Q. I appreciate your teachings and have learned a lot from your answers to various bible questions.
I just read your article “Thy Kingdom Come” and just wanted to clarify your thoughts on Revelations 21:1 “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.” Is it your position that this occurs at the beginning of the 1000 years?
I guess I always assumed that their would be a completely new earth and that the one we currently inhabit would be destroyed however that thought does not fit with your analysis as I read it in your article. I would appreciate your thoughts on Revelations 21:1 and what you see happening to this earth at Christ’s second coming. (Physically coming because I know he is coming for the church before the tribulation). Will the oceans disappear and yet the new earth will still have the Mediterranean and Dead Sea? Thank you for your thoughts and insights.
A. This is another place where John borrows wording directly from Old Testament descriptions of Israel’s Kingdom Age to help us understand. In this case it’s Isaiah 65:17, “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.” The rest of Isaiah 65 gives a detailed description of life in Israel during the Millennium.
The reference to the absence of a sea in Rev. 21:1 could refer to the re-establishment of the water vapor canopy that permits the extended lifespans mentioned in Isaiah 65:20. Many believe that this canopy was in place before the flood and collapsed upon the Earth to provide some of the water needed for the Great Flood. The fountains of the deep and rainfall supplied the rest (Genesis7:11-12) Some have suggested that after the waters receded the original single land mass of Earth was divided into the continents of today in part to make more room for the world’s vastly larger oceans.
I believe the word “new” in Isaiah 65 and Rev. 21 refer to the restoration of Earth to its pre-Adamic state. I see this restoration as beginning with the incredible judgments levied upon mankind during the Great Tribulation, where mountains are literally moved and earthquakes destroy all that man has built. Jesus called this time the restoration (renewal) of all things in Matt. 19:28. If the restoration is complete, the Earth will be righted on its axis, its circumnavigation around the Sun reset to 360 days, we’ll get a world wide sub-tropical climate, and a replacement water vapor canopy. This plus the reversion of Earth’s land mass to its original configuration could well eliminate the “sea” leaving the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea as catch basins for the abundant water of the River of Life.
If you want a really wild theory that I’ve never heard anyone else voice, the Greek word for sea is derived from a root meaning “salt” and in the Bible almost always referred to either the Mediterranean or the Dead Sea. Both are salt water bodies and both appear to be made fresh by the water from the Temple. It’s possible that John wasn’t referring to the oceans at all, but to these two seas being made fresh water bodies.
Of course, this is all wild speculation based on what little information the Bible provides. But I don’t believe that John’s use of two specific Old Testament descriptions of the Kingdom Age in each of his last two chapters is coincidental. I believe he was giving us indicators of timing from an impeccable source.