Heaven on Earth, a Sneak Peak of Our Future

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The Millennial Jerusalem
by Dr. Robert D. Luginbill

When Christ returns at the 2nd Advent, He will establish His kingdom and rule the entire world from Jerusalem (e.g., Zech.8:3; 9:9; 14:9). As the capital of the Messianic Kingdom, Jerusalem will be the preeminent city on earth, even in a geographic sense, on the supernaturally elevated Mt. Zion (Is.2:2-3; 24:21-23; 52:2; Ezek.40:2; Mich.4:1; Zech.14:10). The conditions that will obtain in the millennial Jerusalem will make it a veritable Eden restored:

The Lord will have compassion on Zion, and compassion on all her ruins, and He will make her desert like Eden, and her wilderness like the garden of the Lord. Isaiah 51:3

In that blessed “favorable season” to come (Is.61:2), the curse on the earth will be removed (Gen.3:17-19; 5:29; cf. Rom.8:19-23) and conditions similar to the garden restored (Acts 3:21). Comparable to the tree of life of Gen.2:9, and to the “tree(s) of life” in the final New Jerusalem (Rev.22:2), the millennial, Edenic Jerusalem will also be provided with trees that share the same purpose of imparting spiritual as well as physical blessing (cf. Is.41:19; 55:12-13; Ezek.34:27; 36:8; Rev.22:2):

And on the bank of the river gorge on both sides will spring up every sort of foodproducing tree. Their foliage will not wither, nor their produce fail, but every month they will yield a new crop, for they will be irrigated by the waters flowing from the sanctuary; their produce will serve as food and their foliage as medicine. Ezekiel 47:12

And it is not only in the tree of life that the millennial Jerusalem will resemble Edens past and present, for the river on whose banks the trees described above will flourish will share important qualities with the rivers of Genesis chapter two and with the “river of the water of life” of Revelation chapter twenty-two:

1) a central source : Just as water flowed out of the garden of Eden, so the millennial river of living water will rise from a fountainhead at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem (Ezek.47:1-12; Joel 3:18; Zech.14:8), a very similar scene to that of the river of the water of life in Rev.22:1-2.

2) a fertile effect : The river is associated with agricultural fecundity and abundant fisheries in Ezekiel 47:1-12, while Joel 3:18 connects the fountain with the blossoming of the land in general (cf. a similar symbolic reference in Is.66:12: “I will extend peace to her like a river and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream”).

3) a life-giving influence: The river is one of “living water” in Zechariah 14:8, a title which, in light of Revelation 22:17, suggests the spiritual blessings it will confer (see also Jer.2:13; Is.55:1).

The Kingdom of Heaven as it will be set up by Christ following His 2nd Advent presents a unique situation in its capacity as the sixth Eden, for, unlike the garden of Adam and Eve or the final paradise, New Jerusalem, it (and the rejuvenated earth) will be home to a mixed population that will include individuals both imperfect (people of various spiritual states still in their natural bodies) and perfect (resurrected believers). The righteous rule of Christ (Ps.2:9) will suppress the effects of the sin nature so pronounced in our experience (e.g., crime and war), and the result will be a veritable heaven on earth, an environment as perfect as possible (given the limitation that it will contain imperfect human beings), a world overflowing with blessing in its sights and sounds, its prosperity, and in the physical and spiritual wholeness, flowing forth from Jerusalem:

Beauty of the Rejuvenated Earth

The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf with the lion and the fatling together, with a little boy leading them. Isaiah 11:6-9
Your eyes will gaze upon the King in His beauty, and you will see the land expanding out [before you]. Isaiah 33:17

The desert and arid land will rejoice, and the wilderness will exult and burst into bloom like a crocus. Isaiah 35:1

I will make rivers spring forth on the barren heights, and fountains in the valleys. I will fill the desert with pools of water, and the arid places with springs of water. Isaiah 41:18

The mountains and hills will let out a cheer and the trees will clap their hands. Instead of thorns, cypress will grow, and instead of thistles, myrtles. Isaiah 55:12

Prosperity and Happiness

Enlarge the place for your tent. Let your tent curtains stretch wide and don’t hold back. Lengthen your ropes and strengthen your stakes. For you will burst forth on the right and on the left. Your offspring will possess the nations, and the deserted cities will be inhabited. Isaiah 54:2-3

Your gates will be open always, day and night they will not be closed, so that the wealth of the nations may be brought to you, and their kings led before you. Isaiah 60:11

You will feast on the wealth of the nations, and boast in their riches. Isaiah 61:6

I am about to extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent. Isaiah 66:12

Raise a joyous shout, Daughter of Zion. Shout for joy, Israel. Be happy and exult with all your heart, Daughter of Jerusalem. Zephaniah 3:14

For there will be prosperity for what is sown: the vine will yield its fruit, and the land will bring forth its produce, and the sky will give forth the [necessary] moisture. Zechariah 8:12

The wealth of all the nations round about will be gathered up, their gold and silver and clothing in abundance. Zechariah 14:14

Physical and Spiritual Wholeness

The mountains will bring forth prosperity for the people, and the hills righteousness. Psalm 72:3

“Come let us go to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us of His ways, and that we may walk in His paths.” Isaiah 2:3

And the Lord will create over Mount Zion and over all her assemblies a cloud – one of smoke by day, and of a shining flame of fire by night. For there will be a canopy above the glory [of His presence, covering it] entirely. It will be a shelter from the heat by day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain. Isaiah 4:5-6

To His dominion and its prosperity there will be no limit or end. He will establish it and lay its foundation on David’s throne and over his kingdom, in justice and righteousness, now and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:7

You will joyously draw water from the fountains of salvation. Isaiah 12:3

Justice will dwell in the desert, and righteousness in the cultivated fields. Isaiah 32:16

I will rejoice over Jerusalem and be filled with joy for My people. The sound of weeping and the cry of distress will no longer be heard in her. No longer will there be there any infant that perishes in his youth, nor any old man who fails to live out his days in full. For a man will be accounted but a youth, should he die at a hundred, even the sinner a hundred years old who suffers this curse. Isaiah 65:19-20

The Lord their God will deliver them on that day (for His people are to Him as a precious flock, like jewels in a crown set prominently in His land). For how fair and beautiful they will be. Grain will make the young men flourish and new wine the young women. Zechariah 9:16-17

In that day a fountain will flow for the house of David, [to cleanse] from sin and impurity. Zechariah 13:1

The Most Profound Blessing of All: The Presence and Personal Rule of Jesus Christ (see also Ps.2; 45; 48; 72; Is.2:1-5; Ezek.48:35; Dan.7:14; Zech.14; Lk.1:32; Rev.19:11-20:6):

For a child is born to us, and a Son is given to us. Dominion shall rest on his shoulder, and His name will be called “He whose counsel is wondrous”, “Mighty God”, “the Father of Eternity”, “the Prince of Prosperity”. Isaiah 9:6

In those days and at that time, I will make a Branch of righteousness sprout forth for David, and He will accomplish justice and righteousness on the earth. Jeremiah 33:15

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, too small to be numbered among the clans of Judah, from you I will bring forth the One who is to rule over Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, even from the days of eternity. Micah 5:2

Thus says the Lord: I will return to Zion and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And Jerusalem will be called “the City of Truth”, and “the Mountain of the Lord, the Mountain of Holiness”. Zechariah 8:3

Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion. Shout [for joy], daughter of Jerusalem. Behold, your King will come to you. Righteous and victorious He is; humble and riding on a donkey, even on a colt, a donkey’s foal. Zechariah 9:9

And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be the only One and His name the only name. Zechariah 14:9

The New Jerusalem

Most of what we know about the ultimate, eternal state, the last Eden, is from the book of Revelation (chapters 21 &22). But the new heavens and the new earth, the location of the New Jerusalem (Rev.21:1-2), are well known throughout scripture. In contrast to the new heavens and new earth, the biblical principle of the transience of human life (e.g. Is.40:6-8) applies with equal force to the present “old” world in which now we live:

1st Corinthians 7:31 NIV
For this world in its present form is passing away.

1st John 2:17
The world and its lust are passing away.

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