Revelation 21:2, The Parousia, part III of III
And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
//Wrapping up this discussion of the parousia, let’s now turn to the final book of the Bible: Revelation.
In the Revelation story, the parousia occurs just before Christ begins his 1,000 year reign on earth. In other words, if we are to be “with the Lord forever” from that moment on, new life will at least begin on earth, not up in the sky.
So what are we doing up in the clouds, according to Revelation? Well, the New Jerusalem is about to float down to earth, and it is referred to as the bride of Christ. The adornment of the bride, as it settles upon Mount Zion, is God’s people. Thus, we might conclude that in the parousia, we fly up to the sky, welcome Jesus to earth, enter the New Jerusalem, and float back down inside the city of God.
This idea comes from the book of Jubilees, written in the second century BCE, in which a New Jerusalem descends from heaven and replaces the old Jerusalem. Never do we read in Revelation of this New Jerusalem ascending back up to heaven or of the saints leaving the city to go to heaven. Those Old Testament passages that speak of an afterlife (Job 19:25-27; Psalms 49:15; Isaiah 25:8, 26:19, 53:10; Daniel 12:1-3,13) do not mention dwelling in heaven.
Yes, I know this is very different from current Christian theology. Make of it what you wish.