“And the Sea Will Be No More”: Evil, Exodus, and New Creation in Revelation 21:1c

John's vision of new creation in Revelation 21-22 includes the often overlooked detail that, “the sea will be no longer” (21:1c). This odd detail invites the attentive reader to consider the nature of the sea's eschatological elimination. Why does the sea, originally a part of God"s good creation, have no place in God"s work of ultimate new creation? This paper examines the Jewish symbolic background of sea imagery in the Old Testament and intertestamental literature showing that the sea often connoted antagonism towards God and his people, was home to the great sea monster, was seen as the source of foreign oppression over the people of God, and was associated with the exodus as well as the hope for a new and final exodus event. Through a close reading of the sea language in Revelation, it will be demonstrated that John was informed by and embraced the scope of Jewish sea imagey and that the elimination of the sea indicates a removal from creation of all forces antagonistic to the people of God and the creation as a whole in a final act of new creation.