My question then, is if indeed it was prophesied that the House of Israel would be taken into the 'wilderness' as part of the new covenant, after they were sifted through the nations [Isa 30:28,38][Amos 9:9][Jer 15:14][Jer 17:4], how do we distinguish biblically between descriptions of the final post-judgement 'heaven' and the historical location of the House of Israel's punishment?
i) Certain eschatological imagery carries over from the OT into the NT, including NT prophecy. Therefore, I don’t think it’s limited to the OT, or ethnic Jews.
Although stock imagery can be used to illustrate a specific situation, the imagery isn’t tied to that situation.
ii) There are fairly literal descriptions of the general resurrection, the resurrection of the just, and the resurrection of Christ (which is the prototype of our own). That’s an anchor for extrapolating certain features of the final state. For bodies don’t exist in a vacuum. They occupy space. A physical environment.
Moreover, Jesus could eat. Indeed, we’d expect a body to eat. The fact that a body is naturally immortal doesn’t mean you can’t starve to death if you don’t eat.
His glorified body retained scars. So that suggests a fairly high degree of continuity between his mortal and immortal body.
iii) And we’re talking about many embodied persons in fellowship. That implies a concrete, interactive environment.
iii) Metaphors are analogies. So analogies, to be meaningful, must have some literal counterpart.
Offhand it’s hard to see how certain eschatological motifs, like the restoration motif, can be meaningful without some essential continuity between the past and the future, to ground the analogy. Therefore, I think it’s probably valid to extrapolate from this life to the afterlife–as long as we make allowance for revealed discontinuities.