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WILL RESURRECTED SAINTS SIN?

WILL RESURRECTED SAINTS SIN?

Most of us believe that there will be no sin in resurrection life. Until I began this study I thought the same, but was quite surprised to realize that I was wrong. That is to say, in my opinion, despite what most believe, the Word of God does indeed tell us that there will be sin in resurrection life.

We will consider the following questions in our search for God’s truth.

WHO WILL BE IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?

WILL THOSE IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN BE IN THEIR BODIES OF SIN?

WILL THERE BE SIN IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?

HOW WILL SINNERS BE DEALT WITH IN THE MILLENNIAL JERUSALEM?

WHO WILL BE IN THE NEW JERUSALEM?

WILL THERE BE SIN IN THE NEW JERUSALEM?

HOW WILL SINNERS BE DEALT WITH IN THE NEW JERUSALEM?

HOW CAN CHANGED BELIEVERS SIN?

WILL THERE BE SIN IN THE HEAVENS?

WHO WILL BE IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?

As the paper on this web-site The Kingdom Of Heaven will prove from Scripture, the phrase “kingdom of Heaven” is used of Christ’s reign over the Land of Israel in the millennium. Christ will, of course, reign over the entire earth, but “the kingdom of Heaven” is the phrase used of His reign over Israel in particular. The nations outside the Land of Israel will be ruled with a “rod of iron” and will not enjoy the millennial blessings of those in the land (please see the above mentioned paper for proof of that statement). It is important to bear that in mind because this paper is not about the sin of unbelievers who will be outside the land, it is about the sin of believers, those who are in the land, i.e. in  the kingdom of Heaven.

Let us first determine from God’s Word who will be in the Land of Israel for the millennium. Ps. 37 is one that contrasts those who will live in the Land of Israel in the millennium with those who will not. I believe as we consider that Psalm, it will be clear that those who will live in the land are believers, and those who will live outside the land are unbelievers.

One note about the word translated “cut off” in this Psalm is needed. While it is very true that the phrase “cut off” may refer to being killed, it is often used to mean cut off from Israel.  Note for example  Prov. 2:21-22, “For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it, but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the blameless will live in it“.  Consider also I Samuel 28:9, “But the woman said to him, ‘Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land‘”. Note in both these passages the contrast is not between life and death, it is between those who will live in the land and those who will live outside it.

Let us first determine if Ps. 37 is a millennial prophecy. I believe verses 9-11 will show that it is indeed a millennial prophecy. “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be:Yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth: and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace“. The Hebrew word translated “earth” in this passage is the same as in verses 3, 9, 29 and 34 translated “land”. In the passage quoted above, the word should always be translated “land”, not “earth”. Note the phrases that speak of inheriting the land. The land will not be inherited until the return of Christ for His millennial reign. Note also that this passage speaks of the “abundance of peace”. There will be no “abundance of peace” until the Lord’s return to reign in His kingdom. I believe both these phrases tell us that this is a millennial prophecy.

Having established that Psalm 37 is a millennial prophecy, let us continue our study of this Psalm in order to determine who will be in the Land of Israel for the millennial reign. We read in verses 3-7, “Trust in the Lordand do good; So shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. and He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light. And thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…..”

Then in verse 9 we read the consequence of those who do the things they are encouraged to do in this passage.”……those that wait upon the Lord; they shall inherit the earth” (should be “land“, i.e the Land of Israel).

Let us continue with our study of Ps. 37. We read in verse 22, “For such as be blessed of Him shall inherit the earth” (should be “land”); and they that be cursed of Him shall be cut off”. The note in the Companion Bible on the word “of” in the phrase blessed of Him” reads, “Genitive of cause = by….”. In other words the phrase should read “blessed by Him”. Only believers are “blessed by Him”. Therefore, it is only believers who will inherit the land.

Verses 28-29 is another passage that tells us who will live in the land for the millennial reign. Those verses read, “…….But the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell therein for ever”. Only believers are righteous, therefore only believers will inherit the land.

Verse 34, “Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt thee to inherit the land”. Obviously the unbeliever will never be exalted by God. Here too, it is believers, and only believers, who will inherit the land.

Let us go now to the New Testament for further evidence that only believers will be in the Land of Israel for the millennial reign. We will consider two of the parables from Matthew 13 of the kingdom of Heaven .

Matt.13:40-43 reads, “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.  The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.  They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  He who has ears, let him hear”.

This parable tells us that those who cause “sin and all who do evil” will be cast out of the kingdom. It further states who will be allowed into the kingdom, “Then the righteous will shine like the sun”. In other words, the righteous will be allowed into the kingdom and the unrighteous will not be allowed. The righteous are believers who, because of their belief are seen by God to be sinless, i.e. righteous.

We have learned that believers will be in the kingdom of Heaven and unbelievers will be cast out. To make that point perfectly clear let us also consider one more Old Testament passage, i.e. Ezek. 20:34-38, “And I will gather you out from the people…….and I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will will I plead with your face to face……And I will cause you to pass under the rod…..and I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against Me….and they shall not enter into the Land of Israel….”.

The point of this section is to show from the Word of God that the Land of Israel will be occupied by believers, and only believers, during the millennium. So when we read of the millennial Jerusalem or of those in the kingdom of Heaven, i.e. the Land of Israel in the millennium, we are reading of believers.

WILL THOSE IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN BE IN THEIR BODIES OF SIN?

In order to answer the question posed in the heading of this section we must first determine when the kingdom of Heaven will be established. Some believe that the kingdom will be established before the second coming of Christ. I disagree with that view and my reasons are discussed in the paper on this web-site Will The Kingdom Of Heaven Be Established Before The Second Coming Of Christ?.

I believe that the kingdom of Heaven will be established when our Lord returns and that is when believers will be resurrected. We read in I Cor. 15:23, “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming”. Paul makes it very clear that believers will be resurrected at the second coming of Christ and, in my opinion, it is at the second coming that Christ will establish the kingdom.

I Cor. 15 tells us quite a bit about what will happen in terms of our bodies when our Lord returns. In verse 35 Paul raises the questions, “But some will say, ‘How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?'” These questions are answered in verses 42-44, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishounour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body……”. And verse 50 is especially helpful in this study, “Now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption”.

My point in quoting this passage is that those who will live in the kingdom of Heaven (called in this passage, “kingdom of God”) will not live in their bodies of sin, they will have bodies that are incorruptible.

But what about those of Israel who were gathered and purged? (We read of them in Ezek. 20:34-38, “And I will gather you out from the people…….I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against Me….and they shall not enter into the Land of Israel….”.) Will they also have a “spiritual body”? I believe that I Cor. 15:50 will answer that question. We read in that verse, “Now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption”. In other words, those judged worthy of entrance into the Land of Israel for the millennium cannot do so in the body of sin, because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom…”

In short, all those who will enter into the land for the millennial reign of Christ will no longer be in the body of sin, they will be in spiritual bodies that will be incorruptible.

WILL THERE BE SIN IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?

We will begin our study of whether there will be sin in the kingdom of Heaven with Eze. 45:16-17. This passage has to do with the millennial Temple, “All the People of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel. And it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: He shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel”. Let us consider some key elements of this passage.

To begin, please note who will give the oblation, i.e. “all the People of the land“. For a clearer understanding of this passage I will quote the note in the Companion Bible on verse 16. That note reads, “…..The People will not offer individually. The prince will make the national offering for the People or nation, as a whole…..”.

So the prince will offer, among other offerings, a sin offering for the People “of the land“. Please bear in mind that “the people of the land” are all believers. If a sin offering is to be made, obviously there must be sin committed by those in the land, i.e. believers.

Note also when this oblation is to be made, i.e. “in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities”. In other words, these sacrifices are to be made, not just once at the beginning of the millennium, but they are to be made continually. If they are made continually, logic demands that sin is continuous.

Let us also consider the reason for these offerings, “to make reconciliation for the house of Israel”. What does it mean to be reconciled? The Companion Bible gives the following definition of “reconcile”: “….to bring together again, to reunite or reconnect“. Reconciliation assumes that two parties were at one time united, connected. Who was reconnected in this context? Because the offerings that would make this reconnection were made for “all the People of the land” we must conclude that it will be the people of the land who were reconciled. Again, it will be believers, and only believers who will be in the land, therefore it will be believers who will be reconnected. And what will cause the rift that will require a reconnection? Given that sin offerings must be made for the reconciliation, it must be sin that will cause the rift.

The fact that a reconciliation will be made for believing Israel proves that the sin offering will be made for sins committed during the millennium and not as a reminder of sins committed in the past.

In short, believers in the kingdom of Heaven will sin and will have sacrifices made on their behalf in order to reconcile them to God. With that in mind let us consider several other verses which speak of the “law of the house”, i.e. the law of the millennial temple.

Ezek. 44:25-27 describes the law for the priests of the line of Zadok in regard to coming to a dead person. Verse 25, “And they shall come to no dead person to defile themselves: but for father, or for mother, or for son…… And after he is cleansed, they shall reckon unto him seven days. And in the day that he goeth into the sanctuary, unto the inner court, to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin offering....”. This is a sin offering because of sin. That is to say, there will be sin in the kingdom of Heaven which will be occupied by believers, and only believers.

Let us also consider Ezek. 44:29 which tells of what the priests of the line of Zadok may eat, “They shall eat the meat offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering…..”. See also Ezek. 43:19, 21 and 25 which also speak of a “sin offering”. There would be no sin offering if there were no sin. We must conclude therefore, that there will indeed be sin in the kingdom of Heaven. And because there will be only believers in the kingdom of Heaven, logic demands that believers will sin.

HOW WILL SINNERS BE DEALT WITH IN THE MILLENNIAL?

We read in Ps. 101:8 of the millennium, “I will early destroy all the wicked of the land: that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the Lord”. The note in the Companion Bible on the word “early” reads, “morning by morning: i.e. the judgments of a day dealt with within the day….”. So this verse should read, “Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land: that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city”.

One might ask, “if there will be sacrifices for sin, why will some be cast out of the land”? I believe the answer to that question is answered as we consider the Hebrew word translated “wicked”. That word is “aven”. The Companion Bible defines this word as, “a course of bad conduct……”. It would seem then that if one sins occasionally, a sin offering would suffice. But if one were on “a course of bad conduct” he may be cast out of the land.

Ps. 101:8 tells us two things. It tells us that there will indeed be wicked in the land who will be cast out daily. That is to say, this is not a one time event at the beginning of the millennium, it is a daily event. And it also tells us how they will be dealt with, i.e. they will be cast out of the land of Israel.

But this brings us to another question. As stated above, only believers will be in the land for the millennial reign. Believers are promised eternal life, i.e. they “shall not perish” (Jn. 3:16). That being the case, how are we to understand the phrase “I will early destroy all the wicked”?

The Hebrew word translated “destroy” in Ps. 101:8 is “tzahmath”. This Hebrew word is used 15 times. It is translated “cut off” 8 times, “destroy” 5 times, “consume” and “vanish” one time each. Let us consider a few passages in which the word is used.

Ps. 73:27, “For, lo, they that are far from Thee shall perish: Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from Thee”. Please note the tense of the verbs in this verse. They that are far from God “shall” perish, i.e. future tense. They “go” a whoring, i.e. present tense. God “hast” destroyed them, past tense. Logic demands that because they are alive to “go a whoring”, and they will perish in the future, God had not killed them. In other words, they that are far from God “go a whoring” in the present, have been cut off in the past, and shall perish in the future. I believe therefore, that we must conclude that “destroy” in this verse means “to cut off”.

Now let us consider a verse in which the same Hebrew word is translated “cut off”. Ps. 88:16, “Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; Thy terrors have cut me off”. Please note that the Psalmist uses the past tense, i.e. “have cut”. We must conclude therefore, that in this verse, “cut me off” cannot refer to death or the Psalmist could not have written this Psalm.

We have seen that sometimes the Hebrew word translated “destroy” in the phrase of Ps. 101:8, “I will destroy all the wicked of the land” means “to kill”, and sometimes it cannot mean “to kill”, it must mean “to cut off”. Obviously, we must tell by the context which is meant. Sometimes the near context will tell us and, as in the case of Ps. 101:8, sometimes the far context will tell us which the Holy Spirit means. In the case of Ps. 101:8, I believe that because of the overwhelming evidence that there will be only believers in the land for the millennium, and believers will never lose their lives, we must conclude that “destroy” means “to cut off” as in other occurrences of the Hebrew word.

And that brings us to yet another question. As mentioned above, we know that all believers will have resurrection bodies which are incorruptible, so they cannot die. What will happen at the end of the millennium to those believers who had been cast out of the land because they had sinned? Because they will not die, I believe that they will live on the new earth, but they will not live in the new Jerusalem, they will live outside the city.

WHO WILL BE IN THE NEW JERUSALEM?

Who will live in the new Jerusalem? That question is answered in Heb. 11:10 where we read, “For he (Abraham) looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God“. And verse 16, “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city”. Although the city for which Abraham and others looked is not named, I believe it is evident that that city is the new Jerusalem.

The next question is: for whom was the city prepared? The entire chapter is about the faithful. Because Heb. 11 speaks of the faithful who lived beforehand after Abraham, I believe that in this context the new Jerusalem will be occupied by all the faithful of the Old Testament. Because Israel and grafted in Gentiles of the New Testament look for the same calling as Old Testament believers, we must conclude that the new Jerusalem was prepared for all the faithful except for those of the dispensation of the mystery whose calling is to heaven.

WILL THERE BE SIN IN THE NEW JERUSALEM?

We read in Is. 65:17-20, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her People a joy: and I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My People; and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not fulfilled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed”.

Because this passage speaks of death on the new earth most have applied the phrase “new heavens and new earth” to the millennium. For example, the note in the Companion Bible on the word translated “new” in the passage quoted above, we read in part, “new in respect to the old”. In other words, the Hebrew word translated “new” should be understood to mean different from something that preceded it, rather than “new”. After considering how the Holy Spirit uses that Hebrew word, I agree with Dr. Bullinger’s suggestion. But we must also consider the Hebrew word translated “create” in the phrase “behold I create new heavens and a new earth”. .

The Hebrew word translated “create” in Is. 65:17-18 is “bara”. It is used of the creation of the heaven and earth eleven times. It is used of the creation of man fifteen times. It is used of the creation of Israel two times and the creation of the new Jerusalem of Is. 65 two times, and of Lucifer two times. It is also used one time each of clouds and smoke, of waters and trees of the millennium, of the situation of a woman encompassing a man (Israel encompassing Her Husband), of “great whales“, of darkness, of evil, of fruit of life, of wind, of the covenant, of secret things, and of a generation to come.

It is clear that none of those things which were created (bara) were merely different than what preceded it. For example when we read in Gen. 1:1 that “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”, God did not create something that was merely different than what preceded it because there was nothing that preceded it. When God created man, God did not make something that was just different than what preceded it, God created man as something entirely new, i.e. a being created in the image of God. Israel was an entirely new creation, not a nation made different from a preceding nation. Lucifer was created as a unique being, not merely different from a being that preceded him.

Dr. Bullinger’s note on the word “bara” as used in Ps. 51:10 is very helpful. That verse reads, “Create in me a clean heart O God….”. The note reads, “Heb. ‘bara’, as in Gen. 1:1. The new heart is not the old one changed, but newly ‘created’ i.e. ‘begotten’ by God…..”.

I am not suggesting that what was created may not have been different, but the Hebrew word “bara” does not mean “different”, it means “create”, which tells us that it is something that is brand newnot something that is just different than what preceded it.

It is clear that “bara” is not used in the sense of something that had been made merely different than something that preceded it. The millennial heaven will not be a new creation. In fact the millennial earth will not be a new creation. It was different than what preceded it, but it was not a new creation in the sense that the Holy Spirit used the word “bara”. And the same is true of the millennial Jerusalem. That is to say, the millennial Jerusalem will not be a new creation, it will be only different from the Jerusalem that preceded it. Therefore, because we can not use the word “bara” in reference to the millennial Jerusalem or to the millennial heaven or the millennial earth, Is. 65:17-29 cannot refer to the millennial heaven and earth. Therefore, it must refer to the new heavens and earth of Rev. 21.

But how are we to understand verse 25 where we read, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain”? Because  we are not told of  mountains in the new Jerusalem, this phrase is obviously a millennial prophecy. Let us consider verses 16 and 21 in our study of this passage. We read in verse 21, “and they shall build houses….”. Who are the “they” referred to in this verse? Obviously, we must look back to a previous verse to answer that question. Verses 17-20 do not answer that question, but verse 16 does. We read in verse 16, “That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth: because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from Mine eyes”. Then in verse 21 we read, “and they shall build…”. In other words, the “they” of verse 21 refers back to those of verse 16. Because verse 16 comes in the context of the millennium (see verses 11-16) so too does verse 21 and all the verses to the end of the chapter refer to the millennium. Verses 17-20 are therefore, the only verses that must refer to the new heavens and new earth because they were created, not made merely different than what preceded it.

Now let us consider verse 20 of Is. 65. “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed”. The important word here is the word “but” in the phrase, “but the sinner”. The “but” tells us that there is a contrast between the child who dies at one hundred and the sinner who will be “accursed”. The child who dies at a hundred must be living outside the new Jerusalem. How do we know that? We know that because only believers will be living in the new Jerusalem and believers will have put on immortality and will never die. The sinner of one hundred years who lived in the new Jerusalem will not die, but he will be accursed. (Please see the paper on this web-site Will There Be Unbelievers On The New Earth? for the Scriptural evidence that there will be at least some time of preparation in which unbelievers will be on the new earth.)

In other words, while the “child” living outside the new Jerusalem may die at a hundred years of age, the sinner who had lived in the city and therefore must have been a believer, may be cursed, but will not die.

Most tend to focus on the fact that some will die at one hundred years because it so surprising to read of death on the new earth. But the real point of this passage in Is. 65 is that the one who sins in the new Jerusalem will not die, but only be accursed. Let us back up to verse two in order to establish that point. “And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My People; and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed”. The point is that these blessings are true of those in the New Jerusalem.

HOW WILL SINNERS BE DEALT WITH IN THE NEW JERUSALEM?

We read in Is. 65:20 that “the sinner, being an hundred years old shall be accursed“. But we read in Rev. 22:3, “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it….”. To what does the “it” refer? Verses 1-2 answers that question. We read in verse 2, “In the midst of the street of it“. The street is in the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem is the subject of this passage from 21:10-22:5. Is there a contradiction between Is. 65:20 and Rev. 22:3? Of course not. Rev. 22:3 tells us that there will be no curse in the new Jerusalem. Is. 65: 20 speaks of a sinner who is accursed. Obviously, the sinner is accursed by being cast out of the new Jerusalem.

The point is that if one who lives in the new Jerusalem sins, he may be “accursed” by being cast out of the new Jerusalem. This can very well explain Rev. 3:12, which Mr. Charles Welch translates as, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out, and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God”. We see in this verse that the overcomer of the tribulation shall not be in any danger of being cast out of the new Jerusalem. Surely that is meant as a special blessing. Why is that a special blessing? Obviously, some will be in danger of being cast out of the new Jerusalem. So one who is not an overcomer, but who sins, may be cast out of the new Jerusalem as punishment of that sin.

The precedence for this conclusion is found in how sinners are dealt with in the millennium. As we saw in the section above, they will be cast out of the Land of Israel to live among the nations. So too, those who sin in the new Jerusalem will be cast out of that city to live among the nations.

HOW CAN CHANGED BELIEVERS SIN?

I believe that we are so used to thinking that we sin only because we are in our bodies of sin that it is extremely difficult to imagine that once we “put on immortality” we could sin. That was certainly my thinking before this study. But let us consider Adam and Eve. They were not in a body of sin when they disobeyed God, but they did indeed sin. The same could be said of Lucifer. That is to say, Lucifer did not become Satan, the devil, until after he had rebelled. It would seem that any creature who has a free choice has the choice to sin.

WILL THERE BE SIN IN THE HEAVENS?

I have tried to show the Scriptural reasons for my belief that believers in spiritual bodies will sin in the kingdom of heaven and in the new Jerusalem. But what about the calling of the church which is His body? Will there be sin in the heavens? In point of fact, as far as I know, we are not told. However, because I see no reason to think that believers of this dispensation are any different than those of other dispensations, in my opinion (and it is just that, i.e. opinion) there may be sin in heaven.

But God cannot dwell with sin and the sinner will, I believe, be dealt with in the same way as the sinner in the new Jerusalem. As suggested in the section above, the sinner in the new Jerusalem will be cast out of the city to live among the nations, just as the sinner of the millennium will be cast out to live among the nations. I will say that I have no idea as to where the sinners of heaven will be cast.

APPENDIX: II Peter 3:13

There is one verse that should, in the interest of truth, be addressed. That verse is II Peter 3:13, “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness”. This seem to contradict Is. 65 which tells us that the sinner will be cast out of the new Jerusalem, telling us that there will be sin on the new earth. But the new Jerusalem will be occupied by believers, who will not die because they are immortal. So they must live outside the new Jerusalem, but on the new earth . There is, of course, no contradiction between Is. 65 and II Peter 3, but we must search the Scriptures in order to reconcile these two passages

I believe the answer to our seeming contradiction is found in the Greek word translated “dwelleth” in the phrase “wherein dwelleth righteousness”. The NIV has “the home of righteousness”. And the note in the Companion Bible directs us to Acts 2:5 where the note on the word “dwelling” (same word in the Greek as in II Peter 3) reads, “Not sojourners….but Jews of the dispersion who had taken their abode at Jerusalem….”. In other words, the Greek word implies a permanent home, which supports the NIV translation. It is also interesting to note that there are other Greek words that are translated “home” but they are more often translated “house” or “present”. My point again, is that the NIV translation does have merit.

So what does that tell us in terms of the new earth? Again, because Isaiah does tell us that there will be sin in the new Jerusalem and the sinner will be cast out of the new Jerusalem, but because the sinner will not die and therefore will be on the new earth, I believe the answer to our seeming contradiction is that while the new earth will be the home of righteousness, it does not exclude the fact that sinners will live on it. That is to say, the new earth will be the home of righteousness which implies that righteousness will be prevalent, but that verse does not exclude sinners from living on the new earth. One might consider this in terms of Abraham who, we are told in Heb. 11:13 were “strangers and pilgrims on the earth”. In other words, they lived on the earth, but earth was not their home.  So too the new earth will be  the home of righteousness, but unrighteousness will live there.

This paper was written by Joyce Pollard. If you would like to respond please e-mail me at: janjoyce@aol.com

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