Lesson 13: God's Re-creation: The Earth Made New

September 18- 24

God's Re-creation: The Earth Made New

READ FOR THIS WEEK'S STUDY: Isa. 65:17-25; 1 Cor. 15:12-26, 35-55; Phil. 3:20, 21; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1-27; 22:1-6, 12-21.

MEMORY TEXT:  "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Revelation 21:1, 2, NKJV).

KEY THOUGHT: God intends to restore both the human race and the earth to their pre-Fall glory. While the nature of this existence is beyond our comprehension now, yet it is real, and God wants us to look forward to His glorious rewards for us.

Sabbath Afternoon   September 18

THE REALITY OF THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH. We have spent most of this quarter studying about the original creation of this earth. While we recognize the importance of acknowledging God as our Creator, it is also important that we look forward to a new restored creation. There are those who do not like to talk about heaven and the new earth. Influenced by the scientific age, some may harbor secret doubts about the reality of the future existence presented in the Bible. Others may feel that to talk of such things is to reveal a selfish motive for wanting to go to heaven. But the motive is loving God and desiring to be with Him in the midst of His perfect creation.

This week we will study how God desires us to be with Him in the heavenly home He has prepared for us.  

Sunday  September 19

LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEW WORLD (1 Cor. 3:14; 2 Cor. 4:17; Matt. 5:12; Rev. 21:1-7, 10-21; 22:1-3,17).

What does the Bible say about the reality of our eternal reward? 1 Cor. 3:14; 2 Cor. 4:17; Rev. 21:1-7. 

It is impossible for our finite minds to comprehend what our infinite God has prepared for us. How can the perfection of the new heaven and earth be adequately described! "Language is altogether too feeble to attempt a description of heaven. As the scene rises before me, I am lost in amazement. Carried away with the surpassing splendor and excellent glory, I lay down the pen, and exclaim, 'Oh, what love! what wondrous love!' The most exalted language fails to describe the glory of heaven or the matchless depths of a Saviour's love."—Early Writings, p. 289.

Considering that the glory of our eternal reward is impossible to comprehend, how does Jesus desire for us to view it? Matt. 5:12; Rev. 22:17. 

Actually, every evidence from the Bible seems to indicate that God is quite eager to share the joy of our future life with Him. He gives us attractive hints, that which we can understand, to help us look forward to it. "Jesus comes to present the advantages and beautiful imagery of the heavenly, that the attractions of heaven shall become familiar to the thoughts, and memory's hall be hung with pictures of celestial and eternal loveliness. ...

"The great Teacher gives man a view of the future world. He brings it, with its attractive possessions, within the range of his vision. ... If He can fasten the mind upon the future life and its blessedness, in comparison with the temporal concerns of this world, the striking contrast is deeply impressed upon the mind, absorbing the heart and soul and the whole being."—Our High Calling, p. 286.

What views of the new heaven and new earth does inspiration provide for us? Rev. 21:1, 2, 10-21; 22:1-3. 

As the above texts demonstrate, the imagery of what God has in store for us in heaven and in the earth made new is quite dazzling. How does the anticipation of such a glorious reward make an impact on your everyday life? What impact does your experience have on others around you?  

Monday  September 20

NATURE RESTORED (Isa. 55:13; 65:25; 11:6-9; 35:1-10; Hos. 2:16-20; Rev. 21:23, 25).

How is nature described in the new earth? Isa. 55:13; 65:25; Rev. 21:23, 25.  

Besides the brief descriptions provided in Isaiah and Revelation, Ellen White provides some beautiful insights into what the new heaven and earth will be like: "I saw another field full of all kinds of flowers, and as I plucked them, I cried out, 'They will never fade.' Next I saw a field of tall grass, most glorious to behold; it was living green and had a reflection of silver and gold, as it waved proudly to the glory of King Jesus. ... Then we entered a wood, not like the dark woods we have here; no, no; but light, and all over glorious; the branches of the trees moved to and fro, and we all cried out, 'We will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.' We passed through the woods, for we were on our way to Mount Zion."—Early Writings, p. 18.

"Mount Zion was just before us, and on the mount was a glorious temple, and about it were seven other mountains, on which grew roses and lilies. And I saw the little ones climb, or, if they chose, use their little wings and fly, to the top of the mountains and pluck the never-fading flowers. There were all kinds of trees around the temple to beautify the place: the box, the pine, the fir, the oil, the myrtle, the pomegranate, and the fig tree bowed down with the weight of its timely figs-these made the place all over glorious."—Early Writings, p. 19.

What will the animals be like in the new heaven and the new earth? Hos. 2:16-20; Isa. 11:6-9; 35:1-10; 65:25. 

The prophet Isaiah's descriptions of the lot of the redeemed clearly depicts the overturning of the present fallen order. Further, the prophet Hosea includes the animals in a covenant of peace with God's redeemed people.

"There man will be restored to his lost kingship, and the lower order of beings will again recognize his sway; the fierce will become gentle and the timid trustful."—Education, p. 304.

As you compare this world and the glorious world to come, do you feel homesick for heaven? How is it that we can call heaven home and feel "homesick" for it, even though we have never been there? What are some things that can keep you from going there? When traveling to a foreign land, you need a passport or visa. If heaven is our destination, then what is our "heavenly passport"?  

Tuesday  September 21

HUMANS RESTORED (Mal. 4:1, 2; Hos. 13:14; 1 Cor. 15:22-25; 15:42-44, 54, 55; Rev. 21:4).

How will humans appear at their restoration? Mal. 4:1, 2.  

Malachi describes the redeemed as having the vigor of a "young calf" restored to them! In the full vigor of eternal youth they will leap for joy in their glorious home. "Restored to the tree of life in the long-lost Eden, the redeemed will 'grow up' to the full stature of the race in its primeval glory."—The Great Controversy, p. 645.

"If Adam, at his creation, had not been endowed with twenty times as much vital force as men now have, the race, with their present habits of living in violation of natural law, would have become extinct."-Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 23.

"None will need or desire repose. There will be no weariness in doing the will of God and offering praise to His name. We shall ever feel the freshness of the morning and shall ever be far from its close."—The Great Controversy, p. 676.

What will happen to pain, suffering, and death in God's new order? Can you imagine life without them! Hos. 13:14; 1 Cor. 15:22-26; 15:42-44, 54, 55; Rev. 21:4.  

This is the wonder of the new life of the redeemed-a real physical existence, but one without pain, suffering, and death. This calls for a different type of existence from what we know in our present world, a different ecosystem, a different biology. As Paul says, it is a mystery, but we know that the perishable will become imperishable, and the mortal will put on immortality, and there will be no more death.

"Pain cannot exist in the atmosphere of heaven. There will be no more tears, no funeral trains, no badges of mourning."—The Great Controversy, p. 676.

The question many ask is Will we recognize our loved ones whom we have lost in this life? "As Jesus arose from the dead, so those who sleep in Him are to rise again. We shall know our friends, even as the disciples knew Jesus. They may have been deformed, diseased, or disfigured, in this mortal life, and they rise in perfect health and symmetry; yet in the glorified body their identity will be perfectly preserved." —The Desire of Ages, p. 804.

Do you have loved ones who died?  If yes, how does it make you feel that you will see and recognize them in perfection at Jesus' return?  

Wednesday  September 22

EYE HAS NOT SEEN ... (Matt. 22:23-30; 1 Cor. 2:9; Ps. 16:11).

How did Jesus answer the Sadducees' question about marriage in the afterlife? Matt. 22:23-30.  

Among the errors of the Sadducees was that they did not believe in the power of the Spirit of God acting in human affairs. In their skepticism they denied the existence of angels, the resurrection, and eternal life. So, thinking to embarrass Jesus, they asked a speculative question about the consequences of the levirate marriage law (Deut. 25:5, 6) in the resurrection.

But, to Jesus, their big problem was that they did not know the power of God or His Word. They "forgot that a God powerful enough to raise men from the dead also had the wisdom and power to set up anew a perfect order of society in the perfect new earth. Furthermore, all who are saved will be contented and happy with the glorious new order of things, even though they cannot fully realize in this life what the future will bring forth. ... Evidently there will be no need for marriage, because a different order of life will prevail."-The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 483.

According to Jesus, then, in the future life marriage such as we have known it will not continue. There is still much we do not know. During the early days of the Adventist Church, some were so concerned about this issue that Ellen White was compelled to write: "Workers for God should not spend time speculating as to what conditions will prevail in the new earth. It is presumption to indulge in suppositions and theories regarding matters that the Lord has not revealed. He has made every provision for our happiness in the future life, and we are not to speculate regarding His plans for us. Neither are we to measure the conditions of the future life by the conditions of this life."—Gospel Workers, p. 314.

What does God s Word say about His wondrous plan for our future happiness? 1 Cor. 2:9; Ps. 16:11; 84:11. 

Our loving, powerful, and wise God will employ all His creative energies to surpass infinitely all our expectations of happiness and satisfaction. Doesn't it fill us with wonder and amazement as we look forward to what our gracious God is preparing for our eternal happiness!

"Friends long separated by death are united.... and ... ascend together to the City of God."The Great Controversy, p. 645. 

Thursday  September 23

WHAT WILL WE DO THERE? (Isa. 65:21, 22; 66:22, 23).

What do the following texts tell us about some of the things that we will be doing in the new earth?

Isa. 65:21, 22  _______________________________________________________

Isa. 66:22, 23  _______________________________________________________  

In the inspired writings of Ellen White we read of a number of activities we shall be engaged in: worship, music, research, building, fellowship, to name just a few. As we come to the end of this quarter's study, it is fitting that we reflect on a few choice statements to boost our courage as we look forward to our eternal reward.

"In the earth made new, the redeemed will engage in the occupations and pleasures that brought happiness to Adam and Eve in the beginning. The Eden life will be lived, the life in garden and field." —Prophets and Kings, p. 730.

"In the same manner [bringing the glorious crowns] the angels brought the harps, and Jesus presented them also to the saints. The commanding angels first struck the note, and then every voice was raised in grateful, happy praise, and every hand skillfully swept over the strings of the harp, sending forth melodious music in rich and perfect strains."—Early Writings, p. 288.

"Then will be opened before him [the student] the course of the great conflict that had its birth before time began, and that ends only when time shall cease. ... The veil that interposes between the visible and the invisible world will be drawn aside, and wonderful things will be revealed."—Education, p. 304.

"All the perplexities of life's experience will then be made plain. Where to us have appeared only confusion and disappointment, broken purposes and thwarted plans, will be seen a grand, overruling, victorious purpose, a divine harmony."—Education, p. 305.

"Then we began to look at the glorious things outside of the city. There I saw most glorious houses, that had the appearance of silver, supported by four pillars set with pearls most glorious to behold. These were to be inhabited by the saints."—Early Writings, p. 18.

"As they [the saints] learn more and more of the wisdom, the love, and the power of God, their minds will be constantly expanding, and their joy will continually increase."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp.702,703.

"All the treasures of the universe will be open to the study of God's redeemed. Unfettered by mortality, they wing their tireless flight to worlds afar."—The Great Controversy, p. 677.  

Friday  September 24

FURTHER STUDY:  Read the chapter entitled "The School of the Hereafter" in Education, pp. 301-309 to learn about all the fascinating subjects we will be engaged in studying. Read the statement under the heading "Speculation Regarding the Future Life" in Medical Ministry, pp. 99, 100, for a specific comment on Jesus' words on marriage in heaven.  

"There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide-spreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God's people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home."—The Great Controversy, p. 675.

While some did not initially recognize Jesus after His resurrection, ultimately His friends did recognize Him. Mary recognized Jesus' voice (John 20:11-16), Thomas, His physical appearance (John 20:27, 28), and the disciples from Emmaus recognized Jesus' mannerisms (Luke 24:30, 31, 35). In The Desire of Ages, p. 804, we read that "The resurrection of Jesus was a type of the final resurrection of all who sleep in Him. The countenance of the risen Saviour, His manner, His speech, were all familiar to His disciples."

She also writes this touching passage in Selected Messages, book 2, p. 260: "As the little infants come forth immortal from their dusty beds, they immediately wing their way to their mother's arms. They meet again nevermore to part."

1. How does the original pre-Fall earth compare with the new earth?  What are some similarities and differences?  
2. A happy Sabbath exercise for Adventist families is to discuss what they look forward to most in the new earth. What do you look forward to that you think will bring you the greatest joy? 

SUMMARY:  "The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love."—The Great Controversy, p. 678.  

Lest We Forget

J. H. Zachary

As I travel from country to country I have been touched by the conditions in which many of our believers live and work. Recently I sat in a church filled with worshipers. But three of the church workers were not present; they were imprisoned for their faith. The Bibles the members so reverently held were smuggled into the country, for the government does not permit the publishing of religious literature.

In another country I visited a little house on the edge of a city. Each Sabbath members secretly entered the house to worship; they sang in whispers to prevent detection. Then one day police raided the house and arrested the pastor. He remains in prison.

In another country I met an elderly man sitting alone in church. When he had refused to send his children to school on Sabbath, the authorities took his children and sent them to a Communist boarding school. Today the children are atheists. Only God knows the depth of this man's sorrow.

I visited an ADRA leader who cannot preach in a church or even make a comment during Sabbath School class, for religion is monitored where he serves.

In yet another country an Adventist pastor's home was bombed by a radical religious group. In spite of fear for his family, he continues to preach the gospel.

A teenager came to evangelistic meetings, her face and arms covered with bruises. Her father had beaten her to discourage her from accepting Jesus. One night as she returned from the meeting, her father met her and tried to drag her to the barn for another whipping. She clung to a water pipe. Her father gave a violent yank, and the water pipe broke. He forgot the whipping as he repaired the broken pipe. Today this young woman rejoices in the Lord in spite of persecution.

I stepped into a pastor's one-room apartment in one country. A bare lightbulb hung in the center of the room. The pastor kneels on the floor beside his bed, preparing a Bible study. I prayed that the police had not seen me enter the apartment. It would have been far too dangerous to visit the secret house church. Yet this godly pastor and his family serve the Lord.

Unsung heros live and work in many dark and dangerous places around the world. They are determined to serve God at any cost. We must pray for those who are suffering for the Lord, and we must never take our religious freedom for granted.

J. H. Zachary is international evangelism coordinator at The Quiet Hour in Redlands, California.

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