| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 11 - Page 30 of 161 Index | Zoom | |
1. THE WORLD THAT THEN WAS.--To this belongs Gen. 1: 1. Note that it is not
said that the earth and the heavens perished, but the "world". This is indicated in
Gen. 1: 2, "the earth became without form and void and darkness was on the face of the
deep". References to "the heavens of heavens", "passing through the heavens", "higher
than the heavens", take us beyond the present "heaven", to the "super-heavenlies" at the
very right hand of God.
2. THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH WHICH ARE NOW.--Vast as is the
"expanse" (raqia, "thinness", sterēoma, "firmament" Heb. and Greek) containing the sun,
moon and stars, it is temporary and destined to pass away. To this present circumscribed
heaven belong most of the references in the Old and New Testaments. The kingdom of
the heavens will be set up before the new heavens are created. To this heaven belong the
heavenly calling of Hebrews, and Abraham's heavenly city.
Both Peter and John tell us that the present heaven is to pass away. The latter is most
arresting in his description. He likens the passing away of the heaven to the sudden
release of a stretched out roll of parchment. When the present temporary heaven rolls up
and passes away, the real original heaven of Gen. 1: 1 will once again come into its
3. THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH.--To this period belong the
blessings of the mystery. The only calling or revelation that has pierced the present
temporary heaven and touched that which can be spoken of as eternal is that dispensation
of the grace of God which has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the
super-heavenlies far above all. This shows the unique character of the church of the one
body. It is connected both by time and place with that which begins before the present
heavens were made and goes on when the present heavens shall be no more.
The church of the mystery is the only link during this age between the time before sin
entered and the time when sin shall be no more. All other purposes are "under the
heavens", this one alone places those who are blessed under its terms "above the
heavens". If these things are so, it would be very surprising if the doctrine and practice
of this peculiar people were not different from all others.