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and Earth, Replaced or Restored:
Reveals Restoration (Part 2)
Cosmology: Introduction and Definitions
Part 1: The Old Testament - Buildings
Bodies in Heaven: Angels and Spirit
Humans and Angels: How Similar are
Hell in the Old Testament
Part 2: From Christ's Death to His
Part 3: Christ's Return Through His
Part 4: The Final Judgment and Eternity
Replaced or Restored: "Restarts" vs.
the First Start
Replaced or Restored: Genesis 1 and Angels
Replaced or Restored: Precedent Reveals
Restoration (Part 1)
Replaced or Restored: Precedent Reveals
Restoration (Part 2)
Replaced or Restored: More on the
Creation of Angels (Part 1)
Replaced or Restored: More on the
Creation of Angels (Part 2)
Cosmology: Composite Chart
is one other issue that might be raised concerning our interpretation
that the rejuvenation of the heaven and earth in Revelation
20-21 is simply the last in a series of 3 rejuvenations after
the initial creation of all things in Genesis 1. When Revelation
21 describes the coming of the new heaven and new earth, it
uses the phrase "the first heaven and first earth had passed
Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new (2537) heaven and
a new (2537) earth: for the first (4413) heaven and the first
(4413) earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Thus, the phrases "first heaven" and "first earth" refer to
the previous heaven and earth before this rejuvenation. The
Greek word for "first" here is "protos" (Strong's No. 4413),
which is defined below.
contracted superlative of 4253; TDNT-6:865,965; adj
AV-first 84, chief 9, first day 2, former 2, misc 7; 104
1) first in time or place
1a) in any succession of things or persons
2) first in rank
2a) influence, honour
3) first, at the first
Consequently, if Revelation 21 intends to regard the heaven
and earth which passed away as the very first heaven and earth,
then that would mean all of the previous "new heavens" and
"new earth" were rejuvenations of that "first heaven" and
"first earth." This part is not inconsistent with our interpretation.
What would be inconsistent with our interpretation is that
under this scenario, the rejuvenations of the first heavens
and earth at the Flood and return of Christ Jesus would not
constitute a "second heaven" or a "second earth" since they
would be included in Revelation 21 as part of the "first heaven"
and "first earth." Conversely, since the "new heaven" and
"new earth" of Revelation 21 are not counted as part of the
"first heaven" and "first earth" they could not be interpreted
as mere rejuvenations. If they were mere rejuvenations, then
there would be no need for Revelation 21 to categorize them
as not a part of "the first heaven" and "first earth." Instead,
since Revelation 21 does regard them as not a part of the
"first heaven" and "first earth," they would have to be regarded
as a "second earth" and a "second heaven," an entirely different
planet and an entirely different set of heavens.
There are 2 possible outcomes if "protos" is interpreted to
indicate that the heaven and earth, which pass away, were
the first in an absolute sense.
First, Peter could be mistaken in his interpretation that
the phrase "new heavens and earth" as promised in Isaiah refers
to the type of passing away of the heaven and earth that occurred
at the Flood. However, this possibility must be rejected immediately,
unless we want to consider the scripture to be prone to error
and therefore unreliable.
Second, while Peter might be correct in applying the Flood
as a precedent for the meaning the "new heavens and new earth"
that arrive at the return of Christ Jesus to start the Millennium,
perhaps the "new heaven" and "new earth" in Revelation 21
constitute an entirely unique event that for some reason breaks
from the precedent set by 2 Peter 3, Isaiah 65 and 66, and
the Flood. In other words, perhaps the "new heaven" and "new
earth" of Revelation 21 are the first time that this phrase
"new heaven" and "new earth" actually refer the to coming
of an actual different planet earth, a second earth, and a
different set of heavens, or second heaven rather than just
But this conclusion isn't really necessary. As we will see,
there is no reason to break with precedent here and, after
having seen from 2 Peter 3, 2 times when the heavens and earth
are rejuvenated rather than replaced, now conclude that they
are actually replaced for the first time. First of all, even
the language of Revelation 21 shows that what is taking place
in that chapter is the same as what is described by Peter.
When Peter describes the passing away of the current heavens
and earth in the same manner that the heavens and earth before
the Flood passed away, he uses the Greek word "parerchomai"
(Strong's No. 3928).
2 Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of,
that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the
earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby
the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by
the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against
the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…10 But the
day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the
which the heavens shall pass away (3928) with a great
noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the
earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned
up…13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for
new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
"Parerchomai" is the same word John uses in Revelation to
describe that the "first earth" and "first heaven" have "passed
Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth:
for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away
(3928); and there was no more sea.
The use of the same Greek word in both Revelation 21 and 2
Peter 3 strongly indicates that the same process is occurring
in both places.
Now, we turn our attention back to the word "protos." While
the Greek word "protos" does primarily denote "first in time
or place," and can be used in an absolute sense to denote
that something was the very first of its kind or in a series,
there are times in the New Testament when "protos" is simply
used referentially. When "protos" is used referentially, it
is used to make a relative distinction between only the items
discussed in the passage itself, without making any more absolute
statements about where any of those items falls in a larger,
more universal series.
One example when "protos" is used referentially to relatively
distinguish between 2 items in a text can also be found in
Matthew 12 and Luke 11.
Matthew 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out
of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest,
and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into my
house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth
it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh
with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself,
and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that
man is worse than the first (4413). Even so shall it be
also unto this wicked generation.
Luke 11:24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of
a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and
finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence
I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and
garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other
spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell
there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first
Here in Matthew 12 and Luke 11, Jesus talks about a man being
possessed. In the opening of this story the man is possessed
by one evil spirit. That evil spirit is then cast out but
later returns with 7 other evil spirits who are even worse.
Since at the end of the story, the man is possessed by more
spirits and by worse spirits, Jesus sums up with the phrase,
"the last state of that man is worse than the first." (The
English word "state" is considered implied by the translators
and does not appear in the underlying Greek.) Jesus is clearly
not stating or making any claims about whether or not the
very first state this man was ever in was a state of possession
by that one evil spirit. It would be erroneous, based upon
Jesus' words here, to assume that this man's very first and
earliest state in his whole life was one in which he was possessed
even from conception or birth. Instead, Jesus is clearly using
"protos" to comparatively distinguish only between the 2 states
of the man mentioned in the context of the story. In the first
state mentioned in the story, the man is possessed by one
evil spirit. And in the last state, the man is worse off because
he is possessed by 8 spirits.
Consequently, this passage is an example in which "protos"
is clearly meant simply to distinguish the first state mentioned
in the text from the other states mentioned later in the text,
similar to our English use of the phrase "the former and the
latter." "Protos" is not being used here to denote the very
first state that this man ever experience or was in during
the course of his life.
The reason that we mention this issue is not to establish
that there have been multiple planet earths over the course
of time or that this planet earth is not "the first" one ever.
Not at all. We have already established that Genesis 1 is
the actual starting point of all creation, not just on "restart"
in a larger series. Consequently, the planet earth created
in Genesis 1 is the first and only. In fact, rather than making
this point to suggest the idea of multiple planet earths,
we are actually making this point to establish there will
only ever be one planet earth. We are making this point to
establish that the "new heaven and new earth" of Revelation
21 refer to a renewal or rejuvenation or change to the same
planet and heavens, rather than the notion of a different
planet replacing this one along with a different set of heavens.
There are other examples in scripture where "protos" is used
in this manner, as a designation relative only among the items
mentioned in a given context and not as an absolute
designation of "the first ever" of a particular category.
The first example can be found in Matthew 27.
Matthew 27:62 Now the next day, that followed the day
of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came
together unto Pilate, 63 Saying, Sir, we remember that
that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days
I will rise again. 64 Command therefore that the sepulchre
be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come
by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He
is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse
than the first (4413).
In this passage, the chief priests and Pharisees don't qualify
"errors" as "errors of Jesus." They simply use the term "error"
without qualification. However, the chief priests and Pharisees
clearly do not intend to indicate that the so-called first
"erroneous teaching" of Jesus was the first "erroneous teaching"
in the entire category of incorrect teachings ever. Surely,
they believed that there was other false teaching before Jesus.
Consequently, even though there is no qualification in the
phrase itself, we can see that the Pharisees are clearly using
"protos" only as a relative designation concerning the specific
teachings mentioned in the context, the teachings of Jesus
Christ. The "protos error" here is not the first error ever,
but simply the first error out of those so-called errors delineated
by the context. Likewise, the "protos heaven" and "protos
earth" in Revelation 21 does not necessarily refer to the
first heaven and the first earth ever, but simply the first
heaven and earth among those mentioned in the context, without
making any larger claims of where the items in the context
fall in the entire category.
The second example can be found in John 19.
John 19:32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the
legs of the first (4413), and of the other which was crucified
Here "protos" is being used to distinguish simply between
the two men in the context who had their legs broken. It is
used relatively about only the items in the context of the
passage, not to identify either man as the very first ever
to have his legs broken by a Roman soldier during crucifixion.
Likewise, the use of "protos" in Revelation 21 might be used
only relatively to distinguish the heaven and earth, which
passed away from those which were arriving, not to identify
either as the very first heaven or earth ever.
The third example is Acts 20.
Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and
called the elders of the church. 18 And when they were come
to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first (4413)
day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been
with you at all seasons,
Here "protos" is used to refer not to the very first day,
but only to the first of the days that he came to Ephesus.
It is being used relative to the days specified in the passage,
not all days since the dawn of time. Likewise, in Revelation
21 "protos" might be used relatively concerning only the heavens
and earth in the context, those before and after the Final
Judgment, not all the heavens and earth since the creation.
The fourth example comes from Philippians.
Philippians 1:5 For your fellowship in the gospel from
the first (4413) day until now.
Here in Philippians, "protos" is used to refer not to the
first day ever, but to the first day specified in the context,
which are the days that the Philippians have fellowshipped
with Paul in the Gospel. Once again, this provides precedent
that in Revelation 21, "protos" might be used relatively concerning
only the heavens and earth in the context, not all the heavens
and earth since the creation.
The fifth example is really a series of examples from Hebrews
Hebrews 8:7 For if that first (4413) covenant had
been faultless, then should no place have been sought for
Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath
made the first (4413) old. Now that which decayeth
and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Hebrews 9:1 Then verily the first (4413) covenant
had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
Hebrews 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator
of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption
of the transgressions that were under the first (4413)
testament, they which are called might receive the promise
of eternal inheritance.
Hebrews 9:18 Whereupon neither the first (4413)
testament was dedicated without blood.
Hebrews 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will,
O God. He taketh away the first (4413), that he may
establish the second.
In these passages, Hebrews repeatedly speaks of the Law of
Moses as "the first covenant" or "the first testament." But
God made covenants with Noah and Abraham before he made the
covenant through Moses. In the context, "protos" is simply
being used relatively to distinguish the covenants that are
mentioned in the passage, namely the covenant of Moses and
the covenant of Jesus Christ. Of these 2, Moses' covenant
came first and before the other covenant mentioned in the
passage. Yet, that does not mean that it was the first covenant
ever made by God with man. Likewise, this also provides precedent
that in Revelation 21, "protos" might be used only relatively
concerning the heaven and earth mentioned in the passage.
Our sixth example is a group of example from the book of Revelation
Revelation 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against
thee, because thou hast left thy first (4413) love.
Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou
art fallen, and repent, and do the first (4413) works;
or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove
thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Here in Revelation, "protos" is being used to refer to "first
love" and "first works." It is being used to distinguish only
to the items in the context of the timeframe since they repented
and received Jesus Christ. He was initially their love and
their initial works after conversion were good works. Yet
since then, they had become evil and their affections had
turned to other things. Consequently, "protos" does not here
refer to the first things that the audiences ever loved or
the first works that they ever did. It is being used to distinguish
only relatively between items indicated in the context.
Revelation 2:19 I know thy works, and charity, and
service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and
the last to be more than the first (4413).
Here, very clearly in Revelation 2:19, "protos" is being used
to refer only to the first of the items mentioned in the context,
not to place any larger designation of that item as the first
ever. In fact, just like in previous examples, here "protos"
(or first) is being used in the sense of an item's position
in the textual list or the order of mention in the
text, not its larger place in a historic succession of
existence or creation. It is being used as a literary device
much like the English convention of using "the former" and
"the latter" to quickly refer back to items mentioned earlier
or later in a passage. Likewise, Revelation 21 could be using
"protos" similarly as a literary device, like "former" and
"latter," to refer to an items order of mention in a passage,
not necessarily its larger place in a historic succession
of existence or creation.
In fact, although "protos" is translated as "the first" in
Revelation 21:1 concerning the heaven and earth, which had
passed away, just 3 verses later in verse 4, "protos" is used
again to refer to things which have passed away, but this
time even it is translated in the English word "former" and
not the word "first."
Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth:
for the first (4413) heaven and the first (4413) earth
were passed away; and there was no more sea…4 And God
shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall
be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall
there be any more pain: for the former (4413) things are
Verse 4 clearly involves a list of things that existed prior
to eternity but after the Millennium will not continue. The
items mentioned in the list are "tears," "death," "sorrow,"
"crying," and "pain." All of these are listed as "the protos,"
yet none of them were the first things ever or even the initial
condition. Crying and sorrow did not come first to man, neither
were death or pain the initial state of things. All these
items came after sin. Yet here they are listed as "the protos,"
which clearly indicates that in this very same chapter of
Revelation, "protos" is being used, not to denote "the very
first" of a category, but simply in the more general and relative
sense of denoting something that merely came earlier than
the present things. Likewise, the use of "protos" just 3 verses
earlier to describe "the protos heaven" and "the protos earth"
might just as easily be rendered as "former heaven" and "former
earth" simply indicating that the heaven and earth during
the Millennium were relatively earlier than the eternal heaven
and earth, without making any absolute claims that they were
the very first heaven and earth in the entire historic succession.
Our last example comes from Revelation 4.
Revelation 4:6 And before the throne there was a sea
of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne,
and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes
before and behind. 7 And the first (4413) beast was
like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third
beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a
Four angelic beings are described here and the first one described
is designated by the term "protos." This does not mean that
this beast, which is "like a lion" came before or existed
before the other 3 beasts, which are listed after it. Instead,
here in Revelation 4, we again clearly see "protos" being
used simply as a literary device, like the English designations
"former" and "latter." It is being used to denote an item's
position in the textual list or the order of mention in the
text, not its larger place in a historic succession of existence
or creation. Likewise, the use of "protos" in Revelation 21
doesn't necessarily make any claims about where the heaven
and earth of the Millennium fall in the overall historic succession
of "heavens" and "earths." It could simply be intended as
a literary device quickly referring back to the "heaven" and
"earth" mentioned earlier in the text, just 5 verses
beforehand in Revelation 20:11, which describes a heaven and
earth as "fleeing away."
Given these numerous examples in which "protos" is used either
in a limited fashion concerning the relationship between only
the specific items in the passage or as a literary device
used to refer to an item's position in a textual list or the
order of mention in a text, there is no reason to conclude
that the application of "protos" to heaven and earth in Revelation
21 necessitates that they are the very first heaven and earth
ever. Instead, it is accurate to interpret Revelation 21 as
being perfectly consistent with the meaning of "new heavens
and new earth" established on the model of the Flood in 2
Peter 3. It is quite accurate to understand "protos" in Revelation
21 does not designate that the heaven and earth of the Millennium
were the very first heaven and earth ever, despite the rejuvenations
during the Flood and at Jesus' return, and that the heaven
and earth of eternity are literally a second set of heavens
and earth rather than simply a rejuvenation.
In other words, there is no conflict between the use of "protos"
here in Revelation 21 and Peter's more elaborate exposition
of the historically repeated pattern of former heavens and
earth, a destruction, and subsequent new heavens and earth
in 2 Peter 3, which occurs once at the Flood, once again at
the return of Christ Jesus, and once again after the millennium
when the Father comes on his throne to judge.
As we stated earlier in this segment, the reason that we mention
this issue of "protos" in Revelation 21 is not to establish
that there have been multiple planet earths over the course
of time or that this planet earth is not "the first" one ever.
We have already established that Genesis 1 is the actual starting
point of all creation, not just on "restart" in a larger series.
Consequently, the planet earth created in Genesis 1 is the
first and only. And our point is just that. There will only
ever be 1 planet earth and 1 set of heavens. Neither the occurrence
of the phrase "new heaven and new earth" in Revelation 21,
nor its reference to a previous heaven and earth as "the first
heaven and first earth," indicate that the heavens and earth
will be replaced by an entirely different set. Instead, as
we have seen, both the phrases "new heaven and new earth"
and "first heaven and first earth" in Revelation 21 are perfectly
consistent with the clear precedent from 2 Peter 3 and the
Flood, that "new heavens and new earth" always and only refer
to a rejuvenation or change to the same planet earth and the
Earlier on in this study, we stated that there were 2 key
questions that we need to answer about the phrase "new heaven
and a new earth." When does it occur? And what does it refer
to or include? We have just answered the first question. It
happens 3 times. Once by water at the Flood, once by fire
at the return of Jesus Christ, and once by the face of God
the Father after the Millennium.
However, these precedents also allow us to answer the second
question: what does the phrase "new heavens and earth" refer
to or include? Is it a replacement of the heavens and earth
with an entirely different planet with the same name and likewise
an entirely different set of heavens? Or is it a rejuvenation
of the ones that have existed since Genesis 1? The precedent
of the Flood clearly shows that the "new heavens and new earth"
of the Millennium will be rejuvenations of the existing heavens
and earth, not replacements. And the combined precedent of
both the Flood and the Millennium likewise demonstrates that
the new heaven and new earth of Revelation 20-21 is also a
rejuvenation or final transformation, of the existing heaven
and earth, not a replacement.
So, at long last, we have identified not only that Genesis
1 describes the initial starting point, the actually beginning
of all creation and history, not just a "restart," but we've
also identified both the timing and the nature of the "restarts"
described by the phrase "new heavens and new earth."
Furthermore, in addition to the plainness of the precedents
as described in 2 Peter, there are other verses confirming
that the planet earth will not be replaced but will continue
forever after being restored and rejuvenated.
The Hebrew word for "earth" in Genesis 1 is "erets" (Strong's
No. 0776), which means "land or earth" and can refer either
to "country, territory, or piece of ground" or "whole earth
as opposed to a part."
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven
and the earth (0776).
In fact, this word is used 20 times in Genesis 1:1-30 (once
in verses 1, 2, 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 22, 25, and 29 and twice
in verses 11, 24, 26, 28, and 30). This is the same Hebrew
word translated as "land" in Genesis 13:15, when God promises
to give the land to Abraham and his descendants "forever."
Genesis 13:15 For all the land (0776) which thou
seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for
This promise is reiterated in Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 4:40 Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes,
and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that
it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee,
and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which
the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.
What is unavoidably required by these promises is that, in
order for Abraham and the Israelites to possess the land forever,
that land and the earth, would have to exist forever. It could
not cease to exist and get replaced with a new planet. In
fact, Psalms and Ecclesiastes both attest to the notion that
the earth will exist eternally and will not cease.
Psalms 78:69 And he built his sanctuary like high palaces,
like the earth which he hath established for ever.
Psalms 104:5 Who laid the foundations of the earth,
that it should not be removed for ever.
Ecclesiastes 1:4 One generation passeth away, and another
generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
Additionally, in Isaiah 45 God declares that his purpose in
creating the earth is for it to be inhabited. The text specifically
states that if the earth were not to be inhabited, that God's
purpose in creating it would have been in vain. Conversely,
in order for God's purpose in creating the earth not to be
in vain, it would need to be inhabited, not left desolate
and not destroyed. This implies that the earth will continue
forever, which is also confirmed by the fact that verse 17
relates the inhabiting of the earth with "everlasting salvation"
and "world without end," both of which convey the eternal
nature of this state.
Isaiah 45:17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD
with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed
nor confounded world without end. 18 For thus saith
the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed
the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created
it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the
LORD; and there is none else. 19 I have not spoken in secret,
in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of
Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness,
I declare things that are right.
And this is not only stated to be the case concerning the
earth, but it is also stated to be the case concerning the
heavens as well, which even Isaiah 45 implies by including
"the heavens" in the statement. Psalm 102 describes both the
heavens and the earth in a similar context.
Psalms 102:25 Of old hast thou laid the foundation
of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy
hands. 26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure:
yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture
shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: 27
But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
Psalms 102 states that although the heavens will "wax old"
and "perish," just as Peter says that they did in the Flood
in 2 Peter 3, God will change them. Psalms 102 even includes
the earth in this. Since we know from Psalms 78 and 104 that
the earth will abide forever, we know that Psalms 102 is only
talking about the exterior of the earth being changed or renewed
after it wears old or perishes. And since Psalm 102 includes
the heavens in this description, we assume that the same is
true for the heavens as well. They will remain forever but
they will be renewed when they get old or perish.
In conclusion, we see once again that the phrase "new heavens"
and "new earth" does not indicate that the planet earth will
cease to exist and be replaced, nor does it indicate that
the heavens will cease to exist and be replaced. The heavens
and earth will abide forever after being renewed or transformed
at different times in history.
(Days of Creation)