The previous article dealt with the two rival seeds that contend with one another throughout time until the culmination of the salvation of humankind. We are now in the fourth installment of this series and yet we’ve never actually stopped to ask the question: What is our salvation?
Of what does the salvation of Mankind consist? If you think the answer is obvious, then think again. I did, and I did. I can assure you that after giving this much thought, I’ve realized it is perhaps the single most misunderstood and misconstrued of all the basic teachings of Christianity.
If you were to ask your average Protestant that question, you’d likely hear that salvation means going to heaven if you are good. Conversely, if you are bad, you go to Hell. If you ask a Catholic, you’ll get a similar answer, with the addendum that if you’re not good enough to merit heaven, but not bad enough to deserve condemnation in Hell, you go to Purgatory, which is a sort of clearing house, like Ellis Island was back in the day.
For these groups, resurrection is of the body, because the soul never dies, being immortal and all.[i] Of course, belief in an immortal soul means that there is no hope for, nor reward of, everlasting life, since by definition, an immortal soul is everlasting. It seems that for the majority of those in Christendom, salvation—as the real estate community would say—is all about “location, location, location”. This also means that for the bulk of those professing to be Christians, this planet is little more than a proving ground; a temporary residence in which we are tested and refined before going to our eternal reward in heaven or our eternal damnation in Hell.
Ignoring the fact that there is no sound Scriptural basis for this theology, some disregard it on a purely logical basis. They reason that if the earth is a proving ground to qualify us for a heavenly reward, why did God create the angels directly as spirit beings? Don’t they have to be tested too? If not, then why us? Why create physical beings if what you’re looking for, if what you want to end up with, are spiritual ones? Seems like a waste of effort. Also, why would a loving God willfully subject innocent beings to such suffering? If the earth is for testing and refining, then man wasn’t given a choice. He was created to suffer. This doesn’t fit with what 1 John 4:7-10 tells us about God.
Finally, and most damning of all, why did God create Hell? After all, none of us asked to be created. Before we each came into being, we were nothing, non-existent. So God’s deal is essentially, “Either you love me and I’ll take you to heaven, or you reject me, and I’ll torture you forever.” We don’t get the chance to simply return to what we had prior to existence; no chance to return to the nothingness from which we came if we don’t want to take the deal. No, it is either obey God and live, or reject God and be tortured forever and ever.
This is what we might call Godfather theology: “God’s going to make us an offer we can’t refuse.”
Little wonder that a growing number of humans are turning to atheism or agnosticism. Church teachings, rather than reflect the logical rationale of science, expose their true foundation in the mythologies of ancient peoples.
Over my lifetime, I have had lengthy discussions with people of all the major and many of the minor faiths in the world, both Christian and non-Christian. I have yet to find one that is completely in line with what the Bible teaches. This should not surprise us. The Devil does not want Christians to understand the true nature of salvation. However, his many competing groups have the problem of any organization with a product to sell. (2 Corinthians 11:14, 15) What each one has to offer the consumer has to differ from its competitors; otherwise, why would people switch? This is product branding 101.
The problem all these religions face is that the real hope for salvation is not the possession of any organized religion. It is like the manna that fell from the sky in the wilderness of Sinai; there for all to pick up at will. Basically, organized religion is trying to sell food to people who are surrounded by it, all for free. Religionists understand that they cannot control people unless they control their food supply, so they proclaim themselves the “faithful and discreet slave” of Matthew 24:45-47, the exclusive food purveyor of the flock of God, and hope that nobody notices they are free to get the food themselves. Unfortunately, this strategy has worked for hundreds of years and continues to do so.
Well, on this site, no one is trying to govern or rule another. Here we just want to understand the Bible. Here, the only one in charge is Jesus. When you have the best, who needs all the rest!
So let us look at the Bible together and see what we can come up with, shall we?
Back to Basics
As a starting point, let us agree that our salvation is the restoration of what was lost in Eden. If we hadn’t lost it, whatever it was, we wouldn’t need to be saved. That seems logical. Therefore, if we can properly understand what was lost back then, we’ll know what we have to get back to be saved.
We know that Adam was created by God in His image and likeness. Adam was God’s son, part of God’s universal family. (Ge 1:26; Lu 3:38) The Scriptures also reveal that the animals were also created by God but were not made in his image nor likeness. The Bible never refers to the animals as God’s children. They are His creation only, whereas humans are both His creation and His children. Angels are also spoken of as God’s sons. (Job 38:7)
Children inherit from a father. God’s children inherit from their heavenly Father, which means they inherit, among other things, everlasting life. Animals are not God’s children, so they do not inherit from God. Thus animals die naturally. All God’s creation, whether part of his family or not, are subject to Him. Therefore, we can say without fear of contradiction that Jehovah is the universal sovereign.
Let’s reiterate: Everything that exists is the creation of God. He is the Sovereign Lord of all creation. A small part of his creation are also considered to be His children, God’s family. As is the case with a father and children, God’s children are fashioned in his image and likeness. As children, they inherit from Him. Only members of God’s family inherit and thus only family members can inherit the life that God has: everlasting life.
Along the way, some of God’s angelic sons as well as His two original human children rebelled. This did not mean God ceased being their sovereign. All creation continues subject to Him. For example, long after his rebellion, Satan was still subject to God’s will. (See Job 1:11, 12) While given considerable latitude, rebellious creation was never completely free to do whatever it wanted. Jehovah, as Sovereign Lord, still set the limits within which both humans and demons could function. When those limits were exceeded, there were consequences, such as the destruction of the world of Mankind in the Flood, or the localized destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the humbling of one man, such as King Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonians. (Ge 6:1-3; 18:20; Da 4:29-35; Jude 6, 7)
Given that the governmental relationship of God over Man continued to exist after Adam sinned, we can conclude that the relationship that Adam lost was not that of Sovereign/Subject. What he lost was a familial relationship, that of a father with his children. Adam was cast out of Eden, the family home that Jehovah had prepared for the first humans. He was disinherited. Since only God’s children can inherit God’s things, including everlasting life, Adam lost out on his inheritance. Thus, he became just another creation of God like the animals.
“for there is an outcome for humans and an outcome for animals; they all have the same outcome. As the one dies, so the other dies; and they all have but one spirit. So man has no superiority over animals, for everything is futile.” (Ec 3:19)
If man is made in God’s image and likeness, and is part of God’s family, and inherits everlasting life, how can it be said that “man has no superiority over the animals”? It cannot. Therefore, the writer of Ecclesiastes is speaking of ‘fallen Man’. Burdened with sin, disinherited from God’s family, humans truly are no better than animals. As the one dies, so the other dies.
The Role of Sin
This helps us to put the role of sin into perspective. None of us chose to sin initially, but we were born into it as the Bible says:
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death was passed on to all men, because all sinned.” – Romans 5:12 BSB[ii]
Sin is our inheritance from Adam, by being genetically descended from him. It’s about family and our family inherits from our father Adam; but the chain of inheritance stops with him, because he was thrown out of the family of God. Thus we are all orphans. We are still God’s creation, but like the animals, we are no longer his sons.
How do we get to live forever? Stop sinning? That is simply beyond us, but even if it were not, to concentrate on sin is to miss the bigger issue, the real issue.
To better understand the real issue concerning our salvation, we should take one last look at what Adam had before he rejected God as his Father.
Adam walked and talked with God apparently on a regular basis. (Ge 3:8) This relationship appears to have had more in common with a Father and son than with a King and his subject. Jehovah treated the first human pair as his children, not his servants. What need does God have of servants? God is love, and his love is expressed via the family arrangement. There are families in heaven just as there are families on earth. (Eph 3:15) A good human father or mother will put the life of their child first, even to the point of sacrificing their own. We are made in God’s image and so, even while sinful, we portray a glimmer of the infinite love God has for his own children.
The relationship that Adam and Eve had with their Father, Jehovah God, was to be ours as well. That is part of the inheritance that awaits us. It is part of our salvation.
God’s Love Opens the Way Back
Until Christ came, faithful men could not rightfully consider Jehovah as their personal Father in more than a metaphorical sense. He might be referred to as the Father of the nation of Israel, but apparently no one back then thought of him as a personal father, the way Christians do. Thus, we will find no prayer offered in the pre-Christian Scriptures (the Old Testament) wherein a faithful servant of God addresses Him as Father. The terms used refer to him Lord in a superlative sense (The NWT often translates this as “Sovereign Lord”.) or as Almighty God, or other terms that emphasize his power, lordship, and glory. Faithful men of old—the patriarchs, kings, and prophets—did not consider themselves to be children of God, but only aspired to be His servants. King David went so far as to refer to himself as the “son of [Jehovah’s] slave girl.” (Ps 86:16)
All that changed with Christ, and it was a bone of contention with his opposers. When he called God his Father, they considered it blasphemy and wanted to stone him on the spot.
“. . .But he answered them: “My Father has kept working until now, and I keep working.” 18 This is why the Jews began seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath but he was also calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God.” (Joh 5:17, 18 NWT)
So when Jesus taught his followers to pray, “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified…” we was speaking heresy to the Jewish leaders. Yet he spoke this fearlessly because he was imparting a vital truth. Eternal life is something that is inherited. In other words, if God is not your Father, you don’t get to live forever. It is as simple as that. The idea that we can live forever only as servants of God, or even friends of God, is not the good news that Jesus declared.
(The opposition Jesus and his followers experienced when they claimed to be children of God is ironically not a dead issue. For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses will often be suspicious of a fellow Witness should he or she claim to be an adopted child of God.)
Jesus is our savior, and he saves by opening up the way for us to return to the family of God.
“However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name.” (Joh 1:12 NWT)
The importance of the family relationship in our salvation is driven home by the fact that Jesus is often called, “the Son of Man.” He saves us by becoming part of the family of Mankind. Family saves family. (More on this later.)
That salvation is all about family can be seen by scanning these Bible passages:
“Are they not all spirits for holy service, sent out to minister for those who are going to inherit salvation?” (Heb 1:14)
“Happy are the mild-tempered, since they will inherit the earth.” (Mt 5:5)
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit everlasting life.” (Mt 19:29)
“Then the King will say to those on his right: ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.’” (Mt 25:34)
“As he was going on his way, a man ran up and fell on his knees before him and put the question to him: “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit everlasting life?”” (Mr 10:17)
“so that after being declared righteous through the undeserved kindness of that one, we might become heirs according to a hope of everlasting life.” (Tit 3:7)
“Now because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, and it cries out: “Abba, Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, then you are also an heir through God.” (Ga 4:6, 7)
“which is a token in advance of our inheritance, for the purpose of releasing God’s own possession by a ransom, to his glorious praise.” (Eph 1:14)
“He has enlightened the eyes of your heart, so that you may know to what hope he called you, what glorious riches he holds as an inheritance for the holy ones,” (Eph 1:18)
“for you know that it is from Jehovah you will receive the inheritance as a reward. Slave for the Master, Christ.” (Col 3:24)
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is sufficient to prove the point that our salvation comes to us by way of inheritance—children inheriting from a Father.
The Children of God
The way back into God’s family is through Jesus. The ransom has opened the door to our reconciliation with God, restoring us to his family. Yet, it gets a little more complicated than that. The ransom is applied in two ways: There are the children of God and the children of Jesus. We will look at the children of God first.
As we saw at John 1:12, the children of God come into being by virtue of putting faith in the name of Jesus. This is much more difficult than it might seem at first glance. In fact, very few accomplish this.
“But when the Son of man comes, shall he indeed find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8 DBT[iii])
It seems safe to say that we’ve all heard the complaint that if there really is a God, why doesn’t He just show himself and be done with it? Many feel that this would be the solution to all the world’s problems; but such a view is simplistic, ignoring the nature of free will as revealed by the facts of history.
For example, Jehovah is visible to the angels and yet many followed the Devil in his course of rebellion. So believing in God’s existence didn’t help them remain righteous. (James 2:19)
The Israelites in Egypt bore witness to ten astonishing manifestations of God’s power after which they saw the Red Sea part allowing them to escape on dry ground, only to close up later, swallowing their enemies. Yet, within days they rejected God and began to worship the Golden Calf. After doing away with that rebellious faction, Jehovah told the remaining people to take possession of the land of Canaan. Again, rather than take courage based on what they’d just seen of God’s power to save, they gave way to fear and disobeyed. As a result, they were punished by wandering in the wilderness for forty years until all the able-bodied men of that generation died off.
From this, we can discern that there is a difference between belief and faith. Nevertheless, God knows us and remembers we are dust. (Job 10:9) So even men and women like those wandering Israelites will have the opportunity to become reconciled with God. Nevertheless, they will need more than another visible manifestation of diving power to put faith in him. That being said, they will still get their visible evidence. (1 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 1:7)
So there are those who walk by faith and those who walk by sight. Two groups. Yet the opportunity for salvation is made available to both because God is love. Those who walk by faith get to be called the children of God. As for the second group, they will have to opportunity to become children of Jesus.
John 5:28, 29 speaks of these two groups.
“Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice 29and come out—those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28, 29 BSB)
Jesus refers to the type of resurrection each group experiences, whereas Paul speaks of the state or status of each group upon resurrection.
“And I have a hope in God, which these men themselves also accept, that there is going to be a resurrection, both of the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15 HCSB[iv])
The righteous are resurrected first. They inherit everlasting life and inherit a Kingdom that has been prepared for them since the beginning of human procreation. These rule as kings and priests for 1,000 years. They are the children of God. However, they are not children of Jesus. They become his brothers, because they are heirs alongside the Son of Man. (Re 20:4-6)
Then the King will say to those on his right: “Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.” (Mt 25:34)
For all who are led by God’s spirit are indeed God’s sons. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery causing fear again, but you received a spirit of adoption as sons, by which spirit we cry out: “Abba, Father!” 16 The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 If, then, we are children, we are also heirs—heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ—provided we suffer together so that we may also be glorified together. (Ro 8:14-17)
You will, of course, notice that we are still speaking of ‘heirs’ and ‘inheritance’. Even though a Kingdom or government is referred to here, it doesn’t stop being about family. As Revelation 20:4-6 demonstrates, the lifespan of this Kingdom is finite. It has a purpose, and once accomplished, it will be replaced by the arrangement God is purposed from the start: A family of human children.
Let us not think like physical men. The kingdom these children of God inherit is not as it would be were men involved. They are not awarded great power so that they can lord it over others and be waited on hand and foot. We have not seen this type of kingdom before. This is the Kingdom of God and God is love, so this is a kingdom based on love.
“Beloved ones, let us continue loving one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love has not come to know God, because God is love. 9 By this the love of God was revealed in our case, that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might gain life through him.” (1Jo 4:7-9 NWT)
What a wealth of meaning there is to be found in these few verses. “Love is from God.” He is the source of all love. If we do not love, we cannot be born from God; we cannot be his children. We cannot even know him if we do not love.
Jehovah will not tolerate anyone in his kingdom who is not motivated by love. There can be no corruption in His Kingdom. That is why those who make up the kings and priests alongside Jesus must be thoroughly tested as their Master was. (He 12:1-3; Mt 10:38, 39)
These ones are able to sacrifice everything for the hope before them, though they have scant evidence upon which to base this hope. While now these have hope, faith and love, when their reward is realized, they will not need the first two, but will continue to need love. (1 Co 13:13; Ro 8:24, 25)
The Children of Jesus
Isaiah 9:6 refers to Jesus as the Eternal Father. Paul told the Corinthians that “‘The first man Adam became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Co 15:45) John tells us that, “For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted also to the Son to have life in himself.” (John 5:26)
Jesus has been given “life in himself”. He is a “life-giving spirit”. He is the “Eternal Father”. Humans die because they inherit sin from their forefather, Adam. The family lineage stops there, since Adam was disinherited and could no longer inherit from the heavenly Father. If humans could switch families, if they could be adopted into a new family under the lineage of Jesus who can still claim Jehovah as his Father, then the chain of inheritance opens up, and they can again inherit everlasting life. They become children of God by virtue of having Jesus as their “Eternal Father”.
At Genesis 3:15, we learn that the woman’s seed wars with the seed or offspring of the Serpent. Both the first and the last Adam can claim Jehovah as their direct Father. The last Adam, by virtue of being born of a woman in the lineage of the first woman can also claim his place in the family of man. Being part of the human family gives him the right to adopt human children. Being a Son of God gives him the right to replace Adam as the head of the entire family of Mankind.
Jesus, like his Father, will not force adoption upon anyone. The law of free will means that we must freely choose to accept what is offered without coercion or manipulation.
The Devil doesn’t play by those rules, however. Over the centuries, millions have had their minds warped by suffering, corruption, abuse, and pain. Their thinking ability has been clouded by prejudice, lies, ignorance and misinformation. Coercion and peer pressure have been applied from infancy to shape their thinking.
In his infinite wisdom, the Father has determined that the children of God under Christ will be used to clear away all the detritus of centuries of corrupt human rule, so that humans can have their first real chance at becoming reconciled with their heavenly Father.
Some of this is revealed in this passage from Romans chapter 8:
18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Ro 8:18-25 ESV[v])
Humans who are alienated from the family of God are, as we’ve just seen, like the beasts. They are creation, not family. They groan in their bondage, but yearn for the freedom that will come with the manifestation of the children of God. Finally, by means of the Kingdom under Christ, these sons of God will act as both kings to rule and priests to mediate and heal. Humanity will be cleansed and come to know the “freedom of the glory of the children of God”.
Family heals family. Jehovah keeps the means of salvation all within the family of man. When the Kingdom of God has accomplished its purpose, humanity will not be under a government as subjects of a King, but instead will be restored to a family with God as Father. He will rule, but as a Father rules. At that wondrous time, God will truly become all things to everyone.
“But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.” – 1Co 15:28
So, if we are to define our salvation in a single sentence, it is about becoming once again part of the family of God.
For more on this, see the next article in this series: https://beroeans.net/2017/05/20/salvation-part-5-the-children-of-god/
[i] The Bible doesn’t teach the immortality of the human soul. This teaching has its origins in Greek mythology.
[ii] Berean Study Bible
[iii] Darby Bible Translation
[iv] Holman Christian Standard Bible
[v] English Standard Version
[…] [For the previous article in this series, see All in the Family.] […]
[…] Salvation, Part 4: All in the Family […]
[…] [For the previous article in this series, see All in the Family.] […]
Thank you Meleti for this interesting and important article. I agree with most of your conclusions, except the “children of Jesus” discussion. This is a minor detail, but I’d like to present a different angle here for the interested. When I did research on trinity doctrine, I found that jews understand and translate Isa 9:6 differently than Christians. Over time, I have started to trust the Jewish translations of the Old Testament more than Christian. Christian translations and interpretations of this passage have been traditionally biased, to support trinity. Here comes a copy-paste of a piece about Isa 9:6 from… Read more »
Thanks Tyhik, but I don’t see how the reasoning in that link argues against the “children of Jesus” line of reasoning? It seems to be talking more about whether Isaiah 9:6 refers to actual names, which I agree it does not, and whether Jesus being called Everlasting Father means he is one with the Father, Jehovah, which it does not. Other than that, it does not appear to say anything that proves Jesus won’t be the father (in the likeness of Adam) of all those who are declared righteous at the end of the 1,000 years.
I understand from this link that Isa 9:6 does not call Jesus Everlasting Father at all. If it is indeed so then there is not much Bible support left for “children of Jesus” idea.
Interesting. I’ve never looked at the interlinear before, but you’re right. I don’t see “father” there, at least on the Biblehub.com interlinear. Does anyone else know more about this subject? I disagree with the conclusion that the removal of this reference to Jesus as a father leaves us with little Bible support for the idea that Jesus has children. You will acknowledge that the Bible says that Adam has children, and since Jesus becomes the last Adam, it follows that the first man is replaced by the Son of Man. This does not mean that God will not be the… Read more »
You wrote, “let us agree that our salvation is the restoration of what was lost in Eden.” Precisely. And what was lost in Eden? Perfect human life on earth. So, why does everyone believe that this “restoration” occurs in heaven? Let us remind ourselves: Who was it who first said that humans would never die AND would exist in a state comparable to God? Satan, that’s who. In the first century, for all of Jesus’ talk about the Kingdom of the Heavens (which the context will show as synonymous with the Kingdom of God), no where in the NT does… Read more »
I wanted to say a few words about the voting feature on this forum. I have observed that in the last few weeks, someone has been voting down my posts. When I post comments, it’s because I sincerely believe that it will contribute something to the discussion. I don’t do this in order to ‘curry favor’ or win a popularity contest. It would be ‘nice’ if people liked what I wrote, but that is not what is most important to me. Either what I have written is in harmony with the truth, or it isn’t. That ought to be the… Read more »
I hope you don’t become offended if some vote down your comments. I agree that it would be nice to know why, but I think that some on the site may still be in shock over finding out that the truth is not the truth, may disagree with your conclusions due to past indoctrination and are unable to make a rebuttal for obvious reasons.
I for one, and am sure there are others, appreciate your insights and comments, so please don’t stop.
Thank you Colette. I am not so much offended as I am puzzled. If someone truly thinks I am wrong, I WANT them to tell me why. I don’t know everything! Maybe they are right and I am wrong. If that is so, neither I nor anyone else will benefit from their insights if they don’t provide them. It does no good to harbor grudges. We all need to respectfully share our thoughts freely. When I do write things, I try my best not to make any remarks personal, but to stick to the facts as I understand them. In… Read more »
Robert, great that you don’t feel offended by a down vote. It is best to ignore them. For several reasons. First, we don’t know how often somebody gives a down vote as long as there are some up votes and the balance comes out non-negative. If you are ‘late to the party’ so to say, then the only downvote may be all you get. Second, I’d say, downvoting is the easiest way to ‘argue’ when one does not like the conclusions, but does not have time or willingness or even perhaps arguments to articulate it. If a person has something… Read more »
A thumbs up is a person’s way off showing a number of things, one of which is that they like what you wrote; another is that they agree with you. A thumbs down is the opposite: A simple way of saying I don’t agree with you or like what you have said. It is nice when a person take the time to give you a thumbs up and also tells you why they agree with you, but if they don’t, we don’t get upset because they’ve made us feel good. However, if a person gives us a thumbs down it… Read more »
Amen , I still like addressing “Sovereign Lord” when I feel a need for more formal conversation with our Father . A recognition of the full Character held by God tho I use both . It has a sweet taste in my mouth .
Excellent article Meleti. Thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s feels so comfortable being on the same page on this topic. John 1:12 continues to be one of my favorite scriptures. As regards those that become children of God, and later those that become children of Jesus, I have come to understand that, and have seen John 10:16 in a different way, thanks to another brother and the HS. I used to understand it the way Raymond Franz explained it…that Jesus was referring to Jews being the first invited, and then Jesus would bring other sheep: non Jews. But, an examination of the… Read more »
Hi Yehorakam, You wrote: “Jesus was not talking about Jews and non-Jews.” What evidence is there for this? You then wrote: “He was indicating that a first group would receive life. Later, during his Kingdom rule, he and the first group would assist another group to receive life and become sons of God. The end result is that both groups would receive the same: perfect life as sons of God. They would be all one family, “one flock.”” To be precise, he said that the first group were a flock of sheep then present. They were “this fold” or ‘this… Read more »
Hi Meleti, as I mentioned “I have come to understand…John 10:16 in a different way.” What evidence is there that Jesus was talking about Jews and non-Jews. None. What evidence is there that Jesus was referring to a second group that would receive life at the end of the 1,000 years? None. Neither is explicity stated. It’s only my thoughts on the matter. There is certainly is nothing to dismiss the idea of Jews and non-Jews being brought together in one group. There is nothing to dismiss to the idea that eventually a second larger group will come to life… Read more »
[…] However, there is apparently another reason that Jehovah chose to use the seed of the woman in the process that results in the salvation of Mankind. We will deal with this in our next article. […]
Interesting Wt Study article, from 1938, 3 years into the new understanding of who the “other Sheep” doctrine. A understanding of the “creature” comes to light regarding the , newly formed “other sheep ” in the Watchtower Society. Keep in mind also, for their first time in 3 years, they(the Jehonadabs-other sheep) were invited to attend their first Memorial, (no invites to Jehonadabs 1935-1938)and I think(it was only for the Elders only invite) . Well this is the quote with reference. His Flock -Wt April 1938 para 33, page 105., “The Jonadabs, or “other sheep”, are in a differ- ent… Read more »
Hi Meliti. I thought the article was brilliant and so well explained. It really is so simple. The people God wants in his family are those that prove their love for him by displaying love to others as far as they are able. It removed the rules and regulations and over rides them all with love. Love makes us focus on what is important. If in doubt, as some have said, do things the loving way. I am still a little confused on the hopes. I understand that we become children of God by coming under Jesus wing unless we… Read more »
It is a big topic to be sure. I’m working on followups to deal with the questions you raise. I’m hoping that they will spark lively discussions that will help us all delve deeper into this most important of all topics.
Hi Meleti , I appreciate your article, and I like your reasoning on John 5:28 & Romans 8:17-24. Like the reasoning and I agree with your conclusions also. I believe in this once in a lifetime opportunity to be a child of God. You said “Jesus, like his Father, will not force adoption upon anyone. The law of free will means that we must freely choose to accept what is offered without coercion or manipulation.” In the illustration-A King Calls Those Invited to a Marriage Feast. Matt 22:1-14 it says in verse 14,“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”… Read more »
Good questions, Lazarus. I’m working on the answers for the next article. 🙂
What did Jesus teach while on the earth? He could have cleared up a lot of doctrinal confusion if he had spent time on theological discussion. Yet what was important and what mattered to him? If you look at the focus of his ministry, he taught people how to treat each other. The focus was love. Love of people as we can’t love God if we don’t love our brother, and love of God. THAT is what matters. Why? LOVE = GOOD RELATIONSHIP Love is the identifying mark of true Christians. Love is the qualifying factor to rule with Christ.… Read more »
This is a beautiful, well thought out article. I agree with much of this however I am curious about the idea that the sons of God will inherit everlasting life on earth. That is what I was taught as a Jehovah’s Witness and yet based on my understanding of the scriptures I feel that I have a heavenly hope. For instance, 1 Cor. 15:35-58 describes quite vividly the transformation from a physical form to a spiritual form that Christians will experience. I would love to hear your understanding of these verses! Thank you.
I too once thought that there were two destinations for the righteous, one to heaven and one to earth. However, further research seems to lead to something even better. That will be the topic of the next article in this series.
Key word here is “SEEMS to lead…”
(This is also a favorite word of the WT Organization)
Hello Gwen, You wrote, “based on my understanding of the scriptures I feel that I have a heavenly hope. For instance, 1 Cor 15:35-58 describes quite vividly the transformation from a physical form to a spiritual form that Christians will experience.” I have a reply for you. It is lengthy, but I hope you find it of interest. Many Christians over the centuries have read these verses and concluded that they will go to heaven when they die. I don’t believe that. In my view, no one is going to heaven. This is a deep subject, and can’t be fully… Read more »
Hi Robert, thank you for the well thought out reasoning on this verse. Your words and scriptures used make a lot of sense. It is nice to see that there is an alternate way to understand these verses. And you are right, Satan is the one that started the idea that if you are dead, you are not dead, just alive somewhere else in another form.
When I have presented this concept to others, it usually results in resistance. Belief in a heavenly hope reflects centuries of Christian thought and doctrine. It is a “strongly entrenched” thing. When people are told their whole lives to expect life in heaven, it’s extremely difficult to get them to listen to any other narrative. I have been researching this for some time, and the more I look, the more I am convinced this ‘heavenly hope’ is incorrect. I believe Meleti is going to be considering this issue in the near future.
I have been considering at length whether heaven is the destination of our “one hope”, and I am becoming more and more convinced that it’s not. I will pass on to Meleti some thoughts I have on this subject. And he can incorporate it into an article.
I have added some comments along those lines in the article at https://beroeans.net/2017/03/22/reflections-of-the-memorial-of-christs-death-part-2-who-is-worthy/ which you might find of interest.
Hi Robert. Could you please extend your analysis to cower 1 Thess 4:16,17
Do you have a specific question about this verse? How do you understand it? What is its particular significance, in your view? That would help guide me in what facets to consider.
Hello tyhik, Here is my analysis of 1 Thess. I apologize for it being so lengthy, but hopefully will be of value to you. Robert — The passage at 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 has been of interest to Christians for centuries. It is the basis for the “Rapture” doctrine that many evangelicals subscribe to. Its wording provides a number of tantalizing details but does not fully explain itself, leaving the verses open to the many interpretations that have sprung up over the years. It would not be possible to exhaustively answer all possible questions regarding these verses in one reply to… Read more »
I need to make a minor clarification to my remarks. I said, “It is just as important to consider what these verses do NOT say as what they do. No where is the word “heaven” mentioned.” Well, of course these verses DO start by saying “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven …”. What I should have said is that no where do these verses mention “heaven” in relation to those being resurrected and/or those chosen to serve as kings. That does not apply to Jesus himself. There is no question that Jesus was raised as a spirit to… Read more »
I’ve been digesting your thoughts Robert… putting the main article together and contemplating your comments seem very viable.
I’ve always felt that Jesus showed us what we had the potential to become when he was here. I, too, look forward to the next article in this series.
David. Ps. Enjoyed the paper on “the Word”.
Thank you Robert very much for your thorough explanation. Your angle to look at these verses was new to me. There’s quite some stuff to think about. I agree that they can be interpreted as not necessarily supporting the heavenly resurrection. Some verses still seem to support only the heavenly hope. Or so I think until somebody comes up with an alternative explanation again 🙂 Still, for example, Revelation 7:15 shows that the great crowd is serving in the temple [Greek naos], which is in heaven (Rev 11:19; 14:17). Also, Rev 11:12 is pretty clear about two prophets going to… Read more »
There is more than one way to look at this. The ‘naos’ is not necessarily in heaven. This is a very deep subject. To help prepare you, ask Meleti to email you a document I sent him, called “Where is the Great Crowd serving God?” Once you have read that, reply to this message and I will tell you the rest. Let me know in case Meleti doesn’t have it any more, and I will resend it to him. Robert.
I seem to remember way way back in the early ’80s having a vigourous discussion with a born again Christian using a publication -“God’s Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached” – a yellow book? and trying to prove to him that I wasn’t going to heaven because… well the old antitype thingy…. that “naos” was the representative of the outer courtyard of the temple. and so on.
The great crowd served on earth. God’s footstool….
these comments are really getting the cogs going!
Tyhik, Meleti may not be able to pass along the document about the great crowd. I could send it to you directly if you were interested.
Thank you for this wonderfully researched comment Robert, I cannot let go of the belief that our hope is to continue as we were created, life here on earth. yet I am constantly offered a sweet smile of sympathy ‘poor old chook not ready to hear the truth’ …… heaven is where angels dwell, the earth is for humankind… That was Jehovah’s gift to us, that was his promise… Thank you again Robert I enjoy reading your logical and well thought out articles. I am behind in catching up with Beroean Pickets as for some time I simply felt too… Read more »
I appreciate the kind words Karen. I am hoping Meleti will consider this and other aspects of the salvation question. He says he is going to have an article soon about it, but I don’t know what he intends to cover. So many people have thought for so long that Christians go to heaven when they die that they view it as sacrilege to say anything different. Even JWs think the “anointed” are going there, supposedly to rule with Christ in heaven. But that idea presents so many logical problems. If those new kings are in heaven, how do they… Read more »
Meleti, thank you for this article. I agree with your reasoning fully. It is all about our relationship with God, we want Him as our Father. And some are able to have faith in the unseen and are His children. But the majority of mankind has so much working against them that this isn’t possible for them. But God still loves them and has lovingly made provision that all of mankind can eventually gain salvation and God can be all things to everyone. As any good parent will confirm, a loving parent does not give up on their children, especially… Read more »
Couldn’t agree more!
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