The Teaching of the Resurrection, Biblical Parallels and Other Relevant Scriptures
In our previous articles, we discussed what
(1) the Patriarchs and Moses,
(2) the Psalmists, Solomon and the Prophets,
(3) the 1st Century Jews,
(4) Jesus Christ and
(5) the Apostles
believed about the question “Mankind’s hope for the future. Where will it be?” We will now review what the Bible teaches about the important subject of the Resurrection, some Biblical Parallels and other scriptures relevant to the discussion.
Finally, we will draw conclusions from the scriptural findings of this series of articles.
Teaching of the Resurrection[i]
When Paul was defending himself before Governor Felix he stated in Acts 24:15: “And I have hope toward God, which hope these men also look forward to, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. 16 Because of this I always strive to maintain a clear conscience before God and men.” In doing so he was remembering Jesus words in John 5:28,29 where Jesus stated unequivocally what would happen in the future:” “Most truly I say to you, the hour is coming, and it is now, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who have paid attention will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted also to the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to do judging, because he is the Son of man. 28 Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, and those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment;”
In Luke 14:12-14 Jesus counselled a man who invited him to a meal with these words: ”But when you spread a feast, invite poor people, crippled, lame, blind; … For you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous ones” and thereby indicated part of what is needed to attain to this resurrection of the righteous.
Indeed Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus stated that “31When the Son of Man arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne.32And all the nations will be gathered (harvested) before him, and he will separate people one from another. …34Then 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.” ”46 … but the righteous ones into everlasting life.”
When we read the passages in Acts 24, John 5, and Daniel 12 we can clearly see there were two types of resurrections
- Righteous to everlasting life [on earth],
- and Unrighteous to judgement.
There is no third option – Resurrection to Heaven.
Neither is there the option of
- Resurrection of the Righteous to Heaven,
- and Resurrection of the Righteous to Earth.
In the book of Luke while speaking to a Jewish man, Jesus said if he did good works, he would be in the resurrection of the righteous. In the book of Matthew, Jesus referred to the kingdom as having been prepared since the founding of the world. This was part of the sacred secret, and Ephesians 1:10-14 talks of this arrangement as being “an administration at the full limit [completion] of the appointed times”. He also said that he would arrive in glory with the angels, but does NOT make any mention of being accompanied by any resurrected humans. This is the case because the nations would be harvested and separated before him, and then the righteous would get a resurrection (if necessary) and everlasting life [on earth]. This would be at the very end of the current system of things, not at a time close to the end.
Biblical Parallels relevant to the Discussion
Hebrews 10 reminds us that the Law covenant with the Nation of Israel was a shadow of things to come. This gives us the scriptural precedent to draw parallels, but only in this area. (We should not try to create types and anti-types where scripture does not.)
The Nation of Israel as a whole rejected Jesus as the Messiah. A new covenant with the Israel of God was therefore instituted by Jesus who was its mediator. As the mediator Jesus was a parallel to Moses who had mediated between Jehovah and the nation of Israel. As such, there are a number of parallels, which make sense or are scripturally supported.
That this would happen was foretold in Jeremiah 31:31-34 “31 “Look! There are days coming,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “and I will conclude with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant; 32 not one like the covenant that I concluded with their forefathers in the day of my taking hold of their hand to bring them forth out of the land of Egypt, ‘which covenant of mine they themselves broke, although I myself had husbandly ownership of them,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.” 33 “For this is the covenant that I shall conclude with the house of Israel after those days,” is the utterance of Jehovah. “I will put my law within them, and in their heart I shall write it. And I will become their God, and they themselves will become my people.” 34 “And they will no more teach each one his companion and each one his brother, saying, ‘KNOW Jehovah!’ for they will all of them know me, from the least one of them even to the greatest one of them,” is the utterance of Jehovah. “For I shall forgive their error, and their sin I shall remember no more.”
See also Hebrews 8:8-10 where we find these words quoted by Paul.
- Let us now examine the roles and parallels, the first being the most important, that of Jesus as Mediator.
- Role: Mediator
- Moses was the mediator (spokesman) between God and the Priests \ Levites and the Nation of Israel.
- Jesus became the mediator (word) between God, the Kings and Priests and All men.
1 Timothy 2:5 “5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, a man, Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself a corresponding ransom for all”
The second parallel is that of High Priest:
- Role: High Priest
- Aaron and subsequent High Priests were the only ones allowed into the Most Holy through the Curtain once a year. No Priests went into the Most Holy.
- Jesus went through the Curtain when he died and offered his life as a ransom. When Jesus died, the Temple curtain was rent apart or torn in two. This signified the fulfilment and ending of the annual sacrifice arrangement with Jesus death.
Just as no ordinary Priests entered the Most Holy, by implication no others (including those chosen to be Kings and Priests) would go through that curtain, which separated Jehovah’s presence (represented by the shekinah light) from the earth..
Hebrews 9:11, 12, 25.
The third role is that of Priests:
- Role: Priests
Original: Priests and Levites
Parallel: Kings and Priests
- The priests served in the holy (in Jehovah’s Tent) on earth assisting the High Priest.
- The priests of the Israel of God (part of the new covenant) will serve on earth ‘in God’s tent among mankind’.
- The Levites were ransomed, redeemed from the rest of the nation of Israel.
- The symbolic number of 144,000 kings and priests are bought (redeemed) from among mankind as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.
Revelation 21:3 – “Look the tent of God is with mankind”.
Revelation 7:15 – The great crowd “are before the throne of God; and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple; and the One [God] seated on the throne will spread his tent over them”.
It is likely that the great crowd could be those described as the 144,000. Revelation 7:4 “and I heard the number of those sealed”
When the Apostle John writes in Revelation 7:9 – “After these thing I saw and look a great crowd” was he now seeing confirmation of what he had just heard? Whether a literal number or as likely a symbolic number even 144,000 is a great crowd equivalent to up to three large full English Premiership Stadiums of 50 thousand to 60 thousand people each.
- Role: Nation of Israel
Original: Nation of Israel made up of Priestly Class (Levites), and Non Levitical Israelites Parallel: Israel of God made up of Priestly Class (symbolic 144,000) and Non Priestly Class (unrighteous resurrected who repent and are granted life perhaps at the end of the thousand years?)
- Priestly class and Non Priestly class serve Jehovah and Jesus here on earth together.
- No harm to be done to the earth at Armageddon until the symbolic 144,000 are sealed. No mention of them being in heaven, rather many, certainly those alive at that time must be on earth as the destruction is held back until they are sealed. Revelation 7:1-4. See also Matthew 24:31 and Mark 13:27.
Revelation 5:10 “you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God and they are to rule as kings upon the earth”
Revelation 7:4,9 “144,000 sealed out of the sons of Israel” “and look a great crowd, which no man was able to number out of all nations…standing before the Throne and the Lamb”
- Role: One Flock a.k.a. Israel of God
Original: Little Flock and Other Sheep
Parallel: Disciples, (Jews who repented and accepted Jesus as Messiah) and the Gentile Christians.
- Jesus identified himself as the shepherd and he was speaking to his disciples at this time. (Luke 12:32, John 10:16)
- The Gentiles had not yet been given the opportunity to become part of the Israel of God at this time. This happened three and a half years later with the baptism of Cornelius and his household. (see Acts 10)
Luke 12:32 “have no fear, little flock, because your Father has approved of giving you the kingdom”.
John 10:16 “I have other sheep which are not of this fold; these also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice and they will become one flock, one shepherd”
Ephesians 2:14-22 which talks about 2 peoples [Jews and Gentiles & Alien Residents],[flocks] formerly separated, made into one new man [one flock] as fellow citizens of the holy ones.
Ephesians 4:1-4 which says clearly “One body there is, and one spirit, even as YOU were called in the one hope to which YOU were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;”. There is one hope, (not a heavenward and an earth bound hope), one faith and one baptism. (Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:38, John 3:5-6)
- Role: Passover meal /Memorial
Original: All Israelites
Parallel: Both Priests\Levites and Israelites partook of Passover meal. Jesus commanded his disciples to partake of the memorial evening meal in remembrance of his ransom sacrifice.
- If any did not partake of the original Passover meal, they died for showing a lack of faith in Jehovah’s provision of escape.
- If any do not partake of the Lord’s evening meal, then they are showing a lack of faith in Jehovah’s provision of escape from sin and death because of imperfection. Jesus ransom sacrifice is the provision for escape from death by sin and judgement as per parallel. How will Jesus treat those who show disrespect for his sacrifice? This remains to be seen, but Psalm 2:11-12 indicates acceptance and obedience to the Son [Jesus] is vital for life.
Exodus 12:12-17 “13And the blood must serve as YOUR sign upon the houses where YOU are; and I must see the blood and pass over YOU, and the plague will not come on YOU as a ruination when I strike at the land of Egypt.”
Luke 22:19-20 “Also, he took a loaf, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “This means my body which is to be given in YOUR behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” 20 Also, the cup in the same way after they had the evening meal, he saying: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in YOUR behalf.”
1 Corinthians 11:24-32 “29For he that eats and drinks eats and drinks judgment against himself if he does not discern the body.” “32 However, when we are judged, we are disciplined by Jehovah, that we may not become condemned with the world”.
Other Relevant Verses
“Indeed, the first regulations for worship involved a worldly Holy Place. 2 So they prepared this first Tent, which contained both the [sacred] lampstand and the table for the showbread, and this was called the Holy. 3 Then behind the curtain was a second Tent that was called the Most Holy. 4 It contained a gold incense holder and the Chest of the Sacred Agreement, which was completely overlaid with gold and held the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that grew buds, and the Tablets of the [Sacred] Agreement. 5 Then over it were the glorious cherubs that cast a shadow on the cover.… so now let’s discuss some of the details of these things.
6 After they were all constructed, the Priests entered the first Tent regularly to perform their sacred duties. 7 However, the second [tent] was only entered once a year, and just by the High Priest. And even he couldn’t enter it without blood, which he had to offer both for himself and for the sins of the peoples’ ignorance.
8 Now, the Holy Breath makes it clear that the entrance to the Most Holy couldn’t be seen while the first Tent was standing… 9 and this is an illustration of the time that we’re living in now. [referring to the time the early Christians were living in and the tent / temple that was soon to be destroyed] So with this illustration in mind, [remember that] the gifts and sacrifices that were offered couldn’t make the conscience of the one who was serving there perfect, 10 for that whole thing had to do with food, drink, and types of cleansing, which were fleshly, legal requirements [that would last] until the time for setting things straight would be imposed.
11 Then when the Anointed One came as the High Priest of good things through the greater and more perfect Tent that wasn’t made by [human] hands (that is, it wasn’t part of this creation), 12 he didn’t enter the Most Holy with the blood of goats and young bulls; rather, [he entered] the Holy Place with his own blood once and for all time so as to provide an age-long ransom for us!
24So the Anointed One didn’t enter a Most Holy that was made with hands (which is just a copy of the real thing); rather, he actually entered heaven itself to stand before The God on our behalf! 25 Nor does he have to offer himself often, as the High Priest who enters the Most Holy each year must do with blood that isn’t his own. (2001T)
Hebrews 10:19-24 “So brothers; We can confidently say that we have an entrance to the Most Holy Place through the blood of Jesus, 20 because he has worked out a way through the curtain for us… a sacrificial but living way, through his flesh. 21 And since we now have such a great Priest who is over the House of God, 22 let’s approach him with honest hearts and a complete faith, having rinsed a wicked conscience from our hearts and having washed our bodies in clean water. 23 Then let’s hang onto the confession of our hope and not give up, because the One who gave us this promise is faithful. 24 And let’s keep reminding ourselves to help each other to grow in love and in good deeds.” (2001T)
These verses are quoted from the 2001Translation which gives a much more understandable account of the parallels involved in the tabernacle \ temple and Jesus sacrifice.
“The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: “Sit at my right hand, Until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.”
In this verse, the Messiah is invited by God to sit at his right hand until he places his enemies as a footstool for his feet. The word “until” is a qualifier. The meaning is clear; the Messiah sits at God’s right hand for a limited time, until his enemies are vanquished.
If the Messiah remains at God’s right hand for a limited time, where does he go after that? The answer as other scriptures discussed in these articles suggests, is here on earth, to rule with the chosen ones.
“11 Truly I say to YOU people, Among those born of women there has not been raised up a greater than John the Baptist; but a person that is a lesser one in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is. 12 But from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of the heavens is the goal toward which men press, and those pressing forward are seizing it. 13 For all, the Prophets and the Law, prophesied until John; “
Jesus is here making a comparison. It was between John who was the greatest man born of woman up to that point in time as opposed to someone who is glorified, empowered and immortalised in the kingdom. This is a comparison of exultation. What Jesus is saying in colloquial terms is, if John is the best this world has to offer, then you haven’t seen anything yet! Jesus was not intimating that John would not be present in the kingdom. It is not sensible to believe that the man Jesus considered to be the greatest man born of woman would miss out on this reward, while Abraham, Isaac and Jacob along with all the faithful of old are said to inherit the said promise / kingdom. (See Matthew 8 and Luke 13 in section: Beliefs of the 1st Century). Remember Jesus said those in the kingdom of the heavens. No-one was yet in that kingdom, as he next says, that is “the goal toward which men press”. i.e. Those who serve Jesus and Jehovah in an acceptable way to him and are given the gift of everlasting perfect life in his kingdom have achieved something even greater than being the prophet who paved the way for the Messiah (even though that was the greatest privilege to date for any imperfect human).
“27 Also, he took a cup and, having given thanks, he gave it to them, saying: “Drink out of it, all of YOU; 28 for this means my ‘blood of the covenant,’ which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins. 29 But I tell YOU, I will by no means drink henceforth any of this product of the vine until that day when I drink it new with YOU in the kingdom of my Father.”
Here Jesus states he would not drink wine until he was with them in the kingdom of his father. Of course, many interpret this as symbolical drinking, but as far as we know there is no wine in heaven, so why would Jesus make this statement unless it is to be taken literally, which is how it would have been taken by his disciples. I.e. When Jesus comes (as a materialised spirit creature) he would drink with them at that time, in the same way that he ate when he appeared to the disciples in Luke 24:22 and John 21:12-14 and ate cooked fish and bread before their eyes. (No passages of Jesus appearances after resurrection record him drinking wine, although they do mention eating)
“And he went on to say: “Jesus, remember me when you get into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.”
Here Jesus told the evildoer while he was dying with him on the stake that he (the evildoer) would be with him in Paradise. The evildoer would have understood that to be Paradise on earth and that he would see Jesus. There is no evidence to suggest that the evildoer would have had any concept of going to heaven on his death nor that having accepted he was an evildoer that he would get such a reward. We should not complicate matters by attempting to interpret the scripture. Jesus is coming to earth to bring the kingdom, and make the earth a Paradise.
“Therefore the crowd answered him: “We heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever; and how is it you say that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?
The crowd understood that the Messiah would remain forever on the earth, for they were puzzled by Jesus saying that he had to be lifted up (resurrected back to heaven).
“Men, brothers, it is allowable to speak with freeness of speech to YOU concerning the family head David, that he both deceased and was buried and his tomb is among us to this day. 30 Therefore, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath that he would seat one from the fruitage of his loins upon his throne 31 he saw beforehand and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he forsaken in Haʹdes nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God resurrected, of which fact we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore because he was exalted to the right hand of God and received the promised holy spirit from the Father, he has poured out this which YOU see and hear. 34 Actually David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.”
Verse 34 states that King David did not ascend to heaven unlike Jesus. Rather David was waiting asleep in Sheol for Jehovah’s promise to be resurrected to earth as earlier established. David was mortal. His flesh saw corruption. By contrast, Jesus perfect body did not see decay and corruption, because he was resurrected by Jehovah before that could happen. Why on the third day? John 11:39 recording the resurrection of Lazarus, gives us a clue “Jesus said: “TAKE the stone away.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to him: “Lord, by now he must smell, for it is four days.” Bodies begin to noticeably decay and smell badly by 3 days after death, the exact time obviously dependant on environmental factors and cause of death. Therefore, by resurrecting Jesus early on the third day it would be true that even while Jesus was dead his flesh did not see corruption.
“Repent, therefore, and turn around so as to get YOUR sins blotted out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the person of Jehovah and that he may send forth the Christ appointed for YOU, Jesus, whom heaven, indeed, must hold within itself until the times of restoration of all things of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets of old time.”
Heaven has to hold Jesus until it is Jehovah’s time to restore all things as per his prophets of old, [who prophesied an earthly resurrection] and then Jehovah will send him with an appointment [commission] to fulfil this promise. The restoration of perfect human life to earth as made through the ‘holy prophets of old time’ (before Jesus).
“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!” The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. If, then, we are children, we are also heirs: heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ, provided we suffer together that we may also be glorified together.”
How does “the spirit itself bear(s) witness with our spirit that we are God’s children”? One of the fruits of the spirit is love. As Jesus said in John 13:34-35 “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” Yes, by working in harmony with the Holy Spirit and displaying love along with the other fruitages of the [holy] spirit we would be ‘witnessing’ to others by our spirit [desires, and efforts] that we are God’s children. How so? In 1 John 3:10 the apostle John reminded us that “the children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God, neither does he who does not love his brother.” You will notice there is no third option offered to be “friends of God” as taught by at least one religion. We are either “children of God or children of the Devil”. It is as simple as that. As the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, without love we are nothing.
“But he who guarantees that YOU and we belong to Christ and he who has anointed [chosen] us is God. He has also put his seal upon us and has given us the token of what is to come, that is, the spirit, in our hearts.”
The anointing and the sealing are confirmed but no location is discussed.
“1For 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.2For in this dwelling house we do indeed groan, earnestly desiring to put on the one for us from heaven,”
Here Paul contrasts our present earthly [imperfect] bodies, made by [procreation by imperfect] humans, described as tents [flimsy, temporary, wear out] with the hope of a building, made by God [a more permanent, stronger abode], the hope and promise of which are ‘age-long, unending’ reserved [guarded, preserved] (Colossians 1:5, 1 Peter 1:3-5) in the heavens (‘ouranois’: Gods presence), emphasising the guarantee of permanence of this promise. The context confirms this as in v2 it refers to the desire to be released from the imperfect body and put on the perfect body ‘from heaven’, (NOT in heaven). [‘from’: Strong’s Greek 1537 ‘ex’ = out from (in sense of from origin to outcome) i.e. ‘from heaven (origin) to perfect body (outcome)’, as opposed to ‘change to in heaven (within origin)]’. In addition, the hope is guarded or preserved in the heavens by Jehovah, rather than the hope being located in the heavens.
“16At any rate, to what extent we have made progress, let us go on walking orderly in this same routine. 17 Unitedly become imitators of me, brothers, and keep your eye on those who are walking in a way that accords with the example you have in us. 18 For there are many, I used to mention them often, but now I mention them also with weeping, who are walking as the enemies of the torture stake of the Christ, 19 and their finish is destruction, and their God is their belly, and their glory consists in their shame, and they have their minds upon things on the earth. 20 As for us, our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly awaiting for a saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,21 who will refashion our humiliated body to be conformed to his glorious body according to the operation of the power that he has, even to subject all things to himself.”
The context is that Paul is talking about former Christians who were now opposing their former brothers and hence Jesus. In doing so, they now had their minds fixed on earthly things. (We might expect these to include excessive pleasures ‘their God is their belly’ and power seeking). This contrasts with the attitude of Paul and those still striving as Christians, who looked to heavenly things, such as the promise of being in [inheriting] Gods Kingdom. (Citizenship – Strong’s Greek 4175 = form of government, commonwealth,) The form of government or commonwealth, or citizenship as an entity, of this kingdom already existed in the heavens ((1) ‘ouranois’ – Gods presence), embodied in Jesus the King of that kingdom and hence not a temporary earthly kingdom \ citizenship, unless of course they personally rejected it like the former Christians had done. Finally, Jesus would come from the heavens by implication to the earth where they were (or would be after resurrection), to change their imperfect human bodies into a similar (not the same!) (conformed – Strong’s Greek 4832 – ‘summorphus’ = similar) i.e. perfect glorious body (as opposite of imperfect) as the resurrected Christ. It would not be a spirit body like Christ because that would be the same (spirit) body type rather than a similar body type. Now being perfect, they could inherit the Kingdom of God and become both permanent citizens and part of the form of government of that kingdom.
“16because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with Gods trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first. 17 Afterward we the living who are surviving will, together with them, be caught away in [the] clouds to meet [for the meeting of] the Lord in the air; and thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
After a resurrection (to the earth) these ones plus those still living on earth are caught away to meet the Lord in the air (Greek: the air we breathe) or lower earthly heavens, not in the spirit realm. [‘to meet’ is Strong’s Greek – 529 ‘apantesin’: the act of meeting, usually used to denote the going out from a place of a person(s) to meet a newly appointed or arriving official and returning with them to the place from which that person(s) left. E.g. leaving central London to greet and meet the Prime Minister coming from say Glasgow and returning with him to central London. See also Matthew 25:1, 6 and Acts 28:15 as examples of the same usage of ‘apantesin’.] Hence, the understanding of these verses would be that they go to meet Jesus in the air and return to earth with him.
“And yet all these, although they had witness borne to them through their faith, did not get the [fulfillment of the] promise,40 as God foresaw something better for us, in order that they might not be made perfect apart from us.”
After discussing many faithful Israelites, like Joshua, Jepthah, David, etc., Paul states that Jehovah did not fufill the promise of a resurrection there and then, because he was waiting (for Jesus ransom sacrifice) to be able to make all humans perfect again, at the same time ‘on the last day’. Therefore, the faithful Israelites who had died including John the Baptist would be made perfect at the same time as the Israel of God, at the end of Armageddon.
“But YOU are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, that YOU should declare abroad the excellencies” of the one that called YOU out of darkness into his wonderful light. For YOU were once not a people, but are now God’s people; YOU were those who had not been shown mercy, but are now those who have been shown mercy.”
Once more, the Christians would be a chosen nation like the Israelites were previously but no change of dwelling from earth to heaven is discussed.
“For this reason, brothers, all the more do YOUR utmost to make the calling and choosing of YOU sure for yourselves; for if YOU keep on doing these things YOU will by no means ever fail. In fact, thus there will be richly supplied to YOU the entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Peter spoke here of gaining entrance into the everlasting kingdom, but did specify where this kingdom would be. In the absence of any clear scriptural direction, to the contrary, by default this would be understood to be on earth.
“And YOU have an anointing from the holy one; all of YOU have knowledge. I write YOU, not because YOU do not know the truth, but because YOU know it, and because no lie originates with the truth. Who is the liar if it is not the one that denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one that denies the Father and the Son. Everyone that denies the Son does not have the Father either. He that confesses the Son has the Father also. As for YOU, let that which YOU have heard from [the] beginning remain in YOU. If that which YOU have heard from [the] beginning remains in YOU, YOU will also abide in union with the Son and in union with the Father. Furthermore, this is the promised thing that he himself promised us, the life everlasting.”
Everlasting life is the promise held out to all Christians. Hence, the everlasting life would be in the same location for both Kings \ priests and other righteous ones.
“Beloved ones, now we are children of God, but as yet it has not been made manifest what we shall be. We do know that whenever he is made manifest we shall be like him, because we shall see him just as he is.”
There is a very important piece of information in this verse, “what we will be has not yet been revealed.” The point made is, the elect/chosen do not know what they will be.
- They will only know when Christ is revealed / returns.
- Now, we know about humans and spirit creatures, they have been revealed.
- In contrast we know precious little about the “new creation”, it hasn’t yet been revealed.
Please follow the reasoning: Since spirit creatures have been revealed (we know much about them, how and where they reside and operate etc.), then, the new creation cannot be spirit creatures, since we are still awaiting the revelation of what a new creation is. Simply, a new creation is not a spirit being, since spirit beings have been revealed, whereas, a new creation by definition has not.
- The Patriarchs believed in resurrection back to earth and everlasting life. They had no concept of resurrection to heaven.
- The Psalmists and Solomon believed in resurrection back to earth and everlasting life. They had no concept of resurrection to heaven.
- The 1st century Jews believed in resurrection back to earth and everlasting life. They had no concept of resurrection to heaven.
- Jesus said nothing to change the prevailing opinion; rather he added confirmation that he too believed that resurrection would be back to earth with everlasting life. He gave no concept of resurrection to heaven.
- The Apostles wrote nothing that contradicted the understanding of the 1st Century Jews and of Jesus teachings. Rather they confirmed this understanding.
- The Teaching of the Resurrection does nothing to change the earlier understandings.
- The implication of the evaluation of Biblical parallels between Ancient Israel and Spiritual Israel is that there is no resurrection to heaven for humans, only back to the earth.
So after considering the evidence of each group (1-7) the answers to the questions raised at the beginning are:
Was a heavenly hope ever taught?
Answer: From the evidence examined, it was never taught in the scriptures (although many religions teach it or variants of it).
Will all go to heaven?
Answer: No, there is absolutely no clear evidence for this. If this were to be the case, we would expect that Jehovah would have made this teaching clear in the scriptures, as he did the resurrection and the ransom for example.
Will any go to heaven (if so how many)?
Answer: There is no clear scriptural teaching that there will be any humans who will go to heaven. Jesus is the only one who descended from heaven and has already ascended to heaven.
Will all stay on earth?
Answer: The conclusion, though perhaps surprising to most of us used to expecting that at least some would go to heaven, has to be: Yes.
Does the Bible teach something else?
Answer: No evidence found of any other teaching.
Therefore, the only conclusion possible is that Mankind’s hope for the future is to live forever on the earth whether as Kings and Priests or as subjects of Christ’s Kingdom.
[i] See additional series of articles entitled “The Resurrection Hope – Gods Gift to Mankind” for more scriptural details on when & where would the Resurrection on the last day occur.
[ii] See additional series entitled “The Resurrection Hope – God’s Gift to Mankind”