“Then I saw a new Heaven and a new Earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea existed no longer.” Revelation 21:1 (HCSB)
The Bible depicts Creation as warring against itself. For instance, light conquers darkness:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:1-5 (HCSB)
But the sea is also allied with the darkness. Therefore, the sea had to be contained and limited. This is done on the second day of Creation. (Genesis 1:6-10) Consider God’s statement to Job:
“Who enclosed the sea behind doors when it burst from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its blanket when I determined its boundaries and put its bars and doors in place, when I declared: ‘You may come this far, but no farther; your proud waves stop here’?” Job 38:8-11 (HCSB)
The sea is active in bringing destruction and death through the flood of Noah, an event mentioned five times in the New Testament. But the sea is under God’s control, as seen clearly in the Exodus, where God’s “strong hand and outstretched arm” turned the Red Sea into a means of salvation for the Israelites. God also used that same sea as a means of destruction for the Egyptians. Furthermore, Isaiah prophesies God’s vindication of Israel when He defeats a great demonic sea beast.
“On that day, the Lord with His harsh, great, strong sword, will bring judgment on Leviathan, the fleeing serpent – Leviathan, the fleeing serpent – Leviathan, the twisting serpent. He will slay the monster that is in the sea.” Isaiah 27:1(HCSB)
Because the Bible speaks so much about judgment by “sea,” a Jewish superstition arose that claimed evil spirits lived at the bottom of deep bodies of water. To the average Jew, when Noah’s flood receded, those eternal evil spirits of that generation, judged by God, rested like dregs in the deep. The same was assumed for Pharaoh and his army’s souls. This is possibly why the disciples thought Jesus was a ghost when He came walking on water. It is, perhaps, why demons (begging to be cast into the pigs) ran into the Sea of Galilee. That action, no doubt, reinforced this superstition among Jesus’ disciples.
Today’s chapter indicates that in the new Heaven and Earth, just as there is no darkness for light to compete with, neither do such deep waters exist. The point is that both Creation and mankind will again be at peace with each other and God.
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