In Proposition 148, George Peters states:
“This Kingdom embraces the new heavens and new earth.”
It seems to go without saying, especially based on the previous propositions that have discussed the various phrases speaking of regeneration, renewal, and restoration, that such adjectives must describe something new taking place at the Second Advent. Given the physical elements of what will be regenerated, renewed, and restored, it is correct for Peters to note what will be made new. He aptly notes the doctrine of the Kingdom and the Kingdom itself will embrace the new heavens and new earth. The new heavens and earth after all will be what is inhabited by the righteous and where the Theocratic-David Kingdom will be established.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 148 is the following:
“The question, however, arises what are we to understand by this new heavens and new earth? Fully admitting (as e.g. the Prop. preceding 146) that the material atmosphere and earth shall undergo a transformationfor the removal of evils, etc., yet, keeping in view what heavens and earth are shaken and removed (viz., the Gentile Kingdoms and their upholders), it is but reasonable to believe that the Spirit to keep up the consistency of the figure thus used, means by “the new heavens and the new earth” taking the place of the former ones, the Renewed Kingdom (i.e. Theocracy) of God and the renewed willing adherents, attached and devoted to it. This accords with the predicted fact that when the Gentile domination is overthrown, then the Kingdom of heaven (Dan. 2 and 7) occupies the supremem authority over all the earth; then (Rev. 11:15, Prof. Stuart, Com. loci) “The Kingdom of this world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ,” or (as Lord, Apoc. loci) “The Sovereignty of the world has become our Lord’s and His Messiah’s.” This prophetical usage of language is purposely and most wisely chosen to delineate the restoration of the Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom, which supersedes all other Kingdoms. The word “new,” as has often been noticed, even by opposers, does not necessarily mean something entirely new, but denotes a “renewal or restoration” of something previously existing. It properly, then, denotes the renewwal or restoration, with increased glory, of that “heaven and earth” which once existed in its initiatory form; and the entire phrase – as the ancient believers logically held – includes the Messianic Kingdom. How deeply this ancient belief was still held, even down to the Council of Nice, is seen in Gelasius (Hist. Acts Council), when he refers as proof to Dan. 7:18; Ps. 27:13; Matt. 5:5 and Is. 26:6 for the expression of faith: “We expect new heavens and a new earth, according to the Holy Scriptures, at the appearing of the Great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”
What exactly will be “new” about the new heavens and earth? Will as some conjecture, the current heavens and earth be completely obliterated with God starting from scratch? After all, isn’t this what we typically think of when the word new is used? Peters notes something important in how we are to understand and apply the word new. The newness if you will will not be an entirely new heavens and earth in the sense of a previous version was completely destroyed and a completely new version is created. Conversely, the current state will undero renewal and restoration. It will be fully and forever cleansed of the death and decay it currently groans under. It is a return to the beginning, that Edenic state lost due to sin. Perhaps, as Peters suggests, the new heavens and new earth will be an amped up version of what is described in Genesis prior to sin. Either way, it will be glorious and beyond even the most vividly wild imagination.