The short answer is that after the Rapture, there will be 7 years of Tribulation before Jesus comes back to rule on Earth from Jerusalem for 1,000 years. Then God will create a New Heaven and a New Earth…everything we know today will be destroyed by holy cosmic fire, or as the Bible describes, ‘the elements will melt’.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
2 Peter 3:10 (NKJV)
The long answer:
The truth is, Jesus created humans out of love because He wants to have relationship with every individual. But love is a choice of free will, it’s not a robotic programmed condition. Mankind has been given roughly 6,000 years since Creation to choose God and to love Him by trusting Him and following His ways. However, Sin entered the world. Yes we humans fail, we fail often and sometimes we fail big. The order of the Universe that God created requires that payment be made for the sin that every human being is guilty of and that payment is blood. Why blood? Because Life is in the blood and the penalty of sin is death. So Life is the payment for Death. Get it? God always knew that mankind was incapable of atoning for their own sin. For almost two thousand years God required his chosen people, the Jews, to ritually sacrifice the best, unblemished animals at the Temple in Jerusalem to atone for their sin. Then Jesus arrived, right on time, the Son of God, who humbled himself by coming down from Heaven to be born in human form, as God in the flesh, Jesus from Nazareth, the King of the Jews. Jesus laid down His life as the Final Sacrifice, offering up His blood as payment for the sin of all who would believe in Him and truth Him, the Creator, the Lamb of God without Sin, our Savior.
The next 2,000 years, from Jesus until now, have been a period of time known as a dispensation, also referred to as the Church Age. During this time the Truth of Jesus, who He is and what He has done for the world has gone out to every corner of the world and has been translated into essentially every language. The Church Age is drawing to a close.
The Church will be Raptured at the end of the Age, caught up to Heaven, to meet Jesus and be taken to the Father’s house. Then, down below on Earth, the antiChrist will rise to power and proclaim peace, but it will be a false, non-lasting peace for 3 1/2 years. At this point the antiChrist will proclaim himself to be god and demand worship from everyone. From this point forward, the next 3 1/2 years will be Hell on Earth, marked by war, horriffic violence, plagues, famine, earthquakes and tsunamis, even an asteroid that hits the planet. This 3 1/2 period of time is known as The Great Tribulation.
The end of the Great Tribulation is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus the Lion of Judah, will return from Heaven, riding a white horse, with an army of saints (the Church) following Him on their own white horses. In short, with a word, Jesus will vanquish His enemies and establish His Kingdom in Jerusalem, for a period of 1,000 years known as the Millennium of Peace. After this era of peace, as described in 2 Peter 3:10, everything will be destroyed by fire, purifed and made new again. This is the End of the World, and it’s a beautiful thing, as it’s also the beginning of the most glorious future that God has mind for those who love Him and obey Him.