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TomL
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PostSubject: The New Heavens and Earth   Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:06 pm

#001

About 2 years ago, I was in a discussion with a friend, and here is how that discussion went in part.

I was asked what I thought about the new heavens and earth in Revelations 21. The following quote was my response.
Quote :
I think that would depend upon what the new heaven and the new earth are. It's been a while since I studied textural criticism. But, it would seem to me the first heaven and earth would have to be of the same character or nature as the new heaven and earth. Therefore we must answer the question, what is the character and nature of the new heaven and earth, and what makes them new?

2 Corinthians 5.17 states, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." Does the "all things have become new" include the heaven and earth? I believe it does. Therefore, it is Christ that causes the heaven and earth to become new. The first heaven and earth would be the heaven and earth without Christ. What else is new because of Christ? The covenant. Heaven and earth under the new covenant is the new heaven and earth. Therefore, the first heaven and earth were the heaven and earth under the old covenant.

Notice, in Hebrews 9.1 the old covenant is called the "first covenant." 9.18 states that, "not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood." Hebrews is plain that the first covenant came through Moses - not Adam. So the first heaven and earth was under the first covenant which came through Moses. The new heaven and earth are under the new covenant which came through Christ.

It seems to me that Hebrews settles the Covenant Creation debate quite nicely.

Then he asked, "Does that answer the question I asked, Tom?" This was my answer.
Quote :
I thought it did. The first heaven and earth were under the first covenant which came through Moses. That indicates Israel. The new heaven and earth are under the new covenant which came through Christ.

"The underlying question to you is do you believe that the Heaven and earth that passed away in Revelation 21:1 is the destruction of the physical earth and heaven or something else?"

The heaven and earth that passed away is Israel according to the flesh culminating with the destruction of the temple in 70AD.

"To continue, then if the New Heaven and New Earth is covenant then why is not the Genesis 1 account not a depiction of that first heaven and earth. We have only one place in the whole Bible that becomes our first heaven and earth mention. Rev. 21:1 is the final place it is mentioned. All other places in between are not the first mention. So if the last referrs to the first then the first would by necessity be the first one mentioned in the Bible - Right?"

The covenant that came through Moses was not the very first covenant God made with someone, yet Hebrews calls it the "first covenant." The covenant God made with Noah is the first one we have record of. So why doesn't the writer of Hebrews call it the "first covenant"? It seems to me, you have the same linguistic dynamic in Hebrews regarding the "first covenant," as you do in Revelation 21.1 regarding the first heaven and earth. The first covenant of Hebrews is not the first covenant God made, so it is linguistically plausible that the first heaven and earth of Revelation 21 is not the first heaven and earth God made.

Perhaps we need to understand the word "first." It could mean "first in time," or it could mean, "first in importance." Since the Mosaic covenant was not the first covenant God made chronologically, then the Mosaic covenant must be first in importance to the writer of Hebrews. Likewise, the first heaven and earth that God made were not first in importance since He destroyed the first heaven and earth that He made chronologically. So, the heaven and earth that God made in Genesis 1 were already destroyed in the flood. So what would the point be to say that which had already perished will perish in Revelation 21.1.

This discussion was in context of what those who teach Covenant Creation taught about the new heavens and earth in Revelation 21.

What they teach is partially based on covenant theology and preterism. Covenantal preterists teach that the new heavens and earth are the result of a new Covenant. That the old heavens and earth were under the old covenant. So far so good. Israel was under the old Covenant indicating that the old heavens and and earth were actually, metaphorically, Israel. I can agree with that. But, along came the early proponents of Covenant Creationism, who claim that the old heavens and earth of Revelation 21 are the heavens and earth created in Genesis 1 and 2. And they agreed with the position of covenantal preterists that the old heavens and earth were covenantal. They then concluded that the language of Genesis 1 and 2 was covenantal language and had nothing to do with the physical creation of the universe.

Then they went about to prove this. JL Vaughn and Timothy Martin wrote a book called "Beyond Creation Science," to share their findings.

However, there is a problem with extending the old covenant back to creation. For that, follow me to... http://wayoftruth.motion-forum.net/t283-the-problem-with-the-covenant-creation-view-of-genesis-1-3

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