“In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
The intent and repeated emphasis of the word NEW is to erase the memory of the old and the temptation to think of the new as being only a renovation, purifying or overhauling of the OLD, such as will take place in the Millennial Reign of Christ (Acts 3:19,21). No, this is a new work of creation. The “former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:1,4). You can take God’s Word for it. God has said, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). However, the creation of a new Heaven, earth and Jerusalem does not imply that the Godhead will abandon the Third Heaven. That is absurd! God did not abandon His Paradise when He instructed Moses to construct the Tabernacle so He could dwell with the children of Israel, nor will He vacate the Third Heaven in order to dwell with men in the New Creation.
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Psalm 36:11; Matthew 5:5).
No saved person will ever be excluded from the eternal Kingdom of God; neither will any ever be treated like a second-class citizen. However, it is important to point out that consistent, right division of the Word of God demands that all of God’s promises must be fulfilled in keeping with the dispensational conditions under which they were made. This means that in eternity future, all the categories of the redeemed (Jew, Gentile, and Body of Christ) will receive an inheritance, but in such a way that no violence is done to the oneness of the family of God. At the same time, no one group would sacrifice their distinctive identities or “hope.” In other words, in the new creation, Israel will still be Israel (Isa. 66:22); Gentiles will still be Gentiles (Mt. 25:34; cf., with 46; Rev. 21:24-27); and the Body of Christ will still be the Body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:24-27; 3:11; 1 Cor. 12:12-13); and together we shall “reign with God forever and forever” (Rev. 22:5).
The New earth is primarily the inheritance of the Gentile Church. The “Kings and Nations” serve God by bringing their tribute of honor and glory, from their PLEASANT PASTIME on the New Earth into the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:24-22:3).
There are three heavens mentioned in the Bible: the atmospheric, the stellar, and the Third Heaven or Paradise (2 Cor. 12:2). The New Heaven is a new kind of sky or atmosphere. There will be no sun, moon or night, because the “glory of God” fills this sky (Rev. 21:23-25; 22:5).
It should be observed that the eternal inheritance of the Body Church is not just predominately connected with Christ, but entirely and uniquely joined to this PRECIOUS PERSON. Christ is called the “Head” and the Grace-age believer is the “Body.” They are united together in one inseparable unit and called “The Christ” (1 Cor. 12:12-13 – see the Greek; Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:24-27; 3:11). This places us, not simply in Christ, but in the heavenlies, enthroned with Him and made joint-heirs (Eph. 2:6; Rom. 8:17; Phil. 3:20; 2 Cor. 5:1; Col. 1:5). Here we have “all spiritual blessings.” Heaven (the Third Heaven and the New Heaven) is the realm of special inheritance for the Body of Christ (Eph. 1:3, 19-23).
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (Jn. 14:1-4).
Christ comforted the hearts of the Old Testament saints by promising them a PREPARED PLACE. What is this prepared place? It is the New Jerusalem! The New Jerusalem is primarily the inheritance of the Jewish Church, for God “hath prepared for them a city” (Jn. 14:2-3; Heb. 11:8-16)!
The New Jerusalem is a city “foursquare” – 1500’ x 1500’ x 1500’ (Rev. 21:6) …
…a city whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10). It was not just “a” city; it was “the” city (see the Greek). Abraham did not see it, but by faith he looked for “the” city of promise:
…a city with “many mansions,” (residences) in the “Father’s House” (Jn. 14:2);
…a city “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2); …a city called “the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Rev. 21:2, 9-10); and inhabited by an “innumerable company of angels,” “general assembly and church of the first born,” “spirits of just men made perfect,” “God the Judge,” and “Jesus the Mediator” (Heb. 12:22-24; Rev. 21:3);
…a city where “God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it” (Rev. 21:22;
…a city illuminated entirely by the “Shekinah Glory” (Rev. 21:11, 23-24);
…a city that descended “out of Heaven” to the New Earth (Rev. 3:12; 21:2,10);
…a city with twelve foundations garnished with precious stones bearing the names of the Twelve Apostles (Rev. 21:14, 19-20);
…a city with twelve gates of pearl with the names of Israel’s twelve tribes inscribed thereon (Rev. 21:12-13, 21);
…a city with a 300’ high jasper wall (Rev. 21:17-18);
… a city with the Fountain of Life (Rev. 21:6), Tree of Life and the River of life (Rev. 22:1-2);
…a city without the curse of sin (Rev. 21:27;22:3);
…a city with the Throne of God and the Lamb which is the seat of government for the New Earth (Jn. 14:3; Rev. 22:1,3). Note: This Throne in the city is to be distinguished from the Throne in the Third Heaven (Rev. 21:2; 22:19). The Throne in the Third Heaven is said to be the “mother of us all” (Gal. 4:26) and the seat of God’s universal rule. It is a crude and elementary mistake, made by those who carelessly divide the Word of God, to confuse the two. (See above for my comment about the Third Heaven.)
As Moses in the wilderness prepared and patterned the Tabernacle according to God’s Throne Room in Heaven (Heb. 8:5), so also, Jesus Christ has “prepared a place” with mansions and a Throne Room that He will bring to the New Earth in order to fulfill His promise “that where I am, there ye may be also” (Jn. 14:3; Ex. 29:46; Isa. 7:14; Zech. 2:10-11; 8:3), and that He might govern the New Earth from the Throne Room of the New Jerusalem.
The New Jerusalem is not the hope or inheritance of the Church which is His Body. To insist on this is to cause offense and the loss of the blessed enjoyment of being a part of one’s own particular role and identity in the overall plan of God – whether he be Jew, Gentile or the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 10:32).
No word or thought this side of eternity will be sufficient to help us fully apprehend the greatness of God’s grace toward us. For all that we would like to know about the eternal future, we shall anxiously await the “ages to come”; then, in His presence, “He will show us the exceeding riches of His grace.” I do know, with the Apostle Paul, of “Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day…for me to live is Christ and to die is gain…to depart and to be with Christ is far better.”
My knowledge of eternity is small;
My eye of faith is dim.
It is enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him!