The Bible and the Sea

According to Revelation 21:1 the new heaven and the new earth which will replace the first heaven and earth (Revelation 20:11) will have no sea. However, according to Ezekiel 47:1-12, the Dead Sea will be transformed into a freshwater lake with as many kinds of fish as there are in the open sea, and the Dead Sea will be connected to the threshold in the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem by a river. Ezekiel 47:12 says that near the river on both banks there will be all kinds of fruit trees with foliage that will not wither and fruit that will never fail, and that each month they will bear a fresh crop because the water comes from the Temple. The fruit will be good to eat and the leaves will be used for healing. Revelation 22:1-2 mirrors what is written in Ezekiel 47:12, saying that the river of life, clear as crystal, will gush forth from the throne of God and of the Lamb, and that in the middle of the city of the New Jerusalem, on both sides of the river are the trees of life producing fruit twelve times, once each month, and its leaves are used for healing the nations. In Zechariah 14:8 it is written that in the New Jerusalem fresh water will flow from it, half to the Dead Sea and the other half to the Mediterranean Sea, all year long, in the dry season as well as the wet. Revelation 4:6 mentions that before the throne in heaven there was a sea of glass, like crystal. This might mean that in heaven there is a large transparent lake, through which one can see to the bottom of. This reference from the Bible reminds me of another one, that is Psalm 148:4, which says the following: "Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters above the heavens!" The Greek word 'hualinos' translated 'glass' is an adjective, descriptive of the sea; meaning that the sea was translucent, like glass. The Greek word translated crystal 'krustallos' is derived from 'kruos' (frost) and is perhaps intended to indicate as clear as ice. The New Testament was originally written in Greek, the language of the educated classes of the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire, which was the result of the conquests made by Alexander the Great of Macedon from 336-323 B.C. See What is the sea of glass?-This is Your Bible.Com in Google Search. Genesis 1:6-8 says that God created a dome called “Sky” to separate the waters on the earth from the waters or rain above it. In the new world the seas might form the dome of the sky, held in place by a miracle of God. "The ancient Hebrews thought that the earth was a round table whose pillars descended into the the all encompassing ocean. In the uppermost part were the Heavens among the Heavens, or the Highest Heavens, the dwelling place of God. The sun, the moon and the stars hung from a canopy called ceiling. The rain flowed from waters from above, on the ceiling or firmament. The place of the dead, or Sheol, was under the earth, and was connected to the world of the living through openings which were the tombs of the dead."(1)

"For the ancient Hebrews the sea was a daily reminder of primitive chaos or of the abyss, in other words hell, for it was there that the marine monsters Leviathan and Rahab moved around, monsters which only God the all poweful can challenge and ultimately defeat at the end of time."(2) So when the Bible says that there will be no more sea in the new heaven and earth at the end of time according to Revelation 21:1, this figuratively means by way of parable that there will be no more evil at the end of time, rather than that there will be no more sea. See The Sea as a Symbol of the Powers of Chaos in the Hebrew Scriptures or The OT uses the sea as a symbol of chaos by Pastor Mark Johnson in Google Search. The sea monster Leviathan, often imagined to be a serpent (Isaiah 27:1), and which some Biblical commentators believe refers to Assyria and Babylon, was to later become identified with Satan, the fallen angel. The sea monster Rahab was the symbol of Egypt (Isaiah 51:9-10). The ancient empires of Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, along with Persia/Iran, Macedon, and Rome, were the nations which invaded Israel in Old Testament times. In Isaiah 27:1 it is written that the Lord God Yahweh will in the end times slay with his sword Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent, the monster of the sea. Saint John wrote in Revelation 13:1 that as he stood upon the sand of the sea, he saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. The beast is the symbol of the Antichrist, upon whom the Whore of Babylon rides according to Revelation 17-18, and whom the dragon, i.e. Satan, gives power and authority to (Revelation 12:1-9). When Saint John wrote the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, the Whore of Babylon was the city and port of pagan Rome, and the Antichrist was the pagan Roman Emperor Nero, the first emperor to persecute the Christians. In the end days it is thought that a new superpower like that of ancient Rome will arise to persecute the saints, i.e. true Christians as opposed to nominal Christians, whom the Antichrist will defeat initially in war (Revelation 13:7). According to Saint Paul the Antichrist will come when faith in Christianity is at its weakest (II Thessalonians 2:3-12), and who will sit in the temple of God and demand to be worshipped as God. At the end of the 1000 year reign which begins with the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah, the Parousia, it is written that there will be no more sea according to Revelation 21:1 in the new heaven and new earth. This is not to say that the old heaven and old earth are literally and physically replaced, but that a new order of government and governed arises, where all are immortal and God dwells among them. In this sense there is no more sea, meaning no more ungodly nations or wickedness of mankind on the earth. Psalm 65 equates the "roaring of the seas" with the "turmoil of the nations" (verse 7). The Old Testament writers often used the sea as a symbol of turmoil and chaos. Psalm 93 uses this imagery to describe forces of chaos that would challenge the rule of Yahweh: "The seas have lifted up, O Lord, the seas have lifted up their pounding waves" (verse 3). Yet, as mighty as the waves seem, Yahweh is sovereign over them: "Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea--the Lord on high is mighty" (verse 4).

The Old Testament Hebrew prophet Daniel sees, in his vision at night, "the great winds of heaven, churning up the seas" out of which four beasts emerge (Daniel 7:2-3). These beasts are later identified as four nations which invade and persecute the people of Israel (Daniel 7:17). The Book of Daniel is now believed to have been written in the 100's B.C. during the rule of the Jewish Hasmonean dynasty, founded by Simon, the brother of Judah Maccabee, in the aftermath of the successful Maccabean revolt against the Syrian King Antiochus Epiphanes, who was a member of the Seleucid dynasty. The dynasty was named after one of the generals of Alexander the Great, known as Seleucus I. The language of the dynasty was Greek, although their more humble subjects spoke Aramaic and Syriac. The Romans conquered the dynasty in 64 B.C, followed by the conquest of Palestine the following year. The four nations mentioned in the Book of Daniel were the Babylonians, Persians or Iranians, Greek Macedonians, and their offshoot the Syrian Seleucids. King Antiochus Epiphanes had tried to force the ancient pagan Greek religion onto the Jews. When Saint John wrote the Book of Revelation on the Greek Aegean island of Patmos, he compared the pagan Roman Emperor Nero, who was then persecuting the Christians, and whom he regarded as the Antichrist of his times, to Antiochus Epiphanes.

It is known by geologists that all the continents were once joined together into a supercontinent known as Pangaea, which existed 200 million years ago, and which in turn was surrounded by a world ocean called Panthalassa. This global geography might be referred to in II Peter 3:5 "...that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water." In the new heaven and new earth which comes into existence after the Last Judgement, Pangaea and Panthalassa might come into existence again. The seas might be transformed into lakes in the new world that comes into existence after the Last Day of Judgement. For example, the Caspian Sea is a large landlocked saltwater lake in the former Soviet Union. It was once connected to the open sea by the fact that it has seals living in its waters. Lake Baikal, a large freshwater lake in Russia connected to the distant Arctic Ocean by the Angara River also has seals living in its waters. The freshwater Lake Nicaragua, connected to the Caribbean Sea by the San Juan River, has bull sharks living in it, showing that previously salt water species can adapt to a fresh water environment.

According to Mark 10:27, all things are possible with God, and the Bible has many accounts of miracles worked by God or Jesus Christ. When Jesus was on Earth, He was the God Yahweh Himself in the body of a man, the Word of God made flesh (John 1:1-3). If God so wanted to, he could transform the world's oceans into either large salt water or fresh water lakes by separating each ocean from one another with land bridges. God could make whales live in large salt or fresh water lakes with a never ending supply of food. After all, Jesus Christ fed 5000 men, besides the women and children, with five loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:13-21). This miracle was followed soon after by another one when Jesus walked on the surface of the Sea of Galilee, a large freshwater lake in Israel (Matthew 14:22-34).

Some Christians claim that plants and animals are without a soul, although nowhere in the Bible is this written. In fact, the Bible suggests that plants and animals do indeed have souls. In Psalm 104:29-30 God is shown as either taking or giving breath or spirit to the animals, in other words, He has the power of life and death over them. The Hebrew word for “spirit” is “ruah”, and translated literally it means “breath”, “wind”, or “air”. The Hebrew words for the Holy Spirit is Ruah Ha-Kodesh. Genesis 2:7 says that Adam became alive when God breathed into his nostrils a breath of life. Throughout Genesis chapter one it says that God was pleased with His creation, including the animals, finding them to be good. In Acts 10:9-16 Saint Peter was told by God that no animal is unclean, which meant that the Jewish Old Testament prohibition of the eating of so-called unclean animals such as pigs, reptiles, and shellfish was wrong. According to Revelation 19:11-14, there are horses mentioned in heaven, which implies that animals, like humans, have immortal souls. Animals, unlike humans, are innocent and ignorant of the knowledge of the difference between right and wrong, and of the knowledge of the existence of the Holy Trinity and Satan, the fallen angel (Revelation 12:1-9). After all, it was not the animals, but Adam and Eve who ate of the forbidden fruit from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and thereby lost their innocence, whereby they became ashamed of their nakedness. By the way I do not believe in the story of Adam and Eve literally, but interpret it as a parable. Somewhere in the millions of years of evolution from the apes, humans became aware of God. According to DNA tests, humans are 99% genetically identical with the chimpanzees, and what a difference 1% has made! We humans have a duty to treat our animals with kindness, according to Proverbs 12:10. St. Francis of Assisi, the Roman Catholic patron saint of animals, was an example of treating God’s creatures with kindness. People who have reported having had a near death experience after being resuscitated from clinical death often talk about being greeted by their dead pets in the afterlife, and children who have had a near death experience sometimes report visiting an animal heaven before visiting a human heaven. See Q & A with PMH Atwater: Pets seen during NDEs in Google Search or Q & A with PMH Atwater: Pets seen during NDEs. See also NDEs of Pets in Google Search. In the end times however, animals will praise God their creator and Jesus the Lamb of God (Revelation 5:13). The late Reverend Juliet Nightingale in her Near Death Experience claimed to have seen a sea in heaven teeming with life, and of being able to breathe underwater and move effortlessly through it. She also claimed to have had telepathic conversations with angels. Satan's fallen angels or demons presumably also have the ability to converse telepathically, should they choose to do so. See Toward the Light: Reverend Juliet Nightingale's Near-Death Experience in Google Search.

According to Isaiah 11:6-9, the nature of fauna will be changed in the end times. Animals will live together with each other and with humans in peace, and carnivorous animals will become herbivores. On Zion, God's holy hill, there will be nothing harmful or evil, and the land will be as full of knowledge of the LORD as the seas are full of water. Isaiah 65:25 reiterates this revelation, and goes on to say that Satan, disguised as a serpent, will eat dust. Compare Genesis 3:14-15 and Revelation 12. Genesis 1:29-30 says that God originally intended for humans and all animals, before the fall of Adam and Eve, to be vegetarians, in other words, to live in a world without violence and killing.

By Ardent Seeker.

End Notes

(1). Bernardo Hurault, Christian Community Bible, Catholic Pastoral Edition, Twenty Sixth Edition, Imprimatur: Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, Claretian Publications, The Philippines and India, 1998, Old Testament, page 8.

(2). Ibid, New Testament, Note 35, pages 83-84.