(1) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more
(5) ...And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true."
Revelation 21:1, 5, RSV
Lord our God, our Father, we look deep into your mighty Word and see the glory of the new world you will create according to your justice and truth. We thank you for giving us this joy on earth in the midst of all our toil and striving. We look deep into your Word. You make all things new. To this hope our lives are directed, to this hope you have called us, and we want to be faithful forever. Praise to your name, for you have already done great things for us! Keep us in your Word. Let many find the light, for in this light they may look to you in simple faith and constancy until the end, when throughout the world we may see your glory and your grace. Amen.
The context of the words of Revelation 21:1, 5, RSV
Revelation 21:1–8 continues the progression of events which came after the end of the tribulation: Christ's return to earth (Revelation 19:11–16), the defeat and destruction of those who war against Christ (Revelation 19:17–21), the incarceration of Satan (Revelation 20:1–3), the millennial reign of Christ (Revelation 20:4–6), the release of Satan and the nations' final revolt against God (Revelation 20:7–10), and the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11–15). Here we see the creation of the new heaven and the new earth. Upcoming verses describe the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9–27).
This chapter focuses on the New Jerusalem. This is not the earthly, historic Jerusalem of the tribulation (Revelation 11:2, 8). Nor is it the surviving Jerusalem of the millennium that serves as Jesus' capital (Revelation 20:9). It is the heavenly city referred to in Hebrews 12:22, whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10, 16). John attempts to describe the indescribable using analogies to precious gems and metals.
Meaning of the words
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more"
John saw a vision of a new heaven and a new earth replacing the millennial heaven and earth. "The heavens" as referred to here, does not include the heaven where God dwells. The word translated as "heaven" most likely refers to earth's atmosphere and/or space.
John writes that the first heaven and the first earth pass away, a statement that some Bible scholars interpret as complete annihilation. Others interpret it to mean a renovation. Those who believe earth and heaven will cease to exist point to Peter's statement that "the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire" (2 Peter 3:7). Those who believe the heavens and the earth will undergo a renovation recall that God destroyed the earth with a flood in the time of Noah, but a new kind of earth emerged when the flood subsided.
The word "new" in Revelation 21:1 is kainon, meaning "new in quality or fresh." Another word for "new" is neos, meaning "new in time." According to this verse, there will not be a sea on the new earth. The absence of a sea assures us this verse does not refer to the millennial earth, because during the millennium large bodies of water will exist (Isaiah 11:9; Ezekiel 47:8–10, 15, 17–20; 48:28; Zechariah 9:10; 14:8). It must describe the eternal earth.
"And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true"."
John reports in this verse that the One who occupies the throne declared, "Behold, I am making all things new." When God created the heavens and the earth, including every living thing, including our first parents, "God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). However, when sin entered the world, it brought God's judgment upon all creation. Decay. deterioration, death, and dying scarred nature and human life. Today, nature groans to be delivered from the curse (Romans 8:22), and God's redeemed people anticipate their freedom from every vestige of sin (1 John 3:1–3).
Someday, God will make everything new: a new heaven and earth and a new freedom from sin. The prior chapter of Revelation described the ultimate defeat of sin and evil. These final two chapters describe the victorious conditions which come about as a result. John also heard a voice from the throne affirm that God's declaration of His making all things new is completely dependable. His words are "trustworthy and true." Indeed, everything God says is trustworthy and true, as Titus 1:2 affirms: "God…never lies."
The New Jerusalem comes down from heaven, bringing divine glory into earthly presence