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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.

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

  • 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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