Question: I have a question about Revelation 21:1. Is this present earth going to be renovated or annihilated?
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”
Answer: Notice in Matthew 28:20, the last part of the verse,
“…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the END OF THE WORLD. Amen.”
It is important to acknowledge the three Greek words translated “world” in our English language and their meanings.
- “KOSMOS.” The primary meaning is, “adornment, embellishment, etc., and refers to God’s beautiful creation. We get our English word, cosmetics, from this Greek word. In 1 Peter 3:3 concerning women, the Greek “KOSMOS” is appropriately translated “adorning.”
“Whose adorning (kosmos) let it not be that outward adorning of the plaiting of hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.”
Notice 2 Peter 3:6 reference the Flood.
“Whereby the world (Gr. kosmos) that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.”
The word “perish” in this verse is also translated “destroy” in other places. The Greek word is “apollumi”, and is not referring to extinction; BUT, rather, ruin, loss—not of being, but of well-being—whether applying to planet earth or human beings. In other words, just as “kosmos” is in reference to the beautification of God’s earth; or the adornment (Gr. “kosmos”) of a woman with cosmetics, it is in reference to the exterior, not the whole of the earth itself. This is also in perfect accordance with the word “perished” in 2 Peter 3:6. Therefore, the beautiful exterior, along with mankind, was destroyed, or perished, by the Flood; BUT, not the earth, itself.
- “AION.” This Greek word is our English word “AEON,” or spelled as “EON.” This is a transliteration from the Greek to our English. It is used as “an end of an era, or age, or dispen-sation of time; or as an order of things.” “Aion” is translated as “world” in Matthew 28:20, but should be translated “AGE.” In other words, the last half of the verse would properly read,
“…I am with you alway, even unto the end (consummation) of the World (i.e. age).”
- “GE”. This Greek word is used in reference to the earth, or ground, “the terrestrial globe.” It is translated as “earth” in Matthew 13:5 and “ground” in Verses 8, 23. Notice the Greek “ge” is brought into our English, being the first syllable of our English words: Geography, Geophysics, Geometry, etc.
Now, referring back to Revelation 21:1 in reference to the words, “passed away” concerning the first heaven and first earth. “Passed away” is translated as such from the Greek word, “PARERCHOMAI.” "PARA” means “from” and “ERCHOMAI” means “by.” Literally, the Greek word means, “to pass by or pass away.” Notice in Mark 13:31,
“Heaven and earth shall pass away…”
The Greek word here is "PARERCHOMAI." This primary meaning is not “annihilation or extinction;” BUT, rather, “a change from one place, or kind, or situation to another.” In other words, this earth is going to pass from its present condition, undergoing a vast change and a tremendous remolding or renovation.
At the end of the Millennial Reign of Christ on this earth, the Great White Throne Judgment for the lost will occur. All the lost are cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14,15), along with Satan (Revelation 20:10), for all time and eternity. Then, God will remodel this old earth into a new earth to be inhabited by only the saved in their resurrected bodies. It will, therefore, be completely free from sin, sorrow, and death (Revelation 21:4).
While we are on this subject, may I briefly point out that there is another “regeneration” or “rebirth” concerning this old world. This will be in effect all during the Thousand-Year Reign of Christ in His Kingdom here on earth, PRIOR to the new heavens and new earth.
Notice in Matthew 19:28,
“…Verily I say unto you, That ye which hath followed me, (Christ) in the REGENERATION (i.e., in Christ’s reign on earth for a thousand years) when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory,…”
The Greek word for “regeneration” is “PALINGENESIA.” “Palin” means “again” and “genesis” means “birth. Spiritually applied, it is a new birth in Jesus Christ, when one accepts Him as their personal Savior. As applied to the Kingdom in Matthew 19:28, the Kingdom will be a new birth from what it was. In other words, “regeneration” will literally mean that the earth will run under the absolute authority of Jesus Christ for a thousand years. This is in contrast to the way unregenerate man has ruined it by orchestrating his philosophy, instead of God’s principles, for the last 6,000 years.
Notice in Acts 3:19-21,
“Repent (Greek, “change your mind”) ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; (19) And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: (20) Whom the heaven must receive unto the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (21)
The word “RESTITUTION” is the Greek “apokatastasis.” (From “apo” meaning “back again” and “kathistemi,” meaning, “to set in order.”) In other words, the Kingdom will be set in order according to God’s word as spoken by the prophets, some of which include the following:
- Peace in the animal kingdom. (Romans 8:19-22; Isaiah 11:6-8).
- Earth full of the knowledge of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:9).
- Desert shall produce. (Isaiah 35:1).
- Three nations—Egypt, Assyria, and Israel—, born in a day, all will serve the Lord (Isaiah 19:23-25).
- Dead Sea will be healed. (Ezekiel 47:1-12, note: the “sea” in v.8 is the Dead Sea.).
- Temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt. (Ezekiel 41; Zech-ariah 6:12,13).
- City of Jerusalem rebuilt. (Jeremiah 31:38 and 30:18).
- Christ will sit in the Holy of Holies. (Zechariah 6:12,13).
These are just a handful of the myriads of prophecies that will be in fulfillment, and fully justify the words “regeneration” and “restitution of all things.”
The main difference between the Millennium and the “new earth” is:
- In the Millennium there will be sin present in unbe-lievers. Sin will not be allowed to display itself; such as murder, theft, adultery, rape, kidnapping, molestation, etc.
- In the new heavens and earth there will be no sin; since all Christians will be void of the old sin nature which was done away with when they received their new, glorified bodies. (Philippians 3:20,21).
All of these wonderful things— the new heavens and new earth, the New Jerusalem— will be enjoyed by those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Not so with the lost. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire for all eternity.
“…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31),
...saved from eternal damnation (John 5:24).