Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed.
"Passed away" is a gentler way of saying "died!" I remember when I was a small child and someone fainted in church. I apparently was old enough to have learned the term "passed away," so when my mother told me that a man "passed out" in church I though he had died.
The first heaven and earth will not pass out, they will pass away. Ever since the beginning of time the "stuff" that made the chair you are sitting on has been here on earth. Every brand new car is made of matter that is as old as the world itself.
The new heaven and new earth will not be a remodeled or renovated version of the current one. It will be new!
The same thing is truth with my life. My life in Christ is not a "cleaned up" version of the old man. It is new!