Seven or eight years ago, I was confident enough in my beliefs on the hereafter that I taught classes on heaven. Little did I know the massive turnaround that was coming. But I've done a lot of reading, particularly the works of Randy Alcorn, and not only do I have brand new eschatology ideas, but I'm considerably more excited about the prospects of the hereafter.
The change centers on the idea that there is no reason to think that Revelation 21 is meant to be symbolic and not literal. Heaven will be brought down (New Jerusalem) to the new earth. The new earth will be the same planet where we are now, only renewed...with everything evil, decayed, and rotten removed forever. God and Christ will rule this renewed earth and we will serve them. The reason I'm more pumped about this is the prospect of being in familiar environs that have been cleansed of the devil's influence.
There's a lot we don't know, of course. We'll have new bodies, but I don't know much more than that. Of course, we won't have marriage but I trust God to have a plan that let's us exist with our spouses in a way that will be superior to what we knew on this side of the curtain. We will serve God forever in ways that will be thrilling, rewarding, and perpetually fulfilling. Details are scarce, but that's okay. He tells us a little bit and faith fills in the rest of the picture.
One question I got a lot when I taught that class was, "What difference does it make?" I mean, should we devote a lot of time to ruminating on the hereafter? I think not only is it okay, but it should serve to motivate us and foster hope in our day-to-day lives. We all face discouragement, pain, and suffering...why not dwell on the promises of God that this is only temporary, and that glory will make today's troubles seems trivial? (see II Cor. 4:16-17).