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A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  217 ratings  ·  40 reviews
In recent years, more and more Christians have come to appreciate the Bible's teaching that the ultimate blessed hope for the believer is not an otherworldly heaven; instead, it is participation--through a resurrected soul and body--in a new heaven and a new earth brought into fullness under the transformation of God's kingdom. Drawing on the full sweep of the biblical nar ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Baker Academic (first published November 25th 2014)
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Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a bit of a frustrating book for me. I agree with so much of what Middleton writes about the importance of the resurrection of the body, the affirmation of the goodness of creation, the need to tie our ethics to our eschatology and the message of Scripture that God intends to save all of creation through the recreation of the new heavens and new earth. I think this may be an important book in moving the evangelical world away from the folly of the Left Behind rapture nonsense to more bibl ...more
Nov 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: bible, theology
A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology is a current topic of discussion among biblical and theological scholars (at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature). At the risk of oversimplifying a carefully researched and insightful volume, A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology seems to have two primary themes. The first is that current evangelical teaching about heaven causes gross disregard for the prolific biblical teaching about ste ...more
Hunter List
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Eschatology isn’t a strong-suit of mine but I rather enjoyed Middleton’s approach to a holistic eschatology. I found this to be a refreshing read that answered many of my questions regarding eschatology. I also appreciated his discussion on the kingdom of God. It would be interesting to see the implications of his insight to the church today.
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Richard Middleton, the co-author of The Transforming Vision and author of The Liberating Image, has produced a fascinating, insightful and brilliant book dealing with eschatology. He wrote it because he saw that the 'time was ripe for a clearly articulated Christian eschatology that is rooted in responsible exegesis of Scripture and also attuned to the theological claims and ethical implications of the Bible's vision of salvation'. He has done exactly that. He clarifies how eschatology is consis ...more
Jim Andrews
Feb 20, 2021 rated it did not like it
Middleton indicates his book has a primary goal and two subsidiary objectives. The primary goal is to trace biblical theology from the OT to the NT to support his notion of a “holistic redemption of creation.” The two subsidiary goals are to understand the “ethical implications of biblically grounded holistic eschatology” and to “uncover the biblical vision of the redemption of the earth.” To this extent he has accomplished his purpose. He does qualify that the opinions expressed in his book are ...more
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A great book full of solid narrative-historical exegesis addressing common errors in eschatology and soteriology. Middleton gives the "big picture" of redemption, working from Eden and Genesis through the Old Testament to the New Testament, and ending with the New Jerusalem and restoration of Creation in Revelation. Middleton's point is to illustrate the Bible's focus on what he calls "holistic salvation". He exposes the dualism common in Western Christianity as unsupported by Scripture and demo ...more
Steve Penner
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I wish all students of eschatology, whether pastors or lay leaders, would read this book. It makes the case that our ultimate destiny as human beings is a new heaven and earth, not a Platonic heaven of ideal forms. And it makes the case well by looking at the whole arc of Scripture and not just piecemeal verses that support a narrow premise. By looking at the Old and New Testament, the teaching of Jesus in the Olivet discourse, the epistles of Paul and Peter and John's Revelation vision, he leav ...more
Steve Irby
Jul 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
I just finished "A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology," by J Richard Middleton.

Confession time: I dont think the traditional picture of "heaven" given to kids (flannel-board theology) ever appealed to me; fear of hell did.

First thought as I get into this is that the normal guy in the pew has no idea where his concept of the righteous' afterlife was conceived: he may not like philosophy but his image of heaven (and hell and the attributes of God) is all Plato and Aristot
Jude Morrissey
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can't overstate how wonderful this book was for me. I was raised in a very rapture-oriented, dispensationalist church tradition - seriously, I had a Dake Bible with the Plan of the Ages laid out in it, and I remember week-long revival services with the Plan in full color spread out on banners across the church stage as we studied what we believed about the End Times. As I grew older, however, I found myself doubting a lot of what I learned from that tradition, even as my faith in God grew stro ...more
Greg Waddell
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
With most books of theology that I have read, I feel like the author is working to fit the biblical text into a pre-conceived framework. That is not the feeling I get at all from this book; from beginning to end, one senses that the author is genuinely wrestling with the text of the Scriptures, trying to understand it in its original intent as it would have been understood by those who first heard it and from within the literary and historical context within which it was written, namely the Old ...more
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When it comes to eschatology, people are all over the map with what they believe and if you ask them why they believe what they believe, you'd probably find that most of them couldn't give you a clearly articulated rational based on scripture. So many ideas about Heaven and the afterlife are based on notions that belong to mythology rather than fact. The author has done an excellent work of unpacking the scriptures to show that God's plan has always been for the redemption of the whole creation ...more
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This will be a book that becomes one of those clarifying paradigm shifting books for me.
Middleton attempts to reclaim biblical eschatology by helping us see the main storyline of the scripture as a redeemed and flourishing creation rather than a salvation that merely gets us to an other-worldly disembodied future (or a traditional view of heaven; , which isn’t merely a place but God’s space, and his rule and reign).
Middleton doesn’t merely tell us, but he casts a biblical vision with a journey
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So I read this a few years ago and came back and reread it recently. I really admire MIddleton's work here and think he wrote an essential work on theological eschatology. The work though academic is enjoyable and the theological language barrier isn't think. The book feels accessible in the beginning and remains that way. ANHANE is filled with a strong hermeneutic and a distinguished exegetical process.

As a reader though the book took me a long time to read it still never felt stagnant. MIddlet
Brian Sturtz
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Middleton dives boldly into a topic that most Christians are confused and or misinformed. He provides easy to follow steps as he walks readers through the biblical texts that deal with “end times.” He offers a clear take on the biblical concern for the transformation of the earth not an escape from it. As Middleton rightly points out much of the talk around “end times” texts often include the unbiblical dualistic view of “spiritual” and “physical”. As Middleton points out this dualistic view has ...more
Hiram Kemp
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Middleton makes some good points and gives readers some helpful things to consider. However, I think he makes too many “straw-men” of the oppositions position and does not fairly assess other view points. He does not clearly state what he thinks happens at the point of death and is not entirely consistent in the way he applies his hermeneutical rules. He seems to think if one does not share his view of NHNE one will not be interested in the problems of this life and the harsh realities
Oct 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: doctrine-ethics
A robust defence of the physicality of the New Creation and a sustained attack on the dualistic idea that the destiny of human souls is in heaven. To readers of Tom Wright, and other recent writers, there will not be a huge amount new in this book, although I did enjoy very much the final two chapters on the ethical outworking of eschatology. I would have liked to have read a little bit more about what his views are on soul-sleep and life after life after death (in Tom Wright's phrase). That par ...more
Dave Courtney
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really solid exposition of the essential tenants of Biblical Eschatology. Of concern for this author is the modernist takes on eschatology as a destructive force rather than a redeeming or renewing one, arguing for a necessary reform that is already in fact underway. A reform that brings us back to the heart of the Gospels intent as a wholly formed theology reflecting Gods relationship to creation.

There are parts here that will challenge some, other parts which will challenge others. Some of it
Robert P.
Well researched, His use of Scripture exemplifies the balance of genuine belief and careful study. I am amazed at his command of other opinions in his field and his determination to examine the word within the context allowing meaning to emerge from the text. His honest wrestling with the text is admirable and compelling. His conclusions are prophetic and a much needed antidote for the conclusions so many Christians have accepted thanks, perhaps, to preachers who are too slow to reexamine their ...more
Unchong Berkey
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I appreciate Middleton’s perspective on “holistic eschatology”-that God is committed to a renewal of the physical cosmos, not the destruction of it. That salvation is not just personal, but that Biblical salvation ultimately looks to the whole earth being made new at the return of Christ. The physical world and our physical bodies matter. I disagreed with his treatment of the nature of the believer’s state upon dying and before resurrection. And I struggled with his tone in the Ethics of the Kin ...more
Wes Van Fleet
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Middleton has written a book that should be required reading for all believers in the West. He sets out to prove that God will not destroy the earth so his people can go to heaven, but makes the biblical case that heaven is and will be coming to earth. He traces the theme of God restoring the fallen world from Genesis to Revelation, exegetes the tough passages that may appear to say otherwise, and gives the reader a heightened longing for the new heaven and new earth. This is a must read!
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mind blown. I was thinking this book would just be about making a case for a renewed New Heaven and New Earth for our ultimate end instead of an immaterial heaven. It was that and more. The author lays out the overarching themes of the Bible and our future hope. Really enjoyed reading it. I wish he fleshed out more how this impacts how we live in the here and now. Overall a great book.
Bob Robinson
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bible-theology
A thorough study on eschatology from the perspective that God's plan has always been to RESTORE his creation, with humanity at its centerpiece. Middleton has written a biblical theology of eschatology, not a "systematic" theology, or theological system that seeks proof texts to prove the system true. ...more
The content: quite good. The writing: bleh. There’s also not a ton here that you wouldn’t otherwise get by soaking in Wright for a little while, though this book isn’t a work on Wright. “Holistic eschatology” is the prime idea, and it’s worth remembering.
Brett Barnes
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: seminary
Parts of this book I loved and other parts I disagreed with...specifically his hypothesis on the intermediary state.
Anja Noordam
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I heard the author speak first
That made me want to read the book
Not an easy read for me, English is my second language but worth the effort
Thought provoking
Sherif Gendy
Feb 11, 2015 rated it liked it
J. Richard Middleton, A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014. Pp. 336. $26.99, paper.

In this book, J. Richard Middleton presents a fresh reading to the biblical teaching of new heaven and new earth with a purpose of laying out a coherent biblical theology of the eschatological vision of the redemption of creation. He explores some ethical implications of a biblically grounded holistic eschatology. He also surveys different trends of
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Middleton's book is a far cry from Left Behind, and indeed, it looks at the eschaton that is almost nothing like the theology espoused in that book series. Middleton looks at the Scriptures and argues that the Bible does not espouse some sort of post-mortem ethereal experience in the clouds, nor does the new heavens and new earth refer to some place far away and yet unmade. At least, he views it as unmade in the sense that our souls will be transported to some other newly made place that bears n ...more
Lindsay Kennedy
Full review here:

The label “game changer” should not be thrown around hastily, however I believe A New Heaven and a New Earth has the potential to be this very thing for many Christians today. Even those who are familiar of these ideas by means of others such as N.T. Wright and G.K. Beale will appreciate a comprehensive (holistic?) presentation of the Bible’s new creation focus. I hope that A New Heaven and a New Earth gets the attention that it deserves
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although there were a numerous places where I found that I agreed with his conclusions but disagreed with his methodology or interpretation (times where he might have stretched a passage to fit his agenda, even if I happened to agree with that agenda), I felt like it was well written and researched, and extremely worthwhile. He goes a step further than N.T. Wright (in Surprised by Hope) when talking about our future in heaven (one of the few things which Wright ha ...more
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J. Richard Middleton (PhD, Free University of Amsterdam) is professor of biblical worldview and exegesis at Northeastern Seminary and adjunct professor of theology at Roberts Wesleyan College, both in Rochester, New York. He authored Abraham's Silence (2021), A New Heaven and a New Earth (2014), The Liberating Image (2005), and coauthored the bestsellers Truth Is Stranger Than It Used to Be (1995) ...more

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“Peter makes clear in an early sermon in Acts. You are the descendants of the prophets and of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors, saying to Abraham, “And in your descendants all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you, to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways. (Acts 3:25–26) So before Jesus is the savior of the world, he is the savior of Israel, restoring them to their status and role as God’s elect people.” 2 likes
“I believe that the time is ripe for contemporary Christians to engage in serious reflection on the shape of our eschatology. This eschatology must be grounded firmly in the entire biblical story, beginning with God’s original intent for earthly flourishing and culminating in God’s redemptive purpose of restoring earthly life to what it was meant to be—a purpose accomplished through Christ. We especially need to grapple with the robust ethical implications of this biblical eschatology, exploring how a holistic vision of the future can motivate and ground compassionate yet bold redemptive living in God’s world.” 1 likes
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