“Nevevtheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
Expecting the new!
Peculiar characteristic of our age!
Everyone looks for something new, new ideas, new things, a new era, something new and better for all! Yes, the world is looking for the sun rise of a new day! Even a new society!
To be sure, their hope is a utopia of earthly beauty and material prosperity! And there is nothing that says they won’t have it! The possibilities and resources are unlimited!
The nations are looking for a new era of lasting peace! The business world is looking, always looking for something new and different! This year has hardly begun and the auto industry is working already on next year’s models! In the field of, science and invention new gadgets are being developed which will change the housewife from kitchen slave to royal mistress, which will throw out the dirty furnace and harness the sun’s rays to light and heat our domiciles, that will give quicker and more lasting relief-by improving medicines and hospital techniques! That will take us out of our earthly doldrums, and make us to soar through space! A new society must be established, wherein there is no more poverty, sickness, or material want! All the slums must be torn down, and replaced with new and modern facilities!
Even the nominal church of our day is looking for that which is new! In fact, her vision is so broad that it swallows up all the other spheres of development!
But pity them!
Of this they all are willingly ignorant that the heavens and the earth, which now are, are kept in store, reserved unto fire! As it was in the days of Noah; so it is in our day; they ignore the promise of Christ’s coming. They live out of the principle that all things continue, even themselves!
We, the children of God, also look for something new!
A new heavens and a new earth!
Where righteousness shall dwell!
According to His promise!
The old will pass away! The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (II Peter 3:10). All the hosts of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll. (Isaiah 34:4). The glory of the sun will be extinguished, and its present brilliancy shall have an end! The silvery moon shall cease to flood the night, and the twinkling splendor of the star-studded firmament shall be wiped out! They shall be all set afire and dissolved in a great crashing! All things shall be shaken, in heaven and on earth, in order that that which is immoveable may remain!
The earth also and all its works shall be burned up! All the products of men, every invention of man, his art, his science, his commerce, his industry, the labor of the slave and the proud achievements of kings, the most insignificant to the greatest and most honorable! Nothing shall remain of them after they pass through the fire and melting heat! Even the very elements shall be burned up, the very material from which the present creation is made, out of which it was organically formed and composed, these shall be set on fire and melt away with fervent heat!
Not annihilation, but recreation and renovation!
Though they are burned in that universal conflagration, nothing of the earth shall be annihilated. All shall be renewed! As the goldsmith casts various metals into the refining fire, so God will recreate, regenerate all things in heaven and earth. Nothing that is of the earth earthy shall pass through that fire so as to come out of it, in order that that which is heavenly may remain!
All this, however, cannot take place until God’s purpose with them is fully realized! Then, its organic development shall have been consummated! All things earthly have a definite design. That design is God’s purpose that all things earthly shall serve the heavenly. Organically the world and all things must so develop that they ultimately come to a head. Science and art, all the marvelous genius of man, all the power of the antichristian world must come to manifestation. When all things are burned up, the highest possible earthly development will have been realized. No more inventions could possibly have been made. No other works of man could ever have been produced. So the number 666, which is the number of man without God, will be fulfilled. And God shall usher in the perfect seven by burning up the completed six. Sin and grace shall have served God’s purpose. Light and darkness develop together with the earthly organism. The kingdom of Christ and the antichrist grow side by side in the world. However, when both have developed to the point that God’s purpose is reached, the power of antichrist will be destroyed; all the proud accomplishments of sinful man shall be burned up. Then all those works which are lauded by this wicked world, and even praised by those who see in them a fruit of grace which is said to be common, shall all be wiped out. Nothing of man shall pass through the final liquid fire!
All things shall become new!
Out of the old shall the new come forth! From the fiery molten mass, much like the unshaped chaos from which the present world came forth, shall the new appear!
Of that new we can only stammer! Its beauty is indescribable! Only in Scripture’s light can we say that there will be no trace of corruption in the new. No thorns or thistles! None shall ever say: I am sick! No enemies or angels of darkness will be in it!
It will be a heavenly world! Not a return to the glory of the first and earthly Paradise, which is lost and never returns! Which was but an image, an earthly image of the heavenly Paradise; the splendor of which surpasses the glory of the former as the greatness of the last Adam surpasses that of the first. In Him shall all things in the new find their union, and through Him in the Most High. For it was the Father’s good pleasure that in Christ all the fulness should dwell!
Yes, all things will then be heavenly! Heavenly relations, heavenly life, and joys shall characterize the new! The true church of Christ shall walk there! With heavenly bodies, clothed in heavenly garments, clean and white! The covenant of God shall be with men! No more shall they see in a darkened glass, but then face to face! Then shall they enjoy the inheritance that fadeth not away!
Wherein dwelleth righteousness!
Unrighteousness, and all sin shall be done away! Righteousness shall cover the earth as the waters cover the bottom of the seas. None shall enter there who is not clothed in garments of righteousness, the righteousness of their Redeemer! All will be in perfect harmony with the will of God, with God Himself, and that, too, according to His judgment. That righteousness dwells there, means that it is not transitory, but permanent! Righteousness dwells where it prevails and is practiced! And the attending blessedness of this righteousness is perfect peace!
We look for it!
The apostle and the elect strangers to whom he is writing!
And we with them, who have obtained precious faith through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ, to whom grace and peace have been multiplied through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (II Peter 1:1, 2). We, who by divine power have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue, who have been given exceeding great and precious promises by which they might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (II Peter 1: 3, 4). The elect strangers, chosen of God in Christ from the foundation of the world in the counsel of His good pleasure. Chosen to be strangers in the world that is passing away. Strangers, therefore, because of their election! Who manifest themselves as aliens and foreigners in a strange land! Beloved of God, who are loved by Him with an eternal, unchangeable love, a love that in its initial manifestation had to be one-sided, because we did not love Him. This love He showed us in the sending of His Son to suffer, die and to rise again, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him, and be made conformable unto His image. That love was His eternal desire to make us perfect even as He is perfect! And because His love was one sided, and He loved us when we were yet enemies, He was longsuffering over us, not willing that any of us should perish! Therefore also He withholds the destruction of the world until all His people come to repentance. Not one of them maybe lost! And being renewed by His grace, and having His love shed abroad in our hearts, we come to repentance, confess our sins, and desire to walk in a new and godly life. His love returns to Him through our hearts! Therefore also, we become estranged to the world, and look for new heavens and a new earth where sin shall be no more!
These are they who expect the new!
For in them is created a new hope! Which looks not at the things of sight and sense, but at the invisible, the spiritual, the heavenly, which the new world will bring to them! They, like Abraham, father of all the faithful, look for the city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God!
According to His promise!
Our hope does not rest on a vain imagination!
Nor does it rest on mere tradition or institutions of men!
But the infallible, unchangeable promise of God in the Scripture!
God has promised in His Word that we shall have new heavens and earth wherein righteousness shall dwell! “For, behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come to mind.” Isaiah 65:17. “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain.”Isaiah 66:22 “For thus saith the Lord of hosts: yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea and the dry land.” Haggai 2:6. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” Matthew 24:29. “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.” Revelation 21:1.
These and more are the unfailing promises of God!
For the fulfillment of them we look!
We live, therefore, not as the fools who live as though the day of Christ will never come, to whom He also will come as a thief in the night, and they shall perish in the final catastrophe!
Nay, rather, we live as wise!
Our lamps are brightly burning!
We are watching and sober!
The Bridegroom cometh! And when He shall appear, He will make all things new!
For that our faith looks, and our hope stretches out!
Where righteousness shall dwell!
Where God shall be all and in all!