When I finally started studying God's Word, and the Holy Spirit began to lead me into a study of Bible prophecy, I started making discoveries about the future that ministered great hope to my spirit. I had just discovered God's marvelous promises for the future that are designed to give us hope in the present.
Our Eternal Home
This brings me to the fourth and final discovery I made when the Holy Spirit led me into an in-depth study of Bible prophecy. I discovered that the Redeemed are not going to live eternally in an ethereal world called Heaven. I learned, instead, that our eternal home is going to be on a new earth. Most Christians are amazed by this truth, which shows how little Bible prophecy is taught in the Church today.
Since the Bible teaches that the current earth is eternal (Psalm 78:69 and Psalm 148:6), I have concluded that the "new earth" will be the current earth renovated by fire. It is true that Peter said that the current earth will be "destroyed" by fire (2 Peter 3:10,12), but in the context, it is clear that he is referring to a radical transformation of the current earth. Earlier in the same passage he referred to the original earth as having been "destroyed" by water, speaking of the Noahic flood. The earth of Noah's day did not cease to exist, but the flood "destroyed" it in the sense that it radically changed the nature of the earth — tilting it on its axis, splitting the continents apart, laying down the fossil record, depositing the marine organisms that would become petroleum deposits, and creating the ocean depths and the mountain heights.
At the end of the Millennium, fire will be used by God to burn away the pollution of Satan's last revolt (2 Peter 3:12). In the midst of that fiery inferno, God will reshape the earth like a hot ball of wax. He will refresh it and restore it to its original perfection (Acts 3:21). He will then lower the new Jerusalem down to the new earth, with the redeemed inside (Revelation 21:1-2). Then, He Himself will come to earth to live in our presence eternally! "The tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them" (Revelation 21:3).
Heaven is where God resides. When the new earth is supplied, Heaven will descend to earth as God takes up residence on this new earth. So, it is true that the redeemed will live eternally in Heaven, but Heaven will be on earth.
The Redemption of All Creation
God loves His creation, and He intends to redeem it — all of it — and not destroy it with some mystical "big bang." Jesus died on the Cross not only to redeem Mankind but also to redeem the Creation. That's the reason the High Priest in Old Testament times sprinkled the blood not only on the mercy seat of the Ark, but also on the ground in front of the Ark (Leviticus 16:15).
The blood on the mercy seat of the Ark was a symbolic prophecy pointing to the fact that the blood of the Messiah would cover the law of God (the tablets inside the Ark) with the mercy and grace of God. The blood on the ground was a reminder that the sacrifice of the Messiah would make it possible for the curse to be lifted and for the animal and plant kingdoms to be returned to their original perfection (Isaiah 11:6-9 and Romans 8:18-23).