One great final event must happen before the new heaven and the new earth appear. God will sit as the judge of all people. This event is called Ďthe last judgementí.
Immediately at a personís death, God decides whether that person is one of his people. So we may ask whether this final judgement is also necessary. Clearly, at that judgement, everyone already knows what Godís judgement will be.
However, it is important for everyone to see that Godís judgement is right. People can only respect God properly when they see his perfect character.
This event happens at the end of the present world. It is necessary, therefore, for God to deal with every matter that happened in the present world. God has declared that the new heaven and earth will be perfect (21:3-5). Therefore, no matter must remain from the former world to cause trouble in the new world. The new heaven and earth will only appear after God has dealt with everything and everyone from the former world.
Peter tells us how the present world will end: by fire (2 Peter 3:10-12). John, however, tells us the cause: the present heaven and earth cannot even stand in front of Godís face. By ĎGodís faceí here, we mean the appearance of his greatness, also called his glory. In Exodus 33:12 to 34:7, Moses saw the glory of Godís back; the glory of Godís face was too great for even Moses to see. At the glory of Godís face, even the heaven and earth will disappear.
God will sit on the great white throne (royal seat), as the judge of everyone. He will examine the records of everyoneís lives. Nobody will escape that judgement; in fact, there will be no place where they could go to escape.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.