What is the New Earth Described in Revelation?

What happens after "heaven" in the Bible? A New World | [iBelieveBible]
What happens after "heaven" in the Bible? A New World | [iBelieveBible]

According to the book of Revelation, the New Earth is our final destination—our forever home. It is the place humanity will live forever.

Bright green treed hills with a river flowing through the hills. A bright sky with pink clouds is above.
  • After Jesus’ Second Coming 
  • After the Judgment
  • After we live in heaven with him for 1,000 years 

The New Earth will be your home, made brand new in God’s time. And the Bible tells us exactly what to expect. So let’s look at:

  • What the New Earth is 
  • What it’s not
  • Why it’s important
  • What it can mean for us today
  • How the New Earth is our new beginning for eternity

What does the Bible say the New Earth is?

The New Earth is exactly as it sounds. It is a New Earth—earth recreated. God, who created the earth in Genesis will burn everything on this current, corrupted earth, cleansing it, and then recreate it as originally intended.

The New Earth is mentioned specifically in Isaiah 65 and 66, 2 Peter 3, and Revelation 21. 

To get a full understanding, we’ll also have to look at creation, the origin of sin, God’s plan for redemption, and Jesus’ return in the end time.

It’s on this new, perfect earth that His people will live forever. You can find this truth in Revelation 21:1-8. 

1. It is like the Garden of Eden

The Bible’s description of New Jerusalem and the New Earth points back to God’s creative power and expression. The use of precious jewels and pure gold throughout the city point to the perfect creation of God’s original Eden. 

You get more vivid imagery of this Edenic quality in Revelation 22. The River of Life flows from the throne of God at the heart of the Holy City (v. 1). This is similar to the river mentioned in the creation story in Genesis 2:10-14:

Bright sunset, view from the side of a hill coved in purple bush with a rive and fields off to the side.

“A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 

The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 

And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. 

And the fourth river is the Euphrates.”

Right away you can notice one big similarity: there is one river flowing out of Eden which gives life to the rest of the lands. 

The River of Life in the New Earth Jerusalem flows from God Almighty. It gives life to the Tree of Life standing on its banks. It is no coincidence that the river flowing from God’s throne waters the tree and the life-giving fruits it yields. Even the leaves themselves give life. 

Instead of falling each year as they do on earth, the leaves of the Tree of Life are used for healing (v. 2). 

Finally, like Eden, there will be nothing cursed (v. 3). It is as if the very presence of God and Jesus in the City prevents such tragedies (see Revelation 22:1-5).

2. The Capital City is New Jerusalem

Looking in Revelation 21:9-27, The Holy City belongs to both Heaven and the New Earth. When God’s followers are called up to heaven for 1000 years, they will dwell in the Heavenly City with God described in Revelation 21.

This Holy City will be fortified with high walls and a firm foundation (v. 14). It will have gates on all sides which will never be closed (v. 25). 

Dramatic view of tall black gates from the base.

There is no need for a temple because God Almighty is the temple (v. 22). Nothing unclean or anyone who does “detestable or false” things will be able to enter (v. 27). 

3. Its City is Built by Christ Himself

Hebrews 11:10 says “For [Abraham] waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” 

Like Eden in the beginning of the world, Jesus and God the Father create the New Jerusalem together. 

In fact, before Jesus parts with His disciples and is killed, He tells them: 

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3). 

You can find this truth in Genesis 1, John 14, and Revelation 21. 

4. God Will Dwell With His People There

The Bible says in no uncertain terms that God will dwell with His people in the Holy City on the New Earth. In John’s vision in Revelation 21, he describes this scene in which the city comes down from heaven and a loud voice declares: 

“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (v. 3). 

A view of a man laughing with his hands on two individuals shoulders.

Two things we can take from this verse are:

  1. He will dwell with them. 

The Greek word used for dwell here is skēnoō, which literally means to share a tent. This tells you that not only will God be on the New Earth with you, but that He will be sharing His Holy City with you. 

  1. God Himself will be with them as their God.
    The Greek preposition used for “with” here is meta, which means to be in permanent company with. This tells us that not only will God be dwelling with us in the New Earth, and sharing His Holy City with us, but that He will be hereafter and forever.

You can find this truth in Revelation 21:3-8.

5. It is the Earth, Re-Created

When God created the earth in Genesis, there was one purpose. God spent creation week creating spaces, and then filling them. 

He created the atmosphere filled with perfectly balanced gases to sustain life, and then He filled it. He created dry land and filled the land with plants. He created the air and water and filled both with living things. He filled the empty land with mammals. 

God created Eden and then put Adam and Eve there to commune with Him. When creation was finished, He created a new day for Sabbath, a day of rest and relationship with Him. Following the sequence of creation, you can see the earth was created for humanity, just as Sabbath was created for humanity (Mark 2:27). 

According to the historic account in scripture, things did not go as planned, and the earth has been Satan’s dominion since the fall, when Adam and Eve chose to go against what God asked. The sin that entered the world at that time has permanently damaged the earth itself and all things in it, bringing suffering and havoc. 

In order to set things right, God will destroy this broken world and create a new one in its place, the New Earth. 

Lighting strike view from clouds high above the earth.

You can find this truth in Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21.

The New Earth is not…

While the Bible is clear about what the New Earth is, there are still many other ideas floating around. To avoid confusion about God’s heavenly kingdom and His earthly kingdom, let’s make sure we know what the New Earth isn’t.

  • The New Earth isn’t heaven, as heaven is mentioned elsewhere in scripture and has existed long before earth. 
  • The New Earth isn’t another dimension or plane of existence. It is described as a physical recreation of the current earth we live on, to restore it to the perfection originally intended for it. 
  • The New Earth isn’t the end of time, as Scripture describes how earth’s recreation is actually the beginning of a new chapter in time as we know it. 

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What is the purpose of the New Earth?

The way God once created all things tells us that He is a God of order and of sense. He doesn’t do anything without a reason. 

So, why did He not create the earth perfectly in the first place? Why did He not eradicate sin at its start? Can’t God just reuse this earth instead of making a whole new one? 

Well, in the beginning, God did create the earth perfectly. He even created people perfectly—in His own image. 

“God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). 

He created male and female and blessed them, giving them dominion over the earth and all that was on it (Genesis 1:28). 

Couple holds hands and view the sunset.

However, the whole story begins with how humanity chose to exercise the freedom of choice God gave them when He made them. And at the first chance to use that freedom of choice, they chose to explore the option God warned them against choosing.

Adam and Eve chose the knowledge the Serpent and the forbidden tree offered (Genesis 3). In doing so, the human beings made their home vulnerable to Satan, sin, and death. 

The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). It also says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). 

We all deserve to die as a consequence of sin, but God eradicated the consequence of sin when Jesus died on the cross in our place. He gave us an existence where we have every opportunity to thrive in a relationship with Him. We can choose to accept the great gift of eternal life with Him or not. 

Living in this New Earth with Jesus will be our completely informed choice. No one will ever wonder about any other path than God’s because we will have already learned what that would be like.

And just like God’s original creation was perfect, the earth will be made flawlessly beautiful once more. Isaiah 65:17 explains why He recreates the current earth to a New Earth instead of scrapping this one completely: 

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.” 

It’s not enough that we just have a beautiful place to live. It’s restoring what God intended for us from the beginning. We’ll finally get to see what life would have been like if humanity had never fallen into sin, and we’ll get to live out this perfection for eternity. 

What will happen to the old earth?

If God is going to create a New Earth, what will happen to the old one? 

In Luke 12, when speaking to thousands, Jesus said: 

“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled” (v. 49). 

The prophet Isaiah describes these final happenings in plain terms: 

“Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants…The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this word” (Isaiah 24: 1, 3). 

A dry cracked desert landscape.

The words used in scripture to describe this destruction are strong ones. The planet will be burned completely until it is unrecognizable, its surface twisted, its population scattered and gone. 

According to John’s vision described in Revelation, the first heaven and first earth will pass away completely (v. 21:1).

Anything that made this earth corrupt will be disintegrated. We won’t have to worry about anything imperfect resurfacing.

What does the New Earth have to do with you right now?

While the New Earth may seem like a far-away event, the meaning it carries with it is valuable in our spiritual growth, as we draw closer to God. 

Knowing that our earth will be recreated and restored, that we will finally get to experience our original Eden…that allows us to see a new depth to God’s love for us. 

God didn’t abandon us when we [humanity] abandoned Him. He made a perfect plan that allowed us to be redeemed and reconciled to Him, and this plan included not only our restoration, but our planet’s. 

He truly did think of everything! And the same God that will recreate our earth can also recreate our hearts. 

No matter what we’ve done, who we are, where we’ve been…God can and will make something beautiful out of each one of us. 

So we can have faith that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6, NKJV). Knowing we will live in a perfect New Earth can give us the kind of hope for the future that nothing else can compare with.

A group of people lined up with their hands raised while the sun sets.

The end of a sinful earth, the beginning of perfect eternity

The entire Bible is one long story of earth’s existence. In it you can read about the backstory, when Satan defected in heaven and took 1/3 of the angels with him when he was cast down to the earth (Revelation 12:9). 

  • You can read firsthand the story of creation in Genesis 1 and then the first sin of mankind in Genesis 3. 
  • You can see God’s plan of redemption at work when He cleanses the earth with a flood in Genesis 9 and when He makes a covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17.
  • God’s plan for redemption comes to life when Christ enters the scene (John 1). Fulfilling every Messianic prophecy, Jesus is introduced in the gospels as the promised Messiah. 
  • Jesus is the “Word made flesh” as John puts it, and through His sacrificial death and following resurrection we are all able to live forever in the New Earth with God (John 1:14-18). 

All believers that accept the gift of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice will populate the New Earth. It is the glorious purpose of humanity to do so. 

You will be in heaven and you will live on the New Earth. It’s not a symbol of something else. It’s not a metaphorical place. This will be a literal, physical place in the direct presence of God. 

Revelation 21:5 says all we need to know: 

“And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 

In the Bible it is written, and from God’s own mouth it was said He is making all things new. 

He’ll make you new. Each of us can be as perfect as Adam or Eve were before they ever sinned. You won’t have chronic pain, addiction, scars, or painful memories. You won’t have physical or emotional trauma.

Hands raised in praise with the sun shining on the individual.

There will be no global warming, no pandemics, natural disasters, or droughts. You will not have to build or pay for a house. You will not have to drill for a well. You will not have to buy food or wash it before you eat it. You will not fear wildlife of any kind. The earth will not die and neither will we! 

Things to Remember in These Troubling Times

The current troubling times are not part of God’s plan. This is a deviation, because we as humanity chose to follow the Devil’s deception that by eating the fruit we would be “like God” and “know both good and evil.” 

Good and evil mixed together is exactly what we’re living in. Our current world is a big melting pot where good and evil are constantly stirred up together, and we are constantly having to make choices between the two. 

The world is in turmoil. Nations and races are at war. Natural disasters devastate communities and economies. Disease overwhelms our hospitals and threatens our mental health. Violence is everywhere we look, on our televisions and on our streets. Human trafficking affects every nation and nearly 25 million men, women, and children. 

A medical working wearing a mask and gloves sitting on the ground with elbows on knees and head resting on hands.

You may know someone or many people who live with chronic pain, who die too young, who take their own life. You may know someone who has had their home swept away by a tornado or reduced to ashes by a wildfire. You’ve likely attended funerals, visited hospitals, even witnessed death firsthand. 

During these times and as times get worse, remember these things: 

  • This earth as you know it is not what God intended. 
  • Before you were even conceived, God knew you (Jeremiah 1:5). 
  • If you love God, all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). 
  • If you believe in God, you will be saved, and resurrected at His return, and live for eternity (John 3:16). 

And where will you live with Him forever? 

The New Earth!

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