The Old Heaven and Old Earth Will Pass Away
Revelation 21:1-2: And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Chapters 21 and 22 are a description of the eternal state (following the Millennium and the final judgment), centering in the new Jerusalem as the eternal habitation of the saved (compare Hebrews 11:10; 12:22-24). The first heaven and the first earth are replaced by a new heaven and a new earth, predicted by Isaiah (compare Isaiah 65:17; 66:22). The present universe will thus be cleansed from all the effects of sin (compare 2 Peter 3:7, 10-13). Since there will be no more sea, the increased land space will be fully capable of handling large numbers of redeemed people from all ages. The New Jerusalem is fully described in 21:10—22:5. It is a holy city, totally separate from sin (compare vv. 8, 27; 22:15). It is being prepared (Greek hetoimazó, read John 14:3) as the habitation of the bride of Christ (read verse 9). From God shows its divine purpose, and out of heaven its divine origin.
2 Peter 3:10–13: But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
The day of the Lord here refers to the return of Christ in judgment, not the Rapture, since this day results in final apocalyptic judgment. The heavens that shall pass away with a great noise are the atmospheric heavens. The elements shall melt with fervent heat certainly could refer to a nuclear holocaust. Thus, Peter urges his readers to look beyond this present world to the new heavens and a new earth characterized by righteousness.