QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
Regarding Heaven | Heavenly Hope
♦ Did you err in saying that ALL Christians have the heavenly hope?
On February 22, 2012, we received the following comment:
“There are errors in your writing about a heavenly hope for all Christians today, the reason for that is that Jesus Christ told us, you can only get into the kingdom of God, only if you were born again of the Spirit. John 3:5. Today only a few are born of the spirit.
“2. Only 144,000 are redeemed from the earth, the revelation 14:1-3.
“3. Those who are born again are spiritual Jews, Romans 2:29. Many decided to join the spiritual Jews, Zechariah 8:23. They are the ones that Jesus Christ gives eternal life, Matthew 25:40, 46.
“4. In Matthew 25:46 they called the righteous and the righteous would own the earth and live on earth forever, Psalm 37:29.
“5. They had helped the brothers of Jesus (the anointed), it is clear that there is therefore 2 groups with different hopes, Matthew 25:35-40.”
To the author of the comments, we first want to thank you for taking the time to visit our site and share your comments. It takes courage to put your thoughts out into the internet, and it manifests a conviction in your heart that you are determined to “make sure of all things.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) With that in mind, we respond to your comments as follows:
To your first comment: “There are errors in your writing about a heavenly hope for all Christians today, the reason for that is that Jesus Christ told us, you can only get into the kingdom of God, only if you were born again of the Spirit. John 3:5. Today only a few are born of the spirit.”
We agree with you that in order to get into the kingdom of God, you must be born again of the Spirit. See Letter No. 4 of Observing the Oneness of the Faith. In fact, the purpose of this site is to help persons see that they are indeed sons of God and heirs to the kingdom of the heavens. Once they awaken to their true hope, they will be born again – born of the spirit – and receive the token of the spirit in their hearts (2 Corinthians 1:22).
However, we wonder how you reach the conclusion that “Today only a few are born of the spirit.” Perhaps it is based on the number of partakers that are reflected in the Society’s year end report. If so, we encourage you to keep your eyes open. That number will increase, and we hope to see it increase exponentially as more and more of the “earthly class” recognize their true relationship with Jehovah.
To your second comment: “Only 144,000 are redeemed from the earth, the revelation 14:1-3.”
First, we do not dispute that 144,000 will serve as kings and priests in heaven. (See The Royal Priesthood and the Holy Nation, Letter No. 5.) However, we encourage you to look again at the scriptures at Revelation 14:1-3. It does refer to “the hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been bought from the earth,” but it does not say that ONLY 144,000 are bought from the earth. And look at verse 4, it identifies that certain group as “firstfruits.” Think about this: if there are “firstfruits” that go to heaven, could there be “second fruits” that also go? And notice in verse 1 that the scene takes place on the top of a mountain. Are we to assume that the mountain represents the entire heavens? The point is, the Bible does not specifically state the total number who go to heaven, only that 144,000 of them will serve as kings and priests.
As to your third comment: “Those who are born again are spiritual Jews, Romans 2:29. Many decided to join the spiritual Jews, Zechariah 8:23. They are the ones that Jesus Christ gives eternal life, Matthew 25:40, 46.”
Again, we do not dispute that those who are born again are referred to as spiritual Jews or spiritual Israel. (See "The Royal Priesthood and the Holy Nation, Letter No. 5".) Your reference to Zechariah 8:23 is instructive. It establishes that gentiles will join with Jews in serving God. Is that not what has happened in the Christian congregation? The founding members of the Christian congregation were fleshy Jews who were baptized in water and spirit, thus, becoming spiritual Jews. Then the preaching turned to the gentile nations who were also baptized in water and spirit. And since, as Zechariah says, they are “taking hold of the skirt” of a Jew, does not that indicate they will be following these spiritual Jews wherever they are going – into the heavens? Finally, we also agree with you that Matthew 25:40 and 46 states that Jesus will give righteous persons everlasting life. But look again at that scripture. Does it say everlasting life on earth? No, it does not.
As to your fourth comment: “In Matthew 25:46 they called the righteous and the righteous would own the earth and live on earth forever, Psalm 37:29.”
Again, we do not dispute that the righteous will live forever on earth. (See Observing the Oneness of the Faith, Letter No. 5.) But we encourage you to re-examine both Matthew 25:46 and Psalm 37:29. Do you see any language that says that each individual righteous person would live forever on the earth? No, you do not. It simply refers to “the righteous” as a group. And we agree that at some point in the future, the entire planet will be inhabited with only righteous people – as a group. God has greater plans for us as individuals.
“Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, neither have there been conceived in the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9
As to your fifth and final comment: “They had helped the brothers of Jesus (the anointed), it is clear that there is therefore 2 groups with different hopes, Matthew 25:35-40.”
We agree that Matthew 25:35-40 speaks of two groups with two different destinies, but we would hardly refer to them as two hopes. The ones on his right would “inherit the kingdom.” That is the heavenly hope for the “righteous ones.” However, the ones on the left go into “everlasting cutting-off.” That is death. So the two destines referred to in that scripture are life and death, not everlasting life in heaven and everlasting life on earth.
We hope we have adequately responded to your comments. It is possible that you have not read through the entire site. If not, we encourage you to do so.
We know that the good news that all Christians are sons of God and therefore have a heavenly destiny is difficult for some to accept. But that is what the Bible teaches. Perhaps these two scriptures will be of some comfort:
“Keep your minds fixed on the things above, not on the things of the earth.” – Colossians 3:2
“Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead. I am pursuing down toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus. Let us, then, as many of us as are mature, be of this mental attitude; and if you are mentally inclined otherwise in any respect, God will reveal the above [attitude] to you.” –Philippians 3:13-15
Yes, pray on these thoughts, and the Spirit of Truth will confirm these truths to you.
If you have been attracted to this site, you are likely one of the anointed sons of the kingdom, in line for a glorious future! If not, you have no doubt had the baptism of water. Pray now for the token of the spirit. And may the God of all peace be with you.
♦ Visitor does not understand that all Christians have the heavenly hope.
On June 22, 2012, we received the following inquiry:
“I do not understand that all Christians have the heavenly hope. Remember Jesus said in Matthew 5:5 Some shall inherit the earth. and in Mark 10:30 eternal life.”
To the author, we thank you for posting your question. We are aware that this is the current understanding of Jehovah’s Witnesses. And we accept that you share that understanding. However, the purpose of this site is to advance the understanding of our brothers and sisters to one more closely aligned with the hope taught by Jesus and the apostles. We believe if you read the articles on this site, you will be pleasantly moved in that direction.
Rather than reiterate what we have already written, we direct you to the following articles: Who are Led by Spirit?, Moving Forward in Faith, Hold Fast to the Sacred Secret, and The Cherished Earthly Hope. Every one of these articles show, based on an abundance of scriptural evidence, that the Father holds out to all mankind the hope of everlasting life with Him in the heavens.
We know this understanding is revolutionary to our fellowship, which is why we suggest that you read the foundation article series first. Many of our brothers and sisters have spent so many years with an incomplete understanding that it will take a bit of deconstruction to reveal the true hope.
In the meantime, we will give you some ‘scriptures for thought.’
“I am pursuing down toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus. Let us, then, as many of us as are mature, be of this mental attitude; and if you are mentally inclined otherwise in any respect, God will reveal the above [attitude] to you.” – Colossians 3:14-15
“Keep your minds fixed on the things above, not on the things upon the earth.” – Colossians 3:2
“For all who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons.” – Romans 8:14
“You are all, in fact, sons of God through your faith in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:26
Jesus prepared a place in heaven for all of us who exercise faith in him and in the Father:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God, exercise faith also in me. In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be. And where I am going you know the way.” – John 16:1-4
If only 144,000 were to follow Jesus into the heavens, and the vast majority were not, surely Jesus would have told us.
Since you already accept the Father’s invitation of sonship, that is good news to us. If the Father has chosen to accept many others, let us rejoice together. You may find the article The Glorious Heavenly Hope a source of encouragement as you ready yourself for your heaven-bound journey.
♦ If we all have the heavenly hope, to whom does the 144,000 pertain?
On July 10, 2012, we received the following inquiry:
“What I don't yet understand is, if we all have the heavenly hope, to whom does the mentioning of 144,000 pertain?”
Thank you for your inquiry. As a general matter, we avoid answering questions having to do with prophecy. However, this question has been raised before and we can provide an answer without delving into prophetic speculation.
Our answer to your questions is that, frankly, we do not know for sure. Remember, that number is part of the revelation that was ‘presented in signs.’ (Revelation 1:1) So, it may be a literal number; and it may not be. For now, the Society teaches that it is a literal number. Since we do not know for sure, we leave that interpretation alone. We are careful not to teach as doctrine the things we are not sure about.
What we are certain of are the things that Jesus taught us plainly and openly, supported by the Christian Bible writers. Rather than placing our hopes on a symbolic idea, we plant our feet firmly in the actual teachings of the Christ. He taught that we are all brothers, that God is the Father of all of us, and that all who are faithful will inherit to the heavenly kingdom:
“But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your teacher, whereas all you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One.” – Matthew 23:8-9
“For all who are led by God’s spirit, these are God’s sons. 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.” – Romans 8:14-17
“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.’” – Matthew 25:34
Know, too, that not understanding a prophesy does not affect our status as sons of God who are faithfully imitating Christ. We are confident that whatever happens, we will always be on the favorable side of events.
We hope this answer is satisfactory.
♦ Matthew 24:30-31: What does heaven’s extremities mean? Aren’t the elect on earth when this happens?
On July 22, 2012, we received the following inquiry:
“I have a question. in Matthew 24, 30-31 it is written the angels will gather the elect from the ends of heaven. what does heaven outer end mean? is not the elect on earth when this happens.”
Thank you for your inquiry. The scripture you refer to states:
“And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send forth his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.” – Matthew 24:30-31
We previously posted a response to a question similar to your second one: “Is not the elect on earth when this happens?” Please see response of February 29, 2012. We believe the scripture means that Christ will gather his “chosen ones” to himself from wherever they are located – whether that be in heaven or earth. We base that belief on Paul’s words to the Ephesians:
“This he caused to abound toward us in all wisdom and good sense, in that he made known to us the sacred secret of his will. It is according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself for an administration at the full limit of the appointed times, namely, to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.” – Ephesians 1:8-10
Nevertheless, if we take a literal interpretation of the scripture, it appears the “chosen ones” will be located in heaven. If you are asking whether heaven has an outer end, we would need to consider what has been discovered by scientists who study the cosmos. They tell us that the universe is ever-expanding. That means to us that there is an outer end, but it is always changing and extending further out.
We hope that answers your questions.
♦ I still have doubts about whether there is only one hope for Christians.
On February 1, 2013, we received the following comment:
“Gosh, I'm really convinced by your careful findings. I'm really impressed. You all are really godly inspired. Earlier on, I posted a question about Daniel. [Question and Response, January 23, 2013] I read your reply and also the article you suggest for me to read, [The Promised Resurrection]. Thanks a lot. You answered straight on. Only one problem. We read your reply my, brother & I, and I get what it means – there is only one hope for all Christians. He on the other hand disagrees with me, saying "I should be careful of how I interpret things." He also said I shouldn't continue viewing this website. Both him and my mother got angry at me saying "The site is for the anointed only (they are still on the theory of the Governing Body)." And they suggested I put a stop to asking you about my doubts. They disagree with the one hope and they say how I interpret what you mean is wrong. Please help me! Am I wrong? Please reply soon, on your website for me to know.”
Our dear sister, we are glad you wrote us again. First, we want you to know that this website is for all Christians, even non-Christians, atheist and agnostics. All people need to hear the actual, authentic, plain and open teachings of Jesus Christ. All people need to hear the true good news of the Kingdom of the Heavens. Jesus Christ has a personal relationship with all of us because he is the Creator God of all mankind, by the will of God, the Father of All.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him.” – Colossians 1:15-16
Thus, every man, woman and child have the opportunity to survive mortal death and follow Jesus into the Kingdom of the Heavens. You, your brother and your mother also have that opportunity, if you want to reach out for it.
Second, we are glad you understood the article we posted, The Promised Resurrection. Yes, we firmly believe that there is only one hope for all Christians – the heavenly hope. No where in the Christian Greek Scriptures do the writers ever promote, or even speak of, any other hope for faithful mankind. No where! Ever! The idea only arose when men tried to interpret the prophesies of Revelation, which is only speculation and guessing. We think the explanation in the article, as supported by abundant scriptures, is pretty straightforward. But if you, or your family, continue to have doubts about the one hope, perhaps it might be helpful to read a few more articles. Here are the ones we suggested in our earlier response to you: Who Are Led by Spirit, Moving Forward in Faith, Holding Fast to the Sacred Secret, and Foreordained from the Founding of the World.
You might also want to read the series of articles entitled The Cherished Earthly Hope which explains exactly what the earthly hope is all about. After reading this series of articles, many of our brothers and sisters no longer have doubts about the one hope for Christians, the heavenly hope.
Finally, dear sister, we provide this section of Questions and Responses on our website so that we can post questions and responses that would be of broad interest to our visitors. However, when the questions posed are personal, we would rather respond privately by email. If after you read the suggested articles, you still have questions concerning your personal situation, please provide us with an email address and we will be happy to respond privately. Unfortunately, if you do not provide an email address, and we deem your question to be personal, and not necessarily beneficial to a wide portion of our audience, we will not be able to provide a response. We hope you understand.
We wish you the very best as you come to know your true relationship with the Father, and we want to welcome into the spiritual brotherhood, the family of God!
♦ Chastised for helping another accept the heavenly hope.
On February 6, 2013, we received the following comment:
“I have been working with a young brother in my congregation in helping him get settled with his sonship. I don't know if he intends to partake at the upcoming memorial, but I suspect he will. If so, then I am certain at least from our elders they will think I am responsible for his partaking. I will have to think ahead and formulate a response should questions arise. I will reread the response to an elder who was experiencing difficulties with his own body of elders in regard to speaking about his heavenly hope. [Letter From An Anointed Elder 1/26/13]”
To the author, thank you for your comment. We publish your comment and our response here because we suspect that many others among our association will be facing a similar problem as the Memorial draws closer.
First, we want you to know that, of course, you are responsible for the young brother’s partaking, and we say amen! That is what ambassadors for Christ are supposed to do!
“Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” – Matthew 28:18-20
“They now arranged for a day with him, and they came in greater numbers to him in his lodging place. And he explained the matter to them by bearing thorough witness concerning the kingdom of God and by using persuasion with them concerning Jesus from both the law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.” – Acts 28:23
Take a look at the Society’s publication, “Bearing Thorough Witnesses About God’s Kingdom.” The entire book is about making disciples of the Kingdom. On page 10, paragraphs 20-21, it state:
“Let us keep ever in mind that we have been commissioned to do an important work – to preach and make disciples. With each day that passes, the urgency of that commission becomes greater. The end of this system of things is rapidly approaching. Never before have so many lives been at stake. We do not know how many more rightly disposed ones may yet respond to our message. (Acts 13:48) But it is our responsibility to help such ones before it is too late. – 1 Tim. 4:16
“It is vital, then, that we imitate the example of zealous Kingdom preachers of the first century. May your careful study of this publication more strengthen you to preach with ever greater zeal and boldness. And may you be strengthened in your determination to continue “bearing thorough witness concerning the kingdom of God.” – Acts 28:23
Yes, brother. You have a responsibility to imitate the first century preachers and teach the hope they taught. And when you speak about the kingdom of God, you can use persuasion. If the hearer makes a decision to take up the mantle of the Christ, that is a joyous occasion! Which one of the elders does not rejoice when they make a new disciple? Which publisher does not feel proud when a Bible student gets baptized? If they can rejoice when they lead someone to the earthly hope, how much more so can you rejoice for leading someone to the heavenly hope.
This double standard in our organization is reprehensible. Those who preach about an earthly hope, which was never taught by Jesus or the early Christians, are praised for their disciple making, but those who preach about the heavenly hope, which is the only hope Jesus and the early Christians taught, should somehow be ashamed and chastised? That is despicable!
It is time for this double standard to be confronted head on if it is to be dissolved. And it must be confronted with dignity, courage, confidence and joy! Bravo to you if the young brother does indeed partake! More glory to the Christ and to his powerful message of sonship! And shame on those who would seek to discourage it! They are making themselves subject to Christ’s disapproval as were the Pharisees who were likewise shutting up the Kingdom of the Heavens! (Matthew 23:13)
There is a lot of patience and tolerance for administrative matters such as meeting times, frequency of magazines, dress, grooming, service appointments, even which holidays can be celebrated. But the righteous indignation of sons of the kingdom should arise when men seek to control who can enter the Kingdom of the Heavens. Such men become adversarial resisters who will be shaken to their core.
We reject the double standard, and we hope all sons of the Kingdom likewise reject it. If you are called to answer for assisting others into the heavenly hope, do not cower in fear as if you have done something wrong. Let them know that you are proud of your hope, proud of your ministry, and proud to take sides with the Christ and the Kingdom of the Heavens. They are the ones that should be ashamed. You may want to read: Proving Ourselves Worthy of the Christ and Sons of the Kingdom, Stand Up!
We will pray that you and the young brother have the courage to take your stand, and we will pray that those who try to suppress and inhibit the heavenly hope repent before there is no longer any forgiveness for them left.
We welcome your comments.
♦ Visitor does not believe Daniel or John the Baptizer will be in heaven because they were not born again.
On February 21, 2013, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“Dear brothers, this question is about a discussion I read on the supposed resurrection of Daniel to the heavens. I was not convinced by your explanation as a couple of crucial issues were not dealt with.
“The first is: John 3:3 - "unless anyone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The second is: Matthew 11:11,12 - regarding John the Baptist, "...a lesser one in the Kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is. But from the days of John the Baptist until, now the Kingdom of the heavens is the goal towards which men press, and those pressing forward are seizing it".
“If we agree on what it means to be born again, born of water and spirit, namely baptism and receiving the promised holy spirit, then by the account in John, Daniel would be required to be born again in order to see the kingdom of the heavens would he not?
“Also, why is a lesser one in the Kingdom of the heavens greater than John the Baptist, when by Jesus's own admission, "among those born of women there has not been raised up a greater than John the Baptist". Presumably, it has something to do with John not having been born again, born of water and spirit?
“I note however, that a promise of "...you will be with me in paradise" was made to a man who was not I assume born again. So is it reasonable to assume that he would see the kingdom of the heavens?
“If you could spend some of your precious time answering these questions for me I will be most grateful.”
To the author, thank you for your email and, of course, we will be happy to spend time responding to your question. We provided a response privately, but we believe it would be beneficial to our visitors if we publish our response as well.
Your first question has to do with being born again. We discuss this matter in detail in the article Being Born of Spirit. But cursorily, we will offer a few points:
Being born of spirit is an event that occurs after death. The pouring out of holy spirit while we are alive is called a ‘token’ not the actual spirit birth. Ephesians 1:13-14. Since both John the Baptizer and Daniel experienced actual physical death, they are in the proper condition to be re-born ‘of spirit’ by way of the promised resurrection. (See The Promised Resurrection.)
Being born of water is symbolic of dying to our past life and being made anew in our thinking. It is not an actual death or an actual rebirth. Romans 6:4. Again, since John the Baptizer and Daniel experienced actual physical death, they have no need of being baptized in water.
Daniel was promised a resurrection. Daniel 12:13. (See The Promised Resurrection.) The only place where people are resurrected to is the heavens.
As to John the Baptizer, Jesus did not say that John the Baptist would not be a part of the Kingdom of the Heavens. Here is what Jesus actually said:
“I tell you, Among those born of women there is none greater than John; but a person that is a lesser one in the kingdom of God is greater than he is.” – Luke 7:28
We believe Jesus is referring to the fact that while John preached that the kingdom was near, he had no real concept of what the kingdom was. He died before Jesus began his ministry about the kingdom of the heavens. This does not mean that John would be excluded from the Kingdom, only that he would have a ‘lesser’ position in the heavenly kingdom than a ‘lesser’ one who had the benefits of Jesus’ teachings. Also, please note this scripture:
“But I tell you that many from eastern parts and western parts will come and recline at the table with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of the heavens.” – Matthew 8:11
So not only will faithful pre-Christian Jews be in the kingdom of heaven, but even men from the east and the west. Yes, all mankind is invited! We also point you to a recent article we published entitled Faith Sons and the Heavenly Hope that shows that many of the pre-Christian Jews had the heavenly hope!
As for the evildoer, Jesus promised that he would be in paradise. The only paradise ever referred to in the Bible is a heavenly paradise. (See The Promised Resurrection and What is God's Purpose for the Earth?) Thus, if Jesus could promise the heavenly paradise to an evildoer, surely faithful prophets like Daniel and John the Baptizer could receive the same reward, along with ‘Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and those from the eastern and western parts.’ (Matthew 8:11)
We find the best way to understand the good news of the Bible is to look at the plain and open teachings of Jesus. And if we attempt to interpret prophecy, those interpretations should be in harmony with what Jesus actually taught, rather than in conflict with, or going beyond, what Jesus taught. A fair and honest look at Jesus’ teachings shows that Jesus encouraged a heavenly hope for all. So did the Christian Bible writers. Never did any of them teach us to seek everlasting life on earth.
Also, remember, all the pre-Christian prophets prophesied about Jesus, and Paul explained that the good news would come from Jesus, not the early prophets or anyone else. (Hebrews 1:1-2) Therefore, it is error, and even arrogance, when men, proposing to be prophets 1900 years later, decide to change what Jesus and the early Bible writers taught based on their own limited comprehension of Bible prophecy. (See Proving Ourselves Worthy of the Christ.) We also note that many of the interpretations of this group of men in the early 19th century had to be changed or withdrawn many times, whereas Jesus’ teachings remain consistent and reliable, and even more so today.
We hope we have satisfactorily answered your questions. But if not, please feel free to write again.
♦ Response to a visitor to rejects the heavenly hope.
On November 22, 2013, we received the following disappointing comments:
“After reading your whole site I came to a decision. I will stick even closer to Jehovah and his organization. Thanks for your answers in the past. I was resuming the story about Korah very properly and meditating about it in prayer. I have the earthly hope, that's my desire. Why should it be such a difficult task for Jehovah to help us to transform the earth into a paradise? A power that is beyond every imagination? The creator can't help us restoring the earth into a paradise? That's not the God I believe in. Yes we can! And Jehovah will help us to accomplish this task. May his name be glorified for ever.
“I don't regret it to visit your homepage. I'm determined to strengthen my brothers and sisters more than ever to be careful. And yes, I have been reading the [July 15, 2013 Watchtower] for at least 5 times. It makes to me more sense than your explanations. If I should be an anointed too, why didn't I have the feeling that I'm one? Do I have a shortness of Faith? I don't think so.
“Please answer my question. Why do I don't have the feeling to be an anointed one? Feel free to answer this publicly.”
To the author, thank you for your emails. They are quite informative and even instructive. We normally would not publish our response to these types of emails because what needs to be said is rather personal. However, since you wish our response to be made public, we will acquiesce.
Our dear brother, you do not believe you are anointed because the organization has told you that you are not. And you choose to listen to men than to the Christ. We know this is true because if the organization published in next month’s Watchtower that all baptized Witnesses are sons of God, you would gladly validate it in your mind, without any special or unique spiritual manifestation, just as you do every time they come out with ‘new light’ or a ‘new understanding,’ no matter how much it deviates from the prior understanding.
What you have done, by your own admission before Jehovah and his mighty angels, is to declare that you choose not to accept Jesus’ offer of sonship. (John 1:12) You choose not to eat and drink of the Christ. (John 6:53) You choose not to be a part of the Christian congregation which is the body of Christ. (Colossians 1:24) You refuse to be transferred into the kingdom of the son of his love. (Colossians 1:13) You refuse to accept the heavenly abodes he has prepared for you. (John 14:2-3) And you choose loyalty to men rather than loyalty to the Christ. (Matthew 10:37-39)
Your decision to cling to men, an earthly organization and the ‘old wine,’ is sadly taken note of in the entire watchful universe. This sad response is what the angels had to watch when the nation of Israel rejected Jesus’ offer of sonship with God in the first century.
That being said, we wish you as much peace as you can achieve in the remaining years of your life, and we will continue to hold out hope that someday the true good news of the kingdom will reach your heart.
To our other visitors, this is an example of the minds of so many Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been taught repeatedly to reject the heavenly hope. How much better and wiser it would have been for this brother to at least be open to the possibility that the Father may have something greater in store for him. As it stands, he has rejected the Father’s foreordained purpose to adopt him as a son. (Ephesians 1:3-5) And he has rejected the entire message of Christ Jesus. This is very sobering.
To all those who are not yet sure of your sonship and your heavenly hope, do not give up praying and asking for guidance in this matter. Remember this admonition of the Apostle Paul:
“Brothers, I do not yet consider myself as having taken hold of it; but one thing is certain: Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead, I am pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus. Therefore, let those of us who are mature be of this mental attitude, and if you are mentally inclined otherwise in any respect, God will reveal the above attitude to you.” – Philippians 3:13-15
Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking and it will be given to you. (Matthew 7:7-8)
♦ Visitor is unclear as to who inherits the earth.
On January 22, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“Hello, I would like to say that I am a life long witness and have served in an appointed capacity for some years. I find the idea of being a son of God very comforting. I have read the series of articles concerning the earthly hope and the heavenly hope, and although I like the idea of being anointed, I cannot reconcile the evidence in the scriptures for those who will be on earth. I may have missed the explanation for who exactly will inherit the earth. Could you please help me to clear up this understanding so I can research from the scriptures more about this. Thank you so much.”
To the author, thank you for visiting the site and sending your email. We are glad that you are beginning to think heavenward! As Jesus said, ever since John the Baptist, the Kingdom of the Heavens is the goal toward which men press! (Matthew 11:12)
You asked for an explanation of who exactly will inherit the earth. Jesus says ‘the meek’ shall. (Matthew 5:5) The problem is that we tend to think that ‘inherit’ means ‘live forever on,’ when it means more like ‘prevail’ or ‘dominate.’ In other words, one day in the future, the majority of the residents on earth will be meek. But it does not mean that the meek will never go to heaven, as the articles you refer to explain, The Cherished Earthly Hope and The Glorious Heavenly Hope. For starters, take another look at The Real Hope for Life on Earth. The time will come when the meek ones will complete their time on earth and begin the heavenly ascent, leaving the earth to the next generation of meek ones.
Also, recall that when Jesus ‘arrives,’ he will separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep ‘inherit’ the kingdom of the heavens, and goats will go into destruction. (Matthew 25:31-46) Also in the illustration of the wheat and the weeds, the wheat go to the storehouse and the weeds get burned up. (Matthew 13:24-30) These are not two hopes, but two destinies. And only one destiny leads to everlasting life, the one in the heavens. It is either life in heaven or death on earth. Jesus left no middle ground.
It is important to note that the term ‘earthly hope’ is a misleading fallacy because it carries the idea that ‘hope’ means ‘destiny.’ The ‘heavenly hope’ is a true destiny because we are not there yet. But we are already on earth so what is there to hope for? If we say ‘everlasting life,’ we have to look to the scriptures to see if Jesus ever told his disciples to pursue everlasting life on earth. The answer is ‘no.’ The only way one comes to the idea of a so-called ‘earthly hope’ is by looking to the book of Revelation and making erroneous assumptions. And then taking those assumptions and believing they trump Jesus’ plain and open teachings about the destiny of his followers, namely that they should follow him into the heavens, into the heavenly abodes he prepared for us. (John 16:1-4) This is explained further in the article “Proving Ourselves Worthy of the Christ.” You might take a look at the series of articles in the section Transitioning to the Kingdom of the Heavens. They are written specifically to our brothers among Jehovah’s Witnesses who must make their minds over and accept the teachings of Jesus over and above the teachings of the Governing Body.
Also, here are some questions to consider:
Do you believe Jesus is the son of God? (Matthew 16:16) (John 21:24-25) (John 14:6)
Do you believe Jesus was here to show us ‘the way?’ (Matthew 12:41-42)
Do you believe Jesus was the greatest prophet and teacher?
Do you believe the gospel accounts accurately reflect what Jesus taught?
Do you believe we should teach the things Jesus commanded? (Matthew 28:19-20)
Do you believe that relying on what Jesus taught will lead to salvation? (John 5:24)
Do you believe Jesus is still alive? (Matthew 18:20)
Do you believe Jehovah wants us to rely on what Jesus taught? (Luke 9:35)
If you answer yes to these questions, then you must conclude that the heavens is the goal that we all must pursue. Neither Jesus nor the apostles taught any other hope.
This emphasizes the problem with identifying one's self as a witness of Jehovah (Isaiah 43:10) rather than a witness of Jesus. (Acts 1:8) A witness of Jehovah is required to witness about the acts of God according to the ‘old wine’ of the Jewish religious system; whereas a witness of Jesus are required to witness about the ‘new wine’ as taught by Jesus. And as long as one is reading the ‘old wine,’ one’s mind will be veiled. (2 Corinthians 3:15)
After you research the information on our site, if you continue to have questions, please do not hesitate to write us again.
♦ Does man have a heavenly spirit / does man have an immortal soul?
On November 12, 2015, we received the following inquiry:
“I would like to know if the anointed possess a heavenly spirit after death so they can enter into heaven? Because the bible says flesh and blood doesn't enter in heaven. Thank you.”
To the author, thank you for your email. Your question combines two different concepts: (1) whether the anointed have a heavenly spirit, and (2) whether after death this heavenly spirit allows them to enter into heaven. We will answer both questions, and we will also add a third discussion about the soul that will round out our discussion.
(1.) Yes, anointed Christians possess a heavenly spirit. So do all the children of God whether they recognize it and awaken to this fact or not. Paul explained this to the Corinthians twice:
“Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that the spirit of God dwells in you?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16
“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the holy spirit within you, which you have from God?” – 1 Corinthians 6:19
This is God’s spirit that actuates our minds (Ephesians 4:23) and joins with the Spirit of Truth to bear witness to our sonship. (Romans 8:16) (See The Divine Spirit Fragment of the Father.) It is not inherent in man. It is a gift. (2 Corinthians 1:22) It exists in every normal mind that can seek and find the Father. (Acts 17:26-27) But the Father can withdraw His spirit when the host behaves in a way that seriously grieves the spirit. (Ephesians 4:30; Matthew 23:37-38) The Father’s indwelling spirit will not participate in deliberate and sustained sin. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18) However, those who respond to the spirit’s leading have a guaranteed destiny in heaven. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
(2.) As you said, flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom. (1 Corinthians 15:50) What has to happen is that we must either be resurrected with incorruptible bodies or be transformed without tasting death into incorruptible bodies. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53) It is with these new incorruptible bodies that we are able to enter the heavens. So, no, it is not the spirit of the Father that allows this. It is the gift of new incorruptible bodies. However, we might say that we can ‘hitch a ride’ with the Father’s spirit. (For more information on our new bodies, see Why Sonship?)
(3) We feel it is important to add to the discussion the matter of the soul. There is a dispute as to whether man has an immortal soul or not. We do not believe man inherently has an immortal soul. But we do believe man can build or develop such a soul. We will share with you what we have learned for your consideration.
We believe the soul is actually the incorruptible body Paul referred to in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 that we will inhabit when our earthly bodies are no longer useful. The reality of the soul body was expressed by Jesus when he made the distinction between the physical body and the soul body. (Matthew 10:28) The soul is also referred to as the ‘inner man’ that is being renewed from day to day (2 Corinthians 4:16), and as the ‘new personality’ that is created and built up with every spiritual decision and every kind act in furtherance of the Father’s will. (Colossians 3:9-10) When we store ‘treasures in heaven’ (Matthew 6:19-21), we are actually building up our soul body. This is not character building that allows the natural man to become a good person. It is the exercise of spiritual characteristics that go beyond the mere acts of a ‘good person.’(Galatians 5:22-23)
And if, at the end of our lives, we have not built up our soul bodies sufficient for our minds, our memories, and our personality to inhabit, then we have no vehicle to take us into the heavens. Without a relatively complete soul, we will expire along with the animals and our only body will return to dust. (Psalms 146:3-4; Ecclesiastes 3:18-20; Romans 8:12-13)
With this understanding, we all have even greater reasons for ‘doing good toward all’ (Galatians 6:10), for loving our brothers as ourselves (Matthew 22:39), for serving one another (Galatians 5:13; 1 Corinthians 9:19), and for doing the will of the Father to the best of our ability. (Matthew 7:21; 12:50) All of these things ‘go with us’ (Ephesians 6:3) and allow us to achieve the heavenly career.
We hope this answers your questions. But the most important thing we hope you take away from this response is that the Father has devised a plan and a purpose for His earthly faith sons to inherit the heavenly kingdom and be adopted as true spirit sons. (Ephesians 1:3-5) So even if we do not understand all the mechanics of how it is accomplished, we can rest assured that if we exercise faith in Jesus and do the few things asked of us, as set forth in the previous paragraph, we will attain the reward. Entrance into heaven is guaranteed to all those who want it, even those who do not fully understand the process.
♦ Wife unites with husband in the one true hope.
On June 30, 2016, we received the following email:
I just wanted to send an email to thank you for all the work you do. My husband and I both grew up in the Jehovah’s Witness organisation, but recently my husband realised and awoke to his sonship. This was a very hard time for me because it revealed so many contradictions in what I believed and I felt so very lost. I felt like I was going to lose him, that I would remain on earth and he in heaven. That to me didn't feel like a hope anymore. I felt devastated because it felt like we were being separated through different hopes. Being a witness of Jehovah, it didn't sit right with me. I know Jehovah to be a God of love and it felt quite unloving and I couldn't understand why my hope felt lost, so I knew it couldn't be right. So I prayed intensely and I decided I had to go back to basics, I had to change my points of reference. I decided I would just use scripture, and nothing else, I would let scripture answer scripture and pray for help from my Heavenly Father to answer my questions. I prayed and I prayed and I read and read!!
The memorial came and passed and my husband partook of the emblems, but in the meantime something was awaking within me and I was starting to wonder if I also had a heavenly hope, but I was scared and still very confused. I continued to read my bible and to study.
I was engrossed in it, and because I wasn't looking at it through a filter anymore but just reading the plain and open teachings and being completely honest with myself I couldn't believe the things I'd read my whole life and missed! I went from feeling intense grief and sadness, to feeling over joyed and happy, I now understand my heavenly hope and once again feel unified with my husband with regard our beliefs about the future. I've never felt closer to my Heavenly Father than I do now, I can honestly say I have never felt his spirit and help more than I do at this point in my life.
I eventually stumbled upon your website, and I cried tears of joy. All the things you wrote about were the same things I had come to understand. I feel compelled to thank you for being a shining light and a help, and for your love, I can't tell you how much I've appreciated it. We are only in our very early 30's, we have a small family and now we are concentrating on our little unit and helping our children to grow in an accurate understanding of their Heavenly Father.
Thank you, dear brothers. My warmest love and Thanks. (1 Thessalonians 1:2,3)”
To the author, thank you for the lovely email. What you write about is being experienced all over the world between husbands and wives among Jehovah’s Witnesses. And like you, many times the couple becomes united in the one true hope, which leads to an even greater union and a much closer, authentic and impenetrable bond. So, congratulations for gaining life as well as oneness with your mate.
Sadly, we continue to hear from husbands whose wives have chosen to turn aside from their husbands and yoke themselves instead to the Governing Body. While such a wife may believe she is acting in faith, what she is really doing is breaking that three-fold cord between her, her husband, and the Heavenly Father, and breaking the marital vow to stick with her husband. She is setting herself up for misery of the acutest kind when she realizes that her new ‘husband’ does not care about her as much as she thought, and many times does not even know her name.
So, we thank you for your permission to publish your email in hopes that it will encourage more wives to draw closer to their husbands, and husbands closer to their wives.
♦ A Bible Student is at a crossroads about the Heavenly hope.
On March 19, 2017, we received the following email:
Jesus said, "By their fruits you will recognize them." (Matthew 7:16) In my personal search for God's people (Hebrews 10:25) I have not found a gathering of people producing as much good fruit as 'Jehovah's Witnesses.' So I have in me a great inclination to rest from my searching and remain among them. However, even after much studying with the witnesses over these past months I remain at odds with them over the 'good new' [or gospel] they are preaching.
In the first century, the 'good news' that was being declared caused those who heard it and believed to become 'born again' (1 Peter 23-25; Ephesians 1:13; 1 John 5:1) and being found in [or in union with] Christ (Galatians 3:26-29) they would have rightfully expected to be with him 'where he is' (John 14:3; 17:20, 24)
This is something that does not seem to be occurring in their door to door ministry [at least they themselves do not even believe so] which makes me doubt whether they are preaching the rightful good news (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4; Ephesians 4:4-6) which is an extremely serious matter.
It almost seems they are like an angel from heaven declaring 'something beyond the good news' that was originally declared and that they 'have entirely forgotten the exhortation that addresses them as sons' (Hebrews 12:5)
You paint the Watchtower and Governing Body as being quite guilty of evil. That may be but I do not yet presume such things against them with finality, but I have been lead to a decision making point where I essentially have to either believe whatever they teach, since they claim to be the sole channel of truth, or entirely remove myself from them all together (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)
I have noticed that there are others besides myself in this situation. A tremendously stressful situation it is. What are your experiences?
To the author, thank you for your question, and it’s good to hear from you again. From what you have written it is apparent you clearly understand what the true good news of the kingdom was that Jesus and his disciples preached and is not being preached by Jehovah’s Witnesses. You also correctly and scripturally acknowledge that the Watchtower organization does not believe that all followers of Jesus must become born again with the destiny to be with him in the places he has prepared for them in heaven. You also say that to you this “is an extremely serious matter.” We totally agree that this is an extremely serious matter.
What puzzles us is your statement, “but I have been lead to a decision making point where I essentially have to either believe whatever they teach, since they claim to be the sole channel of truth, or entirely remove myself from them all together.”
Since it appears you are studying with the Witnesses, we assume you attend their congregation meetings and participate in the study of their most important publication, the Study Edition of the Watchtower magazine. If so, you must be familiar with the recent Watchtower study magazine dated January 2017, which contains the study article: “Treasure Your Gift of Free Will.” Paragraph 1 states,
“When faced with making a personal choice, one woman told a friend: “Do not make me think; just tell me what to do. That is easier.” The woman preferred being told what to do instead of using a precious gift from her Creator, the gift of free will. What about you? Do you like making your own decisions, or do you prefer that others decide for you? How do you view the matter of free will?”
From what is stated here, you do not “have to believe whatever they teach.” This article suggests that they recognize your God-given free will to choose obedience to the scriptures you outlined which discuss the anointing as a son of God, being born again and our destiny in the heavenly places Jesus has prepared for those who love him.
Regarding what you wrote about their claim as the sole channel of truth, we refer you to that same study article where paragraph 15 states:
“One of the limitations on our freedom is that we must respect the right that others have to make their own decisions in life. Why? Since we all have the gift of free will, no two Christians will always make exactly the same decision. This is true even in matters that involve our conduct and worship. Remember the principle found at Galatians 6:5. When we recognize that each Christian must “carry his own load,” we will respect the right that others have to use their own gift of free will.”
From what is written here, the Governing Body recognizes that their claim to be “the sole channel of truth” does not supersede your God-given gift of free will, and this even includes matters of worship. The invitation to anointed sonship with God and the freedom to use your God-given free will to declare the true good news of the Kingdom has just been granted to you, and to all Jehovah’s Witnesses, to exercise in the midst of your association with the congregation.
However, you also realize that if you act in accordance with your spiritual enlightenment and what has just been stated in this Watchtower study article, and you will be censured by the congregation elders. Accordingly, you need to ask yourself whether what you perceive as good within the Watchtower organization compensates for the denial of your God-given freewill. And further, can what was published in this article be trusted as a true guiding principle of the Watchtower organization?
We want you to contemplate these matters as you determine how you will move forward. Since matters of doctrine and worship as approved by the Governing Body are given primarily in the Watchtower Study Edition, this is a good opportunity for you to see if what is written comports with what is actually practiced. Let us know if exercising your freewill according to your understanding of anointing, being born again and the heavenly destiny raise any conflicts in your congregation or with your study conductor. In our experiences, such freewill does not really exist. Either way, exercising your freewill will give you direction.
Nevertheless, we look forward to hearing from you again to see how this works out for you.
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