Question: I’m confused. Where will the church (Grace-Age believers) spend eternity—Heaven or Earth? I’ve heard both.
Response: Regarding the destination of church-age believers, the Apostle Paul stated emphatically that he was “willing to be...absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor:5:8). Paul’s declaration is given further weight when he declares that he had a desire to “depart and be with Jesus, which is far better” (Phil:1:23).
The Lord Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “Verily I say unto thee, today thou shalt be with me in paradise.” This tells us that on that very day the Lord took the thief to “paradise” in accordance with His clear promise.
Ephesians:4:8 tells us: “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” When Jesus ascended into heaven, He took all the righteous dead with Him. That’s where they currently are dwelling, awaiting the Rapture when believers now alive will join them.
Regarding that subject, we have the promise that “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thes:4:17).
In the Millennium, the book of Revelation tells us that we will be “priests of God and of Christ” and we will “reign with him for a thousand years” (Rv 20:6).
At the end of the Millennium, there will be a final rebellion (Rv 20:7-10), followed by the “Great White Throne Judgment” (Rv 20:11-15). Following this, in Revelation:21:1 we are told, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”
The new heavens and the new earth will be a place “wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Pt 3:13). Since the new heavens and new earth are designed to be a place of dwelling for the righteous, Scripture doesn’t seem to hold any limitations as to whether the righteous are restricted to either heaven or earth. Nevertheless, we shall always be with the Lord, and the Lord is omnipresent.
Beyond these few details, we are given glimpses. Heaven is a place of joy where the Lord God will wipe away all tears from off all faces (Is 25:8). Psalm:16:11: “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Revelation:21:4: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation:7:16: “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.”
In short, the details of our eternity with Christ will be completely different from anything we’ve experienced in our lives and unimaginably better, regardless of where our resurrected bodies are found.