Lesson 13

God's Re-creation: The Earth Made New

(Revelation 21 & 22; Isaiah 11)
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Introduction: This week we come to the last lesson of our quarter's study on Creation. We turn our attention to the earth recreated, the earth made new. Now that is an exciting thought, so let's jump into our study!

  1. THE FUTURE HOME


    1. How many of you spend a significant amount of time thinking about the future? (When I was young, I would think about being older and having more money and more status. Now that I am older, I think about a semi-retirement where I travel the country in a converted bus (or some other RV) and litigate a few religious liberty cases and hold seminars or evangelistic series.)


      1. Does the future always seem more desirable than the present?


      2. Is it human nature to dream about the future?


      3. When you think about the future, do you envision yourself in heaven? (I sometimes wonder why I spend so much time thinking about the details of a bus conversion when I should be thinking about interplanetary travel!)


    2. Let's look at a text about this. Read Revelation 21:1-4. Is our future in heaven?


      1. If you say, "yes," why is the New Jerusalem (v.2) "coming down out of heaven?" (These verses clearly indicate that at some point we return to an earth made new. God then brings His holy city, the New Jerusalem, down to earth so that He can live with us!)


        1. Would that make the new earth the "center of the universe?"


        2. How special will it be to reside at the "center of the universe?"


          1. What are the "perks" of having God as our neighbor?


        3. Why would God want to move into our neighborhood? (I think it has to do with His successful battle against sin. The one rebel outpost in the universe now becomes His home.)


      2. What, in particular, do you look forward to in the earth made new? (Verse 4 tells us that fear will be gone. We will not have to worry about the loss of a loved one, or personal sickness because all pain, crying and death are gone. Pain and suffering will no longer be "the order" of things.)


    3. Read Revelation 21:10-12, 18-21. Imagine this for a moment, and tell me if you can think of anything here, anything you have seen, that compares to this?


      1. In Luke 9:58 Jesus said that He had no home here. In Isaiah 53:2 we are told that when Jesus lived on earth He did not have any beauty or majesty that would attract us to Him. His standard of living, in general, seemed to be low. He was not grand looking or grand appearing. Why the great contrast between the earth made new and Jesus' lifestyle here?


    4. Read Revelation 22:1-2. What do you find unusual about this tree?


      1. What is the source of the river of life?


      2. Will you be able to eat from the tree of life? (Yes! Revelation 2:7 says that we have "the right" to eat from it!)


    5. Can you picture this in your mind? In the middle of the New Jerusalem is the throne of God. A main street, of pure gold (Rev. 22:2 & 21:18), leads to the throne. In the middle of this street of gold is the crystal clear river of life. On both sides of the river this enormous tree is growing that has a new crop every month. Its leaves and fruit give life!


    6. Why does the New Jerusalem have a wall? (It cannot be for protection from enemies for Revelation 21:25 tells us that the gates are never shut.)


    7. Our lesson refers (Sunday) to the "imagery" of what God has in store for us and the teacher's comments refer to the Biblical presentation being "sometimes symbolic." Is this description real or is this symbolic? (I do not think it is symbolic. The precious stones and metals that are described are still precious today. If there is any attempt at symbolism, it is an effort to tell us that what is in store for us is the very best that we can imagine.)


  2. FUTURE RELATIONSHIPS


    1. What kind of relationships do you think we will have in the earth made new?


      1. Will we have to be worried about being mugged?
      2. Will everyone be helpful and considerate?


      3. Will another Cain be lurking?


    2. I always thought it was interesting that whenever my parents or their friends discussed a potential retirement home, they invariably mentioned the proximity of a hospital!


      1. If we do not have to worry about a nearby hospital in the earth made new, why does Revelation 22:2 say that the leaves of the tree of life "are for the healing of the nations?"


        1. What other "healing" could occur at this tree? (We read about Christians of various nationalities and tribes disliking each other, to say nothing about actually attacking each other. The tree of life is a natural gathering place. Perhaps John means that at the tree we will rub shoulders with "different" people and get to understand them better.)


    3. Let's read some other texts on relationships in the earth made new. Read Isaiah 11:9. What kind of attitude does this suggest?


        1. If the world today had a better knowledge of God, would there be less destruction and harm?


          1. How important does this text in Isaiah suggest is the knowledge of God in solving today's social problems?


            1. How would you go about increasing the knowledge of God?


      1. Read Revelation 22:4. What kind of attitude is suggested by the term "His name will be on their foreheads?" (The head is the source of thinking. It means that the people agree with God.)


    4. Read Luke 20:34-36. Why is it in the earth made new we will not marry? (Because we are "God's children?")


      1. Does this text (and context) mean that we will not remain married in heaven even if we are married here?


        1. Didn't God show us in Eden ( Genesis 2:18-24) that marriage is His ideal situation?
        2. If it is the ideal, why would it not exist in heaven? (Luke 20 is a difficult and discouraging text for those who are happily married. I like being married to my wife. I want to remain married in heaven. God's ideal in Eden was marriage. I think the key to this is Genesis 2:24. This tells us that in marriage the primary relationship changes from the parent to the spouse. Jesus tells us in Luke 20:36 that our primary relationship will be with our Father in heaven. I do not think this precludes marriage (and Jesus does not say it does), but I think it alters the primary relationship. Consider to what degree Adam sinned because he considered his relationship with Eve to be primary.)


  3. FUTURE WORK


    1. What do you expect you will be doing in the earth made new? Will you be sitting on a cloud, playing a harp ( Revelation 5:8)?


      1. Does that idea even appeal to you? (Not to me! I could enjoy playing a harp, but do not want to sit around playing one for eternity.)


    2. Read Matthew 5:12. This says that in heaven you will be rewarded. What kind of reward do you think you will get? What kind of rewards does God offer?


      1. What kinds of things do you think would be a reward for you? If I said to you, "I want to reward you," what would you suggest?


      2. Matthew 6:20 tells us to store up our treasures in heaven and not on earth. Will we have treasures in the earth made new? What kind can we store up now?


      3. What reward is revealed in Luke 22:29-30? (This is also a good answer to the "perks" question I asked you before.)


      4. Read Isaiah 65:22-24. This is generally accepted as a description of heaven or the earth made new. Which of these activities do you find most appealing?


        1. If Adam and Eve had work in pre-sin Eden, does it make sense that we will have work in the earth made new?


      5. Is it fair or helpful to talk about heaven in terms of what we know? ( 1 Corinthians 2:9 tells us that we have not seen, heard or can even imagine what God has prepared for us.)


    3. Friend, God has a wonderful reward in store for you. Will you accept it? Will you make a commitment to walk with God so that you can be there?


  4. Next Week: We start a new quarter on the "Church in Today's World." Our lesson title for next week is "We Are a Family."

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Lessons on God's Creation

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