David Duncan, Guest Writer
2Co 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
There have been three heaven and earth systems. Each one has its own mountain, marriage and baptism. The “heaven and earth system” is the means by which God communes with man.
The first heaven and earth system is with Adam and Eve. It was ruined by sin, and ended with the flood of Noah. God created the first heaven and earth system and installed Adam as the ambassadorial king over this system. The mountain of this system was the mountain of Eden.
We find in the book of Ezekiel that Eden was a mountain. God’s throne was at the top of this mountain, and a river came forth from the throne and watered the garden. From this garden, the river broke up into 4 heads to water all the earth. This is the original intent of God. That He would flow into His people, and then His people would all His presence to flow out into all the earth. Here are some scriptures that cover what I have just pointed out:
Eze 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
Eze 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. (This scripture in Ezekiel simply helps us to understand that Eden was a mountain where God’s throne dwelled.)
Gen 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
Gen 2:9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Gen 2:10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
We see that the garden, where man was placed, was to the east of Eden, or to the east of God’s throne. The river flowed out of the throne into the garden, where it then broke into 4 rivers to water all the earth.
Joh_7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
The scripture in John shows us the restored original intent of God with man, that His rivers would flow out of us into the world around us.
The first heaven and earth system was ruined by sin, and destroyed by the flood. After this, God then began work on His second heaven and earth system.
There have been 3 heaven and earth "systems".
1. The first one, with Adam and Eve and up until Noah.
2. The second one, the tabernacle of Moses/temple of Solomon.
3. The third one, the new heavens and new earth as new creations in the new covenant.
Each "system" has a mountain, a marriage, and a baptism.
1. The first one, the mountain of Eden, the marriage of Adam and Eve, and baptism of the flood.
2. The second one, the mountain of Sinai, the marriage of Yahweh and Israel, and the baptism in the Red Sea as they escaped Egypt.
3. The third one, the mountain of Zion, the marriage of Jesus and His bride, and the baptism into the body of Christ and of the Spirit.
The second heaven and earth system was the tabernacle of Moses, and then the temple of Solomon. Please read the attached article below that describes this from a biblical and historical perspective:
Jesus referred to heaven and earth passing away, but what exactly was He talking about?
Let’s start with the basic understanding of “heaven and earth” in the first century.
Jesus says in Matthew 5:18 –
Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
We have likely read over this passage many times and not thought through the implications of this verse. It gives us a choice between two options:
1. Heaven and earth exist = 100% of the Mosaic law is still in force, including the temple system, Levitical priesthood, High Priest, ark of the covenant, temple duties of the Levites, the city of Jerusalem being the location of such temple, the feasts of the Lord, the 3 annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem, circumcision and covenant wrath (see Romans 4:15).
2. Heaven and earth disappear = the Mosaic law with all its trappings can disappear.
(These ‘trappings’ are referred to as ‘elements’ by Peter and Paul in other places.)
So then, if we understand heaven and earth to be the literal physical earth, then 100% of the Mosaic Old Covenant Law is still in force until the end of this planet. Not one jot or one tittle has passed, and God is still honoring that system of animal sacrifice and temple worship until the planet is destroyed.
Or could Jesus be using a Hebraic figure of speech that everyone in the first century understood?
Either Jesus was talking about something else or the Law is 100% in effect currently, until the planet is destroyed.
We gain another clue the next time Jesus mentions heaven and earth in Matthew 24:35 –
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
As we will study later in this course, Matthew 24 is about the destruction of the temple in the first century. Yet, Jesus throws this comment in there, why? Because the first century people referred to the temple system as “heaven and earth.”
Josephus, a historian during the first century destruction of Jerusalem and temple, whose father was a priest, wrote the following:
“When Moses distinguished the tabernacle into three parts, and allowed two of them to the priests (the outer courts and the Holy Place), as a place accessible and common, he denoted the land and the seas, these being of general access to all; but he set apart the third division for God (the Holy of Holies), because heaven is inaccessible to men.”
Many theologians of days gone by understood this fact. One such man, Charles Spurgeon, a baptist preacher, pastor and theologian of the mid 19th century, once said the following:
“Did you ever regret the absence of the burnt offering, or red heifer, or any one of the sacrifices and rites of the Jews? Did you ever pine for the feasts of tabernacles, or the dedication? No, because thought these were like the old heavens and earth to the Jewish believers, they have passed away, and we now live under new heavens and a new earth, so far as the dispensation of the divine teaching is concerned. The substance is come, the shadow has gone, and we do not remember it.”
The Jews understood that God could not dwell in temples made of hands because heaven belonged to him, so therefore, in order for God to dwell in the Jewish temple, then it must be as heaven.
The Holy of Holies of the temple was referred to as heaven to the Jews. The Holy Place was referred to as earth, and the bronze laver was referred to as the sea. Lets look at a few scriptures:
1Ki 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
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?
1Ch 28:18 And for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the cherubims, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD.
(THE CHARIOT MENTIONED ABOVE AS THE ARK OF THE COVENANT, WHICH SYMBOLIZED THE CHARIOT THRONE OF GOD THAT EZEKIEL AND DANIEL SAW)
Heb 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
(THE IDEA WAS ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN IN RELATION TO THE TABERNACLE/TEMPLE – FOR US, WE ARE COMMANDED THAT THE KINGDOM BE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN, WITHOUT A TEMPLE MADE WITH HANDS BUT AMONG THE PEOPLE OF GOD ON EARTH)
This system was destroyed in 70ad, by the Roman armies, which made way for the third heaven and earth system, which I believe, Paul was caught up to see before it descended out of heaven to the earth.
This third system is the new Jerusalem, under the new covenant, a new heavens and new earth, the Bride of the King, the church.
Rev 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first (previous) heaven and the first (previous) earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Rev 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Since the “sea” was the bronze laver of the temple, John makes it clear that in the new covenant, there is no more Levitical priesthood, no more bronze laver and thus, no more sea. We are made clean by the blood of the Lamb.
Heb 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
Heb 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.
YOU ARE THE NEW CREATION, THE NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH, THE BRIDE, IN THE NEW COVENANT!
For more info about the New Heavens and New Earth click here.
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Dr Chuck Crisco