Religion of 2014-03-05

Will Jesus establish his kingdom on the earth or in heaven?

Most Christians assume that when Jesus returns he will take the righteous back to heaven at the throne of God. However, as I discuss below, this view is far from the truth as the Bible clearly indicates that Jesus will establish his kingdom on the earth. Jesus’s kingdom will be on the earth According to: • Revelation 5:9-10, the people that Jesus will redeem at judgment will become kings and priests to God and reign on the earth; • Zechariah 14:3–4, 9, in his second coming, the Lord [Jesus] will descend on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem and from there, he will be king over the whole earth; • Zechariah 14:16-17, the Lord [Jesus] will defeat all nations that would have come on Jerusalem and those that survive would have to go to Jerusalem every year to worship Jesus, and if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship Jesus there will be no rain on them; • Zechariah 8:3, "I [Jesus] will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.” • Zechariah 8:20-24 like 14:16-17 states that people will come from around the world to worship Jesus. • Jeremiah 23:5, "Behold, the days come, says the Eternal, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth." • Luke 1:32, 33, He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of his father David and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end. All the above passages clearly indicate that when Jesus returns he will establish his kingdom on the earth and not in heaven. The prologue to the Book of Revelation (Rev 1:1) states clearly that it was God himself who gave the book to Jesus and Jesus in turn revealed to John through his angels. Therefore, if Rev 5:9-10 states categorically that Jesus and the righteous will reign on the earth, there is no room for any other interpretation as the statement is explicitly clear. In any case, how can the prophecy in Zachariah be fulfilled, if Jesus is going to establish his kingdom in heaven. Who will be in Jerusalem that the families that survive the onslaught of Jesus will have to go there and worship? Above all, Revelation 11:15 states clearly that there will come a time that the kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. I am sure the kingdom of the world is not in heaven but on the earth and it is these kingdoms that Jesus is going to seize, transform and reign in them forever. Similarly, in Dan 2:44, God revealed to Daniel the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream that God will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. Clearly, the statement that the kingdom will not be left to another people is an adequate cue that Jesus’ kingdom will be on the earth. This clearly means that the kingdom Daniel is referring to has been with people before and it is this same earthly kingdom that Jesus will take over and transform it spiritually. The righteous will inherit the earth and not heaven According to: • Psalm 115:16, the heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind; • Psalm 37:9, 11, for evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be… But the meek shall inherit the earth; and • Matthew 5:5, Jesus stated at Sermon of the Mount that blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Again, the above passages state categorically that the righteous are going to inherit the earth (and not heaven). It is important to state here clearly that God had originally intended the earth to be the place where humans will live forever and that is why he planted the tree of life in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:22,24). And despite the fall of man, God will eventually fulfil the plan. In fact, all the above passages are referring to the end time event. This is particular clear from Psalm 37:9, 11 which indicate that the wicked will be destroyed at that time and the righteous will then take possession of the earth. The New Planet after Jesus’1,000 years reign Rev 21: 1-3, I [John] 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. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God Revelation 3:12, the one who conquers, I [Jesus] will make him a pillar in the temple of my God ... and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven; Isaiah 65:17, For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind; Matthew 5: 18, For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 2 Peter 3:13, But based on His promise, we wait for the new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell. 1Timothy 6:16, who [God] dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. The effect of all the passages above is that after Jesus had ruled [on the earth] for thousand years (see Rev 20:1, 6), a new planet specially prepared by God called interchangeably—the new heaven, the new earth, the Holy City and the new Jerusalem (the New Planet), will descend from heaven and God himself will now come and dwell among humans in this New Planet. It is important to note that according to Rev 21:3 and 1Timothy 6:16 until the end of Jesus’ 1,000 years reign, humans will not be able to see God and God will not dwell where humans live. The question then is, why will people be in Jesus’ kingdom in heaven, yet God will not dwell with them and the people cannot see God? The obvious answer is that until the coming of the New Planet, the righteous and Jesus will rule on the earth. And it is only after this period that God will actually dwell among the righteous and the righteous will actually be able to see God. Thus, humans have no business in heaven; God has established it for himself and the earth for humans (Psalm 115:16). Thus, after the 1,000 years of Jesus reign, when God will finally live with humans there will be a completely New Planet prepared specially for both God himself and humans. Before I conclude this section, those who proclaim that Jesus will take the righteous to heaven should consider the fact that according to Psalms 103:19, the LORD [GOD] has established his throne in heaven. Further, Revelation 3:21 indicates explicitly clear that the throne [kingdom] that Jesus will establish will be different from God’s throne. Therefore, if Jesus is going to have a different throne and as many believe that Jesus throne will be established in heaven, does it mean that Jesus will establish another kingdom in heaven alongside that of God or what? Clearly, this scenario does not seem plausible. Also, just when Jesus was about to return to heaven, the apostles asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” The apostles by this question clearly understood that Jesus’ kingdom will be established right on the earth just as the prophets before them have preached, and this was why the Pharisees and etc. had expected Jesus ‘first coming to be a Messianic kingdom. What about the passages that appear to indicate that Jesus will take the righteous to heaven Sure, there are some few passages which appear to indicate that when Jesus returns he will take the righteous to heaven but critical examinations of them indicate otherwise. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Paul discussed in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 that Jesus himself will come down from heaven … and the dead in Christ and the righteous alive will be caught up together in the clouds to meet Jesus in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever (vrs.16-18). Most Christians assume that because the righteous will meet Christ in the air it means Jesus will go back to heaven with the righteous but that is not the case. First, it is important to mention that the passage does not tell us where Jesus and the people will go to; but obviously, we are not going to hang on in the air forever. However, according to Roger (2010), there is a textual cue in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 indicating that Jesus will return to the earth. First, the use of the word "meeting" (avpanthsij or apanteesis in Greek) indicates that Jesus and the people will come back to earth. According to F.F. Bruce (cited in Roger, 2010), the Greeks had a custom whereby the leading citizens went out to meet and escort a dignitary that paid an official visit to a city in Hellenistic times on the final stage of his journey. This practice still happens in several countries where foreign dignitaries are met at the airport and escorted into the countries that they are visiting. Further, William R. Kimball (cited in Roger, 2010) notes that the word (to meet) is used only two other times in the New Testament. The first being Matthew 25:6, where the ten virgins waited for the arrival of the bridegroom. On the announcement of the arrival of the bridegroom the [5 wise] virgins arose and hurried out to meet the approaching bridegroom to escort him back to where they had been waiting. Jesus narrated this story to demonstrate how his return will be and how people have to be ready to meet him. The other usage is found in Acts 28:14-16, which states some Christians invited Paul to spend a week with them at Rome. When these Christians heard that Paul was coming, they travelled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet him. These people return to Rome taking Paul with them. Clearly, the word "meet" here denotes the continued journey of the dignitary (Paul) and the reversal of direction of those who were going out to meet him. Kimball has summarised the passage in I Thessalonians as follows. “An honest examination of the distinctive usage of the word apanteesis conclusively demonstrates that as one party was making a journey (the Lord, the bridegroom, and the Apostle Paul), others came out to meet them, and then accompanied them to the end of their original destination without changing direction. In the case of 1 Thessalonians 4:17, that direction would be a descent of the Lord from heaven to earth.” John 14:1-3 Another passage used to support the view that people will live in heaven is John 14:1-3, where Jesus stated that do not let your heart be troubled … In My Father’s house are many dwelling places … for I go to prepare a place for you. 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. Unfortunately, many have taken this passage to mean that Jesus will take the apostles and (therefore, the righteous) to heaven. However, a careful reading of the passage does not indicate that. Firstly, it is stated clearly in Deuteronomy 10:14 that the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it belong to God. Therefore, the house of God that Jesus is referring to can be anywhere in the universe. Also, a careful reading of John 14:3 indicate that Jesus did not necessarily state that he would take us to heaven but only stated that wherever he will be (that where I am, there you may be also). This is a very significant point which many do not focus on. In my view, Jesus carefully chose his words here as he could have simply stated that I will take you to heaven, instead made an open statement. Thus, as the statement does not directly refer to heaven, we need to look at other areas of the Bible to understand the place that Jesus referred to. As indicated above, the Bible explicitly states that Jesus will rule on this earth, therefore, it is here that he will be with the righteous. John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” It is important to states that Jesus only here indicated that his kingdom is purely spiritual and divine and not secular in nature. In other words, Jesus was discussing the nature of his kingdom rather than the location of the kingdom. Conclusion From the above discussion, we can conclude that Jesus will establish his kingdom right on this earth for 1,000 years and after that God will send down a New Planet, where God himself will also come and live. There cannot be anything clearer than this. Therefore the teaching that man will go to heaven is not biblical. God specially created the earth for humans and heaven for himself. It is when he creates the New Planet that both God and humans will be able to live there together. Reference: Roger, D. M. The Promised Inheritance: What is the Believer's Reward? http://www.bibletruth.cc/ThePromisedInheritance.htm Joseph Annor: B.A. Religious Studies; Master of Accounting