Jehovah`s Witness/Is heaven temporary?
Hello asnd thanks again for taking my question. According to Matthew 24;35; what does it mean that the earth and heaven will pass away? Is heaven temporary or what? To me, (a layman) it seems like Jesus is saying that heaven is temporary. Will there be a new heaven?
Good question and based on Scripture.
Heaven is permanent. Here is the verse you reference: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.” — Matthew 24:35
. Because heaven and earth will never literally pass away, Jesus is showing how sure we can trust his words. Compare (Matthew 5:18 & Luke 16:17
.) Jesus loved to use hyperbole when teaching, as in Matthew 7:3, 4
More on heaven passing away below, and if there will be a new heaven.
In the Bible the word heaven is used in several ways.
One meaning is the atmosphere where the birds fly. (Psalm 8:8; Matthew 6:26
Also it can mean outer space where the stars are. (Genesis 15:5; Psalm 8:3; Hebrews 11:12,
The dwelling place of Jehovah, Jesus, angels, & those who are resurrected to rule with Jesus. (Deuteronomy 26:15; 1 Kings 8:30, 39, 43, 49; 2 Corinthians 5:1, 2; Hebrews 3:1
Heaven can also mean rulerships or governments. When Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that the experience the Babylonian emperor was due to have would make him “know that the heavens are ruling,” it meant the same as knowing “that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind.” — (Daniel 4:25, 26
However, aside from its reference to the Supreme Sovereign, the term “heavens” can also refer to other ruling powers that are exalted or lifted up above their subject peoples. The very dynasty of Babylonian kings that Nebuchadnezzar represented is described at Isaiah 14:12
as being star like, a “shining one, son of the dawn.” By the conquest of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E., that Babylonian dynasty lifted its throne “above the stars of God,” these “stars” evidently referring to the Davidic line of Judean kings (even as the Heir to the Davidic throne, Christ Jesus, is called “the bright morning star” at Revelation 22:16; compare Numbers 24:17
). By its overthrow of the divinely authorized Davidic throne, the Babylonian dynasty, in effect, exalted itself heaven high. (Isaiah 14:13, 14) This lofty grandeur and far-reaching dominion were also represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream by a symbolic tree with its height ‘reaching the heavens.’ — Daniel 4:20-22
Now, you ask “will there be a new heaven?” There are 4 places in the Bible where we read about “the new heavens and the new earth.” (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1
“For, according to their wish, this fact escapes their notice, that there were heavens from of old and an earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God; and by those means the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water. But by the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the Day of Judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men
. … But there are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” — 2 Peter 3:5-7, 13
The apostle Peter compares the literal heavens and earth in 2 Peter 3:5
with the symbolic heavens and earth in 2 Peter 3:7
. “The heavens” of verse 7
do not mean Jehovah’s own dwelling place, the place of his throne in the heavens. Jehovah’s heavens cannot be shaken. Neither is “the earth” in the same verse the literal planet earth, for Jehovah says that he has established the earth firmly. (Psalm 78:69; 119:90) Yet, God says that he will shake both the heavens and the earth (Haggai 2:21; Hebrews 12:26
), that the heavens and earth will flee away before him, and that new heavens and a new earth will be established. (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 20:11; 21:1
) It is evident that “heavens” is symbolic and that “earth” here has symbolic reference to a society of people living on the earth, just as at Genesis 11:1 & Psalm 96:1
Earth is also symbolically used to denote the firmer, more stable elements of mankind. The restless, unstable elements of mankind are illustrated by the characteristic restlessness of the sea. — Isaiah 57:20; James 1:6; Jude 13; compare Revelation 12:16; 20:11; 21:1
So in short there is not a literal new heavens or new earth; the ruling governments, or heavens, will be permanently replaced by God’s Kingdom. (Daniel 2:44; Matthew 6:10
By the same token, the planet will not be destroyed, but the wicked elements will be removed and those whom Jehovah declares righteous will remain forever. (Psalm 37:9—11, 29, 38; Proverbs 2:21, 22; 1 John 2:17