768. The Lord's Coming Is Not His Coming to Destroy the Visible Heaven and the Inhabitable Earth and to Create a New Heaven and a New Earth, As Many Have Supposed Because They Have Not Understood the Word's Spiritual Meaning
In the churches in existence today, there is a strongly held opinion about the Second Coming. They believe that when the Lord comes for the Last Judgment, he will appear in the clouds of heaven with angels and the sound of trumpets. He will gather together all the people who are living on the earth and also the people who have died. He will separate the evil among them from the good, as a shepherd separates the goats from the sheep. Then he will cast the evil (the goats) into hell, and lift the good (the sheep) into heaven. At the same time he will create a new visible heaven and a new inhabitable earth. He will send a city down onto this new earth, which will be called the New Jerusalem. Its structure will follow the description given in Revelation 21 That is, it will be made of jasper and gold. The foundations of its walls will be made of precious stones of every kind. Its height, breadth, and length will be equal, at twelve thousand stadia each. All the elect will be brought together into this city, including people who were still alive and also people who had died at any time since the world began. The elect will then return to their bodies and experience everlasting joy in that magnificent city, their heaven.
This is the belief concerning the Lord's Coming and the Last Judgment that is dominant in the Christian churches of today.