Is life in the kingdom of heaven going to be similar to life on earth?
The Garden of Eden
In the beginning, right after God’s creation, “God saw that it was good” (Gen 1:25) and it was because sin had not marred the earth yet. Both the man and the woman were made in the image of God and God placed them in the Garden of Eden to keep it (Gen 2:15). The Garden had four rivers that ran through it and all sorts of precious gems and metals (Gen 2:10-14) and the Garden had everything that mankind would need to survive but then came the fall, the serpent deceived Eve and Adam willing disobeyed God and they were banned forever from the Garden.
The Curse of Sin
After the fall of mankind, the earth was cursed and mankind was banned from the Garden and thus, the chance for eternal life for them was gone…for now (Gen 3). We do not know if Adam and Eve ever repented because there is no indication of it. Even today, “we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (Rom 8:22). Even in Jeremiah’s day, when Judah disobeyed God, he said of the land “It will be made a wasteland, parched and desolate before me; the whole land will be laid waste because there is no one who cares” (Jer 12:11). Today, “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom 8:19-21). That day of the creation’s freedom from the corruption, bondage and decay of sin is coming.
New Heavens and New Earth
After Jesus’ return to judge the world, the world will be renewed again. The Apostle John “saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more” (Rev 21:1) and he also “saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:2). The New Jerusalem is so spectacular as to be beyond description (Rev 21:12-21). Just like in the Garden of Eden, there will be rivers flowing out of the New Jerusalem (Rev 22:1-2) and there will be all sorts of precious stones, gems, and precious metals. Life in the kingdom of heaven or the New Jerusalem and life on earth are going to have many similarities. The only differences are that the curse is lifted, there is no more pain, sorrow, suffering, and even death is no more.
The Times of Refreshing
When Peter told the crowd to “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19) he said that it was so that the “times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago” (Acts 3:20-22). This time of refreshing is surely coming when all things will be made new. Just as the Book of Revelation mentions that there will be new heavens and a new earth, Isaiah writes “behold, I create new heavens and a new earth and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17). At that time, God will “create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness” (Isaiah 65:18b) and “No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands” (Isaiah 65:20-22) and a most dramatic set of verses that shows that the curse has been lifted is where “The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the Lord” (Isaiah 65:25). Even the nature of animals will be changed.
What life on earth will be like after Jesus returns we don’t exactly know at this point but we shall know in time. After Jesus returns to judge the earth, those who are the children of God will inherit the kingdom for all time and there will be unspeakable joy and fellowship with God. What about you? Which is your fate? Will you be judged by your own works (Rev 20:12-15) or have your sins judged now and be saved?
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.