Sermon of pastor T. J. de Ruiter, the Netherlands
21:5 "Behold, I make all things new"
Scripture reading: Revelation 21:1-8
Many feel that the present great world religions have failed to make the necessary improvements in man and forecast the coming of a new era with a total new religion, which will do the job of improving mankind, raising it to a higher level of perfection and happiness. Great spiritual powers in the world above man will help us to find the way out from the present state to the new one. A new age is coming and it is going to be much better than the present and previous ones. Maybe you will be surprised when I tell you that this message of a new age is not something new. The prediction of a totally new age has already been made centuries ago and it is found in the…. Bible! Though prophets from before the time of Christ prophesied already about a New Age, I will concentrate on a prediction that was made in the first century A.D. It is found in the last book of the Bible, Revelation.
In a great prophetic vision of what is going to happen in the last days the writer of Revelation wants us to know that the Almighty God is coming to dwell amongst men. And when He comes, He will create a total new world order. I will attempt to show you from the Holy Scriptures that this new world order is going to be totally different from the one that is forecasted by the present New Age movements.
So, please, understand that while the present time is running out, in which humanity will continue to exhaust the resources of the earth and loose its understanding and appreciation of good and healthy morals, God is preparing the big take-over. When the day has come that He will take over and reign over the whole earth, He will make an end to all wasting of the planet's resources. He will establish righteous government and restore good and healthy morality. Truly there will come a new time, in which there will be peace, righteousness and joy for all on a new earth and under a new heaven.
In this great vision in chapter 21 of the book of Revelation the writer sees a new earth and heaven. He understands that the first heaven and the first earth are gone. He also knows that "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former thing have passed away." Let's pause to think on some things, he is trying to tell us.
The pollutions of heavens, the earth and the see
The old world view
Let us start with the world view, people had in those days. The earth was viewed upon as a flat and not as a globe, with mountains and seas and surrounded by the great ocean. It had a certain depth beneath it, the underworld, where the dead abode. Above it was a great dome, a vault, with clouds, the moon, the sun and the stars, called 'the heavens.' Somewhere high in that space were the gods and beneath them were the spirits that often troubled mankind. This was also world view of the apostles, for they had the understanding of their day and age. God was in the highest place, far above the earth and Christ had ascended from the earth, gone through the heavens and was seated at the right hand of the Most High God. The apostle Paul wrote about the evil spirits as 'the powers in the air,' read Ephesians 2:2 and 6:12.
Pollution of the atmosphere
We know that the atmosphere around our planet is alarmingly fast being polluted. International conferences concentrate on the diminishing of all industrial gases and chemical particles that are blown in the air. Some advance is made, but experts say that the decisions are insufficient and therefore they fear the worst for the future. Against the time the Lord returns the atmosphere could very well be so much polluted and damaged that it needs completely to be replaced by a creative, cleansing act of God. The apostle Peter wrote that the heavens, this means the atmosphere around the planet, will pass away with a great noise. This could mean that God might create a tremendous storm, a hurricane, which replaces the whole polluted atmosphere around the planet.
Pollution of the surface
The pollution of the surface of the earth has enormously increased over the centuries and in our industrial era the alarm bells are sounding everywhere. Apart from moral and spiritual pollution there is the chemical and nuclear pollution and scientists foresee that this will only increase in the next decennia until a very dangerous level will be reached. Experts foresee a disaster scenario: a shortage of drinking water, pollution of food, death of much animal life and dangerous epidemics. At the time when the Lord returns we can only expect that land and sea of this planet will be in a deplorable condition. New can much better than the apostles apprehend that there has to be a total renewal or replacement of the earth, sot that there will be a healthy environment for mankind in that new era, that new age, in which the Lord God will have complete control.
Moral and spiritual pollution
The apostles of the Lord lived in a time in which there was much idolatry, evil and all kinds of unrighteousness. The Roman Empire was full of idolatry and the worship of all kinds of gods. In all cities stood temples devoted to the gods. The morals were low and sin abounded. They warned the first Christians to be on their guard, so that they would not be defiled by these spiritual and moral pollutions. The apostles understood that in the eyes of God the earth was polluted through the shedding of innocent blood and the sinful works of mankind. The Holy Spirit revealed to them that the Lord would totally renew or even replace the earth, which is the surface of the planet, as we understand it today. The old idolatrous ideas have largely gone but there is a new form of idolatry. Many worship man as god. In fact there are many, that teach that man himself is God and the great search is to find the god in yourself. In industrial, civilized cultures many worship the things they make, the big possessions and technological possibilities. Only few recognize that all good things from God and that we derive even our very life from Him.
There was no more sea...
I want to enlarge with one more aspect in this vision. The apostle saw - read Revelation 22:1 - that there was no more sea. There is no need to take this statement in a literal way. Seas and oceans are just as necessary for life on this planet as the dry land. Without the sea life would be endangered. In trying to understand what John was saying, consider his personal situation. John was in exile on a small island west of Turkey. He was totally isolated. From his cave he saw nothing but water and somewhere behind the horizon was the city of Ephesus, with his church of which he was the senior pastor. The sea made a great separation between himself and his church. The sea had a negative emotional value in his present situation. The message that there was going to be no more sea must have sounded as beautiful music in his ears. But more can be said to clarify this statement about the disappearance of the sea.
The surface of the sea is never completely at rest; there is always movement of its waters. The winds disturb its surface easily and strong winds can make the sea a dangerous place for man. If we take - as apocalyptic writers as John have done - the winds to be symbolic for spiritual powers and the sea as symbolic for humanity, we see that spiritual powers influence mankind. The sea stands here for godless humanity as influenced by spiritual powers. In the new world order of God there will be more sea, that is there will be no more separation, no more isolation and no more evil influence on humanity. Of course, please understand, this is one possibility of interpretation, I am not dogmatic, but trying to understand the apocalyptic scenes and motives. The Holy Spirit was telling the apostles of the Lord that the heavens and the earth are going to be thoroughly renewed when the Lord returns. We do not know what they themselves understood of this message, but we, living in this time, can understand better the necessity of a total renewal of the atmosphere and the surface of the earth.
The Lord God, living and reigning on a new earth
In view of the worsening state of the planet through exhaustion, pollution and all evil doing, renewal of its atmosphere and surface, including the seas will become a necessity if the human race needs to continue to inhabit it. We understand much better then previous generation the necessity of total renewal of atmosphere, land and seas. It is therefore not surprising that the Bible teaches that God will create a new heaven and a new earth and that the old heaven and the old earth will disappear. The apostle Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3, verse 12, that Christians should be 'looking for and hastening the coming day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat." In verse 10 of this chapter he wrote that in the day of the Lord 'the heavens will pass away with a great noise."
When we read the old religious books of Israel we discover that the prophets of Israel, whose writings we find also in our Bible, believed that there will be coming a new time, in which the Lord God is going to dwell again amongst his people and that He will be their great King, sitting on his throne in Jerusalem. Listen to what the prophet Zephaniah wrote about 620 B.C. - more than 2600 years ago. I quote chapter 3:14-17: "Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." And the prophet Zechariah, who lived about 620 before Christ, wrote in chapter 2 of his book: "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee. And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again."
Zechariah wrote 2500 years ago that the Lord was already preparing the new world order. With prophetic authority he commanded the spotters and doubters to be silent; I quote chapter 2:13: "Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation."
Indeed, many have been saying impatiently and irreverently: "What is the Lord doing all this time? Are His promises perhaps all human fantasy or wishful thinking? The apostle Peter heard in his days, the first century of Christianity, already this manner of talk and he reacted to it in his second epistle; please read 2 Peter 3:3-8. But, if we take the way the Lord looks at time, for Him are a thousand years as a day, then it is only two and a halve days ago that Zechariah prophesied about the coming of the Lord in order to make new age for humanity and make his center in Jerusalem.
The Lord Jesus is the Lord that will reign on earth
It is the message of the New Testament that Jesus Christ will be the King over all the earth. He is the Son of the Most High God. He came to this world to reconcile man to His Creator and restore the human race to its divine destination. However, He was rejected by his own people and died on the cross. But his death became the sacrifice for sin. The result of this sacrifice is that every human being can by faith be recreated to a man, that lives in perfect fellowship with God. Jesus Christ has gone back to heaven, but He will return to take His Kingdom over His people and the whole world. When this happens, Gods New Age for humanity has begun.
Jesus Christ will command His servants to teach the whole of the human race the right and best way of living in every aspect of life. The moral code as found in the books of Moses, that great man of God, who claimed in his time that he received his instructions directly from the Almighty God, will be taught and enforced. The prophets of Israel foresaw this New Age for humanity and wrote about it. I quote from the book of Isaiah, chapter 11, verses 5 - 9: "And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. "
The task of the Church in the new world order and system
Who will be those rulers that reign with King Jesus over the earth? Jesus Christ has made a promise: those who follow Him faithfully, even willing to suffer persecution for His name's sake and keep His commandments will receive those positions of leadership, when He will be sitting on His throne and govern the whole earth. He said plainly, for instance, that the twelve apostles will be sitting on twelve thrones and judge or reign over the twelve tribes of Israel. And in parables he taught about an important man, who traveled to a far country to receive a royal position. He commanded his servants to be faithful and diligent during his absence. When this man came back he judged his servants and rewarded those, which had been faithful. It is evident that Jesus was talking about himself in this story and about those that believed in Him. In the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, the Spirit of Christ promised those, who would be faithful and obedient to the calling that rests upon believers, that they would sit with Christ in His throne, that is that will be sharing in His government over the earth.
There are old prophecies that support the teaching of Christ and His apostles on this subject of government. I draw your attention to Isaiah 32:1,2 and quote it here: " Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in justice. Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a covert from the tempest, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land." You will notice that the prophet spoke about a king and about princes, and that each of those rulers will be true, trustworthy and reliable.
If you believe in Jesus Christ, you too receive the opportunity not only to follow Him now, which is in itself a great, undeserved privilege, but to be also working with Him in His future Kingdom, ruling over the nations, receiving a position over a city perhaps, a county or nation or even over a greater part of this world. What a tremendous possibility is unfolding itself before your eyes in this scriptural teaching! You receive an almost unbelievable chance to work with Jesus in his future rule over the world, which will become the great New Age of God. This New Age of God will be a peaceful age, an age in which there will be righteous judgment and room for everybody to live a happy and worthy life. It will be a time in which the true knowledge of God will be taught to every human being and all idolatry, witchcraft and religious deception will be destroyed. I quote here Isaiah 11:9, "They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea."
"Behold, I make all things new, I make a new heaven and a new earth, I will make a new world order," the Spirit of the Lord Jesus is speaking. This new world order will be so beautiful and perfect that we can hardly imagine what it will be like, used as we are to unhealthy, unjust and imperfect situations and conditions. How wonderful it is going to be when there needs to be no more fear when walking in the night on the streets of our cities and when there is no more crime, stealing and unrighteous discrimination. The hearts of men will be renewed by the spirit of knowledge of the Lord God. Hatred, deceit and dangerous passions will be overcome by the teaching of holiness and the power of the Spirit of God. You will undoubtedly agree with me that it is going to be a wonderful opportunity to work together with King Jesus in that New Age.
Do you believe for the forgiveness of your sins, the healing of your soul and your eternal happiness in the Christ, that was once crucified, but who is now in heaven, crowned with glory and honour and who will one day come back to be crowned as King over all the earth?
I am going for it, for this new future, this perfect time with Jesus! What about you?
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