Just sharing something funny with you ...... I was so excited at the end of this post that I wanted to go and find a nice image to convey my feelings of joy and then I had to laugh since the title of the post is 'Walking by faith and not by sight'. 😄 See?! That's why it's a challenge to imagine the joy of living in heaven ..... we're humans NOW! Our physical sight is an important part of our life so it makes sense that we want to visualise our hope. It takes eyes of faith to see the joy that awaits us - faith that our loving heavenly Father and our brother know that we are going to LOVE being with them in the heavens! I believe them. 😊
Isn't it funny though that now if you are learning for the first time that our "citizenship exists in the heavens" as Paul wrote in PHIL 3:20, you are in the same position as the lady I studied with all those years ago. 😊
When I did some research on the actual Greek word in question, it appears that this word can be translated as 'upon' or 'over' depending on the context. Perhaps the translator of the New World Translation felt that since 'flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom' (1 COR 15:50) the word should be rendered 'over'. It is true that 'flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom' so those who are resurrected definitely receive spirit bodies. However ..... the bible is full of examples of angels materialising and working along with humans, so perhaps those who rule with Christ will interact with those on the earth. In many ways this would make sense. Even now, people really appreciate those in positions of authority being present and visible rather than governing from a distance. The rule of the Kingdom will be based on love and what a loving arrangement it would be if we could interact with those who need guidance and help. Please note that I am only sharing thoughts about this. I am obviously not saying that this is definitely how it will be. It is just food for thought thinking about the role that angels have played throughout the bible. They were visible to humans and looked and acted in every way like humans so it is possible that it could be the same in the future?
Here are a few examples I thought of:
The cherubs outside the garden of Eden were visibly carrying out their job of guarding the entrance - GEN 3:24
Angels came down to earth and cohabited with women and even produced children! - GEN 6:2
Angels visited Abraham and ate a meal - GEN 18:6-8
Angels visited Lot and the men of the city thought they were ordinary humans - GEN 19:5
These angels grabbed Lot by the hand to usher him out of the city GEN 19:16
Jacob wrestled with what the bible says was 'a man' but was in fact an angel - GEN 32:24-26
An angel visited Samson's parents and they didn't even realise it was an angel - JUDGES 13:16
An angel visited Mary to tell her about her pregnancy - LUKE 1:26
Angels appeared at Jesus' grave - LUKE 24:4
An angel led Peter out of the jail - ACTS 12:7
And of course Jesus himself appeared in human form after his resurrection although he was an angel.
He appeared to Mary and she thought he was the gardener - JOHN 20:15+16
Jesus appeared to Thomas and the other disciples and had Thomas put his hand in his side - JOHN 20:26-28
And then in LUKE chapter 24 there are many examples of Jesus appearing to the disciples. He appeared in a body that they could touch and he even ate in front of them!
So what is the significance of these things?
It is possible that those making up the kingdom could in fact be visible on earth after their resurrection, like the angels in the bible. Why not? It makes sense that the role would be most effective this way. When part of the organisation, there was definitely a feeling of elevation for those claiming to go to heaven. It was like they were going away and we would never see them again such was their glory and their power. But anyone invited to be in heaven would not be those seeking self-glorification. That's why Jesus kept counselling his apostles time and again about their proud discussions/arguments over who was the greatest. He reminded them that they had to rid themselves of these ungodly attitudes to qualify to enter the kingdom. So the heavenly reward is not for self-glorification but to fulfill a privileged assignment of bringing Jehovah's eternal purpose to fruition. The goal is to join Christ in restoring the earth to its original state and what better way could that be accomplished than by being on earth?
It's important to emphasise once again that I am not making categorical statements here about this matter. As the main heading of this page says, 'Sharing Thoughts', that's what I'm doing - just sharing thoughts. I'm certainly not trying to present myself as an authority here. I am just enthusiastic about the new things I'm learning and trying to link them to scriptures we already know. I can't help but share my thoughts in the hope that it encourages you to delve into the scriptures too and give these things some thought. See what you think. 😊
When I was in my twenties, I studied the bible with a lady in her 60s who had been a keen bible reader and worshipper of God all her life. She was SO disappointed when I explained to her from the bible using the scriptures about the 'other sheep' and the 'great crowd' that she was not going to heaven but would live on earth. She longed to be with Christ in heaven. I did feel for her because I could see the disappointment on her face and hear it in her voice but ...... I had to teach her the truth.
Since leaving the organisation, I have rung this dear friend, since my conscience would not allow me to remain silent now that I knew I had misled her and that her earlier belief that Christians would be with Christ in heaven was, in fact, the real truth! Whilst the phone call was lovely and we were so happy to be chatting together after such a long time, she was quite disturbed to think that I thought I was one of the 'anointed' now. I knew from all my years of being a Jehovah's Witness that to think that you have the hope of going to heaven is the ultimate act of presumptuousness.
I realise now that it is the inappropriate and unscriptural elevation of those who claim to have the heavenly calling in the organisation of Jehovah's Witnesses that makes this issue so sensitive. Those who claim to have a heavenly calling in the organisation are seen as having special insights, greater faith, more spirituality, closer to Jehovah and as such are placed above others both in their own minds and in the minds of all those in the organisation. It is so opposite to the truth of the scriptures. The bible says over and over again that Jehovah opposes the haughty ones but gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones. The apostles were viewed as 'unlettered and ordinary'. Paul said in 1 COR 1:26-31 that God chose the foolish things of the world, the weak and the ignoble things of the world to put the wise to shame.
It is HUMILITY that Jehovah and Jesus love - not self glorification and elevation.
Accepting Jesus' sacrifice and the invitation does not put us on a pedestal! If it does in our own mind then this would indicate that we have not come to know the 'mind of Christ'. 1 COR 2:16. It may actually require humility to accept the invitation since others may view us as haughty and proud for believing what we do. But does it matter what others think of us when Jehovah and Jesus are inviting us? No! Jehovah's approval is of foremost importance.
"I have to boast. It is not beneficial; but I shall pass on to supernatural visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in union with Christ who, fourteen years ago - whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know; God knows - was caught away as such to the third heaven. Yes, I know such a man - whether in the body or apart from the body, I do not know, God knows - that he was caught away into paradise and heard unutterable words which it is not lawful for a man to speak."
Now that I've shared that little bit of information, I'm now going to find a really nice image to convey the joy that learning about the context of this scripture has brought me. I think I've found the one that conveys my feeling of, "Look what I found?!"
Thinking about the things written in the last post made me think of Jacob's dream in GENESIS 28:10-15. In the dream Jacob saw a ladder (or as the footnote says, 'a rising flight of stones') where the angels were ascending and descending between heaven and earth. The bible doesn't say why this dream was given to Jacob but the dream does show us that the angels are closely involved in matters here on earth. The cross references after the phrase 'ascending and descending' expand on this. The cross references in the New World Translation Reference Bible are these; MATTHEW 28:2, JOHN 1:51 + HEBREWS 1:14.
It helps me see that we need eyes of faith to understand and see these faithful brothers of Christ. Unlike the demons who are proud and arrogant, the faithful angels are fine examples of humility for us as they work for Jehovah's glory without us even being aware of much of what they do.
Isn't it heartwarming to think that one day we may meet the very angels that have helped us in times of need?
We may learn about many things they did and can thank them. That would be so nice. 😊
It took a long time for her to let go of her long-held belief that she would be with Christ in heaven and adjust to her new hope of living forever on earth. I wondered inside though how she could not want to live in paradise on earth. That's why I placed the photo here of what people would refer to as a 'tropical paradise'. Who wouldn't want to live here?!
The earth is BEAUTIFUL, full of amazing things to learn about and discover! It is our home.
I was surprised to find out that the New World Translation has translated REV 5:10 differently to many other translations including their own Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures.
This is what the Kingdom Interlinear Translation says for this verse, "and you made them to the God of us kingdom and priests, and they are reigning upon the earth." The actual wording then placed in the New World Translation is, "and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth."
I am confident that you have had similar experiences to me in regard to studying the bible with someone.
It is clear that Paul was given a heavenly vision and he called it 'Paradise'. Think of the word 'paradise'. Could there be another word that defines a wonderful existence and environment than the word 'paradise'? Heaven is described by Paul as a paradise. So when we think of the earthly paradise and how wonderful that was, we can begin to appreciate how wonderful the heavenly existence is and will be for those who are faithful.
Heaven is Jehovah's home! How wonderful that must be and what an undeserved privilege it is for any human to be invited to Jehovah and Jesus' home! 😊
I guess the main thing we need to help us adjust to this new hope (new for those taught Jehovah's Witness doctrine that is) is faith. Apostle John wrote in 1 JOHN 3:2, "Beloved ones, now we are children of God, but as yet it has not been made manifest what we shall be. We do know that whenever he is made manifest we shall be like him, because we shall see him just as he is."
So we do not know what life will be like in heaven. How could we? It's a different realm. If the apostles did not know what life was going to be like in heaven then why do we feel we must know and have a clear concept?
Paul's words in 2 COR 5:7 sum up our course of life as a true Christian, "for we are walking by faith, not by sight."
Whilst part of the organisation of Jehovah's Witnesses, this scripture was well used and well known but how exciting it is to find out that this famous verse is actually spoken by Paul whilst he is discussing THIS VERY MATTER! Please read the context, 2 COR 5:1 - 10 and you will see what I only discovered myself this morning. It's very exciting to find that the bible is opening up to us like never before. What a blessing! What evidence that we are being guided, not by men, but by Jesus himself and the promised holy spirit! JOHN 16:13
It is a massive thing to have held the hope of living forever in paradise on earth for many, many years and then find out that the hope held out to Christians at this time is to receive a heavenly reward with Christ.
At first, many find this change extremely difficult and somewhat depressing. After all, we have been encouraged for so long to imagine ourselves living on earth, greeting our loved ones as they are resurrected, building our dream homes, planting beautiful gardens, learning musical instruments, travelling the world, playing with the animals and all the other wonderful things that our Grand Creator has prepared on this earth.
Living forever in paradise on earth is a wonderful hope and as we are humans right now, these things are what we long for. Does it make sense though that Jehovah and Jesus would reward us with something less appealing than an earthly hope? No way! I hope that some of the thoughts below will help you make the adjustment to rejoice in a new hope. It will naturally take time to adjust but once you do, you can find joy in the words of Jesus at MATTHEW 5:8, "Happy are the pure in heart, since they will see God."
I have just been reading 2 COR 12 about Paul's visions and revelations that were clearly of heavenly life. Here are the words of chapter 12:1-4: