O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
How many times in the past has the content of this verse been recited at the ship's railing as the remains of a crew member slid off the end of a board into the waves below? With all due respect to the captains reciting the burial service over the dead, this verse encompasses far more than appears on the surface.
Spoiler alert: The verses covered below will be pointing out a connection to a biological resurrection of the house of Israel in 70 AD.
One of the members of our bible study coming from your standard futurist background has bemoaned the loss of an ocean in the New Earth as she has understood it. "I love the ocean", she says "and I can't conceive of an ideal world that doesn't have this in it anymore." Revelation 21:1, as I tried to explain to her, isn't dealing with beaches, oceanography, seaweed, etc., at all. Rather, it is just one more metaphor in the long list of symbols that Revelation uses to represent other realities - one more indication of the natural Hebraic character of the book. We know that there is an angelic interpretation in Rev. 17:15 of the waters that the whore sits upon as "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." In the same manner, it is not unheard of in scripture for the sea to be equated with the Gentile nations. Isaiah 60:5 is one direct comparison. Zechariah 10:ll is another. Luke 21:25 is a New Testament reference with the same interpretation; "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars: and upon the earth DISTRESS OF NATIONS, with perplexity; (i.e.) the SEA and THE WAVES roaring;" Likewise, the beast rising out of the sea in Rev. 13:1 is understood to have it's origin from a Gentile nation.
So when I read in Rev. 21:1 that in the new heaven and the new earth (established in 70 AD as I believe) there will be no more sea, I can understand that on a spiritual level, God is looking at the globe as a homogeneous whole, without a line of demarcation between Jew and Gentile. The Gentile classification has been erased; hence, "...no more sea."
With this idea in mind, other references in Revelation where the sea is mentioned also come up for consideration as to whether the ocean itself or the Gentile nations are under discussion. Rev. 20:13 is just such a verse. The context is the great white throne judgement with the dead being judged out of the things written in the books. My understanding of the sea giving up the dead which were in it is as follows: those from the whole house of Israel who have died over the centuries are gathered from every Gentile nation in which they had perished during the various dispersions, to stand before God and be judged in the body. Think of all the OT promises to Israel to gather them from other nations and plant them in their own land. Not all, but many of them I believe are a prediction of what happens in this verse. Their own land ultimately is the heavenly Canaan that Abraham anticipated.
This also has ramifications for understanding who the recipients of the the vial judgments are in Rev. 16. These appear to be listed in chronological order, with the sea (or Gentile nations) receiving the second one. Just as an aside, the seventh vial poured out into the air is connected with "the prince of the power of the air" in Ephesians 2. The timing tallies perfectly with the unleashing of demonic forces in the last 5-month period of Jerusalem's siege.
Here are a couple other references that I believe also point to a bodily Israelite resurrection in 70 AD.
In Matthew 19:28 (and Luke 22:29-30), Jesus addresses Peter in answer to his question of what reward they would receive in the kingdom of heaven for following him faithfully. "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, IN THE REGENERATION, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL." This is a duplicate of the vision that John sees in Rev. 20:4. "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them:..." One would have to conclude that all the disciples would die before 70 AD for this to be true. Is that such a stretch? Judas, of course, was replaced providentially by Matthias in Acts, but if you want to claim that John had not died by that 70 AD date, why could you not substitute Paul in his position, since Paul was considered the last of the apostles? That still makes 12, either way you look at it.
This helps to give a true interpretation of the parable that immediately follows Jesus' promise of 12 thrones to his disciples; the parable of the householder hiring laborers at different times through the day, all for the same wage of a penny. "The last shall be first, and the first shall be last:..." is the summation of the message. In the paradigm of a 70 AD Israelite resurrection, the "last" ones would be the last ones hired at the eleventh hour to labor in the vineyard of Israel. In other words, the 12 disciples. The "first" would be the first ones hired to work in the vineyard, such as the example of the prophets from the OT who bore the heat of the day long before Christ's arrival on the scene. Yet the disciples are the ones on thrones ruling over the 12 tribes instead of any others such as the faithful prophets. If God wants the last to take precedence over the first, He claims that as His prerogative. The wage of a resurrected body is the same for all concerned, though.
The final quote I have time to add is the Luke 2:34 prophecy of Simeon in the temple, holding the newborn Christ in his arms. "Lo, this child is set for the fall and rising up of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against;...." The interpretations are as varied as the number of commentaries you pick up, but I would like to point out how well it meshes with the scenario of the "fall" of Jerusalem and "the rising up" as the resurrection of many in Israel before the end of the Jerusalem siege in 70 AD.
Just offering these thoughts for consideration to see if it provokes any responses, pro or con.