Q. Please help me understand the following. You state that only the Church Age Saints will live in the New Jerusalem during the Millennium. And that the Church Age Saints will be able to go back and forth between the New Jerusalem and earth. What scripture supports that those Saints will be able to go back and forth? Is the New Heaven and New Earth created after the Millennium? Also, when the New Heavens and New Earth are created will the Church Age Saints still reside in the New Jerusalem or will they live on the New Earth? Does scripture give insight what they will be doing (work, play, create, govern etc.) with regard to the New Heavens and New Earth? Thank you for any clarification on the above.
A. There is much confusion surrounding the New Jerusalem and New Heavens and New Earth that arises from what I believe is a misunderstanding of the chronology in Rev. 20-22.
Here’s a quick time line as I see it. In Rev. 20 the first 6 verses deal with the time at the beginning of the Millennium just after the Lord’s return. Then verses 7-15 skip to the End of the Millennium to deal with the final disposition of Satan and the resurrection of unbelievers. In Rev. 21:1 John went back to the beginning of the Millennium to describe the New Jerusalem which he saw coming down out of heaven. To let us know he was backtracking, John opened chapter 21 with a direct quote from Isaiah 65:17 which describes Earth at the beginning of the Millennium. When the Lord returns, the Earth will be in total ruin from the terrible destruction of the Great Tribulation and will have to be restored to the condition it was in when Adam was created to make the promises of Isaiah 65 and other places come true for Israel. The first 5 verses of chapter 22 are a summary of Ezekiel 47:1-12, another view of Earth at the beginning of the Millennium, confirming that chapters 21 and 22 describe the Millennium, not eternity.
Also, the word translated “new” in John’s quote of Isaiah 65:17 can also mean refreshed or renewed. It refers to the time Jesus called the renewal of all things in Matt. 19:28 and Peter mentioned in Acts 3:21.This will take place at the time of the 2nd Coming.
Following the Rapture, the Church will dwell in the New Jerusalem forever. All we know about what we’ll be doing is that in some way we’ll be assisting the Lord in His millennial reign. The Bible offers no information or detail about life in eternity. As for the saints going back and forth, Jesus went back and forth, and 1 John 3:2 says we’ll be like Him.