New Heavens and New EarthMiscellanies by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
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743. New Heavens and New Earth. Consummation of All Things. Heaven. The place of God’s eternal residence and the place of the everlasting residence and reign of Christ, and his church, will be heaven, and not this lower world, purified and refined. Heaven is everywhere in Scripture represented as the throne of God and that part of the universe that is God’s fixed abode and dwelling-place, and that is everlastingly appropriated to that use. Other places are mentioned in Scripture as being places of God’s residence for a time, as Mount Sinai, and the land of Canaan, the temple, the holy of holies, but yet God it represented as having dwelt in heaven before he dwelt in those places. Gen. 19:24; Exo. 3:8; Job 22:12-14; Gen. 28:12. And when God is spoken of as dwelling in those places, he is represented as coming down out of heaven. So he is represented as coming on Mount Sinai. Gen. 19:11, 18, 20; Exo. 20:22; Deu. 4:36; Neh. 9:13. So he is represented as coming to the temple. 2 Chr. 7:3. So when the cloud of glory first came on the tabernacle, Exo. 34 ult., it doubtless was the same cloud that till then abode on Mount Sinai. But God had first descended from heaven on Mount Sinai, and while God did dwell in the tabernacle and temple, he was represented as still dwelling in heaven, as being still his original, proper, and everlasting dwelling-place, and dwelling in the temple and tabernacle in a far inferior manner. 1 Kin. 8:30, “When they shall pray towards this place, then hear thou in heaven, thy dwelling-place.” So 1 Kin. 8:32, 34, 36, 39, 43, 45, 49. Psa. 11:4, “The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven.” Deu. 33:26, “There is none like the God of Jeshurun, who rideth on the heavens in thine help, and in his excellency on the sky.” Psa. 20:6, “Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed: he will hear him from his holy heaven.” Deu. 26:15; Isa. 63:15; Lam. 3:50; 1 Chr. 21:26; 2 Chr. 6:21, 23, 27, 30, and 2 Chr. 7:14; Neh. 9:27-28; Psa. 14:2, and Psa. 53:2; Psa. 33:13-14, “The Lord looketh from heaven, he beholdeth all the sons of men from the place of his habitation, he looketh on all the inhabitants of the earth.” Psa. 57:3; Psa. 76:8; Psa. 80:14; Psa. 102:19, “For he hath looked from the height of his sanctuary, from heaven did the Lord behold the earth.” Ecc. 5:2, “God is in heaven, and thou on the earth.” 2 Kin. 2:1. “would take up Elijah into heaven,” and so we have an account how he was taken up, 2 Kin. 2:11; 2 Chr. 30:27; Psa. 68:4, 33; Psa. 123:1. “Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.” Psa. 115:2-3, “Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he pleased.” Lam. 3:41; 2 Chr. 20:19; Job 31:2; Psa. 113:5; Isa. 33:5; Jer. 25:30; Isa. 57:15.
The manner in which God dwells in heaven is so much superior to that wherein he dwells on earth, that heaven is said to be God’s throne, and the earth his footstool; Isa. 66:1, “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest?”
The holy places on earth, where God is represented as dwelling, are called his footstool. Lam. 2:1, “And remembered his footstool in the day of his anger;” 1 Chr. 28:2, “As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building;” Psa. 132:7, “We shall go into his tabernacle, we will worship at his footstool.” God’s sanctuary is called the place of his feet. Isa. 60:13, “To beautify the place of my sanctuary, and to make the place of my feet glorious.” The inferior manner in which God dwelt in the Jewish sanctuary, was expressed by this, that God placed his name there. Earthly holy places, which were called God’s house, or the place of his habitation, were so in such a manner, and a manner so inferior to that in which heaven is God’s house, that they are represented as only outworks or gates of heaven. Gen. 28:17, “This is none other but the house of God, this is the gate of heaven.” Yea, though God is represented as dwelling in those earthly holy places, yet he was so far from dwelling in them as he does in heaven, that when he appeared in them from time to time, he is represented as then coming from heaven to them, as though heaven were his fixed abode, and not Mount Sinai, and the tabernacle and the temple, places into which he would occasionally turn aside and appear. Thus God is said to have descended in a cloud, and appeared to Moses when he passed by him and proclaimed his name, though he had before that from time to time appeared there as in the mount of God, and though Moses had at that time been long conversing with God in the mount. Exo. 34:5. And so God descended from time to time on the tabernacle. Num. 11:25, and Num. 12:5. Heaven is always represented as the proper and fixed abode of God, and other dwelling places but as occasional abodes. When the wise man speaks of worshipping God in his house, he at the same time would have those that worship him there be sensible that he is in heaven, and not on the earth: Ecc. 5:1-2, “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God. — Let not thy heart be hasty to utter anything before God; for God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth.”
So God, when he withdrew from the land of Israel, is spoken of as returning to heaven, which is called his place, as though the land of Israel were not his place, Hos. 5:15, “I will go and return to my place.” And God is spoken of as being in heaven in the time of the captivity, as he is in the prophecy of Daniel, Dan. 4:37; Dan. 5:23, and in Daniel’s vision, Dan. 4:13, 23, 31.
And heaven is also in the New Testament everywhere represented as the place of God’s abode. Christ tells us that it is God’s throne, Mat. 5:34. This we are taught in the New Testament to look on as God’s temple, after all that was legal and ceremonial concerning holy times and holy places ceased. Acts 7:48-49, “Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands, as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool, what house will ye build me saith the Lord, and where is the place of my rest?” This is the true temple and the true holy of holies, as it is represented in the epistle to the Hebrews. Heaven is the place whence Christ descended, and it is the place whither he ascended. It was the place whence the Holy Ghost descended on Christ, and whence the voice came, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: and is the place whence the Holy Ghost was poured out at Pentecost. And whatever is from God is said to be from heaven, Mat. 16:1; Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16; Mat. 21:25; Luke 9:54; Luke 21:11; John 3:27; John 6:31; Acts 9:3; and Acts 11:5, 9; Rom. 1:18; 1 Cor. 15:47; 1 Pet. 1:12; Heb. 12:25; Rev. 3:12, and other places. The angels are spoken of as coming from heaven from time to time, in the New Testament; and visions of God are represented by heaven’s being opened, and prayer and divine worship are enjoined under the New Testament to be directed to heaven. We are to pray to our Father which is in heaven, which appellation is very often given to God in the New Testament. So we are to lift up our eyes and hands to heaven in our prayers. And heaven is everywhere in the New Testament spoken of as the place of God and Christ, and the angels, and the place of blessedness. And all good whatever of a divine nature is called heavenly, and heaven is always spoken of as the proper country of the saints, the appointed place of all that is holy and happy.
Whenever God comes out of heaven into this world, he is represented as bowing the heavens. Intimating that heaven is so much the proper place of God’s abode, that it is something very great and extraordinary for him to manifest himself as he is pleased to do in this world among his people, and that heaven, the proper place of his abode is, as it were, rent or bowed, and brought down in part to the earth to make way for it, 2 Sam. 22:10; Psa. 18:9; Psa. 144:5; Isa. 64:1. God is called the God of heaven, the Lord of heaven, the King of heaven, Dan. 5:23; Dan. 4:37; Dan. 2:44.
Heaven is a part of the universe which God in the first creation, and the disposition of things that was made in the beginning, appropriated to himself, to be that part of the universe that should be his residence, while other parts were destined to other uses. Psa. 115:15-16, “You are blessed of the Lord, who hath made heaven and earth. The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s, but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” God having taken this part of the universe for his dwelling-place in the beginning of the creation, he will retain it as long as the creation lasts.
When man was in a state of innocence, before the world was polluted and brought into the perfect state of confusion, God was in heaven. Heaven was God’s dwelling place, for the angels fell from thence. We read that when they fell God cast them down from heaven. And therefore, when this polluted, confused state of the world is at an end, and elect men shall be perfectly restored from the fall to another state of innocence, and perfect happiness after the resurrection, heaven will also then be the place of God’ s abode.
This lower world in its beginning came from God in heaven. He dwelt in heaven when he made it, and brought it out of its chaos into its present form, as is evident because we are told that when God did this, the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God, i.e. the angels, shouted for joy. Without doubt the habitation of the angels was from the beginning that high and holy place where God dwells, and their habitation was heaven in the time of the creation, because those that fell were cast down from thence. But if the lower world in its beginning was from God in heaven, without doubt in its end it will return thither. As he dwelt in heaven before, and when he made it and brought it out of its chaos into its present form, so he will dwell in heaven when and after it is destroyed and reduced to a chaos again.
Heaven is that throne where God sits in his dominion, not only over some particular parts of the universe, as the mercy-seat in the temple, but it is the throne of his universal kingdom. Psa. 103:19, “The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all,” i.e. over all his works or all that he has made, which appears by Psa. 103:22, “Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion.” Because it is the throne in which God rules over the whole universe, therefore it is the uppermost part of the universe as above all. And it is evident that the heaven where God dwells is far above those lower heavens: it is said to be far above all heavens. And as it is the throne of his universal kingdom, so it is the throne of his everlasting kingdom, as he here reigns by a dominion that is universal with respect to the extent of it. The psalmist in this same place is speaking of things that are the fruits of God’s everlasting dominion, especially his everlasting mercy to his people (which mercy will be especially manifested after the day of judgment), as in the words immediately preceding in the two foregoing verses, “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him,” etc. The word here translated “prepared” also signifies established, having respect to its firmness and durableness. It is fit, as God’s kingdom is everlasting, so the throne of that kingdom should be everlasting, and never should be changed, for that which moves is ready to vanish away. The everlastingness of God’s kingdom is signified by the same word in the original that in the place now mentioned is translated prepared. Psa. 93:2, “Thy throne is established of old, thou art from everlasting,” together with the context.
If God should change the place of his abode and his throne from heaven to some other part of the universe, then that which has hitherto been God’s chief throne, and his metropolis, his royal city, must either be destroyed, or put to a so much meaner use, and be deprived of so much of its glory, as would be equivalent to a destruction; which is not a seemly thing for the chief city, palace, and throne of the eternal King, whose royal throne never shall be destroyed. Psa. 45:6, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.”
This heaven, that is so often of as the place of God’s proper and settled abode, is a local heaven, a particular place or part of the universe, and highest or outermost part of it, because it is said to be the heaven of heavens. It is the place where the body of Christ is ascended, which is said to be far above all heavens, and is called the third heaven.
Is it likely that God should change the place of his eternal abode, and remove, and come and dwell in another part of the universe, or that he should gather men and bring them home to himself, as to their great end and center, whither all things should tend, and in which all should rest?
It is fit that an immutable being, and he who has an everlasting and unchangeable dominion, should not move the place of his throne.
The apostle John, even when he is giving a description of the state of the church after the resurrection, represents the place of God’s abode as being then in heaven, for he says he saw the new Jerusalem descending from God out of heaven.
The dwelling place of the saints is said to be eternal in the heavens; 2 Cor. 5:1, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
If any say that this earth will be heaven after the day of judgment, is it not as easy to say that after the resurrection, heaven will be the new earth? Is there any more force upon words one way than the other?
The natural images and representations of things seem to represent heaven to be the place of light, happiness, and glory, such as the serenity and brightness of the visible heavens, of which I have spoken elsewhere.
It is an argument that this globe we now dwell upon is not be to refined to be the place of God’s everlasting abode, because it is a movable globe, and must continue moving always, if the laws of nature are upheld. It being so small, it cannot remain and subsist distinct among the neighboring parts of the universe without motion, but it is not seemly that God’s eternal glorious abode, and fixed and everlasting throne, should be a movable part of the universe.
As heaven will be everlastingly the place of God’s chief, highest, and most glorious abode, so without doubt it will be the place of Christ’s everlasting residence, and therefore the place whither he will return after the day of judgment. He who has had the honor and glory of dwelling in this glorious abode of God hitherto, will not have his honor diminished after he has completed all his work as God’s officer, by then dwelling in a place far separated from God’s dwelling place. If he returned in triumph to heaven, entering into the royal city after his first victory in his terrible conflict under sufferings, much more shall he return thither after his more perfect and complete victory, when all his enemies shall be put under his feet after the day of judgment. And if Christ, after the day of judgment, returns to heaven to dwell, doubtless all his saints shall go there with him. He will invite them to come with him and inherit the kingdom prepared for them before the foundation of the world.
The place of both Christ and his church, their everlasting residence, will be heaven. When Christ comes forth at the day of judgment with the armies of heaven, the saints and angels attending him, it will be as it were on a white horse going forth to a glorious victory. And as the Roman generals after their victories returned in triumph to Rome, the metropolis of the empire, delivering up their power to them that sent them forth, so will Christ return in triumph to heaven, all his armies following him, and shall there deliver up his delegated authority to the Father. As Christ returned to heaven after his first victory, after the resurrection of his natural body, so he will return thither again after his second victory, after the resurrection of his mystical body.
745. New Heavens and New Earth. It is manifest that the world of the blessed that is the new world, or the new heavens and earth, or the next world that is to succeed this as the habitation of the church, is heaven and is the same world that is now the habitation of the angels. For heaven, or the world of the angels, is called the world that is to come. Eph. 1:20-22, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and has put all things under his feet.” Heaven, the habitation of principalities and powers, is that which is here called the world to come, as being the world that was to succeed this, as the habitation of the church. It cannot be understood in any other sense, or merely that Christ was to be at the head of things in the new world when it did exist. But it speaks of what is already done and was done at Christ’s ascension, a past effect of God’s mighty power, according to the working of the exceeding greatness of his power which he wrought in Christ Jesus when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.
952. New Heavens and New Earth. Consummation of All Things. Progress of the Work of Redemption. Heaven shall be changed and exalted to higher glory at the end of the world. The creation consists of two parts, upper and lower. Thus we read of the worlds, in the plural number, that were made in the creation, Heb. 1:2, which the apostle in the next chapter distinguishes into two, viz. this world and the world to come, Heb. 1:5, as also Eph. 1:21. The upper world is said to be the world to come, both because it is future to us in this world, and also because the whole elect church it is to succeed this world when this is destroyed, and also on another account, that we will observe by and by. The one of these worlds God has made for his own Son, and for his attendants, and ministers, the angels; and the other for man. Psa. 115:16, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s, but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” According to the two different kinds of intelligent creatures that God has made, angels and men, there are two worlds. The one is corruptible, but the other incorruptible. The one is that which can be shaken, and the other that which cannot be shaken, but shall remain to all eternity. But yet both in their own nature are mutable, and that heaven is incorruptible, is by the divine will and grace, and not necessarily from the nature of heaven. If the angelic nature, the highest and most excellent part of heaven, is corruptible, or liable to be shaken and destroyed, as appears by the event, then doubtless the place, what is inanimate in heaven, is in its own nature capable of destruction. Heaven is not unalterable in its own nature, so but that it may be exalted. That part of the universe that is capable of ruin is not so unalterable in its own nature, but that it may be brought to a higher excellency. But the highest heavens in their own nature are capable of ruin in the highest and most excellent part of it, in the head of all that part of the creation, and so of the whole creation, viz. Lucifer.
God only is incorruptible in his own nature. The one of these worlds is to fall and be ruined, and is to be the eternal seat of those creatures that fall and are ruined. The other is to stand, and to be exalted and brought to higher excellency, perfection, and glory, and is to be the seat of those creatures that stand and are brought to higher excellency. As all the intelligent creatures that God has made the inhabitants of the universe, all the spiritual world (which is the chief part of the universe, and instartotius), is mutable and is to be changed, either by suffering ruin, or by being exalted to a vastly higher perfection, so is the whole universe itself (the habitation, the inferior and inanimate part of the universe) all of it mutable and all to be changed, either by suffering ruin, or being gloriously exalted in excellency. This universal change shall be at the end of the world, or immediately after the day of judgment. Then shall be the change on the inhabitants: some shall perish, and others shall be exalted to an immensely higher degree of excellency and glory. And so shall it then be with the two worlds: this lower world, that is to be the place of those that perish, shall be destroyed by fire. The upper world, that is to be the seat of the elect, shall be exalted exceedingly in its nature. And this is the new creation, so far as that respects the external and inanimate universe. This will be the external new heavens and new earth. As there are two spiritual worlds, the elect and the reprobate, so there are two natural worlds, that are to be the everlasting external seats or places of those spiritual worlds. And as it is to be with those spiritual worlds themselves, that one will be destroyed as in a spiritual furnace of fire, and the other will be exalted to a state of excellency and glory, vastly greater than their original excellency; as even the angels, the original inhabitants of heaven, will be, so there is no reason to think but that it will be likewise with the two external worlds, which they have relation to.
When God created this lower world, he made different orders or ranks of creatures, of which the lower creation is constituted, of which man is the most noble and excellent. And so when God made the upper world, he made different parts, of which the angelical nature is the most noble and exalted, and those parts which constitute the habitation are inferior. Surely, therefore, the angels, the highest part of the upper creation, will be changed and exceedingly exalted in the glory in which they shine (as doubtless they will be in some proportion to the great and vast alteration that will be made in the glory of the saints, seeing the day of judgment is the proper time of the reward of the angels as well as saints). There is no reason to think that the inferior parts will not also be proportionally exalted.
God built heaven chiefly for an habitation for Christ, his dear Son, and the angels themselves are made for him, and are as it were only parts of his house or habitation, as it said of the church in Heb. 3:6. All that is in heaven is a habitation for God’s beloved Son. The angels are only the more noble and excellent parts of the structure, the chief ornaments of the building. The inanimate parts of heaven are to the angels a habitation, but the intelligent parts of it are to Christ a habitation. As they are called his chariots, the seat on which he rides, so they are his throne, the seat on which he reigns. As the throne is the noblest part of the palace, and as God built the whole of the upper world to be a habitation for his dear Son, so when the time comes that God shall reward his Son for his perfect and great obedience and finishing his great work appointed him to do, when the work he was appointed to in his office is all finished at the end of the world and the time comes for him to receive his full reward, to be glorified with his complete and highest glory in the head and all his members, and all enter into heaven together at Christ’s last and greatest ascension thither: — then the house shall be garnished and beautified exceedingly, to make it fit for his reception in this his highest glory, as it shall be so with the glorious angels who are his chariot, in which he shall ascend (they shall ascend in far greater glory than they descended, because they shall have received the glory that is their reward), and who will be his throne when he is come thither, and the chief and most noble parts of the building. I say, as they will be as it were made new, appearing in new glory, so will it be with all the inferior parts of the habitation. The house shall be garnished to prepare it for the glorious bridegroom, who shall enter into it with his blessed bride in her complete and perfect beauty, when they shall enter into heaven to celebrate the solemnity, and to partake of the glorious entertainments and joys, of an eternal wedding: as when king Ahasuerus made a great feast, wherein he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honor of his excellent majesty, and to show the beauty of his queen, the palace was exceedingly adorned on that occasion. Eph. 1:6.
There is nothing in the Scripture that in the least intimates the external heaven or paradise to be unchangeable, and not capable of being perfected and exalted to higher glory. There is nothing so but the divine nature itself. And it is too much honor to any created thing to suppose it to be so perfect that no occasion whatsoever, even the reward of the infinite merits of the infinitely beloved Son of God himself, is occasion great enough for allowing of it, or that shall render it fit and proper, that it be yet further adorned. The only heaven that is unalterable, is the state of God’s own infinite and unchangeable glory, the heaven which God dwelt in from all eternity, which is absolutely of infinite height and infinite glory, and which might metaphorically be represented as the heaven that was the eternal abode of the blessed Trinity, and of the happiness and glory they have one in another. This is a heaven that is uncreated, and the heaven from whence God infinitely stoops to behold the things done in the created paradise, and of which, that which we conceive of as the infinite and unchangeable expanse of space, that is above and beyond the whole universe and encompasses the whole, is the shadow. This is what is meant, Isa. 57:15. (See Notes in loc.)
It is true the things of the highest heavens are things that cannot be shaken, but shall remain through divine grace. Heaven is God’s throne, and his throne is established forever, and therefore shall be forever and ever, and the saints shall receive a kingdom that cannot be moved. Heb. 12:28. Heaven is a city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. It is a house not made with hands, and so eternal. This is an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away. What is reserved in heaven is represented in Scripture as far above the reach of all the changes of time that should injure it, and the doors of the palace are everlasting doors. Psa. 24. But none of these things argue heaven to be in any other respect unchangeable, than only as being above all changes that might destroy it, or mar it, or in any respect fade its glory, or bring it into any danger of those things. Heaven is no otherwise out of the reach of change than the precious jewels and treasures that are there kept are so, as the angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, and the man Christ Jesus, the most precious and brightest jewel that God has made, the firstborn of every creature, the crown and glory of heaven and men, the sun of that world of light. But yet all these are susceptive of change in this respect, that they will be exalted to vastly higher glory. Christ’s glory after the day of judgment will be greater than before, as the devil that has managed the war against him shall then be punished for all the mischief that he has done. So Christ, God’s General, the Captain that he has sent forth in this great war against his enemies, when he shall have fully conquered and put down all authority and power, having come forth out of heaven to that end with all his hosts, and has so gloriously finished all the work that his Father gave him a commission for, shall be exceedingly rewarded and glorified. When he shall return with the victory in every respect perfect, he shall enter the city with great triumph to receive a great reward from the Supreme Authority of the city. If Christ God-man, the King of heaven, and its most bright and precious jewel, the firstborn of every creature, the head and crown, ornament and glory of heaven, and its bright and only luminary, the Sun of heaven, whose glory and sweetness is the fullness, and glory, and happiness of all that world, who is the Alpha and Omega of all that is there and the sum of all: — I say, if he shall be exalted in glory, why not the place, the external habitation that is the lowest part of that world? The habitation has not the honor of being immutable and immovable in a higher sense than this King and end and glory of heaven himself is. The man Christ Jesus becomes immortal and eternal at his resurrection, but yet that was no impediment in the way of his being, as it were, further glorified, as it were, in infinitely higher degrees, as in his first and second ascension. That the highest heavens pass under such a change at the end of the world, is no argument that it is with that as it is with the visible heavens that wax old as a garment, any more than the change on the body of Christ at his ascension, or on the bodies of Enoch and Elias, and on the bodies of those that arose with Christ, is an argument of the like waxing old.
If the highest heaven might be as it were bowed and rent (though it be the throne of God), that the eternal Son of God might come down on the earth, to be the subject of his humiliation, doubtless it is as capable of being adorned and made higher and higher on occasion of his glorification.
The external heavens and the human nature of Christ are the external house and temple of God in different senses, but the human nature or body of Christ, including both the head and the members, — including his human nature with his church, — is the house and temple of God in the highest sense. This is immensely the most noble temple of God. But if this, which is the palace of God in so much the highest sense, will pass under a glorious change, why should not the external house, which is the temple of God in a much inferior sense, and which indeed is to be but a house for this house, pass under a glorious change? If the inner temple, the highest and most holy part of the temple, shall be so much exalted, why may we not suppose that the external temple, the outer courts, or the outermost curtains of the tabernacle, be changed and made proportionally more beautiful?
Christ mystical, or Christ and his church, and the external heaven, are the city of God or the new Jerusalem in different senses, but the former in vastly the highest and noblest manner. But if the city of God, or the new Jerusalem, that which is called so in the highest sense, shall be so exalted and adorned with new glory at the head of the universe, why not that external new Jerusalem, that is as much inferior to the other as the body is to the soul? If the soul shall be glorified and made better, why not the body? If the body, why not the garment? If the inhabitants, why not the house?
The body of Christ is the dwelling-place of his soul, and therefore when God the Father glorified the soul of Christ, he also glorified his body, because he judged it meet that the alteration in the house should be answerable to the alteration in the inhabitant. And so, for the same reason, the bodies of the saints shall be glorified as well as their souls. And there is just the same reason why heaven, the house of Christ, and the house of his saints, or in one word, the house of Christ mystical, should be exalted to higher glory at the same time that Christ mystical himself, the inhabitant, is exalted to higher glory.
The church is Christ’s temple. Christ is spoken of as dwelling in the saints. This temple of Christ, the new Jerusalem, shall at the end of the world, when Christ comes to receive his full reward, be exceedingly adorned, to fit it for Christ’s indwelling, as we see by Rev. 21:2. And why shall not the other temple of Christ, that which is so in an inferior sense, be proportionally adorned at the same time? Is it not rational to suppose that the whole tabernacle shall be proportionally adorned and beautified; the outer curtains proportionally with the inward curtains of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen?
The infinitely glorious and beloved Son of God’s shedding his blood, and enduring those extreme sufferings in obedience to his Father’s will, was a thing great enough to obtain this, even that the very heaven of heavens should be made new, with new glory for him. It was great enough to lay the foundation for an universal refreshing, renewing, or new creation, of all elect things, that all things both spiritual and external should be immensely exalted in perfection, beauty, and glory.
It seems impossible that it should be otherwise than that all heaven should put on new glory at the same time that Christ put on new glory. All must be allowed proportion, for Christ is the glory of heaven, the beauty and ornament, the life and soul, of all. And there is no glory there, but only the reflection of his glory, and the emanation of his brightness and life, and the diffusion of his sweetness. Every manner of beauty or excellency there, is immediately dependent on him. There is no shining or luster, no fineness or purity, no vivacity or pleasantness, in anything there, but it is in such a manner dependent on him, as appear to be immediately, every moment, from him, as a kind of diffusion of his glory and sweetness on everything, and into and through everything, so that the most inward nature of everything there receives all excellency, and all purity, and preciousness, and sweetness from him immediately. In heaven, Christ appears and acts most visibly and sensibly as the Creator, and Life, and Soul, and Fountain of all being and perfection, and he of whom and through whom all things are, and by whom all immediately consist. Thus the glory of the latter house will in every respect be greater than the glory of the former house, because Jehovah, the angel of the covenant, shall come into his temple, and fill the house with his glory. Christ’s appearing in glory will be that which will glorify the bodies of his saints, as though it was an immediate visible communication of his glory and life to them, as from the head to the members. Nothing but his presence in so great glory effects the thing, and so will it be with respect to everything else that is external in heaven.
Thus as the face of the earth rejoices at the return of the sun in the spring, and there is a great alteration in it, it puts on new beautiful garments of joy, and gladness, and welcomes the sun. And its renewed beauty is from the sun, from his diffused glory, and sweet vivifying influence, in which all the face of the earth rejoices. So it will be in heaven when Christ returns thither in his highest glory after the day of judgment: all heaven will rejoice, and put on new life, new beauty, and glory, to welcome him thither.
Consider the following two works by Edwards that have been updated and republished for easy reading:
Ripe for Damnation: Sermons on the Book of Revelation – by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). Are you hungry for more of Edwards’ sermons? On the book of Revelation? These new works are not found anywhere on A Puritan’s Mind, and there are new ones not found in his large 2 volume works. 4 deal with the plight of the wicked, and 2 deal with the bliss of saints in heaven. These sermons are powerful, practical, and biblical, glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ, and contain 2 never before published sermons.
Justification by Faith Alone – by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). In this classic work, Edwards covers the intricacies of how believers are made righteous only through Christ’s merits, and that this justifying righteousness is equally imputed to all elect believers. This is accomplished by the condition of faith as an instrument.