The correct answer to this question is: nothing will happen on earth, because earth will not exist anymore. Peter wrote about the Day of the Lord that “the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up”, 2 Peter 3:10 (KJV). Earth as we know it will have come to an end. This is because the Lord has prepared something better for us. Peter goes on: “But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells”, 2 Peter 3:13.
The new earth
So maybe we should rephrase the question as: what will happen on the new earth? How will life on the new earth be? The first thing we already encountered: it will be a place of righteousness. There will be no place for sin. That alone is enough to make us homesick for the new earth. But the Bible teaches us much more about it.
In Revelation 21 and 22 we get the clearest picture of what the new earth is like. It is clear that the glory of the new earth surpasses John’s ability to describe it. Yet several things are clear. The new Jerusalem is coming down from heaven to earth (21:2). So heaven is located on the new earth. The new earth also is God’s dwelling place, He will be there with man (21:3). There will be no death, no mourning, no crying, and no pain (21:4). The new Jerusalem, the centre of the new earth will be a beautiful place beyond our imagination (21:9-23).
Some people cannot get very excited about eternal life, because they picture it as a bodiless existence which consists of singing songs for all eternity. However, the Bible gives a much richer picture than that. That should help us to get excited about eternal life, even though it is not always clear how much of the description of the new earth and the new Jerusalem is metaphorical.
New bodies and the presence of the Lord
First of all, God promises us that we will be on the new earth with new bodies. These bodies will be so much more glorious than our bodies now, that Paul compares it as a wheat plant to a kernel of wheat (1 Corinthians 15:35-49). Second, the main attraction on the new earth will be that we will be in the Lord’s presence (21:3, 21:22, 22:3). There will always new things to discover about God. Enjoying His presence will never grow old.
Wide variety of exciting things
Third, we will have a wide variety of exciting things to do. God will make a new heaven and a new earth for us – there will be plenty to explore! We will enjoy the best food and drink possible, as God invites us to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-10). However metaphorical that might be meant, there is no doubt that real food will be involved. Jesus told the disciples that He would drink wine again with them in His Father’s kingdom (Matthew 26:29).
On the new earth there also will be productive work for the glory of God, as we read that the glory and the honour of the nations will be brought into the new Jerusalem. Besides that we will spend time worshipping God (22:3), and we will reign together with God forever and ever (22:5).
There is much what we don’t know and cannot imagine about life on the new earth. But as it is God who is preparing it for us, we can guarantee that it will be extremely exciting and extremely rewarding. Don’t miss it through unbelief!
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