I believe there will be “earthly saints” living on the New Earth and “heavenly saints” living in the New Heaven. Let’s take a look at scriptures that teach this, beginning with the New Heaven.

In John 14:2-3 Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that WHERE I AM, there you may be also” (NKJV). The “Father’s house” is clearly speaking of the heaven where God dwells. Jesus was about to die, rise from the dead, and ascend back to heaven to be with His Father (see John 13:1; Luke 24:6-7, 50-51). Yet He promises His own that they will be with Him in heaven! This will occur when He comes for us, according to 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

Now let’s read Revelation 21:1-2, “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, NEW JERUSALEM, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride for her husband.” We are introduced in these verses to a HEAVENLY CITY where all of God’s “heavenly people” will live through all eternity. You can read in detail about this city in verses 10-27. This city is also called the “heavenly Jerusalem” in Hebrews 12:22, “But you have come to Mount Zion to the CITY OF THE LIVING GOD, the HEAVENLY JERUSALEM.” The rest of that verse and verse 23 describe who will live there, “to an innumerable company of angels, to the GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND CHURCH of the firstborn who are registered in heaven…to the SPIRITS OF JUST MEN MADE PERFECT.” The “church” are those who were saved from the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2:47) until the Rapture. The “spirits of just men made perfect” refer, we believe, to those who were saved BEFORE the Day of Pentecost; in other words, Old Testament saints. They too looked forward to living in the “heavenly Jerusalem,” as we see in Hebrews 11:10, 13-16: “For he (Abraham) waited for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God…These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is a HEAVENLY COUNTRY. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has PREPARED A CITY FOR THEM.” We should add that all those who are martyred during the coming Tribulation Period will also live in heaven with Christ (see Revelation 20:4).

So, if all Old Testament saints, church saints, and saints martyred in the Tribulation live in the New Jerusalem in the New Heaven, who will live on the New Earth? In Psalm 37:29 God made this promise to Israel, “The righteous shall inherit THE LAND, and DWELL IN IT FOREVER.” Later, in Matthew 5:5, He made the same promise, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall INHERIT THE EARTH.” This will be fulfilled when the nation of Israel enters into the Millennial Kingdom, as we see in Isaiah 65:9, “I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah an heir of My mountains; MY ELECT SHALL INHERIT IT.” Verses 17-18 go on to say, “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth…but be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I CREATE JERUSALEM as a rejoicing and her people a joy.” Though this is actually speaking of the Millennium, it will carry over into eternity, as we see in Isaiah 66:22, “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make shall REMAIN BEFORE ME, says the LORD, So shall YOUR DESCENDANTS and YOUR NAME REMAIN.” These Israelites who “inherit the earth” will be those who are saved and who live through the Tribulation Period (which takes place AFTER the Rapture). They, along with Gentiles who were saved, will all have their portion in the “earthly kingdom.” This is borne out in Matthew 25:34, “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, INHERIT THE KINGDOM prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” At the close of the Millennium, God will create the “new heaven and the new earth,” as we saw in Revelation 21:1. Jerusalem will continue to be the capital of God’s kingdom on the New Earth and thus there will be an “earthly Jerusalem” for God’s “earthly saints” and a “heavenly Jerusalem” for His “heavenly saints.” (271.3) (DO)