Have you ever read the ending of the Bible? Apparently few people have. Believe it or not, it doesn’t end with us going to Heaven.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2)
“Heaven and earth” is the biblical way of saying “all creation.” (See for example Genesis 14:19, 2 Kings 19:15, Isaiah 37:16, Acts 17:24, and there are many others.) Notice that we don’t go up to this new creation– it comes down to us!
Still not convinced that it’s here in this world?
I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb… The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. (Revelation 21:22, 24)
How could the nations walk by its light and the kings come to it if it were not on earth? This vision of the shining city on a hill parallels the word of God in Isaiah (2:2-3, 25:6-8, 49:6, 52:7).
And if that’s not enough, beware of Revelation 11:18:
The nations raged,
but your wrath has come,
and the time for judging the dead,
for rewarding your servants, the prophets
and saints and all who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.
As you can see, Earth is central to God’s ultimate vision. It is not destroyed, it is made new. (Yes, the old earth passes away (Rev 21:1), but only as it is remade into a new earth.)
What, then, is Heaven? It’s a temporary residence for those who have died redeemed. The Bible tells us that those who are in Heaven will return to earth when Jesus returns:
[F]or you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God
saints from every tribe and language and people and nation;
you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God,
and they will reign on earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)
God made Creation for a reason, and he’s not done with it. Earth is our ultimate destination. So how is it that we focus not on where we are and where we will be, but on that temporary “vacation” in Heaven?