Read verses 1-2
Q: How does this replay the book of Genesis?
A: God first created the heaven and earth, now He creates “a new heaven and a new earth”.
Q: Why is there a need to replace both? Why replace heaven?
A: Both places were tainted by sin and by the same protagonist: Satan.
Point: It’s not solely about a new creation, but the need for purification to provide not just a perfect looking place but spiritually perfect “in which righteousness dwells”.
10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 11Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3:10-13
Q: What is the term used here which seems to be redefined from its original use in Scripture?
A: “Bride”, Previously in the New Testament the Church was the Bride but now it is the New Jerusalem.
Q: How do we know that this now refers to all believers now living in heaven and not just a city?
A: If we peek ahead to v.9, the angel offering John a grand tour of the city calls it, “the bride, the wife of the Lamb”.
Q: How has a city been a part of our greater spiritual goals and efforts?
A: The writer of Hebrews informs us that this city was actually Abraham’s greater goal:
8By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
And that Abraham’s goal is actually our own goal:
22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.
But this was additionally the goal of all the great figures of faith documented in Scripture:
15And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
Point: The descriptions to follow of the literal city has a greater spiritual meaning for the adornments of His bride. It’s more about us than just describing a wonderfully constructed place.
Application: God’s original plan from eternity past is fulfilled for eternity future.