The “EARTH” in regards to bible prophecy describes the corporate people of God. It also often includes visible aspects of God’s covenant systems. The OLD EARTH refers to the Old Covenant Jewish people or Old Testament nation of Israel as God’s chosen people.
The OLD EARTH includes the nation of Israel, the land of the Jews, the City of Jerusalem, and the Jewish Temple. The City and Temple were literally destroyed by God in the outpouring of His wrath during Christ’s Parousia in AD 66-70. That is when the Jews and Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple by fire during the Jewish-Roman war.
The NEW EARTH refers to God’s people under the eternal New Covenant after AD 70. These are Christians who corporately make up the eternal New Covenant gospel Kingdom.
All Believers are corporately called the Church; the body of Christ; a spiritual house; a chosen generation; a holy nation; a royal priesthood; and His own special people. (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). Each born-again believer is a holy New Covenant Kingdom priest with direct access to God Almighty through their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
These believers in Christ are part of the seen realm NEW EARTH part of the “ONE” eternal Kingdom upon being spiritually regenerated during their human lives (the earthly seen realm is now connected with the unseen heavenly realm of the Kingdom (Eph. 1:10)). The Holy Spirit indwells each believer and thus only righteousness dwells in the NEW EARTH seen realm part of the eternal New Covenant spiritual Kingdom of God. (2 Pet. 3:13).
- A key thing to remember is that the “new heavens and earth Eternal 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 chapters 21 and 2 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 chapter 65 and 66 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 à a “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.
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 7 Lesson 3b”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 16 Lesson 9 Rev. Chapter 21”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 16 Lesson 10 Rev. Chapter 22”]