The Earth in Prophecy
or Fiery Finish?
by Dr. David
Did you know we are living on earth number
three? Did you know the Bible reveals that there are two earths
yet to come? Did you know the Bible teaches that the earth is
The first earth was the one created in the
beginning (Genesis 1:1). It was perfect in every respect (Genesis
1:31). But because of Man's sin, God placed a curse upon the earth
The Bible indicates that this curse radically
altered the nature of God's original creation. Instead of Man
exercising dominion over Nature, as originally planned (Genesis
1:26, 28), Nature rose up in conflict with Man, as poisonous plants,
carnivorous animals and climatic cataclysms (like tornados) suddenly
The curse radically altered the original
earth, but Earth II was still quite different from the one we
live on today. There is much Biblical evidence in both Genesis
and Job that the second earth had a thick vapor canopy which shielded
life from the ultraviolet radiation of the sun, producing the
long life spans recorded in Genesis (see Genesis 2:5-6 and Job
The whole earth was like a greenhouse with
thick vegetation growing everywhere, even at the poles. There
was also probably only one large land mass.
Once again the sinful rebellion of Mankind
motivated God to change the nature of the earth (Genesis 6:11-13).
The change agent this time was water. It appears that God caused
the vapor canopy to collapse (Genesis 7:11). He also caused "fountains
of the great deep" to break forth upon the surface of the
earth (Genesis 7:11).
Like the curse, the Flood radically altered
the nature of the earth. It produced Earth III, the earth we now
The earth tilted on its axis, forming the
polar caps. The unified land mass was split apart, forming the
continents as we now know them (which is why they fit together
like a jigsaw puzzle see Genesis 10:25). And the vapor
canopy was so completely depleted that ultraviolet radiation began
to reach the earth in unprecedented levels, resulting in greatly
reduced life spans, first to 120 years and then to 70 years.
The Bible reveals that the current earth,
Earth III, will be radically changed again at the Second Advent
of Jesus. The change agents will be earthquakes on the earth and
supernatural phenomena in the heavens.
The changes produced will so totally alter
the earth and its atmosphere that Isaiah refers to "the new
heavens and the new earth" which will exist during the reign
of the Lord (Isaiah 65:17).
Earth IV The millennial earth
will be very different from the present earth. The earthquakes
that will produce it will be the most severe in history.
Every valley will be lifted, every mountain
will be lowered, and every island will be moved (Revelation 6:12-14;
16:17-21). Jerusalem will be lifted up, and Mt. Zion will become
the highest of all the mountains (Zechariah 14:10 and Micah 4:1).
The vapor canopy will likely be restored
because life spans will be expanded to what they were at the beginning
of time (Isaiah 65:20,22).
Further evidence that the vapor canopy will
be restored is to be found in the fact that all the earth will
become abundant once again with lush vegetation (Isaiah 30:23-26
and Amos 9:13-14). The Dead Sea will also become alive (Ezekiel
Most important, the curse will be partially
lifted, making it possible for Man to be reconciled to Nature
and for Nature to be reconciled to itself. The wolf will dwell
with the lamb because the wolf will no longer be carnivorous.
The nursing child will play with the cobra because the cobra will
no longer be poisonous (Isaiah 11:8).
But Satan's last revolt at the end of the
Millennium will leave the earth polluted and devastated (Revelation
20:7-9). Thus, at the end of the Lord's reign, God will take the
Redeemed off the earth, place them in the New Jerusalem, and then
cleanse the earth with fire (2 Peter 3:10-13).
In other words, God will superheat this
earth in a fiery inferno and then reshape it like a hot ball of
wax. The result will be the "new heavens and new earth"
prophesied in Isaiah 66 and Revelation 21.
This will be Earth V, the perfected, eternal
earth where the Redeemed will spend eternity in the New Jerusalem
in the presence of God (Revelation 21:1-4). The curse will be
completely lifted from this earth (Revelation 22:3).
Restoration in the
God loves His creation, and He is determined
to restore it to its original perfection.
This purpose of God was reflected in the
rites of the Tabernacle of Moses. Each year when the High Priest
entered the Holy of Holies to make atonement for the sins of the
nation, he would sprinkle blood on the Mercy Seat of the Ark
and also on the ground in front of the Ark (Leviticus 16:15).
The blood on the Mercy Seat pointed to the
promise of God that one day He would send a Messiah who would
shed His blood so that the mercy of God could cover the Law and
make it possible for us to be reconciled to our Creator. The blood
on the ground pointed to the promise of God that the sacrifice
of the Messiah would also make it possible for the creation to
In the Old Testament, Isaiah 11 gives us
a beautiful picture of the redeemed creation during the Millennium.
We are told that the meat eating animals will cease to prey on
each other and "will eat straw like the ox." The poisonous
animals will also be transformed. They will cease to be dangerous
(Isaiah 11:6-9; 35:9).
The plant kingdom will similarly be transformed
back to its original perfection before the curse. The result will
be incredible agricultural abundance:
"Behold, days are
coming," declares the Lord,
"When the plowman will overtake the reaper
And the treader of grapes him who sows seed;
When the mountains will drip sweet wine . . ."
The prophet Joel adds that "the
threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow
with the new wine and oil" (Joel 2:24).
The implication of these passages is that
Man will no longer have to strive against nature because weeds
and poisonous plants will cease to exist and rainfall will be
In fact, Isaiah tells us that areas of wilderness
will be transformed into glorious forests (Isaiah 35:2) and deserts
will become "springs of water" (Isaiah 35:7).
Restoration in the
The promise of a redeemed and restored creation
is reaffirmed in the New Testament. Peter referred to the promise
in his second sermon at the Temple in Jerusalem. He told his audience
that Jesus would remain in Heaven until the time comes for the
"restoration of all things" (Acts 3:21).
Paul elaborates the theme in Romans 8:18-23.
He declares that the whole creation is in "slavery to corruption"
(verse 21). This is a reference to what physicists call the Second
Law of Thermodynamics; namely, that all of creation is running
down, moving from order to disorder that all of creation
is in bondage to decay.
Paul then pictures the creation as a pregnant
woman waiting anxiously for the moment of delivery when the curse
will be lifted and the creation will be redeemed. He says that
will occur at "the revealing of the sons of God."
That is a reference to the resurrection
of the saints, a point he makes clear in verse 23 when he says
that the saints should yearn with nature for that same event because
that is when each of us will receive "the redemption of our
The Eternal Earth
The Old Testament has little to say about
the eternal earth which God will create at the end of the Millennium.
Isaiah simply asserts that such an earth will be provided (Isaiah
66:22). Isaiah's only other reference to a "new earth,"
in Isaiah 65:17, is a reference to the renovated earth of the
In Revelation 21 the apostle John gives
us the most detailed look at what the new, eternal earth will
be like. And yet, his description is tantalizingly vague. He makes
a cryptic reference to the fact that there will no longer be any
sea (Revelation 21:1). Beyond that, all he tells us is that God
will make "all things new" (Revelation 21:5).
A Glorious Blessing
I think the reason the passages about the
eternal earth tell us so little about the features of that earth
is because they focus on one glorious fact that overshadows any
concern with what the new earth will be like. That fact is that
the Redeemed will live in the presence of Almighty God (Revelation
21 and 22). We will "serve Him" and we will "see
His face" (Revelation 22:3-4). What the earth will be like
pales in comparison to this revelation.