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Revelation 21:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

A new heaven and a new earth - See the notes on 2 Peter 3:13; : The ancient Jews believed that God would renew the heavens and the earth at the end of seven thousand years. The general supposition they founded on Isaiah 65:17.

There was no more sea - The sea no more appeared than did the first heaven and earth. All was made new; and probably the new sea occupied a different position and was differently distributed, from that of the old sea.

However, with respect to these subjects as they stand in this most figurative book, I must express myself in the words of Calmet: Vouloir dire quels seront ce nouveau ciel, et cette nouvelle terre, quels seront leurs ornamens et leur qualite, c'est a mon avis la plus grande de toutes les presomptions. En general, ces manieres de parler marquent de tres grands changemens dans l'univers. "To pretend to say what is meant by this new heaven and new earth, and what are their ornaments and qualities, is in my opinion the greatest of all presumptions. In general these figures of speech point out great alternations in the universe."

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth - Such a heaven and earth that they might properly be called new; such transformations, and such changes in their appearance, that they seemed to be just created. He does not say that they were created now, or anew; that the old heavens and earth were annihilated; but all that he says is, that there were such changes that they seemed to be new. If the earth is to be renovated by fire, such a renovation will give an appearance to the globe as if it were created anew, and might be attended with such an apparent change in the heavens that they might be said to be new. The description here Revelation 21:1 relates to scenes after the general resurrection and the judgment - for those events are detailed in the close of the previous chapter. In regard to the meaning of the language here, see the notes on 2 Peter 3:13. Compare, also, “The Religion of Geology and its Connected Sciences,” by Edward Hitchcock, D. D., LL. D., pp. 370-408.

For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away - They had passed away by being changed, and a renovated universe had taken their place. See the notes on 2 Peter 3:10.

And there was no more sea - This change struck John more forcibly, it would appear, than anything else. Now, the seas and oceans occupy about three-fourths of the surface of the globe, and, of course, to that extent prevent the world from being occupied by people - except by the comparatively small number that are mariners. There, the idea of John seems to be, the whole world will be inhabitable, and no part will be given up to the wastes of oceans. In the present state of things, these vast oceans are necessary to render the world a fit abode for human beings, as well as to give life and happiness to the numberless tribes of animals that find their homes in the waters. In the future state, it would seem, the present arrangement will be unnecessary; and if man dwells upon the earth at all, or if he visits it as a temporary abode (see the notes on 2 Peter 3:13), these vast wastes of water will be needless. It should be remembered that the earth, in its changes, according to the teachings of geology, has undergone many revolutions quite as remarkable as it would be if all the lakes, and seas, and oceans of the earth should disappear. Still, it is not certain that it was intended that this language should be understood literally as applied to the material globe. The object is to describe the future blessedness of the righteous; and the idea is, that that will be a world where there will be no such wastes as those produced by oceans.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 702

Verse 1

New Heaven and New Earth. — By the first heaven and first earth, John unquestionably means the present heaven and earth, “the heavens and the earth which are now.” 2 Peter 3:7. Some have supposed that when the Bible speaks of the third heaven, in which are paradise and the tree of life (2 Corinthians 12:2; Revelation 2:7), it refers to the heaven which is yet future, and does not prove that there is a paradise and tree of life literally in existence in heaven at the present time. They base their view on the fact that Peter speaks of three heavens and earths, — (1) those before the flood, (2) the ones which now are, and (3) the ones which are to come. But that theory is completely overturned by the first verse of Revelation 21; for John here reckons but two heavens and earths. The ones which now are he calls the first, so that the future new heavens would, according to this count, be the second, and not the third, as Peter reckons. Hence it is certain that Peter did not design to establish a numerical order, in accordance with which we should speak of the one as the first, the other as the second, and the last as the third. The object of his reasoning was simply to show that as a literal heaven and earth succeeded to the destruction of the earth by the flood, so a literal heaven and earth would result from the renovation of the present system by fire. There is no proof, therefore, that the Bible, when it speaks of the third heaven, refers simply to the third state of the present heavens and earth, for then all the Bible writers would uniformly have so reckoned it. Thus the arguments of those who would endeavor to disprove the idea of a literal paradise and tree of life in existence at the present time, fall to the ground. The Bible certainly recognizes three heavens in the present constitution of things; namely, the first, or atmospheric heaven, which the fowls of the air inhabit; the second, the planetary heaven, the region of the sun, moon, and stars; and the third, high above the others, where paradise and the tree of life are found (Revelation 2:7); where God has his residence and his throne (Revelation 22:1, 2); to which Paul was caught up in heavenly vision (2 Corinthians 12:2); to which Christ ascended when he left the earth (Revelation 12:5); where he now, as priest-king, sits upon the throne with his Father (Zechariah 6:13); and where the glorious city stands, awaiting the saints when they enter into life. Revelation 21:2. Blessed be God that from that bright land intelligence has been brought to this far-off world of ours! and thanks be to his holy name that a way has been opened from the dark places of earth, which leads like a straight and shining path of light up to those blest abodes!DAR 702.3

The Sea No More. — Because John says, “And there was no more sea,” the question is sometimes asked, “Is there, then, to be no sea in the new earth?” It does not certainly follow from this text that there will be none; for John is speaking only of the present heaven and earth and sea. It might be translated thus: “For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and the sea [??? ????? ???] was no more;” that is, the old sea no longer appeared, any more than the old heaven and old earth; and yet there may be a new sea as there is a new earth.DAR 703.1

Dr. Clarke says on this passage: “The sea no more appeared than did the first heaven and earth. All was made new; and probably the new sea occupied a different position, and was differently distributed, from that of the old sea.”DAR 703.2

The river of life, of which we read in the following chapter, proceeding from the throne of God, and flowing through the broad street of the city, must find some place into which to discharge its waters; and what can that be but the new-earth sea? That there will be a sea, or seas, in the new earth, may be inferred from the prophecy which speaks of Christ's future reign as follows: “And his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:10. Rut that three quarters of the globe will then, as now, be abandoned to a waste of waters, cannot be expected. The new world will have everything which will contribute to its utility and beauty.DAR 704.1

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The new heaven and the new earth will not be separate from each other; the earth of the saints, their glorified, bodies, will be heavenly. The old world, with all its troubles and tumults, will have passed away. There will be no sea; this aptly represents freedom from conflicting passions, temptations, troubles, changes, and alarms; from whatever can divide or interrupt the communion of saints. This new Jerusalem is the church of God in its new and perfect state, the church triumphant. Its blessedness came wholly from God, and depends on him. The presence of God with his people in heaven, will not be interrupt as it is on earth, he will dwell with them continually. All effects of former trouble shall be done away. They have often been in tears, by reason of sin, of affliction, of the calamities of the church; but no signs, no remembrance of former sorrows shall remain. Christ makes all things new. If we are willing and desirous that the gracious Redeemer should make all things new in order hearts and nature, he will make all things new in respect of our situation, till he has brought us to enjoy complete happiness. See the certainty of the promise. God gives his titles, Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, as a pledge for the full performance. Sensual and sinful pleasures are muddy and poisoned waters; and the best earthly comforts are like the scanty supplies of a cistern; when idolized, they become broken cisterns, and yield only vexation. But the joys which Christ imparts are like waters springing from a fountain, pure, refreshing, abundant, and eternal. The sanctifying consolations of the Holy Spirit prepare for heavenly happiness; they are streams which flow for us in the wilderness. The fearful durst not meet the difficulties of religion, their slavish fear came from their unbelief; but those who were so dastardly as not to dare to take up the cross of Christ, were yet so desperate as to run into abominable wickedness. The agonies and terrors of the first death will lead to the far greater terrors and agonies of eternal death.
Ellen G. White
Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 52-5

*****

With Jesus at our head we all descended from the City down to this earth, on a great and mighty mountain, which could not bear Jesus up, and it parted asunder, and there was a mighty plain. Then we looked up and saw the great City, with twelve foundations, twelve gates, three on each side, and an angel at each gate. We all cried out, “The City, the great City, it's coming! it's coming down from God out of heaven!” And it came and settled on the place where we stood. Then we began to look at the glorious things outside of the City. There I saw most beautiful houses, that had the appearance of silver, supported by four pillars set with pearls, most glorious to behold, which were to be inhabited by the saints, and in them was a golden shelf. I saw many of the saints go into the houses, take off their glittering crowns and lay them on the shelf, then go out into the field by the houses to do something with the earth; not as we have to do with the earth here. A glorious light shone all about their heads, and they were continually offering praises to God. 2SG 52.1

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 988

1 (Isaiah 33:21). No Engulfing Ocean—The sea divides friends. It is a barrier between us and those whom we love. Our associations are broken up by the broad, fathomless ocean. In the new earth there will be no more sea, and there shall pass there “no galley with oars.” In the past many who have loved and served God have been bound by chains to their seats in galleys, compelled to serve the purpose of cruel, hardhearted men. The Lord has looked upon their suffering in sympathy and compassion. Thank God, in the earth made new there will be no fierce torrents, no engulfing ocean, no restless, murmuring waves (Manuscript 33, 1911). 7BC 988.1

1-4 (Isaiah 30:26). God's Family United at Last—Now the church is militant, now we are confronted with a world in midnight darkness, almost wholly given over to idolatry. But the day is coming in which the battle will have been fought, the victory won. The will of God is to be done on earth, as it is done in heaven. Then the nations will own no other law than the law of heaven. All will be a happy, united family, clothed with the garments of praise and thanksgiving—the robe of Christ's righteousness. 7BC 988.2

All nature in its surpassing loveliness will offer to God a constant tribute of praise and adoration. The world will be bathed in the light of heaven. The years will move on in gladness. The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold greater than it is now. Over the scene the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy, while Christ and God will unite in proclaiming, “There shall be no more sin, neither shall there be any more death” (The Review and Herald, December 17, 1908). 7BC 988.3

4 (see EGW on 1 Corinthians 15:51-55). The Christian's Summer—This earth is the place of preparation for heaven. The time spent here is the Christian's winter. Here the chilly winds of affliction blow upon us, and the waves of trouble roll against us. But in the near future, when Christ comes, sorrow and sighing will be forever ended. Then will be the Christian's summer. All trials will be over, and there will be no more sickness or death. “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying ... : for the former things are passed away” (Manuscript 28, 1886). 7BC 988.4

23. See EGW on Ephesians 5:25. 7BC 988.5

27. See EGW on ch. 20:12-15. 7BC 988.6

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Ellen G. White
My Life Today, 357

Heavens Is a Real and Wonderful Place

And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. Revelation 21:18, 19 ML 357.1

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