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    part of corruption is decay. Some shrewd but unbalanced commentators ask whether all kinds of animals will be immortal. If we give free rein to these speculations, where will they finally carry us? Let us, therefore, be content with this simple doctrine -their constitution will be such, and their order so complete, that no appearance either of deformity or of impermanence will be seen.

    -Calvin's Commentary on the Book of Romans -Chapter 8:21

The degree to which these prophecies will be literally fulfilled in the saints' future state in heaven is viewed differently by different Reformed commentators. Even whether the present heavens and earth shall remain after a total annihilation of all impurities and discord produced by sin or whether God shall create a totally-new heaven and earth (not only in appearance but in physical reality) cannot be fully determined.

While the precise physical details of the new heaven and earth cannot be safely determined, Scripture does inform us that these two shall be one in the future state. "Heaven" is presently the dwelling place of God, Christ, angels, and the saints who have died. "Earth" is the dwelling place of the saints who have not yet died a physical death. In the saints' eternal state, these two shall be one. God, Christ, angels, and all saints shall live in perfect peace in one place called the new heaven, new earth, or both. "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. 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 things are passed away" (Revelation 21:1-4). That God and Christ will dwell with His people is the central promise of the Covenant of Grace throughout the Old and New Testaments. The richest and eternal fulfillment of this promise shall be witnessed in the saints' eternal state in the new heaven and earth.

The Bible describes the new heaven and earth in the following seven glorious terms. Scripture speaks of heaven as a place of:

1. Perfect communion with God -To be with God and Christ forever in perfect, unbreakable communion is the heart's desire of

  • Commentators -Persons who have written books that explain and comment on various books of the Bible


    After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
    And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
    And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
    Therefore are they before I the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His tem- ! pie: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
    For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

    -Revelation 7:9, 13-17


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