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Should we really want to be on earth rather than heaven? Does the Bible give us that option?

HeavenAll of the wonderful Jehovah’s Witnesses that have come to my door have expressed no desire for a heavenly hope.  Their desire is to be on Paradise Earth forever.  And what could be wrong with good food, a nice house, domesticated wild animals and beautiful scenery?

The problem is the difficulty in making a scriptural case for an earthly hope.  Yes the Bible clearly teaches about the earthly kingdom, but for the Christian, the Bible only speaks of a heavenly hope as in the scriptures that follow:

Philippians 3:20 (NASV) “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;”

Colossians 1:5 (NWT) “the hope that is being reserved for YOU in the heavens.

Hebrews 3:1 (NWT) “Consequently, holy brothers, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the apostle and high priest whom we confess-Jesus.”

Matthew 5:12 (NWT) “Rejoice and leap for joy, since YOUR reward is great in the heavens; for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to YOU.”

Luke 6:22-23 (NKJV) “22 Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake.  23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven…”

2 Corinthians 5:1-2 (NWT) “1  For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, should be dissolved, we are to have a building from God, a house not made with hands, everlasting in the heavens. 2  For in this dwelling house we do indeed groan, earnestly desiring to put on the one for us from heaven,”

Hebrews 6:19-20 (NASV) “19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,  20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

1 Corinthians 15:42-45 (KJV) “So also is the resurrection of the dead… It is sown a natural body [death]; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [Jesus] was made a quickening spirit.”

1 Corinthians 15:49 (NASV) “Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”

John 14:2-3 (NWT) “2  In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told YOU, because I am going my way to prepare a place for YOU. 3  Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for YOU, I am coming again and will receive YOU home to myself, that where I am YOU also may be.”

1 John 3:2 (NKJV) “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

Philippians 3:14 (NKJV) “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward <Strong’s 507> call of God in Christ Jesus.”

[Upward Call is to HEAVEN.  Compare Colossians 3:1 (NKJV) If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above <507>, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” Also compare: John 8:23 (NKJV) “And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above <507>. You are of this world; I am not of this world.”

Daniel 12:3 (NASV)  “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

None of these scriptures indicate any other hope for the Christian than the heavenly hope.  As a matter of fact, Eph 4:4 says, “One body there is, and one spirit, even as YOU were called in the one hope to which YOU were called” (Eph 4:4 NWT).  So for the Christian there is only one hope; the heavenly hope.  Throughout the book of Acts, whenever anyone is baptized, nobody is ever given the option of whether they want to choose an earthly or a heavenly reward.

Even the Great Crowd are said to be in Heaven in Rev 19:1 which says, “After these things I heard what was as a loud voice of a great crowd in heaven.” (NWT)  The Greek words translated great crowd is exactly the same as in Rev 7:9.  See more on the Great Crowd in the next questions.

29 comments to Should we really want to be on earth rather than heaven? Does the Bible give us that option?

  • Enrico

    “Much of what you state here we believe as well. Our main point of disagreement lies in the fact that you believe that only Jehovah’s Witness will survive Armageddon and have a share in that Paradise”

    I dont recall stating only Jehovah’s Witnesses will be saved.
    The preaching work divides people into two classes,to accept of reject ,if one rejects the Kingdom message and refuses to repent
    and Armageddon comes that person will be lost the bible states that

    6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do God not do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10

    So here it clearly says do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus or accept the good news we preach,thats our belief,but not everyone will here the gospel or good news those ones will be saved but if one reject our message they will be lost forever.

    “The Bible clearly teaches that Christ gave his life as a ransom for ALL”

    Yes all have that opportunity to be saved but all will not .

    “The judgement of the majority of mankind can only take place in the millennial Kingdom. That is the same time period when there will be a resurrection of the righteous and unrighteous”

    True but one has to survive Armageddon to enter that 1,000 judgement day.The whole purpose of the 1000 year is to uplift mankind back to the same state Adam was before he sinned thats why the Devil is to be released afterwards,Adam sinned when he was perfect and many will again as the sands of the sea.

    “Take time to really read the posts here and you will see that many of your conclusions were erroneous”

    I read your main points let readers determine if my conclusions are false

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      Enrico hello, Jehovah witnesses teaching is that only those within the organization will survive armageddon. Please read these articles first and understand what we see the Bible saying about armageddon and the end of this age and the beginning of the next age that starts the thousand years.
      There will no doubt be billions of armageddon and tribulation survivors. A great multitude however will have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb during this tribulation. These are seen in heaven as a part of the temple class and invitees at the wedding of the Bride and the Lamb. Go here and give us your thoughts. Thank you scroll thru and consider scriptures.
      http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/category/armageddon-2/

      http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/category/ransom-answers/

    • Lee Anthony (Brandon)

      You dont have to say it, the organization has done it for you. Here are a few starting with an older one that is now i believe obsolete anyhow according to the new apparent fulfillment.
      “And while now the witness yet includes the invitation to come to Jehovah’s organization for salvation, the time no doubt will come when the message takes on a harder tone, like a “great war cry.”” Watchtower 1981 Nov 15 p.21

      Watchtower 2011 Jul 15 p.18
      Watchtower 2016 Jun study ed pp.25-26
      Watchtower 2007 Dec 15 p.14

  • Enrico

    Should we really want to be on earth rather than heaven? Does the Bible give us that option?

    I answer that question this way,you have to go to the beginning of man here on earth ,,In order for heaven to be man’s ultimate goal his ultimate home then that would mean that this earth was nothing more than the testing ground as heaven would be a reward for obedience and a burning hell as a punishment for disobedience. In terms of a burning hell that would’ve had to been created before God created man to have it ready in case man was disobedient and sinned against him.Since we know from the scripture that God is a God of warning would it be reasonable to think that such a place as a burning hell he would have gave the first man a warning of such a place for disobedience. Nowhere in Genesis do we see such a warning of an impending place of a burning hell as a punishment for disobedience is just not reasonable to see that such a place was not warned to the first man as a punishment is just not reasonable.In terms of heaven as a reward for obedience nowhere in Genesis are we told that it was a reward for the first man for total obedience. What we are told is the day that he disobeys God he would positively die that’s what we are told in the Scriptures so conversely had the first man never sinned is reasonable to think he would still be living today the question is where heaven or on this earth. Nowhere told by the Scriptures that God’s purposes will be fulfilled it would not return to him without results that’s what we are told we are also told that God does not change so that means that his purposes would not have changed for the first man since he was created and placed on this earth is reasonable to think that this was going to be man’s home not heaven.If sin had never entered into this equation that would’ve been no need for God to send his son as a ransom because we would all have been perfect and sinless and living right here on this earth. I’m not going to quote a lot of Scriptures all I’m trying to do is reason on what God’s purposes was and is.Since man did sin there was a need for God to sin his son as a ransom. Many people know we believe that only 144,000 will go to heaven which was not God’s original purpose in the first place as I brought this out and purposes were in the beginning. I’m assuming since you brought this subject up that you a churchgoing person and disagree with our belief of a paradise earth. So as I said my purpose is to show reason for our beliefs not hit you with a lot of Scriptures. Now the church believes in a rapture to heaven okay let’s take a look at that, Revelation tells us that after the end Satan would be bound for 1000 years this 1000 years would have to be after a rapture to heaven, then the Scriptures tells us that Satan would be released.Release where who is he going to go out to mislead after he’s released, is he can now go to heaven and torment those who were saved the thousand years earlier is that reasonable to think no. But the Scripture tells us as the sand of the sea are the ones who are going to be misled who are these people where did they come from they would have to have come somewhere during the thousand years.There’s only two possibilities as to who these people are and where they came from, these ones will have to have been left after a rapture to heaven of those 1000 years earlier , but is just reasonable because that would have meant that these ones who were living on the earth for 1000 years and who were the un-raptured ones were living during the time Satan was gone under peaceful conditions literally a paradise conditions with the devil gone.So now after 1000 years these ones who were not rapture are going to now be tested by the devil because the Scriptures does say he goes to the earth to mislead not heaven it clearly says earth. This scenario makes no sense first of all the end came 1000 years earlier and those who were saved went to heaven these ones were not saved but yet still lived on the earth that makes no sense. When is the earth to be burned up according to what the churches teach after the thousand years or right after the rapture that teaching makes no sense of a rapture in the first place. The second scenario is when the end came 144,000 were united in heaven and the remaining ones who were not of that fold as Jesus said would be in paradise as he told the thief the paradise would have to be on the earth these are the people during the thousand years who are to be tested when Satan is released. Isaiah said that they will certainly build houses that can’t be referring to heaven heaven is the spiritual place.So for these reasons the Scriptures clearly indicate that the earth is man’s home not heaven

    • Anon CJ

      The problem with your response is it’s typical of the JWs. Why do you jump back to isaiah and Psalms and all the Old Testament books for proof that we will live in the earth? Christians find their new hope in the New Testament. Yes billions will live on the earthen but not one time did Jesus talk about an earthly hope and then he offered heavenly rulership to Jews. They rejected. Now it’s open to the gentiles. Jesus never offered an earthly hope for Christians. Matthew 5:5 is talking about inheriting the earth to rule over NOT live on. The other sheep are gentiles that are being brought into the running for the bride along with the Jews not an earthly class. Jesus never talked about two hopes. Why do you think the society says that the NT was written mainly for the anointed? Because that was the only hope. The Bible says there is one hope. 1935 is when the society switched the great crowd to an earthly class. Everyone was anointed at Pentecost and the upperroom. Why? Because anointing was the only hope jesus gave. There were unanointed Christians in the Bible after Pentecost. Can you show me a scripture where Jesus gave instruction on how to observe the Lords evening meal for those who are not running for the bride? It’s not there. Earthly hope is for those who are not Christians right now and those who have lived and died who weren’t Christians. They will have 1000 years to learn the truth.

    • TedR (Bible Student)

      Hi Enrico
      Let me answer you point by point:
      “In order for heaven to be man’s ultimate goal his ultimate home then that would mean that this earth was nothing more than the testing ground as heaven would be a reward for obedience and a burning hell as a punishment for disobedience. In terms of a burning hell that would’ve had to been created before God created man to have it ready in case man was disobedient and sinned against him.Since we know from the scripture that God is a God of warning would it be reasonable to think that such a place as a burning hell he would have gave the first man a warning of such a place for disobedience.”
      Your right, for the majority of mankind the earth was meant to be inhabited in Paradise conditions. The Bible does not indicate a heavenly reward for all of mankind.
      Bible Students do not believe in a burning hell so that point you make is moot.

      “In terms of heaven as a reward for obedience nowhere in Genesis are we told that it was a reward for the first man for total obedience. What we are told is the day that he disobeys God he would positively die that’s what we are told in the Scriptures so conversely had the first man never sinned is reasonable to think he would still be living today the question is where heaven or on this earth.”
      I agree, if Adam would have been faithful there would have been no need for the Ransom of Christ.
      “Many people know we believe that only 144,000 will go to heaven which was not God’s original purpose in the first place as I brought this out and purposes were in the beginning. I’m assuming since you brought this subject up that you a churchgoing person and disagree with our belief of a paradise earth”
      We do believe that there will be 144000 chosen to serve with Christ as his Bride. We also believe in a Paradise Earth where the majority of man who are faithful in the Kingdom will have the opportunity to gain everlasting life.
      Much of what you state here we believe as well. Our main point of disagreement lies in the fact that you believe that only Jehovah’s Witness will survive Armageddon and have a share in that Paradise. The Bible clearly teaches that Christ gave his life as a ransom for ALL. The judgement of the majority of mankind can only take place in the millennial Kingdom. That is the same time period when there will be a resurrection of the righteous and unrighteous. Right now Satan is misleading the entire inhabited earth. Only when the earth becomes filled with the knowledge of Jehovah can mankind have the true opportunity to choose whether or not to serve Christ. For Jehovah’s Witnesses to claim to be the only true channel for salvation is the ultimate in presumptuousness. We serve a loving God who desires all to have a fair chance to get to know him without the misleading propaganda of the great deceiver. To think that an honest-hearted person, truly seeking to serve God will be destroyed just because he rejects Watchtowers version of truth is abhorrent to me and goes against everything I know about Christ and his love for mankind.
      As far as the Christian hope. We believe that all who are true Christians who follow in Christs footsteps, have the heavenly reward. This is clear in Revelation where it speaks of a Great Crowd standing before Gods throne in the heavens. This is the reward for obedience to our Lord. Only our Lord knows who is deserving of that reward. Take time to really read the posts here and you will see that many of your conclusions were erroneous.

  • traveler

    I might add that Jesus was “called up” where as all who follow Yahweh hear the upward call, making their minds over or UP. We address some of these things in the letter we wrote to the organization later in the same letter but were trying to make head way without clearing every organizational statement up at once.

  • traveler

    Here’s part of a letter on identity and resurrection in relation to identity that we wrote to the JW organization after having established this as the only explanation that would stand in reference to the Bible. we did this in three separate committee meetings. The process had been ongoing for over forty years. Sorry about the type I know it shows some frustration on our part.

    RESURRECTION

    The Hope of The Resurrection

    We again bring attention to the stated position of Jehovah’s organization, one with which we whole heartedly agree.
    .
    *** W05 5/1 pp. 9-10 par. 8 the Resurrection—A Teaching That Affects You ***

    “Yes, so fundamental is the teaching of the resurrection that the Christian faith is in vain if the resurrection is not accepted as a reality.
    Indeed, the correct understanding of the resurrection sets true Christians apart from the false.”

    The Consideration of Resurrection

    In Jesus’ case, at death he gives up his body with its ability to hold thoughts in the mind, and entrusts his spirit to Jehovah, as Michael did, his body eventually being done away with by Jehovah.

    (Luke 23:46) 46 And Jesus called with a loud voice and said: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” When he had said this, he expired. . .

    Remember that at death it is his spirit that his identity depends on as it was in the transfer. The term resurrection has nothing to do with the giving of life as a statement, as shown in the following definition given by the organization:

    Resurrection: to stand before or take responsibility for one’s actions in relation to Jehovah.

    Resurrection is not the return to living or conscious existence.

    To take responsibility for one’s actions (to receive a resurrection) means to receive the reward. In Jesus’ case this was his return to consciousness by Jehovah, and the return to existence on earth through the resurrection reward. We note in the case of Jesus that he was returned to life on earth by resurrection though the Abrahamic covenant and then ascended to heaven by the personal covenant with Jehovah (upward calling). This is perhaps the first time you have heard the consideration that there is no resurrection directly to heaven, but it will occur again. Jehovah took Jesus’ life force from the memorial tomb, transferred or resurrected it to a new body (spiritual) thus giving him existence again here on earth. Jehovah then replaced the thoughts that Jesus and Michael had generated within both existences, one spiritual and one physical, by using Jehovah’s own perfect memory (Acts 17:31).

    (Acts 17:31) . . .Because he has set a day in which he purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and he has furnished a guarantee to all men in that he has resurrected him from the dead.”

    Jesus was allowed to make himself manifest to or seen physically by mankind after his resurrection to a spiritual body, which in this time after the flood was allowed only by direct permission of Jehovah.

    (John 20:17) 17 Jesus said to her: “Stop clinging to me. For I have not yet ascended to the Father. But be on your way to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and YOUR Father and to my God and YOUR God.’. . .

    Under the Abrahamic prophesy, Jesus as a “son of Israel” was the first of the “sons of God” to cross over from death to life by exercising faith in the things heard, and by being such received a resurrection to earth though Abrahamic promise. Then through a special covenant between himself and Jehovah for a kingdom rule, he was “called” to ascend to heaven after finishing his time on earth; in other words, to fulfill his Heavenly calling.

    (Acts 10:40-41) . . .God raised this One up on the third day and granted him to become manifest, (seen on earth by man)41 not to all the people, but to witnesses appointed beforehand by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after his rising from the dead.

    Yes, there is no resurrection to heaven, not for Jesus nor for the 144,000 of the chosen ones, those to have an upward calling. You must read and examine each statement carefully, clearly identifying the steps, and the promises and covenants fulfilled, in order to keep track of events as they unfold logically. The 144,000, the chosen ones for the upward calling, are discussed in another section of the paper. However, we will say here that all of the “sons of Israel” have a heavenly calling since it is from Jehovah in the heavens that all hear the call and have their hope which is different from an upward calling.

    We believe that the only reason the example of this logical train of thought (the transfer of Christ,” the only way”) exists in the publications of “Insight on the Scriptures” Vol. 2, page 56″, and Watchtower, January 1, 2005 Questions from the Readers, relating Stephen’s request is because the brother or brothers writing just went through the process of transfer and Stephen’s request logically. They did not realize that what they presented was in opposition to what the organization considers the present truth.

    Keep in mind that the new creation is what you are when you cross from death to life at baptisum. As a being who has been born into Yahweh’s reality for the first time, now living, you are a new creation. Jesus was also dead to God under the headship of his adoptive father and had to cross from death to life also.

    Jesus was “called up” where as all who follow Yahweh hear the upward call, making their minds over or UP. We address some of these things in the letter we wrote to the organization later in the same letter but were trying to make head way without clearing every organizational statement up at once.

    • Peter K. (admin)

      traveler – We require discussions on this website to be two way discussions, not simply preaching. You have totally ignored the scriptural evidence for a heavenly/spiritual resurrection. For example:

      2 Corinthians 5:1-2 (NWT) “1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, should be dissolved, we are to have a building from God, a house not made with hands, everlasting in the heavens. 2 For in this dwelling house we do indeed groan, earnestly desiring to put on the one for us from heaven,”

      1 Corinthians 15:42-45 (KJV) “So also is the resurrection of the dead… It is sown a natural body [death]; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [Jesus] was made a quickening spirit.”

      The fact that Jesus appeared to the disciples in physical form no more proves that he has a permanent physical body than does the angels appearance to Abraham in physical form prove those angels do not have spirit bodies.

  • traveler

    I’ve been reading the comments, and it occurred to me that the contributors need to have the realization that there is no provision in the promises and covenants that allows for the resurrection of anyone to heaven. Look carefully. Jesus was resurrected to the earth through the promises made to Abraham, and then he ascended. At Armageddon those in the memorial tombs are resurrected to earth and they, along with the living, are changed. Christ DESCENDS from Heaven and those with the upward call meet him in the air. The UPWARD CALL is often confused with the heavenly call from Jehovah that all must hear to draw closer to him. Remember, kingdom means range of influence and those under the influence of God or his “kingdom” on earth are in the process of returning to order, still drawing closer to God even during the thousand years. Thus the statement, “let your kingdom come” is a matter of Jehovah’s will being fully understood and exercised on Earth, as it is in Heaven. The kingdom coming back to God is dependent on God pouring out the spirit of understanding on mankind. You may have noticed that the “new Jerusalem” is arriving at earth not leaving. With this concept in mind, it should be fairly easy to work out who those of the upward call are: those of the sons of Israel to share rule of the earth with Jesus. You have only the twelve tribes during the thousand years on Earth, minus 144,000, thus the great crowd seems simple enough to get a handle on. It also might be good to keep in mind that “few” find the path, so the “Great Crowd” is a small remnant of mankind.

    • Peter K. (admin)

      traveler – Thanks for sharing on our site. It is okay for us to disagree as long as we accept the scriptures as the supreme authority and strive our best to honestly understand and accept their teaching. By sharing thoughts, perhaps I can learn from you and visa versa. I think there is lots of evidence to show that the New Creation will receive a heavenly resurrection. For example:

      John 3:6-8, 13 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit… No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. (NKJ) [Context is “heaven”]

      1 Cor 15:40: There are also celestial [heavenly] bodies, and bodies terrestrial [earthly]: but the glory of the celestial [heavenly] is one, and the glory of the terrestrial [earthly] is another. (KJV)

      1 Cor 15:44: It is sown [we are born in] a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (NKJ)

      I Jn 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (NKJ) [Since Jesus has a spirit body, then so will we since we are to be like him]

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