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Section 9B .. The Future

 

003white   Index to Section 9B... The Future         >        Index To Heaven       >     Heaven:  No More Sea?

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What And Where is Heaven?..
Part IVB... No Longer Any Sea?
When John said "there is no longer any sea" in Revelation 21:1, was he really referring to large bodies of salt water? Unfortunately, what most seem to have done is pick up on six words in Revelation, assume John is talking about the oceans, and then search their Bibles for any possible reason, regardless of how far fetched, this should happen

Carol Brooks
Edited by Vicki Narlee

Index To All Six Sections

 Part I... Defining "Heaven" as The Promised Kingdom of God

  Part II... The Location and Nature of Heaven... The Promises and The Prophecies

Part III ... Jesus' Second Coming and The Resurrection of The Body

Part IV... A New Heaven and A New Earth

You Are Here 001orange Part IV B... No More Sea?

Part V... What The Bible Says About The Resurrected Body

Part VI... Will There Be Time and Space In The New Earth?

 Part VII...  The Bema or Judgment Seat of Christ, and Rewards in Heaven
 

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Many people who understand John's words "there is no longer any sea", in Revelation 21:1, to mean that there will no longer be any oceans in the new earth, are saddened at the thought. While the sea can be extremely intimidating, there are wonderful pleasures to be had and an amazing number of God's creatures to be marvelled at. Even those who, like myself, are more than slightly nervous of such large bodies of water, will sorely miss gazing at an unending ocean sparkling in the sunlight, walking on a beach listening to the sound of waves crashing on on the sand, the cool ocean breeze, to say nothing of spectacular sunsets.

In view of which, if the oceans are to be simply done away with, two questions come to mind... when and why?

We can be sure that the oceans will still be in existence after the millennium simply because, as discussed in the preceding chapter, Revelation chapter 20 through (at least) 21:5 are in chronological order, indicated by the frequent use of the word "then".

Revelation 20 tells us that the millennium rule of Christ is followed by Satan being released from prison. Once freed, he will set out to deceive the nations and gather them together for war. They will surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but will be devoured by fire that comes down from Heaven. (Vs. 7- 9). Satan, along with the beast and false prophet will then be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Vs. 10). This is followed by the second resurrection, which is when the sea and Hades will give up their dead who will be judged, according to their deeds, at the White Throne (Vs. 12-13). Finally, in the last verse of chapter 20, we are told that death and Hades will be thrown into the lake of fire (Vs. 14-15). (Also See How Many Resurrections?)

The very next verse, in which John says he saw the new heaven and the new earth, is prefaced by the word "then", which means it follows the events described above, particularly that the sea gives up its dead.

    Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. (Revelation 21:1 NASB)


Why Would The Lord Eliminate The Seas?
The question that comes to mind is why? What reason could the Lord possibly have for eliminating the oceans altogether?

I have read some different theories (some rather bizarre) put forward as an explanation of why the oceans will no longer exist. One school of thought believes the sea will be dried up by the end time conflagration. Another theory is that the sea no longer exists because, as Revelation 13:1 says, the beast came up out of it. However, if the beast that came up out of the sea, and the dragon that stood on the sand of the seashore are symbolic, not real live monsters, we cannot possibly assume the verse is speaking of a vast body of salt water. In any case, Revelation 13:11 says another beast, that spoke as a dragon, came up out of the earth.

Yet others, citing verses like Isaiah 57:20, believe that the sea represents evil.

    But the wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud. (Isaiah 57:20 NASB)].

The problem is that, if the sea is to be forever destroyed because of its perceived association with evil, then we can be quite sure that the earth itself will be first in line for permanent destruction, since it has been the birthplace of every evil under the sun... a far, far, larger problem than the sea ever was, or ever will be. In any case, Isaiah 57:20 is simply comparing evil people with a restless sea that throws up mud. On the other hand, Isaiah also compares righteousness with the waves of the sea, and the knowledge of the Lord with the waters of the sea.

    If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.  (Isaiah 48:18 NASB)

    They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.  (Isaiah 11:9 NASB)

There are several reasons we can dismiss these rather implausible ideas.

1) The Oceans and Everything In Them Were Pronounced "Good"
In the Genesis account of creation, we are told that on the fifth day God declared the sea, and the creatures in it, to be good, just as He did with the cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth created the next day.

    "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens." God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:20-21 NASB)

Additionally, the Supreme Creator knew what He was doing. The oceans cover the greater part of our planet, and not only do they provide food and influence climate and weather patterns, but the seas form an important part of the carbon cycle, which is the movement of carbon as it is recycled and reused throughout the biosphere. This sequence of events is key to making the Earth capable of sustaining life. And as NASA says

    The ocean plays a vital dominant role in the Earth's carbon cycle. The total amount of carbon in the ocean is about 50 times greater than the amount in the atmosphere, and is exchanged with the atmosphere on a time-scale of several hundred years. At least 1/2 of the oxygen we breathe comes from the photosynthesis of marine plants" [01]

2) That The Sand Forms A Boundary For The Sea is God's "Eternal" Decree
In Jeremiah, chapter 5, the Lord says even the sea has to keep within the boundary He assigned it however, because of their rebellious hearts, people do not do so... ie. keep His laws.

    Do you not fear Me?' declares the Lord. 'Do you not tremble in My presence? For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, An eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it. Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it. But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; They have turned aside and departed (Jeremiah 5:22-23 NASB)

Notice that God eternally decreed that the sand would be a boundary for the sea, which would hardly be possible if there was no sea. 

3) The Dead Sea And the Mediterranean Sea Will Exist in The New World
It is commonly believed that, in the world to come, a river that flows from the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, will begin its journey as a very small stream. But as it increases in depth and size, half of this river will empty into the Dead Sea and the other half into the Mediterranean Sea...

    And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter. (Zechariah 14:8 NASB)

Ezekiel 47:6-12 elaborates on this, saying that the stream gradually turns into a very large river that will bring the Dead Sea back to life.

Note: Many tend to spiritualize these verses since, in the New Testament, water is used in a symbolic sense. For example, in John 7:37-39, the Holy Sprit is called "Living Water". However, the description of this river in the Ezekiel verses is very literal. Not only are there factual geographical references, but the exact depth of the water is measured at very precise distances from the source (47:2-5). Additionally, saying that the once saline waters will then be home to "very many fish", and that "from Engedi to Eneglaim" fishermen will cast their nets into the water reinforces the literalness of the passages. Although we are not sure where 'Eneglaim" is, En Gedi is a very large oasis, fed by natural springs, on the western shore of the Dead Sea, near the Qumran Caves.

In other words, the Mediterranean Sea, which is not exactly a small body of water, but the seventh largest ocean in the world (950,000 plus square miles) will exist after the millennium.

4) Christ Will Rule From "Sea To Sea".
And, although they could be understood as figurative language, two verses in the Old Testament say Christ will rule from "sea to sea".

    May he also rule from sea to sea And from the River to the ends of the earth.  (Psalms 72:8 NASB)

    I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; And the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.  (Zechariah 9:10 NASB)

Summary
In light of the fact that...

    1) The Lord originally declared the oceans and their inhabitants to be "good".

    2) The oceans are a necessary part of the finely tuned balance of this planet (which we can be certain the Lord is not going to totally destroy. See Previous Chapter).

    3) God's "eternal" decree is that the sand forms a boundary for the sea

    3) Both the Mediterranean and Dead Seas will be part of God's "new earth".

... what could Revelation 21:1 be talking about?

Unfortunately, what most seem to have done is pick up on six words in Revelation, assume John is talking about the oceans, and then search their Bibles for any possible reason, regardless of how far fetched, this should happen.

The Wording
Perhaps the first detail that should give one pause for thought is that the structure of Revelation 21:1 is, for want of a better word, odd. In fact it reminds me of Exodus 20:11. In both verses, the heaven, the earth, and the sea seem to be presented as three separate and distinct entities... heaven and earth connected by the word "and", and separate from "the sea".

    For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:11 NASB)

    Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. (Revelation 21:1 NASB)

Whenever one refers to the earth, it usually means the earth as a whole, inclusive of land, forests, rivers, mountains and the sea. So why would a "new earth" not include the sea, or lack thereof. Was John so struck by the fact that there were no oceans on this new earth that he had to mention it separately, or was there another reason he mentioned it apart "from the heaven and the earth"

The answer to that question may lie a extremely long way back in time. In fact all the way back in the very beginning.


God Created Heaven and Earth
In the Genesis account of creation we are told that, on the first day, God created the heavens and the earth. Whether or not the world was made out of nothing, or whether order and beauty were created out of chaos is not of concern here. What we do know is that the earth was formless, dark, empty, and covered by water, which the Spirit of God moved over (Genesis 1:1-2). Verses 3-5 describe the creation of light on the first day

    Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (Genesis 1:3-5 NASB)

The Second Day... Let There Be A "Firmament" (Expanse)
The narrative goes on to tell us about the events of the second day

    (6) Then God said, "Let there be an expanse (Heb. rqya) in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." (7) God made the expanse (Heb. rqya), and separated the waters which were below the expanse (Heb. rqya) from the waters which were above the expanse (Heb. rqya); and it was so.  (8) God called the expanse (Heb. rqya) heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. (Genesis 1:6-8 NASB)

The Hebrew word rqya has been variously translated expanse, firmament, vault (NIV) and even, in one case, dome. The reason being that rqya comes from a root word rqa which has been used in verses where someone hammers out metal (in this case gold) sheets, and/or overlays something with gold.

    Then they hammered out (Heb. rqa) gold sheets and cut them into threads to be woven in with the blue and the purple and the scarlet material, and the fine linen, the work of a skillful workman.  (Exodus 39:3 NASB)

    As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates (Heb. rqa) it with gold, and a silversmith fashions chains of silver. (Isaiah 40:19 NASB)

Rqya is derived from rqa, used in Isaiah 42:5, in which the Lord is said to have "spread out" the earth ....

    Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out (Heb. rqa) the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it, (Isaiah 42:5 NASB)

It seems clear that the word means to expand, to make broad or spread, which is why the Genesis verses are interpreted to mean the expanse of space ... including the sky (what we call the atmosphere), and 'outer space', home of the entire solar system. This can be substantiated from Genesis 1:14-16 which tells us that the sun, moon and stars are set in the expanse, and Genesis 1:20 which states that birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.

    (14) Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse (Heb. rqya) of the heavens (Heb shmayim) to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; (15) and let them be for lights in the expanse (Heb. rqya) of the heavens (Heb. shmayim) to give light on the earth"; and it was so.  (16) God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.  (17) God placed them in the expanse (Heb. rqya) of the heavens (Heb. shmayim) to give light on the earth. (Genesis 1:14-17 NASB)

    Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse (Heb. rqya) of the heavens (Heb. shmayim)."  (Genesis 1:20 NASB)


The Waters (Seas?) Above The Heavens
A closer look at Genesis 1, verses 6 and 7, brings up an interesting problem. Verse 6 says the Lord created this firmament, or expanse, in the midst of the waters, and it would separate "the waters from the waters". Verse 7 elaborates on this division of the waters, saying God "separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse".

    (6) Then God said, "Let there be an expanse (Heb. rqya) in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." (7) God made the expanse (Heb. rqya), and separated the waters which were below the expanse (Heb. rqya) from the waters which were above the expanse (Heb rqya); and it was so. (8) God called the expanse (Heb. rqya) heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. (Genesis 1:6-8 NASB)

In other words, the expanse divides the waters, which means those waters which are said to be "above the firmament" have to be above the known solar system. I can just hear some people protesting that this is not possible... that the idea is absolutely preposterous. But, may I remind you that not only is this exactly what the Bible says, but  nothing is impossible with God. If He can speak the world into existence, have the earth spinning in space (literally hanging on nothing), then He can have waters above known space. 

Moreover, Psalm 148 also speaks of the waters that are above the heavens. Although one cannot be dogmatic about it, a distinction seems to be made between "heaven" and "highest heaven"... the intangible place where God Himself dwells. (See Chapter One for Details)

    Praise Him, highest heavens, and the waters that are above the heavens!  (Psalms 148:4 NASB)

And what happened to the waters that were below the firmament? They were gathered into one place, which caused dry land to appear. The dry land was called "earth" and the gathering of the waters "seas", both of which God declared to be "good".


Not Good, But Necessary
But there is one additional detail to be noted... As the story of creation unfolds, at the end of each day God declares His handiwork to be "good", with one exception.... the events of the second day.

    (Note: While it is true that the last verse, (31) says, on the sixth day, God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good, the second day of creation (Vs. 6-8) is the ONLY day in the Genesis narrative, where the Lord does not specifically pronounce as "good" what He created that day

    (Also Note: On day six, God created cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth and pronounced it "good" (Vs. 24-26). On this day, He also man in His own image and although He did no specifically say that was good, verse 28 says God blessed them.)

However, if you break down what was created on the second day, the waters below the firmament, and all they contained, were said to be "good" on the third day

    Then God said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. .... There was evening and there was morning, a third day. (Genesis 1:9-10, 13 NASB)

The heavenly bodies set in the firmament were also were said to be "good" on the fourth day.

    Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. (Genesis 1:14-19 NASB)

The only part of the second day creation that was not pronounced "good" were the waters above the expanse. And, as we shall see, there is good reason for this. It was a temporary measure, never intended to be a part of the heaven and the earth that will forever make up the Kingdom of God.

Which brings up a question.

If the waters below the firmament are called "seas", is it possible that the waters above the expanse are also called seas? There seems to be evidence that this is indeed so, although the "seas" above the firmament are not in a liquid state.

Time out for a short science lesson


What Happens to Water in Outer Space?
The atmosphere of the earth and its relative closeness to the sun create conditions in which liquids remain stable virtually everywhere on the surface of the planet. However, outer space is very different from the earth's atmosphere is two extremely important ways...

    1) It is cold. Although, strictly speaking, space has no temperature, "cold" works.

    2) There is little or no pressure... outer space is as close as it gets to a perfect natural vacuum because extraordinarily little matter exists there (which is why astronauts wear a pressurized space suits while outside their spacecraft).

The natural assumption is that a glass of water transported into space, would freeze. However, both the conditions mentioned above have to be taken into consideration.

When the pressure in the environment around liquid is dropped, liquid comes to a boil more rapidly. As we know, water boils at lower temperatures on a mountaintop than at sea level, simply because the higher we go, the lower the pressure. However, in a vacuum, the water will not only boil, but boil violently, immediately turning into vapor.

However, due to the extremely cold conditions of outer space, this vapor immediately turns into solids ie. very fine frozen crystals. Just ask any astronaut who has urinated, then dumped the urine out of the spacecraft.

In short, liquid in outer space, first boils, then immediately solidifies into frozen crystals.


Ezekiel's Vision... An Expanse of 'Crystal'?
We need to pay careful attention to Ezekiel's extraordinary vision of four living beings...

    22) Now over the heads of the living beings there was something like an expanse (Heb. rqya), like the awesome (Heb. yr) gleam of crystal (Heb. qerach), spread out over their heads.  (23)  Under the expanse (Heb. rqya) their wings were stretched out straight, one toward the other; each one also had two wings covering its body on the one side and on the other.  (24) I also heard the sound of their wings like the sound of abundant waters as they went, like the voice of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army camp; whenever they stood still, they dropped their wings. (25) And there came a voice from above the expanse (Heb. rqya) that was over their heads; whenever they stood still, they dropped their wings. (26) Now above the expanse (Heb. rqya) that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man. (Ezekiel 1:22-26 NASB)

There are two important points here...

1) The KJV and NASB (and possibly other versions) render the Hebrew word qerach (verse 22) into the English crystal. However, other versions translated qerach into "ice"... with good reason. Qerach occurs six other times in the Old Testament, and always signifies ice, or frost (Note that, although they form differently, both snowflakes and frost are tiny ice crystals). In fact, in other verses, the NASB and KJV translate qerach into frost or ice.. For example...

    Thus I was: by day the heat consumed me and the frost (Heb. qerach) by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes.  (Genesis 31:40 NASB)

    My brothers have acted deceitfully like a wadi, Like the torrents of wadis which vanish, Which are turbid because of ice (Heb. qerach) and into which the snow melts. (Job 6:15-16 NASB)

    From the breath of God ice (Heb. qerach) is made, And the expanse of the waters is frozen. (Job 37:10 NASB) (The KJV says "frost)

    Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah, "He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost (Heb. qerach) of the night. (Jeremiah 36:30 NASB)

(In verse 22, the Hebrew word ayin, translated "gleam' literally means an eye or eyes. Figuratively, it can means in someone's sight. Additionally, the Hebrew word yr, translated "awesome", is used over 3000 times in the Old Testament and means dreadful, fearful or terrible. For example Malachi 4:5 speaks of the "great and terrible day of the Lord", but I can live with the NASB's "awesome". Therefore, other translations render this verse very similarly to the KJV which says "And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.)

However, we have to note that, in chapter 12, verse 3, Daniel clearly said the expanse was "bright".

2) That this expanse was said to be "over the heads" of the four living beings, meant they were below it. In contrast, Ezekiel not only heard the voice of the Almighty from above the expanse, but also saw the a "figure with the appearance of a man" sitting on something resembling a lapis lazuli throne above the expanse. God was sitting on His throne above the expanse. (See Has Anyone Ever Seen God?)


John's Vision .... A Sea of 'Glass' Like Crystal
John, had two similar visions... Just like Ezekiel, John described a 'sea', of what appeared to be crystal or ice, before the throne of God.

    and before the throne there was something like a sea (Gk. thalassa) of glass (Gk. hualinos), like crystal (Gk. krustallos); and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.  (Revelation 4:6 NASB)

    And I saw something like a sea (Gk. thalassa) of glass (Gk. hualinos) mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea (Gk. thalassa) of glass (Gk. hualinos), holding harps of God. (Revelation 15:2 NASB)

We should take a brief look at three of the Greek words used...

    Thalassa, translated 'sea', is the same word used for large bodies of water throughout the New Testament (Eg. Sea of Galilee in Matthew 4:18).

    Hualinos, translated 'glass', does not necessarily mean glass as we know it (as in window panes), but signifies "transparency". Strongs says hualinos means "glassy, that is, transparent"

    Krustallos, translated 'crystal', is derived from kruos (frost or ice). In fact, our English cryogenics, the branch of physics that deals with very low temperatures, comes from kruos.

So what we have here are two different prophets who, hundred of years apart, saw a sea of something that resembled a transparent, sea of what seemed to be ice or crystal, which according to Daniel "gleamed".


To Summarize

    1. The structure of Exodus 20:11 and Revelation 21:1 seem to present the heaven, the earth, and the sea as separate and distinct entities.

    2. Genesis 1 speaks of God creating an expanse (or firmament) which He called Heaven. This expanse had lights in it to "separate the day from the night" and "for signs and for seasons and for days and years" (Genesis 1: 14).

    3. Since this firmament was made in the midst of the waters, it would separate "the waters from the waters", ie. the waters which were below the expanse were divided from from the waters which were above the expanse. (Genesis 1:6-7). In other words, since the expanse, which holds the moon and sun, divides the waters, those waters which are said to be "above the firmament" have to be above the known solar system.

    4. In his vision of four living beings, Ezekiel saw (and heard) the Ancient of Days seated on a throne above the expanse. He also described the expanse as, in some way, resembling ice which, may I remind the reader, is frozen water.

    5. In Revelation 4:6 and 15:2 John says he saw something 'like a sea of glass, like crystal' (translated form the Greek krustallos, a word that comes from kruos (frost) before the throne. As said earlier, our English cryogenics, the branch of physics that deals with very low temperatures, is derived from kruos. Like Ezekiel, John seems to have seen a sheet (sea) of ice or frost.

Hopefully, a picture is beginning to emerge... when the waters were divided, or separated by the expanse, God caused the waters below the expanse to come together into one place which let the dry land appear. While we are not specifically told what the Lord did with the waters above the firmament, we know that water in outer space first boils, then immediately solidifies into frozen crystals. both Ezekiel and John described His throne as being above a sea of something that gleamed like ice or crystal.

It seems very likely that the waters that were above the firmament froze into a sheet of ice.... crystal like in appearance.

But why?

Again, it seems readily apparent that this sea of ice was designed to form an impassable boundary between the dwelling place of God (the highest heaven) and the two lower heavens... that is the visible sky and outer space. (The only humans ever seen standing on this sea were "those who had been victorious over the beast" .

This has correlation in the details of the Old Testament construction, particularly ...


The "Thick Curtain" In Moses' Tabernacle
Moses' Tabernacle was divided into 3 sections.... 

    1) the "outer court" which held the altar of burnt offerings and the bronze laver for the priests to wash in.

    2) The "holy place" or sanctuary, in which were the Golden Altar for sweet incense, the Golden Lampstand, and the table for the shewbread and various other vessels.

    3) The "Holy of Holies" or "most Holy Place" where the Ark of the Covenant was kept as a symbol of God's dwelling place in the midst of His people. (There is a good simple diagram on THIS page).

Only the priests were allowed entrance to the "holy place" or sanctuary. However, the Holy of Holies was off limits to everyone except once a year on Yom Kippur, when only the High Priest entered to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the Mercy Seat. (See Feasts of Israel).

What is of particular interest is that the "Most Holy Place" was divided from the sanctuary by a thick curtain, which served as a barrier, between God and the people. When Jesus was crucified, Matthew wrote that "the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom... "(27:51), which signified that no longer did God have to be approached through an intermediary...ie. the High Priest.

However, while one barrier has been removed, the firmament is still very much in place.


The Laver and The Molten Sea

It is also possible that the sea of crystal seen by Ezekiel and John can also be seen as an analogy to the laver of bronze in Moses' Tabernacle, and the molten sea in Solomon's temple.

The laver was a large bowl, made entirely of bronze, and filled with water. It was located in the courtyard, between the altar and the main part of the Temple where the Holy Place and Most Holy Place were, and was placed there for the priests who washed their hands and their feet in it before entering the Holy Place. (Exodus 30:18)

Although it seems extremely large for the stated purpose, the author of Chronicles tells us that the bronze "sea" Solomon built in the temple premises was for the priests to wash in, which means it corresponded with the Laver built by Moses.

In other words, the bronze "sea" stood between the altar where the sacrifices were made, and the Holy Place (lower heaven) and the 'Most Holy Place' which held the Ark of the Covenant (the highest heaven where God resides).


Conclusion
The reason the sea of ice was never pronounced good was because God never intended for there to be a separate heaven and earth... but always intended to live among His people. The barrier is a temporary measure which will exist as long as sin and Satan contaminate the earth. It is only after all sin and evil has been dealt with, and Satan, the beast, the false prophet, death, and Hades have all been "thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone" (Revelation 20:10), that there will no longer be any need of the barrier between heaven and earth.

Which is why, John says there is no longer any 'sea' in Revelation 21:1. In fact he tells us exactly what will happen....

    Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." (Revelation 21:1-4 NASB)

The "highest heaven' will no longer exist, but God will bring the new Jerusalem down to earth, and will forever dwell among His people. A new heaven and earth will take the place of the old.

The poet John Masefield once wrote...

    I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
    And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying, And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

For those who know that, like him, they will yearn to go down to the seas again... be assured that you will.


Endnotes
[01] Carbon Cycle. NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/oceanography/ocean-earth-system/ocean-carbon-cycle/

 


Continue On To Part V... The Resurrected Body HERE

 

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