"Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
Eternity - The New Heaven and New Earth
In the last study, we saw that God will lift the curse He put on Earth at the beginning of the Millennium. Since sin is not completely eradicated until after the Millennium, why would God lift the curse on Earth during these thousand years? The answer takes us back to God's testing of man.
As discussed in the last study, thus far, man has not been able to live according to God's standards. Adam and Eve blamed Satan for their temptation when they rebelled against God. During this thousand-year period, Satan will be unable to tempt or destroy. Neither will man be able to blame unbelievers for leading them down the wrong path, as God will have eliminated all unbelievers before the Millennium begins. Also, Jesus will rule on Earth in the flesh, so there will be no more foolish unbelief of God. In addition to this, man cannot blame the fallen conditions of the world for their problems with the curse lifted.
Another reason for lifting the curse during the Millennium is to fulfill the blessings and promises made to Abraham about the land. Not only will the house of Israel inherit the promised land in its entirety, but they will also receive the blessings of the renewed Earth without laboring in vain, as the rest of us have had to on the cursed Earth since the fall of man (Genesis 3:17-19):
Isaiah 65:17-19 - "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying."
Isaiah 65:20-22 - "No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, and My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands."
Isaiah 65:23-25 - "They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for trouble; for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. " It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain," Says the LORD.
Satan will be bound and God will bless the earth. Though the Millennium will begin with only believers, the Adamic sin nature will continue. Sadly, sin will again taint the renewed earth. After God deals with sin, He will send the Earth through His refining fire at the end of the Millennium and renew it permanently:
2 Peter 3:10 - But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
Luke 21:33 - Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
Revelation 21:1 - Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.
At first glance, it looks like God will destroy the earth. However, upon closer examination, God will destroy the Earth's "works." God's refining fire will purify the earth from the taint of sin, reducing it to its primary elements, from which God will restore it:
Romans 8:19-23 - For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits 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 also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 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.
As the psalmist puts it, God will renew the earth like changing a garment:
Psalm 102:25-26 - Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed.
God created man with a connection to the earth. In fact, God created man from the earth itself (Genesis 2:7). As we groan for redemption, so does Creation (Romans 8:19-23). After a temporary renewing after the Tribulation, the Earth and its works will ultimately go through God's refining fire at the end of the Millennium. Similarly, redeemed man and his works will go through God's refining fire at the "Judgment Seat of Christ":
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 - According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
As we ponder a new earth and our resurrected bodies, a question arises about the "works" saved through the refining fire? What will God redeem? What will be recognizable about us and about the earth? Before tackling these questions, we need to first look at why God will go through the trouble to restore His creation, and not destroy it and start over:
Isaiah 45:18 - For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: "I am the LORD, and there is no other."
Colossians 1:16-20 - For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in 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 may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
If the creation is not reconciled and restored, the passages above show that God's creation was in vain and God's sovereignty (preeminence) would be forfeited. In other words, a lot is at stake in creation's redemption!
So what will God restore to the earth in eternity? We can glean a few glimpses of eternity from the following passage:
Revelation 22:1-5 - And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 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. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
In eternity there will still be water. However, in Revelation 21:1, we see that there are not massive bodies of water or seas on the New Earth. The fruit bearing trees show that the New Earth will have vegetation. Also, time will progress, as we see that the months and seasons will continue. Even though there will be no more night or need of the light of the sun, the ordinances of the sun and moon will continue forever, which supports the continued marking of the months and seasons:
Jeremiah 31:35-36 - Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (The LORD of hosts is His name): "If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the LORD, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever."
Psalm 89:34-37 - My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me; it shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.
From these passages, we can see that God will also restore the heavenly bodies and the earth to His original creation. I imagine that the New Earth will include familiar things such as rivers, forests, snow-capped mountains, canyons, and all the beautiful landscapes that we attribute to God's creative hand. Unlike the flat millennial Earth, I imagine the New Earth will once again capture all the exotic and various landscapes that we find beautiful on the present earth without the curses associated with them.
The new creation will include animals, as they are part of the creation too. This gives us hope that God will restore to us our beloved pets in eternity, along with the rest of the creatures that suffered and groaned under the curse from our sin:
Romans 8:19-23 - For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits 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 also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 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.
There will be a lot of familiarity on the New Earth, as shown in the scriptural passages above. However, God also said this about our eternal future:
1 Corinthians 2:9 - But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
God is not only going to restore His original creation, He is going to expand on it beyond what we can comprehend. Yet, the glimpses we are given still show some familiarity.
What about us? What will survive the refining fire? What will the fire destroy? What will be recognizable about us?
1 Corinthians 3:9-15 - For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
As shown in the passage above, our good works will survive God's refining fire. The foundation laid by Christ is manifest into crowns, adorned with good works, which we receive at the "Judgment Seat of Christ."
What exactly is a "good work"?
Ephesians 2:10 - For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Hebrews 13:20-21 - Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Simply put, doing good works is being obedient to God's Will. The works of disobedience will certainly be burned away as wood, hay and straw. What about works done with bad motives? Though these works may look good to the world, I believe they will also be burned up if they weren't done for Christ. As we see in the passage below, the elders will cast their crowns at Jesus' feet. This shows that the good works and rewards are for Christ, not just for us:
Revelation 4:10-11 - The twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created."
Other than our good works, what else will survive the refining fire? How much of our current selves will be recognizable in Heaven? A baby Christian is going look drastically different from their former self in eternity. I believe that the more mature a Christian becomes in this life, the more recognizable they will be in eternity, as depicted below:
For example, the thief on the cross who got saved in the last moments before death is a very different person in glory than he was during his life. On the other side of the spectrum, I imagine that more mature Christians, like Paul, will be very much like they were at the end of their life, because they followed the leading of the Holy Spirit more during their life, compared to other Christians.
What does a Spirit-led life look like?
Galatians 5:16-18 - I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Galatians 5:19-21 - Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:22-26 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
The passage above clearly shows what a Spirit-led life should look like compared to a worldly life. With the sin nature gone and filled completely by the Holy Spirit, our eternal lives will look very much like the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-26. We will come back to this later to discuss how we can live a Spirit-led life.
Man and Creation
Man is very much connected to the creation. God formed man from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). When man sinned, God cursed the earth (Genesis 3:17-18). As discussed earlier, both man and the earth will also be purified in God's refining fire (1 Corinthians 3:9-15 and 2 Peter 3:10). As goes man, so goes the earth, which reaffirms our promise, that God will redeem His whole creation.
This connection that man has to the earth also shows us the reality that our eternal home will be a physical place in which we will dwell. We will not float around on clouds as ethereal spirits, as some people might believe. God's people will live on a redeemed earth, in redeemed bodies that forever. I believe we feel these longings for our eternal home, when we catch glimpses on earth that remind us there is a God:
Romans 1:20 - For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.
The following videos remind me of the verse above:
Creation Calls - By Brian Doerksen
Indescribable - By Chris Tomlin
All of Creation - By Mercy Me
Christ, who became a man at the incarnation, now has the same connection to the earth that we have, and God and man will dwell together on the New Earth too:
Revelation 21:1-3 - Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God."
What kind of relationship will we have with God?
Consider the original relationship God had with man before the fall:
Genesis 3:8-9 - And they heard the sound 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 among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?"
God communed with Adam and Eve directly and intimately. He had breathed the spirit of life into Adam (Genesis 2:7), which not only gave Him life, but also a spiritual union with God. In fact, as you will recall from the second study on Heaven, this union with man was part of the original marriage plan. Sin broke this intimate spiritual union between God and man, as illustrated below:
However, Christ will redeem back all that was lost. Christ will make the original marriage plan even more glorious, with Him being the Bridegroom and us His Bride:
God sent Christ to restore this relationship because He desires companionship with us:
Leviticus 26:11-12 - I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.
Ezekiel 37:27 - My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
John 14:23 - Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."
Revelation 21:3 - And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God."
Having a relationship with man is so important to God, that He created us to need and seek after Him:
Psalm 63:1 - O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.
Psalm 73:25 - Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
Acts 17:26-28 - And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'
Some people call this need for God a "God void," which can only be satisfied with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. People who reject God attempt to fill that void with things like other human relationships, religion, drugs, alcohol, and other addictions. These things can become a god to a person and may bring peace for a short time, but it never lasts.
The only thing that satisfies this void that God has put in the human heart is a relationship with Him. That being said, even Christians struggle with the flesh and have a hard time letting the Spirit lead. They can end up doing things that can hurt their relationship with God, and as a result suppress the power of the Holy Spirit within them:
Romans 7:15 - For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.
Galatians 5:17 - For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Unfortunately, the warring between the flesh and the Spirit will continue until death, or the day of our redemption. If we give into the flesh, then our relationship with God will suffer because we grieve the Holy Spirit when we submit to sin and our fleshly desires:
Ephesians 4:30 - And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
However, it is still possible to let the Holy Spirit lead and continue in fellowship with the Lord. My pastor has written an excellent article about how we can let the Holy Spirit lead in our lives: "How To Develop Good Spiritual Health". Living a victorious Spirit-led life will produce more fruit and rewards for Christ, and you will lose fewer works in the refining fire at the "Judgment Seat of Christ." You will also become closer to the person you will be in eternity, as we discussed earlier. But more importantly, you will enjoy close fellowship with the Lord during this life.
The Bible also says that we will see God's face in eternity. The following passages suggest that this simply means that we will see God through Christ:
Job 19:25-27 - For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
John 14:9 - Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father?'"
However, the next few passages suggest seeing God's face is more than just seeing Jesus physically with our eyes:
Exodus 33:18-23 - And he said, "Please, show me Your glory." Then He said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." But He said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live." And the LORD said, "Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."
2 Corinthians 3:7-11 - But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.
2 Corinthians 3:12-18 - Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech-unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Moses could not behold the face of God. Paul explains in the passages above that Christ took away the veil that had prevented us from seeing God. That means we already see God, in that we can come to know Him; it is about our intimacy with the Lord. We will continue to come into closer intimacy with God, as the power of the Holy Spirit transforms us. This intimacy and fellowship will someday be complete and unbroken, when the Lord resurrects us, and we become one in Spirit with Christ:
1 Corinthian 6:15-17 - Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?.... For "the two," He says, "shall become one flesh." But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
What will our relationships with other people be like in eternity?
As glorious as our relationship with God is and will be, God said:
Genesis 2:18 - "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."
Obviously, we don't need anything or anyone else other than God. Yet, God has designed us to seek fellowship with one another. In other words, Adam was alone because God put a desire in his heart for a companion, but God hadn't created a companion for him yet. Once God fulfilled that desire, Adam was no longer alone. The following passage may shed some light on why God created us to desire companionship:
Ecclesiastes 4:8 - There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, "For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?" This also is vanity and a grave misfortune.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 - Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Of course some things in the verses above do not apply to eternity, but we know that "two are better than one." This ancient principle has proven that two or more working together is more fruitful and rewarding. Take for example, the design God has made for marriage between a man and a woman. Not only can they enjoy fellowship with each other, but they may produce children and work together to raise them. Each addition to a family is usually seen as a blessing. For God, it is no different. Every person that is born and chooses to accept Christ is one more person added to the family of God and a blessing.
God designed marriage, so that in most cases, two are better than one in the task of raising children. I believe the saying: "It takes a village to raise a child," shows that we also see value in the effort from more than just the two parents in raising children. This supports what Solomon said, about more than two being even better (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
During the Millennium, the Church will work together with Christ and each other to build His Kingdom. More people will join the family of God throughout that time. When eternity comes, we can only begin to imagine what the Lord has in store for us. Most certainly we will spend forever developing relationships with everyone in the family of Christ.
There is no marriage between each other in Heaven (Matthew 22:30) because we are in the body of Christ as His Bride (2 Corinthians 11:2). But we will never be lonely and we will never be bored. Our desire for companionship, which the Lord has instilled in us, will surely be fulfilled with relationships more meaningful than we could ever have or imagine in this broken, sinful world.
Patterns that point to our eternal future
God gives us patterns on Earth and in Scripture of what eternity will be like. The marriage design gives us a glimpse of our restored relationship with God. Couples married for a long time can attest that their intimate relationship can continue to grow and become more and more fulfilling with time. Even more so, our intimate relationship with Christ will forever increase and become more and more fulfilling. The Jewish wedding is another marriage pattern that points to the marriage between Christ and the Church that will last for eternity.
God has also set a parental pattern. We are His children and He loves us even more than our parents. In this life, He corrects us as a parent does a child (Hebrew 12:5-7) to help us grow and mature. When we become sin free, our relationship will continue to grow, much like an adult normally would with his or her parents. As God's children, we are all brothers and sisters with each other. However, I do believe we may have closer companions, or best friends that we will spend more time with in eternity.
On a personal note, even though my husband will become my brother in eternity, I'm sure that our relationship will become even closer in eternity, and probably more intimate than relationships I will have with others. However, no relationship will be closer or more intimate that the one we will have with our Savior and Bridegroom. On the other hand, if a person is alone in this life, or does not have a close relationship with any Christians, they will surely develop some close relationships in Heaven. It is possible that many of us have yet to meet our best friends in eternity.
I do not buy into the idea that we will know everybody and everything upon entering eternity. That suggests we will be like God! We will only be like Him in that we will be free of sin and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Then we will understand Him more fully (2 Corinthians 2:18). I believe God designed us to learn, explore and develop. How exciting and fulfilling it will be to make new friends and spend eternity getting know other people, develop relationships, and have new experiences to share.
God not only desires fellowship with us, but He enjoys diversity. As the saying goes "diversity is the spice of life." Our current nations and the cultures associated with them are patterns for the rich diversity we can look forward to in Heaven. One of my favorite places that I've visited was Epcot Center at Walt Disney World. I loved walking around the lake and being able to enjoy different cultures in just one day. I imagine the New Jerusalem will be similar, in that we will be able to enjoy and share our different cultures all in one city. Perhaps, the rest of the saints not in the Church body will have their eternal abodes scattered throughout the New Earth, in the form of various nations and cultures to visit and explore for eternity.
I believe retaining our diversity will extend to worship as well. God delights in the various ways that we give praise to Him. I believe that we will continue to have closer fellowship with those that are more like us. Perhaps we will still regularly meet in smaller groups like we do with our families, friends, and in our churches, while meeting corporately during the Lord's feasts. In this, we would continue diversity and culture, instead of becoming a melting pot of sorts. Imagine how exciting it will be to learn about other cultures and build new relationships, but at the same time, always having a heart for home and familiarity to go back to.
On a similar note, our earthly cities are patterns of the heavenly city of the New Jerusalem. We discussed earlier that God will restore the creation to His original plan. God's addition of the New Jerusalem will enhance Creation. I am confident that God will leave room for us to add our own touches, just like He does now. He created us to create, invent, and design too. Just imagine what man can do, working together in an environment that is perfect and sin free.
Everything that God directed Israel to do in the temple and in celebrating the feasts were signposts and patterns of the work of Christ (Hebrew 8:1-6). Christ fulfilled the spring feasts when He came to die for us. Christ will fulfill the fall feasts when He returns to Earth after the Tribulation. God also directed Israel to keep the Sabbath Holy, which was a pattern after the creation week:
Exodus 31:17 - It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.
Notice God says this ordinance is forever between Him and Israel. This supports the notion that time will continue to march on in its weeks, months and seasons forever. You can read more about God's patterns in the study: "Prophetic Pattern in Numbers".
The Tree of Life
In conclusion, the New Earth will come full circle with the "tree of life" returning for all to partake of freely:
Revelation 22:1-2 - And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Why did God take away the tree in the first place?
Genesis 3:22-23 - Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us,
God uses the "tree of life" as symbolism for our eternal life. Had God allowed us to partake of this tree, we would have lived for eternity in our sin. By guarding the way to the tree and keeping it from us, God provided another way through Christ, so that we can take part of the tree, or eternal life, and be free from the bondage of sin. Amen!
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