1. Revelation 21:1 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

What biblical data do “heaven” and “earth” recall?

Revelation 21:1 (ESV)

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.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). “Heaven” was his dwelling place; “earth” he made the home for mankind (Psalm 115:16). These two were closely linked together inasmuch as heaven’s holy Inhabitant established a bond of love with the people he placed on earth (Genesis 2:4–25) and connected with them meaningfully. Yet their spatial separation meant it was fitting that God in heaven designate man on earth to bear his image before the rest of creation (Genesis 1:26–27). The fall into sin drove an infinitely deep wedge between God and people, and so between heaven and earth. The Son of God left the glory of heaven to take on himself the broken nature of fallen man on earth. His task was to reconcile people to God through his sacrifice on Calvary, and so to bridge the separation sin had caused between heaven and earth. Through his ascension he illustrated his repair work. Revelation 12:7–8 had recorded that Satan was “thrown” from heaven and so limited to earth. Revelation 20:10 had added that in due time God would “throw” Satan also from earth into the lake of fire. Satan’s removal from the earth opens the way for the damage caused by the fall into sin to be undone and so for heaven and earth to be reconciled. That reconciliation triggers the need for “new,” that is, a qualitative change in heaven and earth so that they display the harmony that exists between God and man as a result of Jesus’ restoring work.