New Heaven & New Earth: Two Classes? Two Hopes? Two Resurrections?

  • And they sing a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought people for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as king over the earth.”Revelation 5:9-10
  • Then I saw the thrones, and those seated on them had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image, and had not received its mark on their foreheads or hands. And they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. [The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years were complete (Possibly Spurious)]. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him for a thousand years... And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. And there were open books, and one of them was the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their deeds, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and Death and Sheol gave up their dead, and each one was judged according to his deeds. Then Death and Sheol were thrown into the lake of fire”. Revelation 20:4-6, 12-14
  • “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. ‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,’ and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away”.Revelation 21:1-4
  • “For behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for I will create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and take delight in My people. The sounds of weeping and crying will no longer be heard in her. No longer will a nursing infant live but a few days, or an old man fail to live out his years. For the one that dies at a hundred years will be considered a child, and the sinner who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses for others to inhabit, nor plant for others to eat. For as is the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, and My chosen ones will fully enjoy the work of their hands. They will not labor in vain or bear children doomed to disaster; for they will be a people blessed by Yehovah, they and their descendants with them. Even before they call, I will answer, and while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but the food of the serpent will be dust. They will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain”. Isaiah 65:17-25

A new Heaven and a new Earth, ruled over by Jesus the Anointed one and his God-chosen elect, an eternal paradise of peace and everlasting life. These are the things believing Christians all over the world look forward to.

When it comes to the hope for humanity, you’ll often find a predominant focus is placed on the hope of going to Heaven after we die, but you won’t hear nearly as often about the hope of the “new Earth”. Of course this is for good reason, as the New Testament predominantly focuses upon the Heavenly hope for Christians, those who have the chance of receiving a “new body”, meeting Jesus and ruling alongside him to judge the world… but, little thought is given to who exactly will be on the “Earthly” side of things by most.

Based on the above scriptures, there have been many theories on just what exactly the new Heaven and new Earth is, and who will go where.

Some believe that all faithful Christians will go to Heaven, whilst non-Christians will remain on the new Earth forever to be ruled over by Christians, whilst others believe all people must become Christians to gain salvation or they will die, and thus conclude that there must be some Christians who will live on the new Earth and some that go to rule in Heaven. Some believe that people on the new Earth will still eventually die of very old age, to then enter Heaven and become part of the ruling class over the New Earth in an eternal cycle of life, death and eternal salvation. And there are then others who believe the new Heaven and new Earth are the same thing, and will be merged into a singular universe or existence, but give little thought to the ruling class and the non-ruling class.

I’m not going to go into the nature of just what the “new Earth” will be, or what I think the fate of the current Earth will live on will be in this article, but instead I just want to focus on the components of the two Resurrection hopes, the two destinations, and who I feel they may apply to.

Defining the First and Second Resurrections

The Bible tells us that there are two main resurrections, and two “kinds” of resurrection.

  • “I have the same hope in God that these men have, that he will raise both the righteous and the unrighteous“.Acts 24:15
  • “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be judged/condemned(?)“. – John 5:28-29

Through these scriptures, some have interpreted the first and second resurrections to correlate directly, in that the “righteous” are those in Christ, that is, all baptised Christians, and the “unrighteous” being the non-believers who will be raised during or after the 1000 years of Christ’s rule and will be judged by the former; the Anointed one and the righteous, of whom all will be judges and priests upon thrones in Heaven.

  • “For you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous ones. On hearing these things, one of the fellow guests said to him: Happy is the one who dines in the Kingdom of God.” – Luke 14:14-15

However, whilst this could be said to be a strong position, I feel based on a deeper in-depth look into scripture, that there might be more to it than that. I theorise, as opposed to popular belief, that not all Christians may be in Heaven, but I subscribe to the possibility of the notion that many Christians will also be upon the new Earth.

To endeavour to explain my theories based solidly in scripture, we will be looking into three major groups mentioned in the Bible; The 144,000, the Great Crowd, and the 12 Tribes of Revelation.

The 144,000

The First thing we’re going to look at is what is mentioned in Revelation to be those of the “first resurrection”, the 144,000 who are said to rule with Jesus to judge both “the world” and the “12 Tribes of Israel”.

Jesus reveals destiny fully for the first time to his apostles during his ministry and then again the passover meal when he instituted not only the New Covenant of his body and blood, but also an appointing for certain faithful ones, which includes his 12 disciples and other Christians.

  •  “Jesus said to them: “Truly I say to you, in the re-creation, when the Son of man sits down on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel.” – Matthew 19:28  
  • Also, he took a loaf, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them, saying: This means my body, which is to be given in your behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.  Also, he did the same with the cup after they had the evening meal, saying: This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf…  you are the ones who have stuck with me in my trials;  and I appoint to you, just as my Father appointed me, a kingdom,  so that you may eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom, and sit on thrones to judge the 12 tribes of Israel.”Luke 22:19-20, 28-30
  •  Furthermore, people will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the Kingdom of God”.Luke 13:29
  • “And they sang a new song: ‘Worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slain, and by your blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign upon the earth’.”Revelation 5:9-10

These ones are called the “Firstfruits”, as well as “the Bride of Christ”, and are chosen by God from the Christian Congregation to be taken to Heaven during “the last trumpet”. Those who of the elect who have died will be the first to be awoken, and the elect who will be alive during this time will be taken up with them .

  • “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other”.Matthew 24:30-31
  • For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. “.1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
  • “And I heard the number of those who were sealed, 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel”. – Revelation 7:4 
  • “Then I looked and saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him 144,000 who had His name and His Father’s name written on their foreheads. They have been redeemed from among men as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. Revelation 14:1,4c

This number of “144,000” is understood by most to be symbolic, though some Christians feel it is literal. The literal outlook is held usually by those who would support the notion of “a limited number” of Christians becoming rulers in Heaven. However this is not a stance I personally take, for the 144,000 are said to be taken out of the “spiritual” symbolic 12 tribes of Israel. Additionally, the 144,000 as Jesus himself said, consist of many Christians of various ethnic backgrounds and not just fleshly Jews, thus it logically follows that the number is also symbolic.

Of course, the number not being literal need not still debunk the idea of two Christian classes within the one flock, for one could still reason that the elect will be an “unknown number of chosen Christians”. Just as an Israelite not being a king, priest or judge in physical Israel did not mean that person was not a part of the “one chosen nation” of God, so could one make the argument that there being a ruling class and a non-ruling class of Christians does not mean that they are no longer “one flock”. This brings me naturally into the next section, defining the 12 Tribes.

The 12 Tribes

The identity of the 12 tribes of whom the elect judge is debated by various Christians and denominations.

Some believe it to be literal 12 tribes of physical Israel on Earth of whom are to be ruled over by “all Christians” (the “symbolic 144,000”) in Heaven. Others believe it merely refers all non-Christian people living on Earth who will be judged by all Christians taken out of the world, as could be interpreted by scriptures such as:

  • “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you”.John 15:19
  • “Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?”1 Corinthians 6:2

…and thus some correlate these words. Others believe it refers to non-elect Christians, who though declared righteous as “spiritual Jews”, and thus will be part of “the spiritual 12 Tribes”, will not rule with him in Heaven on the basis of scriptures such as:

  • “A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God”. – Romans 2:28-29
  • If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”.Galatians 3:29
  • “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”Ephesians 3:6

Whichever stance is correct, it is these ones along with those who rise during the “second resurrection” who will be judged with the world either during or after the “1000 year reign of Christ”.  

I would personally hold to the stance that the 12 Tribes are symbolic, and not physical Israel. I feel the 12 tribes is the collective label of all true Christians, who are “Jews on the inside” (Romans 2:28-29, Galatians 3:29). Let me further explain my conviction of why I think this is so and why I feel the other options are out…

If the 12 tribes are to refer to the world of non-Christians, then of course this could support the stance that all Christians could be of the elect to judge righteous and unrighteous during the 1000 years and Second Resurrection. However we must scripturally prove that the 12 Tribes does in fact identify the world and not “spiritual Israelites” of whom are Christians.

It is interesting to note, that no scripture in the entirety of the holy books, refers or labels the “entire world” as being Israel, but rather those who are not of Israel are ever called “the world” (who in turn are also known as “Gentiles”).

In the Old Testament, some of these ones even joined the nation and “became Jews”, such as when many left Egypt to join Israel during the Exodus, and in many other similar accounts where we see others assimilate into the Hebrew nation.

  • “And a mixed multitude also went up with them, along with great droves of livestock, both flocks and herds.”Exodus 21:38
  • Do not despise an Edomite, for the Edomites are related to you. Do not despise an Egyptian, because you resided as foreigners in their country. he third generation of children born to them may enter the assembly of Yehovah”.Deuteronomy 23:7-8

Thus there is no line of evidence which can back up the notion that “the 12 Tribes” and “the world of non-believers” are the same entity simply because of the fact that they are both being judged. At best, without further evidence from the scriptures that the entire world is referred to as “Israel”, the whole idea I think is a glaring association fallacy. There is far more scriptural evidence that the world would be classed as “symbolic Gentiles”, rather than the symbolic 12 tribes of Israel, whereas in turn there is far more evidence to refers to Christians (“spiritual Jews” whom are made up of “physical” Jews and Gentiles both) as the 12 Tribes.

Thus if the 12 tribes are to be all Christians, of whom the selected 144,000 will judge, we can attest on this line of logic that not all Christians are going to be elect for rulership and judging, for if all Christians are to be of the 144,000 elect, then the remainder of 12 tribes, that is, Christianity, cannot be judged for there would only be judges with nobody left to judge but the world of unrighteous ones, “spiritual Gentiles”, of whom are ‘not’ of the “spiritual 12 tribes”, and this would go against the words of Jesus and the prophecies of Revelation. 

Yet, though not all Christians may not be elect, this would not indicate a punishment or disapproval, for we are taught in Romans 10:9, “all who declare Jesus is Lord and believe in his heart that God raised him from the dead will be saved“. Afterall, we are told the 12 tribes are to be “judged” not “condemned”. 

There is in fact potential evidence which is directly saying that not all Christians, though faithful and to be judged as righteous for salvation, will be chosen as one of the elect:

  • “Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and declared, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask.’ ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ He inquired. They answered, “Grant that one of us may sit at your right hand and the other at Your left in your glory.” ‘You do not know what you are asking’, Jesus replied. ‘Can you drink the cup I will drink, or be baptized with the baptism I will undergo?’ ‘We can’, the brothers answered. ‘You will drink the cup that I drink’, Jesus said, ‘and you will be baptized with the baptism that I undergo. But to sit at my right or left is not mine to grant. These seats belong to those for whom they have been prepared‘.”Mark 10:35-40
  • “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. ‘What is it you want?’ he asked. She said, ‘Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ ‘You don’t know what you are asking’, Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?’ ‘We can’, they answered. .Jesus said to them, ‘You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant‘. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” Matthew 20:20-23
  • “Greet also the congregation that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who is a firstfruit to Christ in the province of Asia”.Romans 16:5

What is interesting to note here is firstly, Jesus says that there will be those who will “drink his cup” and “undergo baptism”, meaning to be in Christ, to convert and be a faithful Christian, to follow in his footsteps, just as James and John did, but this does not guarantee one being chosen to be at his side in the Heavenly Kingdom. This doesn’t appear to be a warning or judgement made by Christ, but merely a statement.

In saying that James and John “will indeed” drink his cup (which also may be a possible reference to drinking Christ’s blood of salvation as mentioned in John 6:53, Matthew 26:27-28) and be “baptised”, I feel implies some sort of “approval”, “success” or “loyalty” in their faith, yet this in itself is not giving them a place as one of the Heavenly elect, for as Jesus says “these places belong to those for whom he has prepared”, implying that regardless of our faith, God is “choosing specific people” to be of the 144,000, as opposed to it being a given to anyone and everyone for merely being a faithful Christian.

As for the scripture in Romans 16:5, there is an interesting choice of translation here. I have noticed that many translations write “the first convert of Asia” amongst his congregation. However, looking into the original Greek, the term is “aparché”, which uniquely means “firstfruit”, which of course we know is a reference to the elect, to the 144,000, and it is in fact the exact same word used here which is used in those other verses. It is noted in fact in the translation concordances, that this rendition “the first convert” is actually the ‘only’ one time it is translated this way in the entire Bible (https://biblehub.com/greek/536.htm & https://biblehub.com/greek/strongs_536.htm). So what does this possibly imply?

Well, if the translation “first convert” is incorrect, and it doesn’t mean “the first Christian of Asia”, it may in fact be an acknowledgement that Epenetus was “one of the elect” of his congregation, and that he was being singled out by name for this reason especially by Paul. Of course, this may not be the case, and “first convert” could be the meaning! But I find it interesting nonetheless that it’s a one time rendition of this Greek word, and that there are in fact other words in Greek that have been used to refer to “the first” of something without using the phrase “firstfruit”, one such phrase being “prótos”, which often refers to “the first appearance” of something and is what I feel would have been a much more appropriate phrase to refer to “a first convert” in the general sense over that of a “special firstfruit” (https://biblehub.com/greek/pro_te_n_4413.htm & https://biblehub.com/greek/4413.htm).

If such reasoning is correct, then we may have a direct reference to a congregation of fully baptised Christians with only one of them being elect, which may be additional direct proof that not all Christians are of the 144,000.

So far, we seem to have covered some solid grounding for this position, but we’re not out of the woods yet. An argument a person may bring up is Jesus’ parable of “the sheep and the goats”. A seemingly binary separation of those who go to Heaven to “inherit” and those who are judged worthy of eternal destruction in Gehenna at Christ’s arrival. Another contention is that we are told that “those who hear Christ’s word and believe will not be judged”, which seemingly contradicts the idea of the 12 Tribes being Christians for they ‘are’ judged.

  • I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. – 1 Corinthians 15:5052
  • “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world… Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels“.Matthew 25:31, 41
  • “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment/condemnation(?), but has passed from death to life”.John 5:24

The first thing we have to address is, “what is inheritance”? Well based on the above scriptures it seems that the term to “inherit” does strictly refer to becoming one of the 144,000. But do all Christians “inherit” the Kingdom as chosen ones? Is there a difference between “inheriting” the Kingdom and “entering” the Kingdom?

Based solely on Jesus’ words in Matthew 25, it looks as if one is not of that group who inherits the Kingdom to enter Heaven during Christ’s arrival, then there is only Gehenna that remains. However, this does not explain how the elect will judge both the world and the 12 Tribe Christians after this if there is nobody left to judge.

Whilst there is the Second Resurrection to consider during/after the 1000 year rule, we are not told that the non-elect Christians (the 12 Tribes) are only going to consist of ones raised from the dead… But even if they were, why would they be not part of the Heavenly First Resurrection if they died as faithful Christians? Are they seemingly considered unrighteous in comparison to the Christians who are raised in the First Resurrection for Heavenly rule? The Bible has not stated 12 Tribe Christians to unrighteous, nor are they said to be “goats” fit for Gehenna.

Some Christians feel that whilst the 12 Tribes does indeed refer to non-elect Christians, they feel the reason they are not elect is because they have been declared “unrighteous”, due to not being faithful or loyal enough to Christ, in other words “false Christians”. This reasoning they claim being backed up by Acts 24:15, that there is only two resurrections, the “righteous” (whom they feel are the 144,000) and the unrighteous (everyone else who are considered unbelievers or equal to unbelievers), and this is contrasted with Christ’s pre-judgement of Matthew 25:31, 41, where he gathers the Heavenly elect (both the elect who are dead in the grave, this being the First Resurrection, and the elect also living at the time) and seemingly destroys everyone else living at the time forever, including unworthy Christians, before then resurrecting everyone who has ever lived (who did not die at that time) for judgement (this being the Second Resurrection). But I personally contest this view.

I pose the question; If it’s ok for unrighteous or disloyal Christians to be raised in the Second Resurrection during/after the 1000 rule for a chance of fair judgement and redemption, why is it not ok for those same unrighteous Christians (and everyone else who was an unbeliever for that matter) at the time of Christ’s initial arrival to be spared from being declared goats fit for Gehenna just before the 1000 year rule and judgement? What if a person died literally five minutes before Christ’s arrival but was guilty of the same sins as the one sent to Gehenna as a goat? Why do they get to be resurrected and given a second chance during the 1000 reign just because they “got lucky” in his or her timing? I think we are missing some key information here.

I firstly would argue that a false or unrighteous Christian is no Christian at all, for he is drinking at the table of demons (1 Corinthians 10:21), and if one is not a true Christian, he is not in Jesus, and if one is not in Jesus he is not a spiritual Jew, and if one is not a spiritual Jew, then he is not of the spiritual 12 Tribes. Thus, if the 12 Tribes are made up of non-loyal or false Christians only, then there is in turn no 12 tribes at all, and Jesus’ promises cannot be fulfilled.

  • “Jesus said to them: “Truly I say to you, in the re-creation, when the Son of man sits down on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel.” – Matthew 19:28  “A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God”. – Romans 2:28-29
  • If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”.Galatians 3:29

If we again harken back to Jesus’ words to James and John who wanted to be at his side in the Kingdom, Jesus did say they “would” drink his cup as faithful Christians, but that this wouldn’t guarantee an inheritance in the Kingdom as rulers (Matthew 20:23)… Are these men to be considered disloyal Christians, as unrighteous? If living at the time of Jesus’ return would they be sent to Gehenna for not being God’s elect despite their faith? Romans 10:9 tells us “all” who are faithful to Christ, that is those are who “drinking his cup”, regardless of being elect to inherit the Kingdom or not, will be saved.

But how do we reconcile this with Jesus’ statement of the sheep and goats at Matthew 25? There doesn’t appear to be described a “center position”, but only right and left… So are we to expect that any and all loyal Christians alive during Christ’s arrival are to be automatically considered part of the elect due to mere timing? I highly doubt such as that to me would not line up with Jesus’ words on the election being a “special prize” that God, not Jesus, gives out to specific individuals.

It is possible perhaps Jesus’ words were meant to be understood contextually, in relation to the judgement of the “kingdoms” ruling the nations of this world who oppose him, the judgement of those who knowingly teach false religion (Babylon the Great), and the establishment of his Heavenly Kingdom, consisting of the 144,000. But we cannot just make a statement without any scriptural support.

Are there any scriptures that indicate that there will be benefits of the Kingdom to others, including the possibility to non-elect Christians during this time, and that this pre-judgement of “Heavenly inheritance versus Gehenna” is possibly only being applied to a specific audience?

  • “For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but because of the One who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until the present time. Not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies”.Romans 8:20-23
  • Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom… Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning. Then you will be like servants waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks, they can open the door for him at once. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds on watch when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve and will have them recline at the table, and he himself will come and wait on them. Lord,” said Peter, “are you addressing this parable to us, or to everyone else as well?” And the Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their portion at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions“.Luke 12:32, 35-37, 41-44

We see in Romans, that there is certainly said to be benefits of the Kingdom through the elected Firstfruits of the Anointed one to all of creation, which is groaning along with those who are the 144,000, and both will experience “freedom from bondage” and “glorious freedom”. Is this creation the world of non-believers? I do not believe so, for salvation only comes to those who are baptised in Jesus (either now or during/after the 1000 years, Mark 16:16).

Furthermore, what is especially interesting in these passages from Luke, is that Jesus is speaking to a large group of listeners, all of them Christian disciples, yet when Peter asks “who are you speaking to, us or everyone?” in regard to Jesus telling them they would be given the Kingdom if they ensured they were loyal, Jesus says it is to those who are “faithful and wise servants” who are “in charge” and feed the other servants of Christ. In this it could be reasoned that he indirectly says at this time that his disciples are this “little flock” to inherit the Kingdom, which is again echoed during the passover, where he selected those 12 only out of the entire congregation of followers at the time, to tell them they would sit on thrones with him, and again when he asks his disciples to “feed my sheep” (Matthew 19:28).

Of course we know this offer to be elect is expanded to other Christians later on, as we have already seen throughout the scriptures. Nevertheless, it is interesting to pay attention to Jesus’ parable, in how it revolved around the subject of being “given the Kingdom”, and that it was seemingly specified to a select few, as opposed to “everyone” (to reference Peter).

Furthermore, we are told the 144,000 are Christ’s bride, and that there are to be “guests” of the wedding and these ones are “blessed”.

  • Then the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God’”. – Revelation 19:9
  • “So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” – Matthew 22:10-13

Now this may be just a reference to the bride itself, the 144,000 who are “invited to be married” and have to prove themselves worthy and loyal, but on the other hand it could also refer to other Christians who are not the bride also, as could be indicated by the parable of the wedding with its approved guests.

A man was not expected to marry another man, especially in ancient times, and especially amongst Jews and Christians, this is why the marriage to Christ, though consisting of literal men and women, symbolically is called a “bride”, yet the parable of the wedding details also approved guests which consist of not only women (meaning it was not a concubine arrangement where the groom was selecting and marrying offered brides), but men were also guests of the wedding, giving us context that these guests were not to be a part of the marriage to the bride, yet they still had to be approved of entry, just as it is with Christians today regardless of being elect or not, have to prove loyal to Christ. Thus 12 Tribe Christians may be the ones consisting of these “approved guests”.

This arrangement also reminds me personally of the Old Covenant arrangement of the sin offerings of Israel to be performed by the priests of Israel. We note that in Israel, only the priests along with their male family members ate the leftovers of the offering. What is interesting to note is that the family, though not priests themselves, could eat “with” the priests.

  •  “Any male in a priest’s family may eat it, but it must be eaten in the sanctuary area; it is most holy”.Leviticus 7:6

But what baring does this have on Christians? You might be wondering.

We should not forget that the Old Law was an echo of the New Law, the Old Law was “fulfilled” in Jesus. Jesus himself was the sin offering made to Yehovah on behalf of mankind. He also arranged for his chosen elect to be judges and priests along with him in Heaven.

However, Jesus said that “anyone doing his father’s will” was to be considered “family” to him (Matthew 12:48-50). Whilst this can also refer to the arrangement of Christ’s followers being co-heirs of the Kingdom, as Jesus described his 12 disciples with this phrase, it could easily also apply to “all Christians” for all do the will of God. Thus if the reasoning thus far is correct that not all Christians are elect based on this 12 Tribe framework, then this is why elect Christians and non-elect Christians could be compared to the priestly arrangement of the Old Covenant, in that not all are priests, but can still partake in the meal of Christ, that is the eating and drinking of his symbolic flesh and blood (the Lord’s supper), whether male or female (for this distinction was done away with in the New Covenant, for both men and women will be chosen to be elect), and will be dining as guests of the wedding of the Bride that is, his kings, judges and priests who are “at the table” on thrones in the Kingdom of Heaven (Luke 22:30), just as a bride and groom sit on a table of their own in a modern day wedding looking upon their guests.

But, what about John 5:24 and the apparent contradiction that loyal Christians will not be judged as opposed to the 12 Tribes?

Well, on the ‘basis’ that there can be no other identity for the spiritual 12 Tribes other than Christians, and that we know not all loyal Christians are elect according to Jesus’ words about drinking his cup, then it may be possible that this verse is not illuding to “being under judgement”, but rather will not be “judged”, which in this context may be used here as an alternative phrase for “condemnation”, in the same way that we can see in the earlier parable, that the Goats who were judged to everlasting Gehenna is obviously not referring to people who will be raised during the Second Resurrection for “judgement”.

A line of evidence for this may be found in Paul’s words:

  • “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad”.2 Corinthians 5:10

We can see here that there must be more than one definition of “judged” and “judgement”, for Paul’s words here could also be seen to be contradicting John 5:24. Clearly, the term “judgement” gains clarity upon contextual application. In this case, non-elect Christians may be “judged” by the elect, but will not be “condemned in judgement”.

Another line of evidence may also be found in the definitions of the specific word used here by John. John 5:24 uses the word “Krisis” which according to the lexicons is said to not only mean “to judge” or “make a verdict” but akin the word “krima”, is more often used to mean “condemn”.

This phrase is also used in John 5:28-29 where it says “the bad will be judged” or “condemned” (krisis), where as the word “krino” (which is not the word used in John 5) is the term more often used to refer to “a verdict” or a “choice between options”, and this is the word used in scriptures such as Matthew 19:28 which speak of the “judgement” of the 12 tribes, this same phrase is also used in regards to resurrected who are before the white throne in Revelation 20:11–15, who are judged for either life or death based upon their “deeds”, which likely harkens back to the resurrection spoken of in John 5:28.

  • “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged/condemned (krisis) but has crossed over from death to life”. – John 5:24
  • “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be judged/condemned (krisis). – John 5:28-29
  •  “Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging (krino) the twelve tribes of Israel. – Matthew 19:28
  • “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged (krino) according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged (krino) according to what they had done. – Revelation 20:11–13

With this understanding, this may be informing us that the Second Resurrection includes not only unrighteous people, but righteous people, and as such tells us that the resurrection of the “righteous and unrighteous” may not be correlated to the “First Resurrection and the Second Resurrection”, and in turn this gives us a strong basis for the position that the “12 Tribes” will be Christians who are declared righteous before the white throne of King Jesus and the 144,000 based upon their faith and deeds, as opposed to all Christians being of the elect class.

https://biblehub.com/interlinear/matthew/19-28.htm
https://biblehub.com/interlinear/john/5-24.htm
https://biblehub.com/interlinear/john/5-29.htm
https://biblehub.com/interlinear/revelation/20-12.htm

Cognate: 2920 krísis (a feminine noun derived from 2919 /krínō, “to separate, distinguish, judge”) – judgment, emphasizing its qualitative aspect that can apply either to a positive verdict (for righteousness) – or more commonly, a “negative” verdict which condemns the nature of sin that brings it on. See 2919 (krinō).

2919 krínō properly, to separate (distinguish), i.e. judge; come to a choice (decision, judgment) by making a judgment – either positive (a verdict in favor of) or negative (which rejects or condemns).

J. Thayer comments that “the proper meaning of 2919 (krínō) is to pick out (choose) by separating (as also used in Homer, Herodotus, Aeschyl., Xenophon, Plato). 2919 /krínō (“distinguish, judge”) typically refers to making a determination of right or wrong (innocence or guilt), especially on an official (legal) standard. We only judge (2919 /krínō) accurately by intelligent comparison and contrast based on God’s word, i.e. to approve (prefer) what is correct and reject what is inferior (wrong). [2919 (krínō) is used of “bringing to trial” (the trying of fact) in a court of law.

Cognate: 2917 kríma (a neuter noun derived from 2919 /krínō, “to distinguish, judge”) – judgment, emphasizing its result (note the -ma suffix). This is everlasting damnation (torment) for the unredeemed (the usual implication of 2319 /theostygḗs) – or the eternal benefits that come from the Lord’s judgment in favor of the redeemed (cf. Rev 20:4). See 2919 (krinō). 2917 /kríma (“the results of a judgment“) dramatically Links cause-to-effect. Indeed, every decision (action) we make carries inevitable eternal results (cf. Ecc 12;14). – HELPS Word-studies

Thus we have both scriptural support and language definition support to suppose that the meaning of Matthew 25 does not contradict the idea of the 12 Tribes to be identified as Christians who will come under the judgement of the 144,000 Christians to then be declared righteous by them.

But still, do we have any proof that people will be still alive after our Anointed Lord separates these “sheep and goats” on Earth before the Second Resurrection? And that the 12 Tribe Christians may indeed not only consist of resurrected ones? Possibly, yes! In the book of Revelation.

  • Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads… Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, with the eternal gospel to announce to the inhabitants of the earth—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. He spoke with a loud voice: ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship the one who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.’ And another, a second angel, followed, saying, ‘It has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen. She made all the nations drink the wine of her sexual immorality, which brings wrath’. And another, a third angel, followed them and spoke with a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, which is poured full strength into the cup of his anger. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb… This calls for endurance from the holy, who keep God’s commands and their faith in Jesus… Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and one like the Son of Man was seated on the cloud, with a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Another angel came out of the temple, crying out in a loud voice to the one who was seated on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap, for the time to reap has come, since the harvest of the earth is ripe.”  So the one seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. Then another angel who also had a sharp sickle came out of the temple in heaven. Yet another angel, who had authority over fire, came from the altar, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the vineyard of the earth, because its grapes have ripened.” So the angel swung his sickle at the earth and gathered the grapes from the vineyard of the earth, and he threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath.”Revelation 14:1,6-10, 12, 14-19
  • “Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies assembled to wage war against the One seated on the horse, and against His army. But the beast was captured along with the false prophet, who on its behalf had performed signs deceiving those who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. Both the beast and the false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. And the rest were killed with the sword that proceeded from the mouth of the One seated on the horse. And all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. – Revelation 19:19-21

If the above passage in Revelation 14 is in chronological order, then we can see people are still alive on the Earth and are being judged, ‘after’ the elect have been taken from the Earth, for they are at Christ’s side during this time of the judgement of Babylon and the nations, and not only that, we are told that there are “holy ones” who have to “endure” the troubles on the Earth whilst the 144,000 appear to be in Heaven (Mount Zion) with Christ. Thus this may possibly be telling us the context of the parable of the Sheep and Goats, that it does indeed refer to the separation and judgement of specific groups and institutions, and that not “all” Christians will be taken to Heaven at this time.

Thus, if this is to be the case, and my logic and interpretations are correct, then we could attest that the “sheep and goat” parable of Matthew 25 was perhaps in regard to a specific context, perhaps the Heavenly gathering of the elect, and the judgement of Babylon and the “Wild Beast” which may represent the seats of power of the world’s nations and false religions along with any who choose to worship them and wage war in the face of Christ’s coming (Matthew 24:30-31, Revelation 13:8, Revelation 19:19-21). If such was the case, it would be an appropriate correlation, for the Earth’s wicked governments to be eternally destroyed and replaced with God’s Kingdom ruled by the Anointed one and the elect 144,000.

But alternatively, Revelation 14 may be referring to the “gathering” of the elect, with the 144,000 being with Jesus in the opening verse as a visual or symbolic “introduction”, to give context to the following events being described, the “reaping” of the Earth possibly being the same event as the separation of the elected Sheep and the condemned Goats. However, the verse does not tell us that these events are ‘not’ a literal description of events in plain chronological order either, so either interpretation may be valid.

But there are further hints of people still being alive on Earth after the gathering of the elect, the ones described in Isaiah 65 who live upon the New Earth, who are to have their “physical sicknesses cured”. Thus, if there are to be ones righteous on Earth who are to be cured of their ills, this must be referring to those survive the Great Tribulation and return of Christ, for the resurrected would surely not be raised with ailments… and this begins to leads us into our next section.

Whilst this all may support a case for two Christian classes, it still doesn’t tell us exactly where the non-elect will be, or what kind of resurrection they will have. Will it be different from the unrighteous or the same? Will it be on the new Earth, or will it be in Heaven? Will the unrighteous of the Second Resurrection have heavenly bodies to be judged in Heaven, or will they be fleshly? There are still scriptures which could be used to argue that all of these judged ones may also go to Heaven to receive their judgement, which also may or may not infer the idea of either a temporary Earthly life in the New Kingdom or even the literal merging of the Earth and Heaven:

  • “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!”1 Corinthians 6:3
  • “When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heavenMark 12:2

Does “like angels” refer to literal angelic bodies? If so, is this referring to all the resurrected or only the elect? Are the angels that are judged the resurrected, or does it refer to the demons, the “angels of Satan”, who will be cast into Gehenna? To begin to explore these questions, firstly we will be moving onto the next group we must try to identify, and that is the “Great Crowd”, as this topic will naturally move us into the examination of who may go where.

The Great Crowd

There are many views on just what the Great Crowd is.

Some believe it to be a distinct group from the 144,000, with is being described seemingly in contrast to the former as a crowd that “no man can number” and that these are either people who have been spared by God during the Second Coming of Christ, or are non-elect Christians who may or may not also go to Heaven. Whilst others believe it to be a further in-depth description of the 144,000.

After this I looked and saw a crowd too large to count, from every nation and tribe and people and tongue, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:“ Salvation to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. And they fell facedown before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Then one of the elders addressed me: “These in white robes,” he asked, “who are they, and where have they come from?” “Sir,” I answered, “you know.” So he replied, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple; and the One seated on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. Never again will they hunger, and never will they thirst; nor will the sun beat down upon them, nor any scorching heat.’ For the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd. ‘He will lead them to springs of living water,’ and ‘God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”Revelation 7:9-17

Some attest that they possibly may be those remaining on Earth putting their faith in Jesus, who survive the Great Tribulation of whom are not part of the Firstfruits to be “taken up into the air” upon Jesus’ return (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). However, close examination of the passage appears to indicate that this Great Crowd is indeed taken into Heaven after the Great Tribulation, just before the outbreak of the battle of Armageddon (Jesus’ judgement upon the kingdoms of the Earth).

This description is very much akin to the manner that the Firstfruits are taken up, for they are said to be “before the throne” within God’s temple amongst the angels and elders (Revelation 7:14-15), with additional verses also mentioning “a great crowd” dressed in fine linen (which is naturally white) in Heaven amongst these same parties:

“After this I heard a sound like the roar of a great crowd in heaven, shouting: “Hallelujah!“…. And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God who sits on the throne, saying: “Amen, Hallelujah!”. And I heard a sound like the roar of a great crowd, like the rushing of many waters, and like a mighty rumbling of thunder, crying out: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him the glory. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. She was given clothing of fine linen, bright and pure.Revelation 19:1, 4, 6-8.

As we can see, there is a direct contrast in that both are before the throne praising God amongst the angels and 24 Elders, and both are wearing white robes. Revelation 19 further goes on to confirm that they are “literally” before the throne in Heaven, and are also described to be the “bride” of the Anointed one (echoing 2 Corinthians 11:2, in that Christians are to be “reaching out” in order to prove themselves worthy to be chosen as a part of his bride).

In my opinion this direct comparison is almost non-debatable, that the 144,000 and the Great Crowd are one in the same. 144,000 being symbolic of the fact that it’s a special ordained class apart from the 12 tribes (whom I feel are all Christians in general), but physically and literally they are an unknowable number, for we do not know who will be chosen not how many will be chosen by God to be part of this ruling class. But this “innumerableness” does not in itself prove that it is all Christians, as that is not a statement that is ever made here, and if it did, it would then I feel contradict the idea of the judgement upon the 12 Tribe, of which can only be ‘definitively’ identified with Christians through scripture, and not “the world of non-believers”, nor physical Israel (for the “144,000/Great Crowd” are of “all nations and tongues” let us not forget, and said to be “taken out of” these “12 tribes”).

Of course, some would still contest the idea of the Great Crowd being the 144,000 on the basis that they feel they are “contrasted” to the 144,000, as opposed to the Great Crowd being an “explanation” of them.

Though I do not agree with this outlook based upon the above scriptural evidence, I will still entertain that an alternative explanation may be that the Great Crowd may be baptised Christians of whom the elect ones rule over. If ‘this’ Great Crowd in chapter 7 being before the throne and amongst angels and the 24 Elders is a “separate Great Crowd” not to be identified with the bride of the Anointed one from chapter 19 (which again I have to stress I think is quite a liberal stretch of the imagination upon the scriptures) being before God’s throne, then they may be identified with the 12 Tribe Christians of whom may either be on the New Earth or in Heaven. Some feel that Revelation 7:1 is proof of this separation of the 144,000 and the Great Crowd by mentioning the latter being “in God’s temple”, and this “temple” possibly referring to the elect 144,000, for Christians are also at times described as God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16,17, 1 Peter 2:5).

However, personally I feel this is a very weak position to take. We should also not forget that Jesus and God are also labelled as being “the temple” in Revelation 21:22, therefore if keeping consistent to the terminology used within the Revelation passages, then “God’s temple” in this context need not refer to any group of Christians, but more likely refers to “God and/or the Lamb”, which in my opinion makes far more sense and maintains a better overall textual harmony.

If however, the Great Crowd and the 144,000 truly are distinct from one another, this need not force the conclusion that the number 144,000 is a literal number, just as much as the “12 Tribes” that may represent the rest of Christianity is not a literal number or nation. Rather, a specific number of 144,000 may be given merely to represent a “uniqueness” or “separation” of being elect in comparison to those who are not.

What it does leave open for question and interpretation however is; “if the Great Crowd are the non-elect, does that mean they too are in Heaven, or are they on Earth?”.

Whilst I personally believe there is more evidence for the 144,000 and the Great Crowd being the same entity, this does however move us on to the next section where we will discuss “where will the world and the 12 Tribes be and what kind of resurrection will they have?”, for we still have the scriptures of 1 Corinthians 6:3 and Mark 12:25 to address.

Where will the non-elect be and with what kind of body?

The scriptures in Revelation detail greatly the position of the 144,000 and their position in Heaven alongside Jesus. However, questions of translation have been raised, especially so of Revelation 5:10 in regard to whether our Heavenly rulers will “remain in Heaven” to rule over Earth, or if they will physically come down out of Heaven to rule “upon” the Earth for the 1000 years reign.

“You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign upon/over(?) the earth”.Revelation 5:10

The word used for “over” or “upon” is from the Greek word “Epi”, which can mean over, but also has been used to mean “physically upon”.

If Epi is to mean “upon”, then God’s Kingdom, New Jerusalem, which “comes down from Heaven”, may imply those who are chosen with Jesus and taken to Heaven, may literally come back down to rule on Earth after the Tribulation, thus this strongly supports the notion of a literal “new Earth” of which the non-elect are to be resurrected and live upon, as opposed to the popular idea that all good people will go to Heaven. If however it is to mean “over” and not “upon” the Earth, there is still support for “God’s New Jerusalem” being amongst mankind on a physical Earth, as opposed to this Earth being literally taken into Heaven, or Heaven literally coming down to merge into our universe, for “New Jerusalem” is not a location, but refers to the chosen bride of Christ.

  • “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away”.Revelation 21:2-4
  • “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband”. – Revelation 21:2
  • “Therefore, ‘they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence'”. – Revelation 7:15
  • I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple“.Revelation 21:22

An argument often made against the notion of a fleshly or Earthly resurrection and Kingdom is that they say Jesus stated that in order to enter the Kingdom of God, one must first be “born again”, and that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom”. Of course, on the surface this looks to be a very strong argument, but we have to further examine the context and scriptural evidence.

Firstly, what exactly does being “born again” mean?

  • “Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time to be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit is born of the Spirit. Do not be amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit”… Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life… And this is the verdict: The Light has come into the world, but men loved the darkness rather than the Light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come into the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever practices the truth comes into the Light, so that it may be seen clearly that what he has done has been accomplished in God””. – John 3:3-8, 14-15, 20-21
  • “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God”. – 1 Peter 1:23

We can see here that to be “born again” is to believe in Jesus and do as he commands to receive and maintain the seal of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Later in 1 Peter, we see Christians are being referred to as “born again”, even though they have not received new bodies nor have they entered Heaven. Therefore, being born again does not mean to be raised with Jesus as part of his Firstfruits, nor does it classify as a form of “resurrection” or being “born into a new body”.

But what about blood and flesh not inheriting God’s Kingdom?

Well, as covered earlier, to “inherit” God’s Kingdom is to be of the elect, but does this mean “inheritance” equates to “salvation”? Is there a difference between “entering the Kingdom” and “inheriting it?” As with the consideration of the parable of the wedding and its guests entering it to witness the marriage of the Bride, we might say that “entering the Kingdom” is to potentially correlate to that.

Some would argue that in the Bible, “inheritance” is often called a “reward”, whilst salvation through repentance is a “gift”. Such people as a result often subscribe to the idea of the elect class and non-elect class of Christians, but this group of people also often happen to subscribe to the idea of “once saved always saved” because they say “salvation is free without need of accompanying works” in comparison to “earned inheritance”. I however am not going to make this position, for I am of the belief that salvation is both a gift ‘and’ a reward. (More on the topic of OSAS can be found in my other article here):

Now do I have scriptures to establish word for word that “entering” is not “inheriting”? Not directly, this is something I can only “suggest” or “infer “based upon the study of scriptures thus far leading me to this “logical conclusion”. But we do have scriptures which say “righteous people will live forever on the Earth”.

  • “For Yehovah loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish. The righteous will inherit the Earth and dwell in it forever.”Psalm 37:28-29
  • “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”.Matthew 5:5

Now in Matthew 5:5, this may be a reference to righteous Christians living on Earth forever, as opposed to being in Heaven. However, it may also refer to the Kingdom inheritance, in that the elect will “rule and own” the Earth, just as Jesus is said to “inherit the Earth and all its nations” in Psalm 2:8. This may be the case in Matthew, for the rest of the passage appears to be speaking in consistency about inheritance of the Kingdom.

However, Psalm 37 is something to highlight. It says that the “righteous” (not the “unrighteous” as some would hold the opinion) would not only inherit the Earth, but “dwell in it forever”. Now what makes this interesting is that it’s saying the righteous will forever dwell on Earth whereas the 144,000 righteous ones are said to be in Heaven with Christ. We have two possible meanings to this:

  1. It refers to non-elect ones being declared “righteous”, which really can only be said to be a label given to those who are loyal to Christ, and they will live forever on Earth, indicating this may be talking about “12 Tribe Christians” and those who join them in the 1000 years.
  2. It refers to the Heavenly elect living on Earth forever, even after the 1000 rule has ended, and they will always be immortal rulers upon it.

Now the issue with option 2, is that the scriptures don’t actually say where the 144,000 will go after they rule for 1000 years, and these are the ones who especially are given “non-flesh bodies”. If they are to be on Earth forever, then being given immortality and a Heavenly body would appear to be a bit moot, unless the idea is that they are rewarded by being given superpowers? As gods amongst men? Wouldn’t that potentially lead to the worship of men and create Earthly inequality? We already saw what happened in Genesis with the demonic offspring of the Nephilim. If their power is taken away, then the promise of eternal immorality and rulership with the Anointed one would be a lie (Revelation 22:5). Well, if it did refer to eternal immortal kings and queens on Earth, maybe in our perfected non-sinful state on paradise Earth we’d handle it much better and wouldn’t fall to idolatry… But I think it makes more sense that these ones are destined to be in Heaven with Jesus rather than on Earth forever, but I could be very well wrong on that.

So if option 1 is correct, then we see here that the interpretation of the resurrection of the “righteous and unrighteous” being a binary correlation to the 144,000 and then non-Christians would be incorrect, and that the “righteous resurrection” would be ‘plural’ of those of the First Resurrection, and then loyal 12 Tribe Christians of the Second Resurrection who may be immediately declared righteous upon judgement of their faith when raised (though having to retain that righteousness through the final test of Satan’s final release), whilst the unrighteous of the Second Resurrection would be the non-believers who have “yet to put their faith in Christ” and become Christians (in essence becoming a part of the “spiritual 12 Tribes”) to be declared righteous for salvation, of which is the only hope for mankind:

  • There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptismEphesians 4:4-5
  • “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him“. – 1 Corinthians 15:21-23
  • “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”.Romans 5:12, 17-18, 21
  • “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned“.Mark 16:16

We see how baptism in Christ, which means to become a Christian, is the “one hope” the “one faith” we have to have salvation and eternal life. This cannot mean that all Christians then will be in Heaven, since if Christian baptism is required for eternal life, then it can only be Christians who will be the righteous living forever on the new Earth, not the unrighteous who are merely “ruled over” by Christians. No, such people who arrogantly remain unbaptised by the end of 1000 years rule of Jesus will be condemned, and those who believe now but refuse to be baptised, or wish to purposely hold off from their faith or belief to seek an unrighteous life by saying; “ah, I’ll be baptised when that time comes, but right now, I like living immorally” may not even get that chance for thinking they can play God for a fool. We see Paul himself was quite adamant on preaching the Gospel to save lives (Romans 10:13-14).

Thus I would hold the conviction, that the idea that the non-Heavenly life is for non-Christians or unrighteous Christians only is very flawed thinking, rather I would advocate that the scriptures teach the opposite. One might argue that this “Earthly Christian hope” comes only “after the Second Resurrection” and may be something that is revealed in the opening of “New Scrolls”, however the scriptures make no mention of this, and I feel what we’ve covered so far in explaining the identity of the 12 Tribes is a far better and scripturally supported supposition thus far.

Of course, all this always doesn’t convince some of there being an Earthly hope at all. Some would claim the conversation between Jesus and the Sadducees over people being resurrected of whom had multiple spouses disproves altogether the idea of Earthly life or an Earthly resurrection:

  • “Teacher, Moses said: ‘If any man dies without having children, his brother must marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother… So in the resurrection, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her as a wife.”  In reply Jesus said to them: “You are mistaken, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God, for in the resurrection neither do men marry nor are women given in marriage, but they are as angels in heaven.”Matthew 22:24, 28-30
  • “Jesus said to them: “The children of this system of things marry and are given in marriage, but those who have been counted worthy of gaining that system of things and the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. In fact, neither can they die anymore, for they are like the angels, and they are God’s children by being children of the resurrection.Luke 20:34-36

This does raise a vital question; if the Second Resurrection is Earthly, how do we reconcile this with the statement of Jesus’ response to the Sadducees on marriage and the apparent angelic immortality of the resurrected? Do these raised ones get raised “angel-like” on Earth to then be “taken up” to Heaven to be part of a “Heavenly 12 tribes” under the rule of Christ, after the 1000 years and final test on Earth whilst the others see everlasting destruction (Revelation 20:7-10)? But then who remains on Earth which those in Heaven will rule over? A possible third mortal group who are neither the 144,000 nor the 12 tribes?

According to Jesus, he seems to on the surface say that ‘all’ who are resurrected literally go to Heaven and are angels, and thus do not marry. Alternatively, he may mean those raised to life on Earth will not get married, and will be “likened to angels” in Heaven, living forever but are not actually angels. Or, it could merely mean that those who die are merely “free” of their former marriages and are not “forced” to marry again after their Earthly resurrection, which is echoed later in in the scriptures in regard to freedom from a former marriage mate and freedom from Jewish traditional custom of arranged marriage to a relative:

  • A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.”1 Corinthians 7:39

If however we look to Luke, more details are given, in which it says these raised ones “cannot die anymore”, being God’s children, and seemingly may refer to a more ‘literal’ application of them being angels in heaven and attaining immortality (1 Corinthians 15:54). Thus we have to look into how we can reconcile this with the understanding of the Earthly component of God’s Kingdom and the Second Resurrection if Jesus is speaking of these ones being raised into this “marriageless state of immortality”. 

The way Jesus’ answers appears to be killing two birds with one stone, simply; “people resurrected in Heaven won’t be married because they are immortal angels and angels don’t get married”, and does not give any secondary answer for those raised into an Earthly resurrection here. Thus, further scriptural evaluation is needed.

One might argue, that both the 144,000, and the 12 Tribes Christians are destined for heaven, in that perhaps the ruling class is raised first, followed by the raising of the 12 tribes under that rule in Heaven and are not co-rulers, and that there is a “third group” of people who inherit or “be upon” the New Earth who not of the resurrected. 

It is important to note however that the scriptures seem to indicate that there indeed seems to be an “Earthly” non-angelic resurrection separate to the First Resurrection, and that such ones will be “awaiting judgement” during the 1000 years based upon their actions:

  • “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come outthose who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. – John 5:28-29
  • And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books“.Revelation 20:12

Thus in turn we would have to ask; how can a resurrected angelic immortal person “not being able to die anymore” be punished or “condemned to destruction”? 

Well, one might argue, that though one “cannot die anymore” he could still be punished, such ones would interpret the meaning of “Gehenna” or “The Second Death” to mean a place of eternal imprisonment, punishment or literal fiery torment. Such a theory could possibly harmonise with 1 Corinthians 6:3, that “angels” would be judged. However, this understanding would also hang on the balance of the understanding of just what “The Second Death” or “Gehenna” is, if it was truly a literal hellfire where people do not die but forever suffer, or just symbolic.

If the Second Death is a literal location of eternal fire and punishment, then we could conclude those raised to judgement in the Second Resurrection could very well fit into the framework of being raised as spirit bodies. It could be said that during the 1000 year reign of Christ, those raised into Heaven will be judged based upon how they live their “new heavenly lives”, before being granted eternal life by Jesus and his judges, or being sent to literal fiery Gehenna for everlasting judgement and suffering.

I of course do not subscribe to the doctrine of literal hellfire, and so I do not share this outlook. Nevertheless, no matter what one subscribes to in terms of literal versus symbolic hell, this entire framework leaves out one vital piece, that is, the Kingdom of the New Earth as mentioned in the many opening scriptures of this article (Isaiah 65:17-25, 2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 5:10). Again, “who” will be left to live on the Earth in righteousness?

If Christ’s salvation only offers Heavenly life then there is no “additional group” to inherit the literal Earth who are separate from all those saved from the blood of the Anointed one (of which, is ALL of sinful mankind as stated at 1 Corinthians 15:22-23).

We cannot argue that there is no hope for eternal life on Earth at all, for if there is no eternal hope of life on Earth then the mention of the New Earth and its inhabitants to be overruled by Heaven would be moot. 

Some as I mentioned earlier, would argue there will merely be world peace, but the natural life and cycle of death will remain as God’s Kingdom Rules from Heaven, and all of those on Earth will eventually go to Heaven, an eternal cycle of birth, death and Heavenly destiny. But if it were to mean such then the promise that “death will be swallowed up forever” (Revelation 20:12) would go unfulfilled, unless of course such means nobody will “remain in the state of death” but all will be going to Heaven as to refer to Paul’s words at 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 that they would “never see death” but would be instantly transformed. But if that is such the case, then we have to ask; what is the purpose of Earth being restored to a perfect Eden-like state ruled by the Kingdom where evil will be no more (Psalm 37:29, Isaiah 65:17)? If Earth is no longer a “testing ground” to enter Heaven, why have Earthly life at all?

We are told in the scriptures that Yehovah did not make the Earth for nothing, but for it to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18). The prospect of eternal life on Earth would appear to echo the gift which Adam lost in Eden when he ate the fruit that was forbidden, of which if he did not, he would not have died and returned to dust (Genesis 3:3, Genesis 3:19), but rather he and all his children would have been still living to this very day. 

Adam was not told that through his sin he would “lose out on Heaven” after turning to dust, but turning to dust ‘was’ the punishment. “Death” by Biblical definition is the merely the physical act of dying and one’s life force leaving the body. Thus, there was clearly no plan of Earthlings to live a limited life cycle to then pass to Heaven, such a cycle is the inheritance of Adam (Romans 5:12), of which Jesus’ sacrifice reversed and released from (Ephesians 1:7, 1 Corinthians 15:22), and as such I feel it would seem reasonable to conclude that “becoming dust” (the punishment of Adam) also becomes reversed on all humans who would live upon the New Earth, giving us the ‘complete’ meaning of “death being brought to nothing”, applying to both those in Heaven and those on the New Earth. If those on Earth die and go to Heaven in the new Kingdom, then we could argue that the promise that “Death and the Grave were thrown into Gehenna” would be a lie (Revelation 20:14).

As such, following up on this logic, if the Second Death is merely “eternal death” or non-existence, to be “burned up” into embers, as eternal dust, then this may lead us firmly upon the logic that the Second Resurrection may indeed be Earthly, and not Heavenly, for those raised as angels cannot die, and thus such angels cannot be judged for Gehenna. 

Another observation I think is worthy to note is that Jesus was also very keen to show people on multiple accounts that raising people out of their graves to fleshly life was very much possible:

  • When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”. The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”John 11:43-44

If these promises of John 5:28-29 are literal, we have to ask, why would the dead be coming out of the memorial tombs if they are either destined for Heaven or Gehenna? For everyone to be raised on Earth from their literal graves to then be taken up or be condemned seems to be unneeded.

If however, it is not a literal resurrection from the grave upon Earth that is promised, and this “coming out of the tomb” is a Heavenly resurrection, then we have to ask why would Jesus want to make a show of raising people from the dead on Earth? Were these not meant to be an echo of the things to come, as was the show of multiplying loaves of bread to be a preview of the provision of food for all (Matthew 15:36, Isaiah 65:21-22), by controlling the sea to prove that the Earth’s ecosystem and weather patterns will be fixed (Isaiah 35:1), that the healing of sickness was a preview of future healing of sicknesses for humans on Earth? (Isaiah 33:24). Are all these not the things aptly described in Isaiah in regard to the New Earth? Or were these things merely temporary favours without deeper meaning? That doesn’t seem to be Jesus’ overall style to me. It seems it was made clear that he came to Earth to perform these things so that we would have hope for very specific things mentioned in prior prophecies, as proof that it was very much a reality.

Isaiah describes people living ‘very’ long lives, that a 100 year old would be considered a mere “boy” if he died, and that those who die at such “young” ages are the ones who are accursed as sinners, which again matches the description of those who will die during the 1000 reign of the Anointed one when they will be judged, as opposed to those merely dying of “early old age” due to sickness (Isaiah 65:20, Revelation 20:7-12).

A non-Earthly outlook does not match the description of Isaiah 65’s dual prophecy, neither historically for people did not achieve longevity or eternal life in physical Israel after the time of Isaiah. Nor does a non-Earthly outlook match the description of the “New Earth”, where “the sick” will be healed, for perfect people are not sick, as sickness is the result of sin and imperfection. This I would say logically leads us to realise that those on the New Earth to live forever are not only the second group of resurrected ones (for why would they be raised with sicknesses?), but also along with those same faithful ones still living after the Tribulation and Armageddon, who have been baptised into the blood of Jesus and attained salvation, and are ‘awaiting’ to be cured of their ‘existing ailments’.

Likewise, the houses, fields, vineyards, children and families cannot be in Heaven, for that would contradict Jesus’ words on the angelic ones not marrying, and of Paul’s words that “no flesh” or “physical object” can be in Heaven.

Some argue that Isaiah’s prophecy was a one time event only, and was already fulfilled in full in physical Israel. Whilst these things were certainly fulfilled in part, as already mentioned they were not fulfilled in full. I find that the parallel to the book of Revelation is far too strong to ignore, for even Isaiah 65 calls these promises the “New Heaven and New Earth”. And Isaiah’s New Earth prophecies were not the only things that were proven to have future fulfilments, for even Jesus himself said Isaiah prophesised in regard to himself arriving as the Messiah (Matthew 12:15-21), showing it wasn’t just a collection of passages referring to the physical Kingdom of old Israel. Thus, I personally cannot at all in good faith subscribe to the notion that these chapters are not referring to the events of Revelation…

But circling back to Jesus and the Sadducees, if the Second Resurrection ‘is’ Earthly and not Heavenly, this would mean that either; 

1. He did not tell them the full details of both of the resurrection hopes and only was speaking of the First Resurrection.
2. Those raised to life on the Earth to live forever will not marry, and will be immortal as the angels are in heaven, but living upon Earth.
3. Jesus spoke symbolically .

If 2 is correct, such a contrast would be quite stark when they would be living amongst people who do marry and have children in the New Earth, and it would again mean that only those who survive the Tribulation and have never died will be the only ones who live normal human lives upon the Earth as we know it.

An immortal human who is not of the elect, forever single, living on Earth rather than being taken to would seem to come across as an oddity in that regard. Yet what we know of the Kingdom and Jesus’ statements of the resurrection seems to lead us to this point with no way out, unless as option 1 suggests, that Jesus did indeed withhold a full explanation as some believe, and that he only spoke of the 144,000 at this time

Or is it option 3? Was Jesus speaking symbolically?

Some reason that the statement of “non-marriage” may not refer to people not being in “relationships” anymore or not having children, but the form in which human relationships are established may simply be “different” from our current arrangements, that marriage as we know it is a “contractual establishment of this world for imperfect humans” of which man and woman may be freed from in the New World, being “as angels” in their human perfection and living forever like immortals, and will truly be equals again, the curse of man dominating woman being overturned (Genesis 3:16). That the current marriage arrangement for Christians being free to remarry who they want after death rather than being forced into arranged marriages is an early spiritual fulfilment of this potential promise. But such an outlook can only be described as speculation, for the scriptures give no further details on such matters.

If I am to speak candidly and honestly, with what we know thus far of the scriptures it would seem this passage could be seen at best as ambiguous.

Either there is:

  1. One Heavenly resurrection and one Earthly. And the “judged angels” in this case simply refers to the punishment of Satan and his demons (Revelation 20:10).
  2. Both resurrections are Heavenly (with the second raised ones to be somehow “judged” even though they are immortal), and that the Earth will only consist of non-elect survivors (12 Tribe Christians) and their descendants, living forever.

Conclusions

With everything we’ve covered looked at as one picture, it is my personal opinion that it would appear that it makes the most sense that the Second Resurrection would indeed be Earthly. And that only certain Christians will be chosen to be the elect whilst others will be considered part of the “spiritual 12 Tribes”. I feel what we can be almost sure of is that the New Earth will certainly consist of happy people, couples, children, families and homes, and that these ones will consist of those putting their faith in Christ.

Of course I may be completely wrong and so I don’t want to cling to this dogmatically, for it is not a matter of salvation if my interpretation or anyone’s interpretation is correct or incorrect on this subject, but rather it is having faith and obeying the commands of the Anointed one and his Father in which we gain salvation.

As such the only way we will be getting any certainty in answers to our questions is by making sure we do what is right and actually arrive at our destinations in that New Kingdom to find out! Therefore, we should not be telling people they have one of the specific hopes or destinies, or telling people where they will or will not be in the New Kingdom, such things are up to God (Matthew 20:23).

Therefore, we must only to keep on striving to do our utmost in God’s service and to preach the Good News of the salvation of Jesus the Anointed for forgiveness of our sins through his death, and hope of the “Kingdom of the New Heaven and the New Earth”, and where we will be is where we will be.

Published by Proselytiser of Jah

Christian Restorationist

One thought on “New Heaven & New Earth: Two Classes? Two Hopes? Two Resurrections?

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