What is the meaning of the expression “new heavens and a new earth” as found in 2 Peter 3:13 (cf. Revelation 21:1)?
It does not mean, as suggested by some, that this present earth will be renovated by fire and ultimately become our heaven. Here are the facts regarding this matter:
- This present earth is to pass away (Matthew 24:35; Hebrews 1:11,12; 2 Peter 3:10-12).
- Our eternal abiding place is heaven (1 Peter 1:4).
Just as our present environment is called heaven and earth (we draw our sustenance from the air and land), even so, our future state of being is figuratively called a “new heaven and new earth.” Actually, this is an allusion to heaven itself.
And this can be demonstrated logically. In logic there is a maxim which states: Things equal to the same thing, are equal to each other. If A = B, and B = C, then it follows that A = C.
If we are promised “heaven” as our final dwelling place, and yet we are also promised a “new heavens and a new earth,” it necessarily follows that the new heavens and earth represents the same state as heaven.
So, underline “new heavens and new earth” in this passage, and record in your margin: A symbol for heaven itself. See Matthew 6:19 for earth/heaven contrast.