The introduction to this lesson became an entry on this website of its own. I spoke of my move from Huffy bicycles and Poulan Pro blowers to Specialized (bicycles) and Stihl yard machines. Now it is time to look at Revelation 21 where that kind of experience can be a metaphor to the eternal.
Revelation 20 of the Great White Throne judgment. As that event began John saw heaven and earth flee away. “No place,” John said, “was found for them.” Well, look here at verse 1.
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. (Revelation 21:1–ESV)
What is the way John described heaven and earth in this vision? Yeah, it’s new. Can you begin to imagine the scene of a new world unfolding? By the time John saw it that had already happened.
John does not tell us of a new creation. He just tells us he saw it. Go read Lewis if you wish to imagine those things.
John even tells us that the old earth, the first one, had passed away.
So the old earth and the old heaven did not just ebb and then flow like the tide. John saw the old go and not to its own place, but to no place. Then the new came, but not just the same old stuff. When a Tsunami is about to hit it is said that the tide goes out, way, way out. Then it crashes back in with devastation. Broken pieces of the old show up, and some after being washed to sea arrive on other coasts years later. That is not what we see here. The devastation is gone, but a new creation has come.
The new will be far, far beyond the old. We will have the “Aha!” of the Specialized bike, or the Stihl blower. We will look around us and like Lewis’ unicorn say, “This is the land I have been looking for all my life…The reason we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.”
No more sea?!
How well do you take the idea that the oceans seemed to be gone? Well, a deep dive into these matters is a thing better left to your own reading. Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven is a great start. Even though a deep dive is beyond this lesson’s scope a shallow swim would not be out of place.
Alcorn points out several things. Verse 1 does not say there will be no large bodies of water. Could “sea” mean no continent separating bodies of water? Remember the passage in Genesis that spoke of “the days of Peleg”? That is in Genesis 10 the writer of that book telling us that in Peleg’s day the earth was divided. Of course it is speculation to apply the concept of continental drift to that, but speculation without rigid dogma on these lines can be good. Maybe the new earth will be like the pre-Peleg days.
Alcorn also draws our mind to the understanding of the oceans as being dangerous places. Even in Revelation 20 John says the sea gave up the dead that were in them. The Apostle Paul had some rough moments in the Mediterranean. What about the Titanic? Anyway, I think that part makes sense. He goes on to other things too which I find less convincing, but Christian collisions over interpretations of these passages must be carefully engaged if not avoided. I do not seek any argument over opinions loosely held.
He continues on about snorkeling and the beauty of the under-water world, beaches, sea life, etc. Go do a little time with his book and let your mind imagine good things that God does.