • Re: Revelation 21

Hi,
I believe you can answer your own question thinking only about “what first caused death?”
Then you will know what passed away which will brought the end to pain, tears, death, etc.
Nate

  • Posted on Thursday, November 14 @ 07:08:26 PST
    by John

The quotes from this article are posted in italics.  My objections follow after each section.

…One thing
often overlooked is there are wicked people who are present in the New Heavens
and New Earth, but cannot enter this New Jerusalem. The nations are subject to this New Jerusalem but wickedness appears to still be in the New
Heavens and New Earth.
”Nevertheless we,
according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein
dwelleth righteousness.”  (2 Peter 3:13)

“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same
word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgement and
perdition of ungodly men.”

In light of what
Peter says about the old and new world, why do you say that wickedness persists
indefinately?  (2 Peter 3:7)

There is an element of “Dominion” that the New Jerusalem has over the New Heavens and the New Earth. The
New Jerusalem is the only place that the Bible declares
righteousness to truly dwell.
So you disagree with 2 Peter
3:13?  You don’t think the righteousness
there mentioned is truly dwelling in those new heavens and new earth?

What about Mathew
5:20?  “For I say to you, that unless
your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you
will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

2 And I saw
the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared
as a bride adorned for her husband;

The only Bride betrothed to Christ is his church.
”Go and cry in the hearing
of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD:
“I remember you, The kindness of your youth, The love of your
betrothal…”  (Jeremiah 2:2) NKJV

Do you think that
Israel as a nation is forgotten forever?

“…’Return,
backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not cause my anger to fall on
you.  For I am merciful,’ says the LORD;
‘I will not remain angry forever.”
(Jer. 3:12)

“Return, O
backsliding children,” says the LORD; “for I am married to you.  I will take you, one from a city and two
from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”
(Jer. 3:14)

 

Now whether you
take the this Zion literaly or figuratively, you must accept that some of the
backslidden children will return and you must make room for them among the
saints; more precisely, the remnat which repents during the tribulation, just
before the second coming of Christ (we can expand if you wish).  Also included among the saints (and
therefore the bride) are the witnesses listed in the previous chapter (Hebrews
11), even old covenant saints which died in faith in the promise of Abraham.

2Co 11:2 – I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to
Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband.

Revelation
21:4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former
things have passed away.” 5 And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold,
I make all things new.”
This sounds familiar!!

2Co 5:17 – Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old
has passed away, behold, the new has come.
Ga 6:15 -For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision,
but a new creation.

So do you agree
that those Christians Paul was adressing were new creations, then?  Before even the destruction of
Jerusalem?  What is my point?  Let me illustrate with another image from
this chapter that also points to the heavenly Jerusalem:

“For we know that if
our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a
house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”  (2 Cor. 5:1) NKJV

“For we who are in
this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be uncloathed,
but further cloathed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.”  (2 Cor. 5:4)

“So we are always
confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the
Lord.”  (2 Cor. 5:6)

Therefore, since
we mortals are still living in this tent, we are not yet in the new
jerusalem or new heavens and new earth.
Yes, it is symbolic of the bride of Christ, but not in this life (or
this age) – rather in the one to come.
When God says He makes all things new, He means everything, both
spiritual and physical.

Needless to say,
the tears, death, mourning, crying, pain are not symbolic, but are part of the
former things which are wiped away, once and for all, because they do not exist
in the new heavens and new earth.
Christians were persecuted during the apostles’ time by the Jews, and
even more after the fall of Jerusalem by the Romans, then by an apostate church
after the fall of the Roman empire, and this continues full force today around
the world under various regimes.  So
where in all this do you see the saints ruling the earth?  (I am shooting at another of your doctrines
here.)  Now do you really think Christ
would allow his body to be persecuted forever?
Is not our God a jealous God?

Revelation
21:…Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and
true.” 6 And 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 from the fountain
of the water of life without payment. 7 He who conquers shall have this
heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. 8 But as for the
cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators,
sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns
with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”

Wait a
minute!!

Why is he still rewarding and punishing righteousness and wickedness after the
“end of the days?” After the resurrection?
Because the final
judgement comes after the resurrection.
Aren’t all the wicked already in the lake of fire?  Yes, they are.

Read again!

8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers,
fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the
lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”

All this is still going on after the resurrection and the New
Heavens and Earth
 are already there!!
After the resurrection,
but not ongoing through the new heavens and new earth.  The final judgement as an event, not a
process is detailed in Revelation 20:11-15, ending with “And whosoever was not
found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Why?

Because it is the picture of NOW in the New Covenant. These truths apply now
because Revelation is fulfilled!  This is your whole premise, which you have
not proven.

This is
declaring the spiritual dominion of the church. God’s church is the vehicle
that is used to bring glory to the Father. The nations are changed because of it.
They are under the power of the righteous (when we decide to wield that
power!!)
It also declares the forever and lasting establishment of the church. It is
open to all who turn to Christ any time, any day, forever and ever. And to it
there will be no end!!
The idea you introduce
here is contrary to the urgency Jesus used when calling people and the warnings
given by the apostles.  Yes, it is open
to all, but the “day of salvation” does come to an end:

“For I do not
desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, let you should
be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel
until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”  (Romans 11:25)

“Therefore, since
a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to
have come short of it.”  (Hebrews 4:1)

“Strive to enter
through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will
not be able.  When once the Master of
the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and
knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us’, and He will answer and
say to you, ‘I do not know you where you are from,’”  (Luke 13:24,25)

The latter passage
parallels the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Mathew 25, ending with
Jesus warning:  “Watch thereofore, for
you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

The Master is “…He
who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.”  “I know your works.  See, I have set before you an open door, and
no one can shut it…”  (Revelation 3:7,8)

Conclusion:

Since the door is
still open today, Christ has not yet returned.
So we too must hold fast…

“Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold
fast and repent.  Therefore if you will
not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I
will come upon you.”  (Rev. 3:3)

“Behold I am
coming quickly!  Hold fast what you
have, that no one may take your crown.”
(Rev. 3:11)

This blessed hope and expectation has not died in the
hearts of believers through the generations.
Let it live in your heart also.

  •  Submitted by Virgil on Mon, 11/18/2002 – 18:26.

John,
As my study states, I do NOT believe the “heavens and earth” that are “reserved unto fire” are the literal planet and space. They are the Old Covenant and Old Promised Land (Israel). The elements being the elements of the Old Covenant. I find it no coincidence that the “Ark of the Covenant” are no where to be found! They were destroyed. Ultimately. But these are proved by two ideas in my mind.

1. The language of what the heavens and earth contain in Revelation 21.
2. The fact “gh'” is the Greek word used and not “kosmos” which is the common word for planet in the Greek.
3. The overwhelming evidence against this planet being destroyed at all. The Bible is clear that this world (kosmos) is NOT going to be destroyed!

You asked how I reconcile Peter with Revelation 21.

1. Peter declares the New Heavens and New Earth is where “righteousness dwells.”
I concur 100%. The New Jerusalem (the church) dwells in the New Heavens and New Earth. But as I pointed out there are others who dwell there as well.
2. Nations bring their glory into it. The only way that is possible, since Hebrews and Galations unarguable state the New Jerusalem is the church. So the nations outside of it are not saved. Hence, the New Heavens and Earth contain unsaved nations.
3. Verse 27 declares no unrighteous will enter it. However that would seem a moot point if you are right because the unrighteous are already in the Lake of Fire. How then can the nations bring their glory into something, or the unrighteous enter something, that does not descend from heaven until AFTER the final judgment?

So again, I do not “disagree with Peter.” Righteousness dwells in the new heavens and earth like Peter says. Because the New Jerusalem is there.
I disagree with YOU, because I believe wickedness is also there, but NOT in the New Jerusalem.

Who is the Church? The Bride?
My paper never said Jews were not a part of the New Jerusalem, so I am not sure why you posted the Jeremiah verse.
I AM a replacement theologist. Israel, as a physical nation is not the Israel of the Bible nor the rightful inheritor of the promises. The TRUE ISRAEL is a covenant nation. Descendants by FAITH of Abraham containing both Jew and Gentile. And will continue on in the blessings of His New Covenant forever. So when “Israel” is addressed concerning the promise of salvation and the Messiah, it always referrs to Covenant Israel. The one by faith!

New Creations Then
Absolutely not. The New Covenant was only held in faith (and therefore by definition, not actually held yet!) until the second coming. By faith, their hope, etc. The use of these words tell us they did NOT have salvation yet NOR had they been made New Creations yet.
“Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things HOPED FOR, and the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN!!
If anyone has anything by “faith,” then he does not actually have it yet. He has the belief and hope of it only!

Here is one popular proof text of this:
Heb 10:12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13THEN TO WAIT until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more.” 18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

“After those days” is after verse 13, when the enemies of Christ are His footstool, namely death.
In other words, after the resurrection/rapture:

1 Cor 15:24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death…………..
51 Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. 54WHEN the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, THEN shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?

Death is defeated after the resurrection. That is [was] when all Christ’s enemies were made His footstool, then, “after those days,” He made the New Covenant. THEN they were New Creations. After the resurrection and judgment.

Why would God grant them the actual real status of being justified and made new and THEN still judge them? It makes no sense to declare them “made new” and “righteous” and then still judge them! No, they were saved by “faith” (not actually saved yet).

YOU left out verse 5.

2 Cor 5:5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always of good courage; we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,

He says that to be clothed in “life” (verse 4) is what they are being prepared for (future tense). And that the Spirit given to them is a guarantee. (Meaning if the guarantee is gone, the actual has come). “SO WE ARE” (transitioning back to present tense). Then he says they are away from the Lord being present in the body.
He was correct, at that present time they were away from the Lord in their bodies UNTIL verse 4, which was their hope, having the down payment of the Spirit, was fulfilled!! Now that verse 4 is fulfilled, we are NOT away from the Lord, but He dwells with us here and now!(Rev 21:3).

More to come

  •  Submitted by Cristi on Tue, 12/17/2002 – 15:41.

Nate,
I do not want to confuse you. You are not talking to John, but a new member, “Cristi” – a dispensationalist… maybe that will explain where my points are leaning. Sorry for taking so long this time, but you have challenged me to substantiate my belief. In the future, I’ll try to have a more timely response. You also indicated you had more to come. So if you care to defend your article, I’d like to continue this discourse, as I’ve started on Virgil’s article, “The Rapture Defined” (my comment is there too).

 

  • Re: Objections to (Score: 1)
    by nate4onenation on Monday, November 18 @ 15:26:06 PST

OK, Nate, I’ll follow your thread, but my objection to wickedness is not solved, so I’ll have to return there. You’ve not addressed the 3rd verse posted, Mathew 5:20, which I think is decisive, nor my biggest objection to the door of salvation being open forever.

John,

    As my study states, I do NOT believe the “heavens and earth” that are “reserved unto fire” are the literal planet and space. They are the Old Covenant and Old Promised Land (Israel). The elements being the elements of the Old Covenant.

1.
In using 2nd Peter 3:7, I was not trying to identify what the old world was (although I will do this too), but that ungodly men perish along with it, whatever you want to identify it with. So you’ve explained 2nd Peter 3:13 by saying that righteousness dwells in the new world along with wickedness. OK, but before explaining 2nd Peter 3:7 consider how the wicked perish:

“For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the LORD,
They shall inherit the earth.
For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.” (Psalm 37:9,10) NKJV
“But the wicked shall perish;
And the enemies of the LORD,
Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish.
Into smoke they shall vanish away.” (37:20)
“…But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land,
And dwell in it forever.” (37:28,29)
“Wait on the LORD,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.” (37:34)

Conclusion: The perishing of the wicked is a visible event in which they and their posterity permanently disappear from the earth. Then do the blessed receive their inheritance. Wickedness does not dwell forever – only righteousness.

This agrees perfectly with the beatitudes of Jesus. But first…

    I find it no coincidence that the “Ark of the Covenant” are no where to be found! They were destroyed. Ultimately.

Nate, the ark of the covenant did not pass away at the same time as the old covenant or at the destruction of Jerusalem, but much earlier; therefore, its absence is not an indicator either way. Its last mention was in the first temple built by Solomon and is no longer among the temple articles recovered by Cyrus or in the 2nd temple built by Zerubbabel (built of course, by God’s decree).

You mean it is no where to be found as a physical object today, right? Because it appears again in the New Jerusalem (Rev.11:19).

But these are proved by two ideas in my mind.

1. The language of what the heavens and earth contain in Revelation 21.

3.
Again, the symbols John was shown here are just a glimpse of paradise, not a comprehensive inventory of everything it contains – that would be impossible for us mortals to perceive, even living in the new covenant, as Paul states:

“…I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ… such a one was caught up to the third heaven… whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows – how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (2 Cor. 12:1-4)

So John was not describing the new covenant as is, but rather its fulfillment, its future rewards and glorification. Just as the old covenant had promises fulfilled in the new, so the new has promises to be fulfilled in eternity (I will explain in a later point). If you still want to limit those heavens to the new covenant as is, then consider another symbol from chapter 22: the tree of life from the paradise of Eden. Back then it physically sustained man with immortality and it will do the same again. Also, where are the other things Ezekiel was shown in his vision of the heavenly glory? Another symbol not mentioned is the wine representing the blood of the new covenant, which Jesus said he would no longer drink of until it be new (Mathew, Mark) / fulfilled (Luke) in the kingdom of God. Naturally, I would expect to see that, before other symbols like the foundations and gates with the names of 12 apostles and 12 tribes of Israel.

My point again: Revelation 21 is not limiting paradise to the new covenant we are living in now, but is giving us a glimpse of its future rewards and fulfillment in glory.

2. The fact “gh'” is the Greek word used and not “kosmos” which is the common word for planet in the Greek.

    3. The overwhelming evidence against this planet being destroyed at all. The Bible is clear that this world (kosmos) is NOT going to be destroyed!

4.
OK, now to identify the current heavens and earth of 2 Peter 3:7. To do this, just go back a few verses. The scoffers of the last days say,

“…Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 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…” (2 Peter 3:4-7) KJV

Hopefully the event described here is evident: the flood of Noah. But just to make sure, let’s flip back a chapter:

“For if God… spared not the old world but saved Noah… An turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes… making them an example…” (2 Peter 2:4-6)

So the old world that was destroyed was physical, i.e. the heavens (dry land) and earth (atmosphere). The next world that emerged out of the waters a second time (first time was at the creation) was also physical. And if you want to get technical, the planet itself was not destroyed, but its face was renewed, as often alluded to in the Psalms. So for all practical purposes, it was called by God another world, i.e. the current world that Peter said is reserved for fire. Getting technical again, it is no wonder the ages of men drastically decreased after the flood (Genesis 11), again after God’s will (Gen.6:3) because the atmosphere was changed; the windows of heaven and the fountains of the deep were poured out (Gen.8:2) and after it was all done the rainbow appeared for the first time (I assume, OK). Many other geological phenomena are explained by this significant event. Praise God! Science only confirms the veracity of Scriptures.

Hope I didn’t stray too far. The point here: if the old world is physical, then the current one mentioned is also; if the old world’s destruction was possible, then this one’s is also (contrary to what the scoffers failed to realize). Now I will concede some leeway in the definition: you may want to identify the actual people that perished as the old world and those alive during Peter’s time as “the heavens and earth which are now”. Either one or the other or both (people / physical world) – it makes no difference. But you absolutely cannot say “the heavens and earth which are now” was the Law of Moses because the old covenant was not what needed to be “judged”, “condemned” and to “perish”; it was “holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12); it was spiritual, not sinful, “…but I am carnal, sold under sin.” (Rom.7:7,14)

You asked how I reconcile Peter with Revelation 21.

1. Peter declares the New Heavens and New Earth is where “righteousness dwells.”
I concur 100%. The New Jerusalem (the church) dwells in the New Heavens and New Earth. But as I pointed out there are others who dwell there as well.

2. Nations bring their glory into it. The only way that is possible, since Hebrews and Galations unarguable state the New Jerusalem is the church. So the nations outside of it are not saved. Hence, the New Heavens and Earth contain unsaved nations.

5.
I will explain “Nations bring their glory into it” under your #3, but I’ve already addressed #1,2 at the start of this post. Before re-contesting it Nate, please address the third verse previously posted:

“For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mathew 5:20) NKJV

Now let’s identify the kingdom of heaven (more precisely, its boundaries) and at the same time the new heavens and new earth, for we’ll see they are described synonymously.

First, let take the beatitudes of Mathew 5 and identify exactly the reward(s) of the blessed:
3…theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4…they shall be comforted.
5…they shall inherit the earth.
6…they shall be filled.
7…they shall obtain mercy.
8…they shall see God.
9…they shall be called sons of God.
10…theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
12…for great is your reward in heaven…

Psalm 22:26-28:
“The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the LORD.
Let your heart live forever!
All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the LORD,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
For the kingdom is the LORD’S,
And He rules over the nations.”

Simply stated, the Kingdom of Heaven includes the New Heavens and the New Earth, reaching to the ends of the New World. It does not include hell. Why do I insist on these boundaries? Because Jesus declared that no one short of His righteous shall enter the kingdom of heaven (Mathew 5:20). If you still doubt these boundaries, consider these:

“Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire…” (Mathew 13:40-42)

“So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Mathew 13:49,50)

Sound familiar? Can you actually construe from Jesus’ parables of the kingdom that the judgment is an ongoing, endless process? I don’t think you can honestly say that. Rather, it is a decisive event at the end of the age where remuneration is utterly complete and permanent; after which there is no more chance for salvation. Again Nate, please address my last objection previously posted before contesting this again.

True, the kingdom of heaven starts quietly, spiritually in the hearts of men. But all through this age it grows like the mustard seed. It does not come with “observance” but it is fulfilled with “thunder”, as it is written,

“As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11)

“…For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Rom.14:10)

This is something every man will be forced to do. So from the previous post I make my point again: when God says everything, He means everything.

Allow me now, to reqoute Revelation 21:24. By the way, which translation are you using? The KJV and NKJV contain some very important qualifying words, which I think settle the question:

“And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.” NKJV (Same as KJV)

This connects to our next point. The Nations of THOSE WHO ARE SAVED shall walk in its light. Obviously those nations are saved; they are not in the lake of fire. How much simpler can it be?

    3. Verse 27 declares no unrighteous will enter it. However that would seem a moot point if you are right because the unrighteous are already in the Lake of Fire. How then can the nations bring their glory into something, or the unrighteous enter something, that does not descend from heaven until AFTER the final judgment?

6.
How can the nations bring their glory into the new Jerusalem that descends from heaven AFTER the final judgment? because they are saved. As demonstrated, only the nations “of those who are saved” are left after the final judgment, giving glory to God. Here’s how they do it:

“And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For you were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.’” (Rev. 5:9,10)

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’…
These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.
…And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev. 7:9-17)

“And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For you alone are holy, For all the nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.’” (Rev. 15:2-4

So again, I do not “disagree with Peter.” Righteousness dwells in the new heavens and earth like Peter says. Because the New Jerusalem is there.

    I disagree with YOU, because I believe wickedness is also there, but NOT in the New Jerusalem.

7.
I will answer this one more time by trying to follow your logic, Nate. You said:

“Wait a minute!! Why is he still rewarding and punishing righteousness and wickedness after the “end of the days?” After the resurrection?” [I said, “Because the final judgment comes after the resurrection.”]

”Aren’t all the wicked already in the lake of fire?” [I said, “Yes, they are.”]

” Read again! [Rev. 21:8]

All this is still going on after the resurrection and the New Heavens and Earth are already there!!

Why?

Because it is the picture of NOW in the New Covenant…”

Are you saying here that the New Covenant is the New Heavens and New Earth? Then according to your logic, wicked people are able to enter the New Covenant?? Nonsense! And if you are not equating them, then why do you identify the old heavens and earth with the old covenant? This kind of inconsistent interpretation is unacceptable. Sorry Nate, but if you say that wickedness can enter the New Covenant, you disagree with Peter and Jesus.

Who is the Church? The Bride?

My paper never said Jews were not a part of the New Jerusalem, so I am not sure why you posted the Jeremiah verse.

    I AM a replacement theologist. Israel, as a physical nation is not the Israel of the Bible nor the rightful inheritor of the promises. The TRUE ISRAEL is a covenant nation. Descendants by FAITH of Abraham containing both Jew and Gentile. And will continue on in the blessings of His New Covenant forever. So when “Israel” is addressed concerning the promise of salvation and the Messiah, it always referrs to Covenant Israel. The one by faith!

8.
Replacement theology is wrong because it shows an incomplete picture of the nation of Israel and is dangerous because it despises that which God has blessed and will raise up again. Here are just a few verses, which do not contradict what you’ve just said, but reveal more:

“I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.” (Romans 11:11)
“For if their being cast away is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” (Rom. 11:15)
“For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” (Rom. 11:24,25)

So I come again to the verse that started my last objection in the previous post. If you care, please answer that before contesting this one again (otherwise the length of these responses will quickly get out of hand :).

New Creations Then

    Absolutely not. The New Covenant was only held in faith (and therefore by definition, not actually held yet!) until the second coming. By faith, their hope, etc. The use of these words tell us they did NOT have salvation yet NOR had they been made New Creations yet.

9.
Really? What is the new covenant then? I’ve already shown it is not the New Heavens and New Earth; the New World is the reward of those who continue in the New Covenant until the end or until Jesus returns. So here is the New Covenant:

“…This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:20)

So I ask you again, were they holding the new covenant then? Did they enter into the new covenant through Jesus death and resurrection? Can you see the paramount significance of His sacrifice? I sincerely hope you say yes…

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7)

“Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things HOPED FOR, and the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN!!

    If anyone has anything by “faith,” then he does not actually have it yet. He has the belief and hope of it only!

10.
On the contrary, here’s something they already had because of faith:

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1,2)

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

(By the way, the context of this last verse, Galatians 2, describes the transitioning from the old covenant, the law of works to the new, the justification by faith. Paul makes an example of Peter, exposing his hypocrisy to the Gentiles. Therefore, the transition was complete, before the destruction of Jerusalem.)

Here is one popular proof text of this:

Heb 10:12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13THEN TO WAIT until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,” 17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more.” 18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

“After those days” is after verse 13, when the enemies of Christ are His footstool, namely death.
In other words, after the resurrection/rapture:

11.
A forced connection here, Nate. “after those days” (i.e. when He makes the covenant with them, putting His law on their hearts, remembering their sins no more) is “when” (v.12) Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins. Then He sat down to wait… The “THEN” in v.13 is correctly tied to 1st Cor. 15:24, as you’ve observed, “Then comes the end…”

To see the covenant already established, just read four more verses (19-22). They already had boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, a High Priest over the house of God, full assurance of faith, hearts sprinkled and bodies washed with pure water. Nate, how can a sincere, knowledgeable student so sadly misinterpret a passage of scripture? Honestly, I am grieved.

To see what “after those days” refers to more clearly, just go back two chapters where the whole passage from Jeremiah is quoted:

“Because finding fault with them, He says: ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days…” (Heb. 8:8-10)

1 Cor 15:24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death…………..

51 Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. 54WHEN the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, THEN shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?

Death is defeated after the resurrection. That is [was] when all Christ’s enemies were made His footstool, then, “after those days,” He made the New Covenant. THEN they were New Creations. After the resurrection and judgment.

12.
So you disagree with Paul? Do you think he was not a new creation, even though Christ lived in him (Gal.2:20)? And doesn’t the verse you posted (2 Cor.5:17) demonstrate a present tense, making it a reality for those in Paul’s time as well as for us? “Therefore, if anyone IS in Christ, he IS a new creation.” So they didn’t (and we don’t) have to wait for the resurrection to be new creations in Christ.

Now I agree with you perfectly, that death is defeated at the resurrection. If you read 1st Corinthians 15 literally, the truth and significance of the resurrection becomes plain. (Addressed here in my last objection.)

    Why would God grant them the actual real status of being justified and made new and THEN still judge them? It makes no sense to declare them “made new” and “righteous” and then still judge them! No, they were saved by “faith” (not actually saved yet).

13.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8,9)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind… who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:7,9,10)

(Did you catch that? Christ has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. This is something we both have to explain, since we understand from 1st Cor. 15 that death is defeated at the resurrection. Addressed in my last point.)

“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heir according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)

As for the “real status of being justified”, this last verse makes it clear. It has been done by His grace, and the regeneration / renewing has been done by the Holy Spirit – abundantly. So God does not “judge” his new creations like the rest of the world. But they do appear before the judgement seat of Christ to be rewarded for the things done in the body (2 Cor. 5:10). And in Revelation they stand before the throne of God praising him (point #6), because “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgement…” (1 John 4:17). No, God does not condemn the righteous when he is judged (Psalm 37:33).

YOU left out verse 5.

2 Cor 5:5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always of good courage; we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,

He says that to be clothed in “life” (verse 4) is what they are being prepared for (future tense). And that the Spirit given to them is a guarantee. (Meaning if the guarantee is gone, the actual has come). “SO WE ARE” (transitioning back to present tense). Then he says they are away from the Lord being present in the body.
He was correct, at that present time they were away from the Lord in their bodies UNTIL verse 4, which was their hope, having the down payment of the Spirit, was fulfilled!! Now that verse 4 is fulfilled, we are NOT away from the Lord, but He dwells with us here and now!(Rev 21:3).

14.
What is this clothing in “life” that they were being prepared for? It is the resurrection, as we both agree, but I think our understanding of it differs. So let’s go over verse 4 again, then I’ll get to the guarantee and the hope, verse 5. Sorry for skipping this – I thought the illustration was clearly literal.

“For we who are in this tent [this tabernacle KJV] groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up in life.” NKJV

What is “this tent”, which they did not necessarily want to be unclothed, but further clothed? It is the physical body, mentioned in verse 6, 8, 10, not the “body of sin” elsewhere mentioned and representing the flesh, evil nature. The latter needed to be crucified, killed and could not be “well pleasing to Him” whether present or absent from it (v.9). The former “body” is declared the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), which if someone were to destroy, would himself be destroyed by God. Hopefully, I don’t need to go into this proof also.

What is the “life” they were being prepared for? It is not the spiritual life from the death of sin, which they already had, as demonstrated. It is eternal life, of which the down payment they also had within them because of Christ and the Holy Spirit in them, but which was waiting to explode, to manifest and swallow up mortality, as Paul explains in Colossians:

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Col. 3:1-4)

Can you see the distinction here between one life and the other? They already had spiritual life, since they were raised with Christ, but they were still waiting for something; they were waiting for Christ to appear (again). Then would they also appear with Him in glory. So please don’t deny they had the spiritual life, because Jesus said He had come that His sheep may have life abundantly (John 10:10). He even goes so far as to say that if anyone keeps His word he shall never taste death (John 8:52) because He is the resurrection and the life and he who believes in Him, though he may die, he shall live (John 11:25). John confirms this again in his 1st Epistle, that God has given us eternal life (the downpayment of the Spirit, as you’ve identified it) and he who has the Son has life (1 John 5:11,12). Therefore they were new creations then.

So to state the obvious, there are 2 kinds of death, spiritual and physical; 2 kinds of salvation, spiritual and physical; 2 kinds of resurrection, spiritual and physical; 2 kinds of life, spiritual and physical. He who conquers the death of sin through Christ, will not be restrained by the cords of mortality; he who is saved from his sins, will also be saved from the wrath of God; he who is a new creation in Christ, will also be raised at the resurrection of the saints / the appearing of Christ; he who has eternal life in him now, will continue to live beyond the grave, in a new body and see God face to face. Does this not agree with God’s character? Who wants to make all things new? and gather together in one all things in Christ (Ephes.1:10)? that God may be all in all (1 Cor.15:28).

And now finally, for the downpayment of the Spirit. I am a Pentecostal and challenge you to demonstrate that the guarantee is gone and the hope fulfilled. What then is the guarantee for? or what did the Spirit in them guarantee? As demonstrated, it was not the entrance into the new covenant. They already had redemption through His blood, forgiveness of sins, justification, peace with God, access into the Holiest – in a word, they had salvation. Here is God’s promise and our hope:

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephes. 1:13,14)
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephes. 4:30)

“Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope…” (Rom. 8:23,24)

Does this groaning sound familiar? (2 Cor. 5) Does this not agree with our jealous God, who wants to possess not only our spirits, but also our mortal bodies? Hence, the manifesting signs and gifts of the Spirit (spoken as true penticostal, eh? maybe on a different occasion).

Conclusion: The downpayment of the Holy Spirit living in them guaranteed their hope in the redemption of the mortal body and eternal life at the resurrection.

To answer you last statement, God was already dwelling in them and walking among them through the Spirit:

“…For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them…’” (2 Cor.6:16)
So Paul has already interpreted this as a fullfilled prophecy before the resurrection and before the destruction of Jerusalem. Could this be an example of “multiple-fullfilment”? 🙂 You decide…

    More to come

I look forward to your reply, Nate.

by Cristian Dragos