The HOPE of the righteous is RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD. It is NOT the hope of “going to heaven,” for nowhere in scripture does it say heaven is our destination when we die no matter how this unbiblical teaching is reinforced in hymns, at funerals, in literature, in the pulpits, and Hollywood movies.
God is going to renew this earth and promised that the righteous are going to “inherit the earth.” Jesus repeated this promise:
“Blessed are the meek, for they are going to inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
This renewed earth is the reward and inheritance of all the saints.
“For evildoers will be cut off, but as for those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the earth. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; and you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the earth and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity…The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their inheritance will be forever… For those blessed by Him will inherit the earth, but those cursed by Him will be cut off…The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever…Wait for the LORD and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it” (Psalm 37:9-34).
Question: Just curious….what about when Jesus said, “This day, you shalt be with me in Paradise?” And, “In my Father’s house there are many mansions.”
Good question. There is so much to cover, but I will try to give it to you in a nut shell.
One of the scriptures you are talking about is John 14:1-3
Concerning preparing a place, it says,
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1–3).
Just to make some points.
- Heaven is never referred to as “my Father’s house.” (Allusion to the temple)
- Jesus is not talking about taking them to heaven when they die. If this were so, we would have Jesus “coming back” many times after each person dies and individual resurrections.
- We know that Jesus is not literally building buildings or mansions (translated “dwelling places”) There is no construction work going on in heaven. 🙂
But Jesus does promise to prepare a place for us. A question to ask is, Where is this place? It will be here on earth when he returns, thus fulfilling a prophecy given by the angels in Acts 1:11. It is also in harmony with Jesus in 1 Thess. 4:13-17 where we will be united with Christ at the “second coming.” The coming of Christ fulfills a multitude of prophecies of the “Kingdom of God” in the Old and New Testaments.
All the saints will have important position of authority in the coming Kingdom, the Millennium, which will be initiated by Jesus’ Coming (Rev.19:11-20:6; Isa. 9:6-9; Ps. 2; Acts 3:21). The saints will judge the world and angels (1 Cor. 6:2-3). Jesus restores life to conditions seen in the Garden of Eden (Rev. 20:1-6; Is. 2:1-4; 9:6-9; 11:1-16; 51:1-8; 60-62; 65:17-25; Ps. 2:6-12; 110:1-7; Mt. 5:5; 6:10; 17:11; 19:28; Acts 1:6; 3:21).
As far as the thief on the cross, this is really no problem. The thief on the cross said to Jesus,
“Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).
Again, there is nothing in there that says anything about going to heaven. It’s about a “Kingdom.” “…come into your kingdom.”
When Christ died, he didn’t go to heaven, but was in the grave and it was on the third day that God raised (resurrected) him from the dead. Christ was raised to a life of immortality, which is promised to all those who believe the gospel about the Kingdom that Christ preached.
Jesus responded to the thief,
“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).
We have a system of punctuation in the English that was not used in the Greek language. There is a big difference when a comma is moved or not in the correct place. The translators give us the impression that Jesus went to heaven the day he died, as well as the thief. To get a correct reading, and which “harmonizes” with other passages of scripture, it should read,
“Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise.”
Now, if paradise is in heaven, neither the thief or Jesus went to heaven that day. Christ was three days in the grave and after his resurrection Christ said to Mary Magdalene, “I have not yet ascended to My Father.” So I can say with confidence that the comma is in the wrong place. That simple comma where the translators has placed it makes other passages of scripture contradict.
Paul received a vision of paradise (2 Cor.12:3-4), the garden of Eden. Paradise will be the restored garden of Eden, which contains the tree of life:
“To him who overcomes, I will give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise garden of God” (Rev. 2:7; 22:2).
God never promised eternity in heaven as a reward for the saved, but a promise to “enter the Kingdom.” Jesus preached about the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of his Father. When Jesus comes again he will reign on earth and we, as coheirs, will reign with him (compare for example – Romans 8:17; 2. Tim. 2:12; Hebrews 1:1-2; 2:5-11; Rev. 5:10; Revelation 21:7).
So ultimately, we inherit the entire universe, “inherit the earth.”