WND: Christians do not go to heaven, the Kingdom is on the earth



Joseph Farah, the editor of World Net Daily, wrote a book in which he admits that the Bible does not teach that Christians go to heaven after death, but that God’s kingdom will come to the earth.

Here are comments about it

  • The Apostle Simon-Peter is quoted in Acts 3:20-24. from which Farah was inspired to title his book: “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” Farah points out that this seems to refer to the return of Jesus to Earth where He establishes His Kingdom for 1,000 years. It is at that time, the Bible tells us in Revelation 20:4-6 that the resurrection of the dead takes place and life on Earth continues under the reign of Jesus. Revelation 20:4-6 addresses the first resurrection after the return of Jesus to Earth, a resurrection which is for martyrs who were beheaded for His witness and “lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
  • Then there is the problem posed by what is written in John 3:13: “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” “John wrote this many decades after the Resurrection of Jesus,” notes Farah. “At that time, he tells us that no man has ascended to heaven except Jesus. If no one Earthly man had ascended to heaven in the late first century, why would we assume any have since ascended?”
  • What about when Jesus told the thief on the cross during His crucifixion as recorded in Luke 23:43: “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” No. 1, Farah points out, Jesus didn’t ascend to heaven the day He died, and No. 2, though the punctuation in that statement would lead to the conclusion that this reunion would occur the same day, there was no punctuation when Jesus made the statement verbally nor when it was written in Greek. “Therefore,” Farah says, “Jesus could just as easily have been saying, “Verily I say unto you today, thou shalt be with me in paradise. That, of course, removes the issue of when this reunification would occur.”

The point? Maybe, Farah suggests, there is another destiny for man – the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. How could the Kingdom of Heaven be on Earth?

Jesus says in Matthew 16:19: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This seems to be a promise to believers of a powerful life in the Kingdom of heaven on Earth, Farah observes.

In addition, he cites Acts 2:34-35, again, a book written late in the first century long after the Resurrection of Jesus: “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.” To which Farah asks, “If not even David, a king after the Lord’s own heart is not ascended to heaven, are we to believe others have?”

In Romans 10:6, Paul seemingly explains, suggests Farah: “But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above.)” Jesus is returning to Earth, Farah says, to set up His Kingdom in which His chosen will rule and reign with Him – on Earth.

Farah also points out that the most familiar prayer in the Greek Scriptures taught by Jesus Himself it refers twice to this heavenly Kingdom on Earth: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9-13).

“Again, nowhere in the Bible does it unequivocally state that heaven is the destination of man,” says Farah. “But all of the prophets speak of this Kingdom of God on Earth, as Peter says in Acts 3. There will be a 1,000-year period of a redeemed Earth, followed by a new heaven and a new earth. That’s what the Scriptures unequivocally talk about – in both the Hebrew scriptures and the Greek scriptures. After all, we learn in Genesis 1:26 that man was made by God to have dominion over the Earth. But man fell. Jesus is the new man, and He’s coming back to redeem the earth and restore all things. I don’t expect to be playing harps in heaven after I die. I expect to be ruling and reigning with the Lord Jesus right here on Earth. But, don’t take my word for it. Study the Scriptures like a Berean and make up your own mind.”

Farah cites some key scriptures about this coming Kingdom of Heaven on Earth:

  • Jeremiah 23:5: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, 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.”
  • Isaiah 24:23: “Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.”
  • Isaiah 32: “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.”
  • Isaiah 52:7: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”
  • Revelation 5:10: “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
  • Revelation 11:15: “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”
  • Revelation 19:15: “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
  • Romans 15:12: “And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.”

In “The Restitution of All Things,” Farah focuses on what Scripture says specifically about what life in that coming Kingdom on Earth will be like and what we can learn from that about how we should be living today – in preparation for that period of rest, justice, perfect peace and abundance. http://www.wnd.com/2016/12/shocker-where-do-believers-go-when-they-die/#yoYkqYhtvRHSL0bj.99

Catholics and Protestants may be surprised to learn that one that Justin Martyr (considered to be a saint by both Catholics and Protestants, but not by those of us in the Church of God) in the second century wrote:

“For I choose to follow not men or men’s doctrines, but God and the doctrines [delivered] by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians” (Justin.  Dialogue with Trypho. Chapter 80).

So, Justin clearly taught against the view that Christians go to heaven upon death.

Joseph Farah is correct that the Bible teaches that God’s kingdom will come to the earth. Furthermore, that was the teaching of early Christians. The 21st century theological historian Bart Ehrman has written that Christians in the 1st century believed that the Kingdom of God was coming to earth within their own lifetimes and they looked forward to a divine future on earth. Bart Ehrman postulated that when the Kingdom of God did not arrive, Greco-Romans Christians gradually refined their hopes so that they came to look forward to an immediate reward in heaven after death, rather than to a future divine kingdom on earth—despite the churches’ continuing to use the major creeds’ statements of belief in a coming Resurrection Day and World to Come (Ehrman, Bart. Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend. Oxford University Press, USA. 2006. ISBN 0-19-530013-0).

Consider that Papias, who was a hearer of John and a friend of Polycarp (and is considered to be a saint by Roman Catholics), taught the kingdom. Eusebius recorded that Papias (an early 2nd century leader) taught:

…there will be a period of a thousand years after the resurrection of the dead, and that the kingdom of Christ will be set up in material form on this very earth…(Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book III, Chapter XXIX, Verse 12, p. 69)

Here is another translation of the above:

… there will be a millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be established on this earth (Fragments of Papias, VI. See also Eusebius, Church History, Book 3, XXXIX, 12).

Papias taught that it would be a time of great abundance:

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…] (Fragments of Papias, IV).

Polycarp of Smyrna was an early Christian leader, who was a disciple of John, the last of the original apostles to die. Around the time of the above Ancient Sermon, Polycarp, around 120-135 A.D. taught:

“Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God” (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter II. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

Knowing, then, that “God is not mocked,” we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory …For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since “every lust warreth against the spirit; ” and “neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God,” nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter V. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

Let us then serve Him in fear, and with all reverence, even as He Himself has commanded us, and as the apostles who preached the Gospel unto us, and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Lord (ibid, Chapter VI).

Thus like Paul and others in the New Testament, Polycarp taught that the righteous, not the commandment breakers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Melito of Sardis, who was a successor of Polycarp, around 170 A.D., taught:

For indeed the law issued in the gospel–the old in the new, both coming forth together from Zion and Jerusalem; and the commandment issued in grace, and the type in the finished product, and the lamb in the Son, and the sheep in a man, and the man in God…

But the gospel became the explanation of the law and its fulfillment, while the church became the storehouse of truth

This is the one who delivered us from slavery into freedom, from darkness into light, from death into life, from tyranny into an eternal kingdom (Melito. Homily On the Passover. Verses 7,40,68. Translation from Kerux: The Journal of Online Theology (http://www.kerux.com/documents/KeruxV4N1A1.asp 09/14/05).

Thus the kingdom of God is something eternal, and to be on the earth.

True, and even many only professing, Christians knew about the kingdom of God in the second century. They did NOT teach that Christians went to heaven upon death.

Some items of related interest may include:

Did Early Christians Teach They Were Going to Heaven? What do the Bible and scholars teach? What about ‘near-death experiences’? Here are links to a related sermons: Heaven and Christianity and It’s not heaven.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
What Is the Place that Jesus Is Preparing? Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote this and answered whether the saints go to heaven upon death.
Did the “Thief on the Cross” enter PARADISE immediately? Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote this and answered whether one killed with Jesus entered Paradise before Jesus could have.
What Happens After Death? Is death like sleep, or is that a cultic idea? Can you speak to the dead? Here is a link to a related sermon: What really happens after death?
What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection? Is there more than one future resurrection? Did early Christians teach a physical resurrection? Did early Christians teach three resurrections?
Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism? Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Will God call everyone? Will everyone have an opportunity for salvation? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account? Related sermon videos include Universal Offer of Salvation I: God is love  and Universal Offer of Salvation II: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock’ and Universal Offer of Salvation III: All Are to Know Jesus, But When? and Universal Offer of Salvation IV: Will the Guilty be Pardoned? and Universal Offer of Salvation V: All Israel Will be Saved? A version of the main article was also translated in the Spanish language: Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis.

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