After AD 70, God has fully consummated and established His New Covenant eternal Kingdom.
- A key thing to remember is that the “new heavens and earth Eternal New Covenant Kingdom” is a new arrangement of the universe, both in the unseen realm of heaven and in the seen realm on earth. The invisible realities of His Kingdom emanates in the unseen realm from heaven, and manifests itself on earth through the visible Church. The New Heavens and Earth is a new government (Kingdom) and new world order of things both in the SEEN and UNSEEN realms, based on the redemptive work of Christ. The old arrangement of the world, which was based on the sacrificial system (instituted since the fall in the garden where the Lord Himself slayed the first animal to cloth Adam and Eve), passed away, and Christ’s new world order (kosmos) or administration (oikonomia) was established.
This creation of “a new heaven and a new earth” is not the creation of a new planet with a new sun, moon and stars, as many materialistic sects would have us believe. What John sees in Revelation is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies which described the New Testament order as a new heaven and a new earth. The expression denotes a change in the spiritual and heavenly order of things (cosmological change). The old cosmological heaven and earth since the time of Adam was instituted by God in the garden through animal sacrifice (Gen. 3:21)(typological of the true sacrifice who was to come – Christ), and was codified and ratified into an Old Covenant through Israel at Mount Sinai (Deut. 5:1-22; Isa. 51:15-16). Isaiah’s new heaven and earth was preceded by his portrayal of ancient Jerusalem’s destruction and followed by the creation of a new and different Jerusalem (Isa. 65:15-66:24).
Observe the essentials of the change in the cosmological spiritual order. The Old Testament order of worship (Deut.6:1-25) consisted of service to God, Elohim (v.4), by fleshly Israel (v.3; cf.5:1-5), through the Law of Moses (vs.1-2; cf. 5:1-5); the temple service being performed at first in the tabernacle and finally in Jerusalem (Deut.12:1-4). This order of service prevailed for 1,500 years under Israel’s the Old Covenant until Jesus by His death on the cross changed things cosmologically by fulfilling the requirements of the Law.
Under the new cosmological order service is directed to God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, (Matt.28:19-20; Acts 2) by spiritual (True) Israel (Rom.9:6-11; Gal.3:26-29; 6:15-16; 1 Pet.2:1-10), under the law of Christ (John 1:17; 1 Cor.9:21; Gal.6:2). The temple service is performed in the visible part of the eternal new Jerusalem on earth by all true believers who are now priests in the church of Christ (Rev. 1:6, 5:10, 21:2-4, 22; 1 Cor.3:16; Eph.2:19-22; Heb.8:1-6; 1 Pet.2:5). The spiritual service performed by Christians under the law of Christ is so new and different that it is a new creation–> “new heaven and a new earth” (complete cosmological change in the relationship between the seen earthly and unseen heavenly realms of the Eternal Kingdom).
**Additional note: John in Revelation 21-22 is referring to the one and only same “new heavens and earth” as Isaiah is speaking in Isaiah 65-66. What is critical for us to always remember is that both are mentioned as the new creation: the “heavens” and “earth.” The seen and unseen realm. In Revelation 21-22 John is seeing a predominant vision of the “heavenly realm,” while Isaiah was given a vision of predominantly the “earthly realm.” The two together give us a more clear picture of the totality of these “new heavens and new earth.” The ONE ETERNAL KINGDOM.
Heavenly realm aspect:
The New Jerusalem is in the heavenly unseen realm where God dwells. The Tree of Life is in this heavenly city. Jesus brought this heavenly city down with Him when He returned at His Parousia. At His Parousia He raised the dead righteous souls in the unseen realm out of Hades/Sheol, changed the living righteous into the unseen realm, and gave them all new immortal heavenly individual bodies, and they inherited their eternal life and entrance through the gates into the heavenly Jerusalem with access to the Tree of Life.
It is in the heavenly afterlife aspect of the New Jerusalem where the Tree of Life is. And like Jesus prayed in His model prayer, the Kingdom has both earthly and heavenly aspects: “May your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It is NOT an either/or situation, but rather a both/and situation.
Earthly realm aspect:
The earthly Kingdom’s realm existence is in the church. This earthly realm aspect is much like Isaiah was prophesying about in Isaiah 65:20-25, 66:18-24. This also corresponds to the earthly life in the Kingdom as spoken of in Ezekiel 47 where the river of life will grow and bring life wherever it goes, but that there will always be the evil and darkness around us (swamps and marshland) (Ezek. 47:11).
The visible realm of this one Eternal Kingdom is made up of the believers in Christ in the church. Their sins are all forgiven. They are justified in the eyes of God. Unrighteousness continually ruled among the Old Covenant Hebrew kingdom people in the old heavens and earth world order, but now righteousness dwells among the New Covenant people. The Old Covenant system required continual sacrifices for the people in order to temporarily atone/cover their sins. The New Covenant people of God have been forgiven forever through Christ’s “once at the end of the ages” sacrifice, and no further sacrifices are needed – ever.
This aspect of the Kingdom is speaking about us as true members of Christ’s body in the church à we have free unhindered entrance into the earthly aspects of the Kingdom city, God dwells with us, we are blessed with His Holy Spirit living with and guiding us, and we have the guarantee of the inheritance of eternal life in the heavenly city once we leave this earthly life. No “unsaved” person can truly enter the body of Christ in the earthly church, nor have these rights or access to the Tree of eternal Life in the heavenly city upon physical death (they must first be born again. John 3:5). (Outside of the gates of the earthly church body are the “dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolater, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”)
Each and every Christian in the earthy realm of the New Covenant Kingdom (Church) is a priest with personal priesthood access to almighty God.
“5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a HOLY PRIESTHOOD, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:5).
All believers in the New Covenant gospel Kingdom have direct access to God (1 John 5:14-15; 1 Pet. 2:9). Each believer-priest has Jesus Christ as the only authority over them. After AD 70 there is no other authority between the believer and Christ (Not apostles, pastors, nor elders). At the same time, each believer is to respectful1y submit to one-another in Christ. This includes those who minister as elders and teachers in the fellowship of believers.
During the transition period between Christ’s first and second comings, ending in AD 70, the New Covenant Kingdom was beginning in its infancy. Gifted men, such as the apostles and prophets, were chosen and commissioned by God to be the foundation for His church (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 2:20; 4:11). These first century apostles and church leaders had mighty spiritual gifts given to them, but they also had great responsibilities (Acts 1:8).
They were to make disciples, equipping them for the work of the ministry and the edifying of the body of Christ. Jesus told them that He was with them always (day and night) as they carried out His commission given to them until the end of the Jewish age in their generation (Matt. 28:19-20).
Those first century people did not yet have the full New Testament Canon, which proclaimed the gospel and were the “keys to heaven.” Peter and the apostles would complete and select the Canonical writings before Christ’s Parousia in AD 66 (Matt. 16:19). The responsibility for teaching truth, appointing other leaders, and ruling over the brethren was entirely in the apostle’s hands. They would be held accountable for their work, but they would also receive special rewards in the judgment.
Therefore, those first century Christians were to hold fast to their confession of hope without wavering, for God is faithful. They were to help one another to stir up brotherly love and good works. They were to assemble together and exhort one another, as they saw the Day of Christ’s return was approaching soon (Heb. 10:23-25, 37). They were instructed to “obey those who rule over you,” and be submissive, for they watch out for the saints, and must give an account in the soon coming judgment in AD 66-70 (Heb. 13:17).
Now after AD 70 all of those judgments are finished. Now, in the fully established New Covenant Kingdom, each believer has a fully consummated salvation in Christ. Each believer is a priest of the highest standing in the Kingdom. Each believer is a permanent member of the spiritual body of Christ and has the Holy Spirit permanently indwelling them.
Each believer has the completed New Testament Canon of Scriptures. Each believer has direct priesthood access to Christ in prayer. Each believer must study and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, giving all glory to Him and not to men (2 Pet. 3:18).
Each believer is to love one-another, submit to one-another, care for one-another, teach one-another, help one-another, and exhort one-another. This includes the elders, who as mature and faithful servants of God, minister to their fellow brethren in the Church.