Created Thurs. Dec. 27, 2001

The Heavenly Destination
God's Heavenly Temple and Kingdom
(The 144,000 - New Jerusalem)


Sub-headings:

For They Will Be Angels
They Will Be In Heaven
A New Deal
God's "House" and "Temple"

Making Sense of Revelation
Paul Enlightens Us
What About the Earth?
On Earth as in Heaven


Related Articles

(KJV) Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the Heavens. We hear those phrases a lot in the New Testament. But what exactly do they mean and what is their purpose. It would appear to be a change from the law and the prophets. This is a rather puzzling scripture for many. Some miss it altogether. I assume you have read the previous article which is a part of this series, entitled "The Promises of the Law and the Prophets."

This heavenly kingdom is actually called a number of things. You will hear heavenly Jerusalem or Jerusalem above, the bride of Christ, the spiritual temple, and many others. Jesus made it clear in the scripture above that the kingdom of the heavens was the goal and thing being preached since John the Baptist. It was the hope that Jesus held out to all he preached to. It was a departure from what the law and prophets had emphasized. That heaven was being held out to men will not come as a surprise to people as a whole as this would appear to be common knowledge. What people forgot was the God had always promised a paradise earth filled with physical fleshly people as well.

Let's look at a few scriptures that will reinforce what we might already take for granted about going to heaven. Later we will focus on why they go to heaven and who might end up on earth as well. Perhaps the best example of the change in hopes is given as follows.


For They Will Be Angels
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(GLT) Matthew 22: 23 On that day, Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him. And they questioned Him, 24 saying, Teacher, Moses said, If any should die not having children, his brother shall marry his wife, and shall raise up seed to his brother. [Deut. 25:5] 25 And seven brothers were with us. And having married, the first expired, and not having seed left his wife to his brother. 26 In the same way also the second, and the third, until the seven. 27 And last of all, the woman also died. 28 Then in the resurrection, of which of the seven will she be wife? For all had her.

The Sadducees were trying to expose the idea of resurrection as being silly. But that was far from the case for several reasons. First, they were under the impression that the resurrection the Jesus was preaching was that of the law and prophets which would be a resurrection on earth. But suggesting an example where a woman married a succession of men who continually died on her until she had gone through 7 husbands before she finally died herself, they thought they would have Jesus where they wanted him. Of course, death dissolves the bonds of marriage so none of the men would be obligated to marry her nor would she have to marry any of them, either. But beyond that were other things. Notice Jesus' answer.

Matthew 22:29 And answering, Jesus said to them, You err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are as the angels of God in Heaven. 31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that spoken to you by God, saying: 32 "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?" God is not God of the dead, but of the living. [Ex. 3:6] 33 And hearing, the crowds were astonished at His doctrine.

First thing Jesus pointed out was that he was not preaching the hope of the earthly resurrection. It was a heavenly one. In the heavenly resurrection, people would not marry but would be like the angels and would be in heaven. He was speaking of it in the most plain and direct way that would occur in the Bible. This likely contributed to the astonishment of the crowd that was mentioned.

He also pointed out that God certainly had the power and was a God of the living, not the dead. His purpose was to have living people in earth. It had always been His purpose to do so. The Sadducees obviously did not believe the word of God. Perhaps this scripture would be appropriate:

John 3:12 If I tell you earthly things, and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

But the idea of being angels in heaven was certainly a new idea to the crowds and the Sadducees, too. It certainly nullified their silly argument. Incidentally, there is a similar account of this in Luke 20:27 as well.


They Will Be In Heaven
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Matthew 5:12 Rejoice and leap for joy, for your reward is great in Heaven; for in this way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Notice the reward is in heaven. This was from Jesus' sermon on the mount. His preaching of going to heaven was not as plain and clear here as it was in his answer to the Sadducees at a later time so the people may not have grasped it as clearly but Jesus was preaching going to heaven, nevertheless.

Matthew 5:20 For I say to you, If your righteousness shall not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, in no way shall you go into the kingdom of Heaven.

Again here, Jesus speaks of going into this kingdom of heaven. And incidentally, if there is kingdom, the must be something to rule over and there must be kings, right? There is more to say about that later.

Matthew 5:21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but the ones who do the will of My Father in Heaven.

Once more, Jesus says we shall "enter" into the kingdom of heaven. Next is a well known scripture, though I use Green's Literal Translation as it uses words more correctly translated from the Greek, with a closer, more accurate meaning, using dwelling places rather than mansions.

John 14:2 In My Father's house are many dwelling places. But if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you! 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.

So there is little question as to why most Christians believe they are going to heaven. That is what Jesus was preaching, without a doubt. But there is more to it than that. There is a reason for people going to heaven. After all, Jesus bought Adam's offspring, to give them what Adam had lost, their lives, their human, fleshly lives. So why now heaven, right? And Jesus continually speaks of this kingdom in reference to heaven. I will address it progressively as we go on.


A New Deal
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First, it should be pointed out that the law and the prophets also foretold a new covenant and a new prophet much like Moses, that all should listen to.

Deuteronomy 18:15 Jehovah your God shall raise up to you a Prophet from among you, of your brothers, One like me; you shall listen to Him,

Deuteronomy 18:18 I shall raise up a Prophet to them from among their brothers, one like you; and I will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak to them all that I shall command Him. 19 And it shall be, whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it at his hand.

Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will cut a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not according to the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt (which covenant of Mine they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Jehovah). 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will cut with the house of Israel: After those days, declares Jehovah, I will put My law in their inward parts, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

31:34 And they shall no longer each man teach his neighbor, and each man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah. For they shall all know Me, from the least of them even to the greatest of them, declares Jehovah. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.

So from this we can see that a change was bound to happen with the arrival of the Messiah, the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of God. So with his arrival begins a new covenant, since the old one was about to be completely fulfilled with his death and a new goal unfolded and held out to men. Now also within the prophecy of Jeremiah is something else to note. In verse 31, the house of Israel and the house of Judah are mentioned. Not a literal house such as what we live in but they are referred to as houses, more like household, all things pertaining to a house. Using house in this way is done in a number of different languages and cultures.

Some business use house in their names such as house of lights, house of games or whatever other specialty they might be serving. It is a common use of the word house. There will be a few more uses to consider. But house and temple are important to consider in understanding the destiny of those going to heaven. One more note to the new covenant before we move on.

Paul quotes the verses of Jeremiah we just read in Hebrews 8:8-12. Then he mentions something else in verse 13.

Hebrews 8:13 In the saying, New, He has made the first old. And the thing having been made old and growing aged is near disappearing.

Paul is pointing out what I previously mentioned. When Jesus finally arrived, he was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. All he had left to do was to be offered in sacrifice and the law would be pretty much completed except for God, through His son, completely taking over the world again in the future and starting the resurrection. So the law and prophets, in regards to the temple worship, would not be necessary since Jesus fulfilled the true requirements that the temple symbolically fulfilled but did not actually fulfill as Jesus was the actual fulfillment.

So the old law covenant was no longer of much value since its purpose had now been realized in the soon to be sacrificed Jesus. And while Jesus was at it, he installed the new covenant and its instructions for the people as was prophesied would happen. So as Paul points out, the first (covenant) has been made old and nearly pointless at this point. Now more on the words house and temple.


God's "House" and "Temple"
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Hebrews 3:5 And "Moses" truly "was faithful in all his house" as a ministering servant, for a testimony of the things having been spoken; [Num. 12:7 is quoted] 6 but Christ as Son over His house, whose house we are, if truly we hold fast the boldness and rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

Hebrews 10:21 and having a Great Priest over the house of God,

Paul introduces us to the house of God, of whom Moses was in charge of on earth at one point but now Jesus is over, both in heaven and over the earth, too. Jesus is called a Great Priest and in other places a High Priest. So even God has a house, so to speak. But those who are going to heaven are going to be a part of that house as shown next.

1 Peter 2:4 to whom having drawn near, a living Stone, indeed having been rejected by men, but chosen by God, precious; 5 you also as living stones are being built a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

We are referred to as living stones, symbolically speaking, in a figurative house of God. In a similar fashion, the word temple is used as next shown.

John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then the Jews said, This sanctuary was forty six years being built, and do you raise it up in three days? 21 But He spoke about the sanctuary of His body. 22 Then when He was raised from the dead, His disciples recalled that He said this to them. And they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus spoke.

Here we see that when Jesus spoke in a parable or allegory, it often went over the heads of those he spoke to, which was the intention, of course. We can see what happened as a result of Jesus preaching this. People desired to take his words out of context, though knowing better.

Mark14:58 We heard Him saying, I will throw down this temple made with hands, and through three days I will build another not made with hands. [also Matthew 26:61]

Mark15:29 And those passing by blasphemed Him, shaking their heads, and saying, Aha! You razing the temple, and in three days building it, 30 save yourself and come down from the cross. [also Matthew 27:40]

But the important thing to note is how Jesus refers to his body as a temple. The same applies to us, too, as the next scripture shows as Paul speaks of our bodies as earthly houses.

2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle is taken down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in Heaven.

2 Corinthians 6:16 For you are a temple of the living God, even as God said, "I will" dwell in them and "walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." [He is quoting Lev. 26:12 & Ezek. 37:27]

Now when he writes in the verse above, he is addressing the Corinthian congregation as a group. So he calls the group a temple of God. In fact, the entire Christian body is a temple. Some have interpreted this as each of us being a temple of God. That could be possible since we are houses, so to speak. But primarily, it refers to the whole body of believers. Now lets go back to 1 Peter 2:4.

1 Peter 2:4 to whom having drawn near, a living Stone, indeed having been rejected by men, but chosen by God, precious; 5 you also as living stones are being built a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Because of this, it is also contained in the Scripture: "Behold," I lay in Zion" an elect, "precious Stone," "a Corner-foundation;" "and the one believing in Him shall never in any way be ashamed." [Isa. 28:16]

Important on expanding our understanding of heaven, pay special note to the fact that we are not only living stones in a spiritual house, but also a holy priesthood that offers spiritual sacrifices. So Peter expands on the role of those destined for heaven and we will use this to hook up with other scriptures and concepts. Peter continues.

2:7 Then to you who believe belongs the preciousness. But to disobeying ones, He is the "Stone which those building rejected; this One became the Head-of-the-corner," [Psa. 118:22] 8 and a Stone-of-stumbling, and a Rock-of-offense" to those disobeying, stumbling at the word, to which they were also appointed. [Isa. 8:14] 9 But you are "an elect race," "a royal priesthood," "a holy nation," "a people for possession," so that "you may openly speak of the virtues" of the One who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; [Ex. 19:5, 6]

Here Peter uses even more words to describe us and our role, quoting from the Old Testament. A holy nation, a royal priesthood, an elect or special race and people. This is further emphasized in the next scripture.

Revelation 3:11 Behold, I am coming quickly. Hold what you have that no one take your crown. 12 The one overcoming, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall not go out any more. And I will write the name of My God on him, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem which comes down out of Heaven from My God, and My new name.

This scripture is a big key. It helps to make some important identifications coming up. Those who conquer are said to be pillars in God's temple but also much more. They have names written on them. The name of Jesus' God (Jehovah, of course), and the name of God's city, New Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven. These are the keys we will now put to use.


Making Sense of Revelation
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Rev. 5:9 And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy are You to receive the scroll, and to open its seals, because You were slain, and by Your blood purchased us to God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 and made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign over the earth.

Now we know who these are that speak here. They were bought with Jesus' blood from every tribe, nation, people, and tongue/language. They are to be kings and priests of God and reign over the earth. Assumed in that is that there is something on the earth to reign over, right? Another revelation is next given. All hell is about to break loose in the next verse but not until something has been looked after.

Revelation 7: 3 saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads." 4 And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, out of every tribe of the sons of Israel.

Now right after this in verses 5-8, there are said to be 12,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel. I propose that these are symbolic, especially since there are such a precise number from each tribe. I will give more evidence in a minute.

Revelation 14:1 Then I looked, and lo, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads.

Well, these must be the same ones that were in Rev. 7, given that they are 144,000 in number, but in addition to God's name or seal on their foreheads, they also have Jesus' name on there, too. And they are standing on Mt. Zion, figuratively, I assume, to represent them as the living temple just as the literal temple had been on the literal Mt. Zion. It continues.

Revelation 14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder; the voice I heard was like the sound of harpers playing on their harps, 3 and they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are chaste; it is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes; these have been redeemed from mankind as first fruits for God and the Lamb, 5 and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are spotless.

These are said to be redeemed/bought from mankind as first fruits. But are they strictly from the tribes of Israel? Revelation 5 said they were from every tribe, nation, and language. And if there are first fruits, there are likely to be other fruits, too. We will get to that. And this passage also refers to them as chaste. Some Bibles use the word virgins. And they follow the Lamb, Jesus, wherever he goes. And they sing a new song as well. Of course, these virgins are both men and women who were formerly married on earth but they are chaste virgins in the spiritual sense, as no lie was found, for they are spotless, as the scripture says.


Paul Enlightens Us
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Paul clears it up for us. You will note from my past quotes and in the following that the Apostles are quite fond of quoting the Old Testament to demonstrate that the law had always prophesied and reinforced what Jesus and those he sent forth would now be doing and teaching. It was not really anything new but now just being made more clear than before. Paul discusses a length to the Romans and Galatians that the promises made to Abraham were more symbolic or spiritual than they were fleshly or literal.

Romans 4:13 For the promise was not through law to Abraham, or to his seed, for him to be the heir of the world, but through a righteousness of faith.

To explain it even more clearly since I have skipped a good deal of the context, Abraham did not follow the law perfectly to be entitled to receive the blessings and promises he did, by nature of being born of Adam, but he obtained them through faith in God, which was counted to him as righteousness. So it was through a promise that Abraham received what he did, not through works.

Romans 4:16 On account of this, it is of faith, that it be according to grace, for the promise to be made sure to all the seed, not to that of the Law only, but also to that of the faith of Abraham, who is father of us all.

Again, filling in for the context, it would not be only those under the law, the fleshly descendants of Abraham, but also those who receive the promise of Abraham according to their faith. This will become more evident in the next verses. And don't take my word for it, look at these accounts and read the other scriptures to gain that context for yourselves. I am confident you will see what I do.

Galatians 3:6 Even "as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness." [Gen 15:6] 7 Know, then, that those of faith, these are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel before to Abraham: "All the nations will be blessed" "in you." [Gen. 12:3] 9 So that those of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham.

Paul points out so many things here. Those of faith are the true sons of Abraham for starters. They are spiritual sons, so to speak. Paul points out the promise to Abraham that the nations would be blessed because of Abraham's faith and now we can see why God said that to Abraham. And we note that it is by faith or trust in God that we inherit those promises to Abraham. The law becomes useless to us since Christ gives us redemption by faith and by his sacrifice that we exercise faith in.

3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it has been written, "Cursed is everyone having been hung on a tree;" [Deut. 21:23] 14 that the blessing of Abraham might be to the nations in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

See? I was right, wasn't I?

3:16 But the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his Seed (it does not say, And to seeds, as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," which is Christ). [Gen. 12:7, 13:15; 17:7, 8; 24:7]

Though many Israelites and Jews may not have discerned it in the times before Jesus, when God had said seed to Abraham, He was referring specifically to Christ. A Seed referring to Christ was also the case in Genesis 3, too. Paul draws our attention to the fact that God used seed in the singular and not the plural.

3:18 For if the inheritance is of law, it is no more of promise; but God has given it to Abraham through promise.

This scripture in Galatians is almost the same as Romans, isn't it? Yes, the subject matter was much the same, regardless of who they wrote to.

3:24 So that the Law has become a trainer of us until Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Paul shows us here one of the main purposes of the law. It was a trainer, a teacher, a tutor, a guide, for us, until Christ would come to administer a new covenant, a new deal or goal that we would pursue and become obedient to. And we are told that it would be by faith and not law that we would be justified and rescued from the sin and death we were under because of Adam.

3:25 But faith coming, we are no longer under a trainer; 26 for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many as were baptized into Christ, you put on Christ.

We are no longer under the trainer, the law, but we are now all sons of God, a term normally used to identify angels. We are sons through faith, not law. The next part is real interesting.

3:28 There cannot be Jew nor Greek, there is no slave nor freeman, there is no male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are of Christ, then you are a seed of Abraham, even heirs according to promise.

In Christ Jesus, we are not long Jew nor Greek, not even male or female, but all one under the Christ. And as such, we are, as Paul plainly states for us here, a seed of Abraham. Yes, we are sons of Abraham, and sons of Isaac and Israel, too, for that matter. We are spiritual seeds according to promise and by our faith. I deal with the topic of Spiritual Israel in an article by that name for more on this.

But now we can understand why the various verses of revelation speak of 144,000 as being both of every people, race, nation, and language and yet also being out of the tribes of the sons of Israel. God is speaking figuratively or spiritually as is the case with most of Revelation and a good deal of Jesus ministry and the prophecies of the prophets, too.

What it boils down to in all the scriptures we have considered is that these first fruits of the resurrection, of those bought from among mankind, are chosen to be a priesthood and kings who will rule over the earth and bring it back to the way it should have been in Eden before Adam rebelled. They are the means by which God restores the earth and mankind to what he intended.


What About the Earth?
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Their purpose in going to heaven is to help Jesus bring the earth back to what it was supposed to be in the first place. They will guide and help those on earth to obtain what Adam first had, the opportunity to actually live forever in harmony with God in peace, righteousness, happiness, satisfaction, comfort, and security. I will give further proof shortly. But first another mystery.

Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!"

This group is mentioned in chapter 7 after we are introduced to the 144,000 who we well know the identity of. Who is this great multitude, this great crowd which could not be numbered, I assume because it is such a large number of them? And they come from all the peoples of the earth! Well, that is what one of the elders next asks.

Revelation 7:13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, "Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?" 14 I said to him, "Sir, you know." And he said to me, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Well, the great tribulation is another topic and I address that in another article. But the tribulation does happen on earth and there is a very large number, much more than 144,000 I assume, that come out of that mess due to salvation from the lamb (Jesus) and God. They, too, are bought of Jesus' blood but are being separated or distinguished from the 144,000. We will now see why.

7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night within his temple; and he who sits upon the throne will shelter them with his presence. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

These are sheltered with God's presence. And then verses 16 and 17 sound exactly like Rev. 21: 3&4 which we know from Rev. 21:2 must be on earth because the bride of Christ, New Jerusalem, comes down out of heaven to reside with these men. So when verse 15 says they serve in God's temple day and night, it must be referring to the symbolic temple courtyard, just s there was a literal courtyard of the temple. While yet on earth, Paul said we were the temple of God. So it is no stretch to imagine it so here. The next verses will make this more clear.

To set this next part up a little, I had showed in my article on "Spiritual Israel" what the identity of New Jerusalem, Heavenly Jerusalem, the Jerusalem above, was and we saw a scripture or two in this article that mentioned New Jerusalem as well where it was written on people who went to heaven, along with name of Jesus and his father. New Jerusalem is like a bride to Christ and they rule in heaven with him.

Rev. 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

This scripture borrows from Isaiah 65:17 which mentions a new heavens and earth and Peter also quotes this passage as well. When they say new, it is not in a literal sense which should be apparent by now, but spiritually speaking. There is something new about them. It likely has something to do with righteousness now being in them.

2 Peter 3:13 But according to His promise, we look for "new heavens and a new earth," in which righteousness dwells. [Isa. 65:17]

Now returning back to Revelation 21.

21:2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband;

New Jerusalem, the bride and helper of Jesus, comes down out of heaven. Coming down to where? Well, to earth in all likelihood. I must point out here that John quotes Jesus using the phrases "down out of heaven" or down from heaven" or "out of heaven" or "from heaven about 15 times and much more than the other gospel accounts. And since John is said to be the author of Revelation and Jesus its source, it should be no surprise that we continue to see this trend here. The source is heaven and God that New Jerusalem comes from.

21:3 and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away." 5 And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true."

Here we see the ultimate fulfillment and purpose of people going to heaven. Along with Jesus and God, the father, Jehovah, these will be with men and wipe every tear from their eyes and eliminate death and all bad and hurtful things that cause pain and grief. They will all be a distant memory that has passed away in insignificance.

Mankind will finally live in the beautiful and peaceful earth that God had intended all along. The prophets will have been completely and utterly fulfilled. The sixth day of Genesis will have been returned to its state of perfection where God can say again, it is good! That is what the Bible has been working toward in all its prophecies and laws. And a portion of mankind will be used to help make that happen as they assist Jesus up in heaven.

Their coming down out of heaven is only in a figurative or spiritual sense. They still reside in heaven as the angels do, but they have been given a special position in their service to God in helping their fellow humans left behind on earth. Now we can better understand what Paul was talking about to the Ephesians below.

Ephesians 1:9 making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 for the administration of the fullness of the times to head up all things in Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things on earth, in Him, 11 in whom we also have been chosen to an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of the One working all things according to the counsel of His own will.

Why, this is a position that even the angels do not have. Note the next verse. Be aware that saints refers to those who are saved; that is, loyal Christians.

(RSV) 1 Corinthians 6:2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life!


On Earth as in Heaven
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Consider the Lord's prayer given on the sermon on the mount. Jesus said that we should pray for God's will to be done on earth, just as it is in heaven. I'll give you both the King James version which will likely sound familiar as well as a more accurate and literal translation to follow.

(KJV) 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

(GLT) 9 So, then, you should pray this way: Our Father who is in Heaven, let be sanctified Your name. 10 Let Your kingdom come; let Your will be done, as it is in Heaven, also on the earth.

That example of how to pray is about to be fulfilled. Now there are things that one might wonder about since bringing this subject up. Who is going to heaven and who is not since Revelations 7 says there are two groups, one in heaven and one on earth. We know the earth was the object of those going to heaven and the reason why they go there. But who goes there is another thing, right? So that needs to be our next task to decipher.

Since there are to be a great multitude who are rescued and preserved on earth, far larger than the number going to heaven, and since many have been promised a place in heaven since Jesus began preaching, it would seem fairly logical to conclude that there are not many spots left for those destined for heaven. We know there will be a few but the majority of people surviving the great tribulation, what we have come to call "Judgement Day" or "Armageddon," will apparently remain on earth to fulfill God's purpose for the earth.

I thought I would also supply here what was in the article previous to this one dealing with a paradise earth by way of an Early 2nd Century Witness by the name of Papias.

The following are quotes from fragments of the writings of Papias. I believe they can also be found in the writings of Irenaeus. My quotes from within Papias will be [{in brakcets and red letters}]. Papias was a very early writer who was associated with those who had actually heard and known the Apostle John, like Polycarp. So this would be in the 1st half of the 100's (2nd century) AD. This is about as close as we can get to that time. Only Polycarp who actually heard John and knew him goes back further.

FRAGMENTS OF PAPIAS:
FROM THE EXPOSITION OF THE ORACLES OF THE LORD:

Chap. IV. (4)

[As the elders who saw John the disciple of the Lord remembered that they had heard from him how the Lord taught in regard to those times, and said]: "The days will come in which vines shall grow, having each ten thousand branches, and in each branch ten thousand twigs, and in each true twig ten thousand shoots, and in every one of the shoots ten thousand clusters, and on every one of the clusters ten thousand grapes, and every grape when pressed will give five-and-twenty metretes of wine. And when any one of the saints shall lay hold of a cluster, another shall cry out, 'I am a better cluster, take me; bless the Lord through me.' In like manner, [He said] that a grain of wheat would produce ten thousand ears, and that every ear would have ten thousand grains, and every grain would yield ten pounds of clear, pure, fine flour; and that apples, and seeds, and grass would produce in similar proportions; and that all animals, feeding then only on the productions of the earth, would become peaceable and harmonious, and be in perfect subjection to man." [Testimony is borne to these things in writing by Papias, an ancient man, who was a hearer of John and a friend of Polycarp, in the fourth of his books; for five books were composed by him. And he added, saying, "Now these things are credible to believers. And Judas the traitor," says he, "not believing, and asking, 'How shall such growths be accomplished by the Lord?' the Lord said, 'They shall see who shall come to them.' These, then, are the times mentioned by the prophet Isaiah: 'And the wolf shall lie, down with the lamb,' etc. (Isa. xi. 6 ff.)."]

[{ The claim is that John said that Jesus said that the earth, when done over in fulfillment of the law and prophets, would be incredibly fertile and luxurious, supplying abundantly to all. This seems absolutely believable give that the law an prophets always spoke of the earth and people living on it.}]

Chap. V. (5)

As the presbyters say, then those who are deemed worthy of an abode in heaven shall go there, others shall enjoy the delights of Paradise, and others shall possess the splendor of the city; for everywhere the Savior will be seen, according as they shall be worthy who see Him. But that there is this distinction between the habitation of those who produce an hundredfold, and that of those who produce sixty-fold, and that of those who produce thirty-fold; for the first will be taken up into the heavens, the second class will dwell in Paradise, and the last will inhabit the city; and that on this account the Lord said, "In my Father's house are many mansions:" for all things belong to God, who supplies all with a suitable dwelling-place, even as His word says, that a share is given to all by the Father, according as each one is or shall be worthy. And this is the couch in which they shall recline who feast, being invited to the wedding. The presbyters, the disciples of the apostles, say that this is the gradation and arrangement of those who are saved, and that they advance through steps of this nature; and that, moreover, they ascend through the Spirit to the Son, and through the Son to the Father; and that in due time the Son will yield up His work to the Father, even as it is said by the apostle, "For He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." For in the times of the kingdom the just man who is on the earth shall forget to die. "But when He says all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all."

[End of Papias as it appeared in the works of Irenaeus]

These very early post-apostolic writers like Papias and Irenaeus believed that there would be more than one destiny for those resurrected with the earth restored as a paradise being one of them. That might seem shocking to Christianity today but it was not back then. Time to readjust our understanding, don't you think?

How we determine who goes where will be addressed in the next article in this series, "The Resurrections" which might be better entitled "Who Goes and Who Stays." Some might even dispute if any will stay but I think Revelation is clear that there will be many to stay. But we will cover it all for you. Enjoy!


Related Articles
God's Eternal Purpose
God's Institution - The Nation of Israel
A Paradise Earth Forever
The Heavenly Destination
The Resurrections
Spiritual Israel
Being Born Again

 

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