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The Kingdom of God: What is it?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by edpobre, Nov 9, 2002.

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  1. edpobre

    edpobre Well-Known Member

    A lot of people today talk about the "Kingdom of God" but nobody seems to know what is it.

    The Jehovah's Witnesses talk about a government ruled by Christ. But what is it? Is there a way of identifying this "Kingdom?"Could anyone be assured entrance to that "Kingdom"?

    If there really is a "Kingdom of God" how can one ENTER the "Kingdom"?

    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. paula43

    paula43 New Member

    The kingdom of God is with in a child of God. Can Jesus live in this evil world? No! So He lives in His children. When you become a christian Christ comes and take residence in your heart (Kingdom of God).

    Heaven is the eternal Kingdom of God. You get there by believe that Jesus Christ pay the ultimate price (death) for your sins.

    My home page have info. and how to know Jesus.
  3. LightBearer

    LightBearer Veteran

    Jehovahs Witness
    THE kingdom of God was the principal theme of Jesus' preaching. "I must declare the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this I was sent forth," he said. (Luke 4:43) For nearly 2,000 years, Christians have expressed the sentiments of the second petition of Jesus' model prayer: "Let your kingdom come." (Matt. 6:10) What is the "kingdom" that Jesus proclaimed and for which he taught his disciples to pray?

    In the Bible "kingdom" sometimes denotes sovereignty, royal power, dominion, the state of being a king, that is to say, kingship. (Ps. 145:11-13; Dan. 1:1; 2:1; 8:1) The Word of God makes it plain that the Creator has always held kingship in this sense. "Jehovah is King to time indefinite, even forever," declared the psalmist. (Ps. 10:16; compare Daniel 4:3, 34, 35; 1 Timothy 1:17.) The Bible uses the term "kingdom" also for the means used to express a king's sovereignty. Consider how the Scriptures develop this matter.

    God's faithful servant Daniel received a vision foretelling the rise and the fall of a series of world kingdoms down to the end of the present system of things. (Dan. 2:31-33, 36-43) Those kingdoms would be succeeded by something unusual. "In the days of those kings," we read, "the God of heaven will set up a kingdom [of his Son, the Messiah] that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite." Dan. 2:44.

    The crushing out of existence of all human rulerships could not be accomplished by any other means. The kingdom that does this is the power and authority of the king that he uses for expressing or enforcing the sovereignty of God. Another prophetic vision provides additional details about the kingdom. Daniel writes: "With the clouds of the heavens someone like a son of man happened to be coming; and to the Ancient of Days [Jehovah God] he gained access, and they brought him up close even before that One. And to him there were given rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him. His rulership is an indefinitely lasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom one that will not be brought to ruin." (Dan. 7:13, 14) That "son of man" is the glorified Jesus Christ. Matt. 26:64; Rev. 1:7.

    However, the "son of man" in this kingdom will have a body of associate rulers, concerning whom Daniel 7:18, 22, 27 says: "But the holy ones of the Supreme One will receive the kingdom, and they will take possession of the kingdom . . . The definite time arrived that the holy ones took possession of the kingdom itself. And the kingdom and the rulership and the grandeur of the kingdoms under all the heavens were given to the people who are the holy ones of the Supreme One. Their kingdom is an indefinitely lasting kingdom, and all the rulerships will serve and obey even them."

    Thus, in the kingdom wielded by the "son of man" he associates with himself a group of corulers. But who are they?

    The ancient Jews understood the "son of man" to be the promised Messiah. Since the Scriptures occasionally refer to the Israelites as God's "holy ones," it was expected that one day the Messiah with fellow Israelites would become world rulers. (Ps. 34:9; 89:5, 7) Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament explains: "The Jews were expecting a kingdom of the greatest felicity, which God through the Messiah would set up, raising the dead to life again and renovating earth and heaven; and that in this kingdom they [the Jews] would bear sway for ever over all the nations of the world. This kingdom was called the kingdom of God or the kingdom of the Messiah."

    However, there were factors about the kingdom of God that the Jews did not understand. When Jesus came to earth, he spoke to his disciples about "the sacred secret of the kingdom of God." (Mark 4:11) In the inspired Christian Greek Scriptures three features of that "sacred secret" stand out prominently:

    (1) The foretold "Son of man" is the heavenly, only-begotten son of God who came to earth as Jesus Christ, died sacrificially as a ransom for sinful mankind and returned to heaven.-John 1:14; 3:13; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6; 3:16.

    (2) The "holy ones" that rule with Christ would be taken from earth into heaven.-Luke 22:28-30; John 14:1-3.

    (3) Those corulers would be chosen, not only from the natural Jews, but also from many other nations.-Eph. 3:3-6; Col. 1:26, 27.

    Will all "Christians" enter heaven to serve in that kingdom? No, for we have already learned that it will have earthly subjects. (Dan. 7:14, 27) Only a limited number are taken to heaven to rule with the Son of man. In this regard the apostle John provides important details in the book of Revelation:

    "And I saw, and, look! the Lamb [Jesus Christ] standing upon the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. . . . the hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been bought from the earth. . . . These were bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb." Rev. 14:1-4; compare Revelation 5:9, 10; 7:4.

    It is clear, then, that those who stand (or rule) in heaven with the Lamb, Jesus Christ, are not all who become Christians and gain eternal salvation. Only a "firstfruits" participate in that heavenly rulership. All other faithful servants of God will enjoy everlasting life in perfection here on earth as human subjects of that kingdom or goverment. Rev. 21:3, 4.

    In view of this Scriptural information, what is the kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed? It is the heavenly government consisting of Jesus Christ and a "hundred and forty-four thousand" corulers, or "joint heirs with Christ." (Rom. 8:17) The kingdom of the Messiah will "come" by taking action to remove the present corrupt system of human rulership on earth. (Ps. 2:7-9) After that there will be a global extension of rule by God. (Dan. 2:34, 44) What a delightful prospect!
  4. edpobre

    edpobre Well-Known Member

    Please comment on the following:

    1. Your version of Matthew 6:10 IMPLIES that the Kingdom of God has NOT come.

    BUT, apostle Paul wrote: "He has DELIVERED us from the power of darkness and TRANSLATED us INTO the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Col. 1:13). This IMPLIES that the kingdom of God WAS already at hand during apotle Paul's time.

    What is this kingdom of the Son INTO whom God TRANSLATES those whom He delivers from the power of darkness?

    2. You say that ONLY 144,000 will go to heaven.

    HOWEVER, in Rev. 7:9, we SEE a multitude standing BEFORE the throne and BEFORE the Lamb.  Apostle John tells us in Rev. 4:2 that this throne is set in heaven.

    HOW and WHEN did these MULTITUDE of all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues who CAME out of the great tribulation and MADE white in the blood of Christ (Rev. 7:14) GET to heaven?

    3. You say that  all other faithful Christians will enjoy life in perfection here on earth.

    BUT apostles Peter and Paul describes the coming of Jesus as "judgment day" reserved for the PERDITION of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:7; 2 Thes. 1:8-9) and the passing away of the heavens and melting of the elements and all the works in the earth will BURN (2 Peter 3:10).

    Apostle Paul wrote that those who are ALIVE and DEAD "in" Christ will be caught up in the clouds to meet Jesus in the air and will ALWAYS be with him (1 Thes. 4:16-17). The resurrected DEAD "in" Christ will rule with Christ 1000 years (Rev. 20:4).

    Are you saying that ONLY 144,000 are "IN" Christ and the rest of Christians are not? If God will BURN all UNGODLY men and all those who do NOT know God and do NOT obey the gospel of Christ (2 Thes. 1:8-9) when the Lord COMES,...

    where will EARTHLY subjects come from?


  5. LightBearer

    LightBearer Veteran

    Jehovahs Witness
    After his resurrection in 33 C.E., Jesus told his followers: "All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth." (Matthew 28:18) Jesus has long exercised such authority over his anointed servants on earth. (Colossians 1:13) However, the time had not yet come for Jesus to exercise authority as King of God's Kingdom. Rather, after his ascension he 'sat at God's right hand in heaven' until the time for the establishment of that Kingdom. (Psalm 110:1, 2; Acts 2:34, 35)

    On Pentecost of 33 C.E., at the outpouring of God's holy spirit, a new nation came into existence, spiritual Israel. (Gal. 6:15, 16; 1 Pet. 2:9, 10) Hence, the glorified Jesus Christ then began reigning over spiritual Israel, over those whom God "transferred . . . into the kingdom of the Son of his love." (Col. 1:13) To this congregation of spiritual Israelites the words of Jesus Christ apply: "They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world." (John 17:14) Inasmuch as he began reigning over those who were "no part of the world," he was not reigning over the world. So he was reigning over something that was separate from the world. His subjects were in the world but were "no part of the world."

    19 Jesus Christ was never an earthly human king. He is now a heavenly spiritual King. (John 18:36) According to Hebrews 4:14, he "passed through the heavens." And according to 1 Peter 3:22, "he is at God's right hand, for he went his way to heaven; and angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him." This included spiritual Israel on earth. Consequently Christ's kingdom since Pentecost of 33 C.E. has been a spiritual one.

    You pose the question: If the “great crowd” are persons who gain salvation and remain on earth, how could they be said to be ‘standing before God’s throne and before the Lamb’? (Re 7:9) The position of ‘standing’ is sometimes used in the Bible to indicate the holding of a favored or approved position in the eyes of the one in whose presence the individual or group stands. (Ps 1:5; 5:5; Pr 22:29, AT; Lu 1:19) In fact, in the previous chapter of Revelation, “the kings of the earth and the top-ranking ones and the military commanders and the rich and the strong ones and every slave and every free person” are depicted as seeking to hide themselves “from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Re 6:15-17; compare Lu 21:36.) It thus appears that the “great crowd” is formed of those persons who have been preserved during that time of wrath and who have been able to “stand” as approved by God and the Lamb.

    The description of them as "standing before the throne and before the Lamb" therefore indicates, not necessarily a location, but an approved condition. The expression "before the throne" (Greek, e·no'pi·on tou thro'nou; literally, "in sight of the throne") does not require that they be in heaven. Their position is simply "in sight" of God, who tells us that from heaven he beholds the sons of men. Ps. 11:4; compare Matthew 25:31-33; Luke 1:74, 75; Acts 10:33.
  6. LightBearer

    LightBearer Veteran

    Jehovahs Witness

    Will the Earth End in Fire?
    CHARRED in a nuclear holocaust, incinerated by a bulging sun, or torched by an angry god—the manner may differ, but many people are convinced that planet Earth, the home of mankind, will meet its end in an all-consuming inferno, a cataclysmic apocalypse.

    Some cite Bible texts that portend a divinely directed conflagration as retribution for man’s transgressions against the earth. Others echo the opinion of Paul Davies, a professor at the University of Adelaide, Australia, who writes about what he sees as the earth’s unavoidable plunge into fiery destruction. He theorizes in his book The Last Three Minutes: “As the sun grows ever more distended, it will engulf . . . Earth within its fiery envelope. Our planet will be reduced to a cinder.” What is the truth about the earth’s destiny? How are we to understand Bible texts that appear to predict fiery annihilation?

    Does God Care?
    At Jeremiah 10:10-12, we are informed: “Jehovah is in truth God. . . . He is the Maker of the earth by his power, the One firmly establishing the productive land by his wisdom, and the One who by his understanding stretched out the heavens.” God made the earth and firmly established it. So with wisdom, love, and understanding, he carefully prepared the earth to last indefinitely as a beautiful home for mankind.

    Of God’s creation of mankind, the Bible reports: “Male and female he created them. Further, God blessed them and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it.’” (Genesis 1:27, 28) When he completed his creative work, he could unequivocally declare that “it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) He wanted it to stay that way. Just as some prospective parents design and furnish a nursery for their expected newborn, God planted a beautiful garden and placed the man Adam there to develop it and care for it.—Genesis 2:15.

    Adam abandoned perfection and his duty to care for the earth. But did the Creator abandon His purpose? Isaiah 45:18 implies not: “This is what Jehovah has said, the Creator of the heavens, . . . the Former of the earth . . . , the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited.” (See also Isaiah 55:10, 11.) Though man neglected his custodial duty, God continued to execute his contract with the earth and life upon it. The Law given to the ancient nation of Israel made provision for “a sabbath of complete rest for the land” every seventh year. It included humane laws that gave a measure of protection to animals. (Leviticus 25:4; Exodus 23:4, 5; Deuteronomy 22:1, 2, 6, 7, 10; 25:4; Luke 14:5) These are but a few examples in the Bible that clearly indicate that God cares very much about mankind and all that he charged to man’s care.

    “The Former Earth”
    So how do we reconcile Bible texts that seem to conflict? One such is 2 Peter 3:7, which, according to the King James Version, says: “The heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” Another is Revelation 21:1, which states: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away.”

    If Peter’s words are to be taken literally and the planet Earth is to be consumed by real fire, then the literal heavens—the stars and the other heavenly bodies—are also to be destroyed by fire. This view, however, conflicts with the assurance found at such scriptures as Matthew 6:10: “Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth,” and Psalm 37:29: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” Furthermore, what effect would fire have on the already intensely hot sun and stars, which produce nuclear explosions continuously?

    On the other hand, the Bible often uses the term “earth” in a figurative sense. For example, Genesis 11:1 says: “Now all the earth continued to be of one language.” Here, the word “earth” refers to mankind in general, or human society. (See also 1 Kings 2:1, 2; 1 Chronicles 16:31.) The context of 2 Peter 3:5, 6 implies the same figurative use of “earth.” It refers to Noah’s day when a wicked human society was destroyed in the Flood but Noah and his household as well as the globe itself were preserved. (Genesis 9:11) Likewise, at 2 Peter 3:7, it says that the ones to be destroyed are “ungodly men.” This view agrees with the rest of the Bible. The wicked society earmarked for desolation is also “the former earth” referred to at Revelation 21:1, quoted earlier.

    Indeed, just as a caring earthly father will take every measure possible to ensure the inviolability of his home, Jehovah God is keenly concerned about his creation. He once evicted an immoral and wicked people from the fertile Jordan Valley and assured the new caretakers of the land, who were in a covenant with him, that if they kept his statutes, ‘the land would not vomit them out for their defiling it the same way as it would certainly vomit the nations out who were before them.’—Leviticus 18:24-28.

    “A New Earth”
    Today, a society that is sexually depraved, violently brutal, and politically corrupt has polluted the earth. Only God can rescue it. He will do just that. At Revelation 11:18, he promises “to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” The restored and renewed earth will be populated by people who fear God and sincerely love their fellowmen. (Hebrews 2:5; compare Luke 10:25-28.) The changes that take place under God’s heavenly Kingdom will be so profound that the

    Bible speaks of “a new earth”—a new human society.
    When we read scriptures like Psalm 37:29 and we comprehend the statement by Christ at Matthew 6:10, we are convinced that neither blind natural forces nor man with all his destructive power will bring an end to our planet. They will not thwart God’s purpose. (Psalm 119:90; Isaiah 40:15, 26) Faithful mankind will live on earth amid conditions of boundless beauty and endless joy. That is the truth about earth’s destiny, for this is and always has been the purpose of mankind’s loving Creator.—Genesis 2:7-9, 15; Revelation 21:1-5.

    Take a look at 2 Peter 3:5-10 again “For, according to their wish, this fact escapes their notice, that there were heavens from of old and an earth standing compactly out of water and in the midst of water by the word of God; and by those [means] the world of that time suffered destruction when it was deluged with water. But by the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire and are being reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men. However, let this one fact not be escaping YOUR notice, beloved ones, that one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with YOU because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance. Yet Jehovah’s day will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a hissing noise, but the elements being intensely hot will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be discovered.

    The literal heavens and earth did not perish in the Deluge, neither will they during Jehovah’s day. What, then, will “pass away,” or be destroyed?  On the previous and future event what was and will be destroyed is "Ungodly Men" 

    Human governments that have dominated mankind like “heavens” will end and so will the “earth,” or human ungodly society. The “hissing noise” perhaps indicates the rapid passage of the heavens. “The elements” that make up today’s decadent human society will be “dissolved,” or destroyed. And the “earth,” including “the works in it,” will be “discovered.” Jehovah will thoroughly expose the wicked acts of men as he brings an entire world system to its well-deserved end.
  7. edpobre

    edpobre Well-Known Member

    You are saying that the "kingdom of God's son" is "spiritual Israel." What is this "spiritual Israel" called, if any? How can one RECOGNIZE this "spiritual Israel?"  How does God "deliver people from the power of darkness and TRANSLATE them INTO the "spiritual Israel?"

    While it is true that the position of 'standing' is SOMETIMES used in the Bible to indicate the holding of a favored or approved position, this is NOT one of these instances.

    Your statement that: this "great crowd" is formed of those persons who have been preserved during the time of wrath and who have been able to "stand" approved by God and the Lamb," is WITHOUT Biblical basis.

    The Bible describes the "day of the Lord" (2 Peter 3:10) as "judgment day" (2 Peter 3:7) where UNGODLY men are destroyed and the heavens and the earth that NOW exist will pass away.

    Apostle Paul wrote that on this day, the Lord Jesus will be revealed "in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do NOT know God and do NOT obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting DESTRUCTION from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power" (2 Thes. 1:8-9).

    On the SAME day, the DEAD "in" Christ will rise first (those are dead but NOT "in" Christ will NOT rise) and those who are ALIVE and remain "in" Christ will be CAUGHT UP together in the clouds to MEET Jesus in the air and thus will ALWAYS be with the Lord" (1 Thes. 4:16-17).

    Now tell me LightBearer, WHERE will this "great crowd" be on the "day of the Lord?" If as you say, they are APPROVED by God and the Lamb, HOW and WHERE will they be PRESERVED "standing" before the "throne of God?"


  8. LightBearer

    LightBearer Veteran

    Jehovahs Witness
    You appear to be basing your comments on the false and unscriptural doctrine of the "Rapture".  The word "rapture" does not appear in the Bible. But those who believe in it cite the apostle Paul's words at 1 Thessalonians 4:17 as the basis for their belief. Let us examine this scripture in its context.  What does 1 Thessalonians 4:17 mean when it says, 'We the living who are surviving will be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air'.

    The reference here is to the joint heirs of Jesus Christ who are living at the time of his presence in Kingdom power.

    The particular verse in question is best understood in the light of the subject the apostle Paul was discussing when writing to the Thessalonians. We read: "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant concerning those who are sleeping in death; that you may not sorrow just as the rest also do who have no hope. For if our faith is that Jesus died and rose again, so, too, those who have fallen asleep in death through Jesus God will bring with him. For this is what we tell you by Jehovah's word, that we the living who survive to the presence of the Lord shall in no way precede those who have fallen asleep in death; because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice and with God's trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first. Afterward we the living who are surviving will, together with them, be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Consequently keep comforting one another with these words." 1 Thess. 4:13-18.

    It can be seen that the point under consideration is the resurrection of Christ's joint heirs. All his joint heirs who died before his presence in Kingdom power remained asleep in death. After the start of his presence, however, all these dead ones would be raised to immortal, spirit life, to be united with their Lord. What a comforting thought this was for Christians at Thessalonica in view of the tribulations they were experiencing! 1 Thess. 1:6.

    But there is no Scriptural reason for us to conclude that Jesus was to descend from heaven literally and that the resurrection and glorification of those sleeping in death would be visible to humans on earth. Why not? Because Jesus Christ, as a spirit person in heaven, "dwells in unapproachable light." "Not one of men has seen or can see" him as such. (1 Tim. 6:16) His situation is therefore comparable to that of his heavenly Father. (Heb. 1:2, 3) So Jesus Christ 'descends' or 'comes down' in the same sense that the Bible speaks of Jehovah God as doing so. For example, the Holy Scriptures say about Jehovah: "He proceeded to bend the heavens down and to descend; and thick gloom was beneath his feet." (2 Sam. 22:10) "Look! Jehovah is going forth from his place, and he will certainly come down and tread upon earth's high places." (Mic. 1:3) Manifestly, God did not literally leave his dwelling place in the invisible heavens, but he turned his attention to humans on earth, demonstrating his power toward them. Similarly, at his presence, as the apostle Paul indicated, Jesus Christ would turn his attention downward to this earth and exercise his power to resurrect his joint heirs sleeping in death.

    Was their resurrection to be visible to human eyes? This simply could not be. Why not? Because they are 'united with Jesus Christ in the likeness of his resurrection.' (Rom. 6:5) They experience a resurrection like his. And of Jesus' resurrection, the Scriptures tell us that he was "made alive in the spirit." (1 Pet. 3:18) To be seen by his disciples, Jesus had to materialize a body of flesh. This served to prove to them that he had indeed been made alive. (Acts 1:3) His resurrection, though, was invisible to human eyes. The watchmen at Jesus' tomb "trembled and became as dead men," not on account of seeing Jesus resurrected, but on account of the angel that rolled the stone away from the tomb.-Matt. 25:3, 4.

    Likewise, the resurrection of the joint heirs of Jesus Christ is invisible. In their case, however, the Scriptures give no indication that they will remain in the vicinity of the earth and immediately after their resurrection reveal themselves to be alive to fellow believers.

    Against this background, we can appreciate that the reference to the living being "caught away" could not mean that their bodies of flesh and blood will begin floating upward to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in what some people speak of as "the rapture." He will not be in the literal air on a literal cloud, for he "dwells in unapproachable light" in the highest heavens, the invisible spirit realm. Nevertheless, the being "caught away" must relate to something that actually happens in connection with the resurrection.

    Could this relate to their being "caught away" from the doomed world of mankind? Could it refer to their being elevated, 'seated in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus' because of having been assigned with him to the heavenly inheritance? (Eph. 1:3; 2:6) No, this was not what Paul was discussing in his letter to the Thessalonians.

    The reference to being "caught away" was a point that Christians at Thessalonica could use to comfort one another when Jesus' joint heirs would die. Obviously, the fact that the joint heirs are now separated from the doomed world is not the real source of comfort when there is a death in the congregation of God's people. Then, too, being separated in this way and united with Jesus in a spiritual sense simply could not mean being 'always with the Lord.' Once Christ's joint heirs finish their earthly course, that condition is no more, as they will then at resurrection be personally with their Lord and that forever. And, of course, the doomed world will also pass away. Furthermore, a person might now on earth be separated from the world for a time but later lose out on the reward of being with the Lord Jesus Christ because of unfaithfulness. Rev. 2:10.

    Accordingly, Paul's words to the Thessalonians point out that there is something different about the resurrection of those dying before Christ's presence in Kingdom power and those completing their earthly course and dying during that presence. This difference may be discerned from Revelation 14:13, where we read: "Happy are the dead who die in union with the Lord from this time onward [that is, since his coming in Kingdom glory]. Yes, says the spirit, let them rest from their labors, for the things they did go right with them." While Christ's joint heirs dying before his presence had to sleep in death, those who finish their earthly course during that presence do not have to do so. They are immediately raised to heavenly life. They cease from their earthly labors and enter right into heavenly service. As invisible spirit persons, they are "caught away," as if in clouds (a symbol of invisibility), to be forever with their invisible Lord. This is also in harmony with the apostle Paul's words to the Corinthians: "We shall not all fall asleep in death [that is, remaining in the death state while awaiting a resurrection in the future], but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." 1 Cor. 15:51, 52.

    Therfore, what Paul wrote at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 was, essentially, this encouraging message: Anointed Christians who die before the presence of the Lord sleep in death. When that awaited presence begins, they are raised to heavenly life as immortal spirit creatures. Anointed Christians alive during that presence, however, do not sleep in death (That is, remain dead for an extended period of time). At death they are immediately changed,(From corruptuion to incorruption and put on imortality by a ressurection like that of Jesus) being taken to heaven to be with Christ forever.
  9. LightBearer

    LightBearer Veteran

    Jehovahs Witness
    Here is a little more info that may help you to see what Judgment day is all about.

    A specific "day," or period, when particular groups, nations, or mankind in general are called to account by God. It may be a time when those already judged to be deserving of death are executed, or the judgment may afford opportunity for some to be delivered, even to everlasting life. Jesus Christ and his apostles pointed to a future "Judgment Day" involving not only the living but also those who had died in the past. Mt 10:15; 11:21-24; 12:41, 42; 2Ti 4:1, 2.

    Past Times of Judgment. At various times in the past Jehovah called peoples and nations to account for their actions and executed his judgments by bringing destruction. Such executional judgments were not arbitrary demonstrations of brute force or overwhelming power. In some instances the Hebrew word translated "judgment" (mish·pat') is also rendered "justice" and "what is right." (Ezr 7:10; Ge 18:25) The Bible emphasizes that Jehovah "is a lover of righteousness and justice," so his executional judgments involve both of those qualities. Ps 33:5.

    Sometimes the executional judgments came as a result of the wicked conduct of people in their daily lives. Sodom and Gomorrah are an example of this. Jehovah inspected the cities and determined that the sin of the inhabitants was very heavy; he decided to bring the cities to ruin. (Ge 18:20, 21; 19:14) Later Jude wrote that those cities underwent "the judicial punishment [Gr., di'ken; "judgment," Da; "justice," Yg; "retributive justice," ED] of everlasting fire." (Jude 7) So those cities experienced a "day" of judgment.

    Jehovah conducted a legal case against ancient Babylon, the longtime enemy of God and his people. Because of being unnecessarily cruel to the Jews, not intending to release them after the 70-year exile, and crediting Marduk with the victory over God's people, Babylon was in line for an executional judgment. (Jer 51:36; Isa 14:3-6, 17; Da 5:1-4) That came to Babylon in 539 B.C.E. when it was overthrown by the Medes and Persians. Because the judgment to be executed was Jehovah's, such a period could be referred to as "the day of Jehovah." Isa 13:1, 6, 9.

    Similarly, Jeremiah prophesied that God would "put himself in judgment" with Edom, among others. (Jer 25:17-31) Hence the nation that had shown hatred for Jehovah and his people experienced destructive judgment in "the day of Jehovah." Ob 1, 15, 16.

    When Judah and Jerusalem became unfaithful and merited God's disapproval, he promised to "execute in the midst of [her] judicial decisions." (Eze 5:8) In 607 B.C.E. "the day of Jehovah's fury" came with an execution of his destructive judgment. (Eze 7:19) However, another "day," or time, of judgment on Jerusalem was foretold. Joel prophesied an outpouring of spirit before "the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah." (Joe 2:28-31) Under inspiration Peter, on the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., explained that they were then experiencing a fulfillment of that prophecy. (Ac 2:16-20) The destructive "day of Jehovah" came in 70 C.E. when the Roman armies executed divine judgment upon the Jews. As Jesus foretold, those were "days for meting out justice." Lu 21:22.

    Future Times of Executional Judgment. Aside from Hebrew Scripture prophecies, the Bible definitely mentions a number of future judgment days that are executional. Revelation points to the time when "Babylon the Great" will be completely burned with fire. This judicial punishment is due to her fornication with the nations and her being drunk with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. (Re 17:1-6; 18:8, 20; 19:1, 2) Mentioning another executional judgment, Peter drew upon what occurred in Noah's day and foretold a "day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men." (2Pe 3:7) Revelation speaks of such a destruction as being executed by "The Word of God," who will strike the nations with a long sword. (Re 19:11-16; compare Jude 14, 15.) Also, in the first century the Devil already had judgment passed on him, and the demons he leads knew that they would be put into the abyss, as will Satan. (1Ti 3:6; Lu 8:31; Re 20:1-3) Thus it follows that the judgment awaiting them is simply the execution of a judgment that has already been decided upon. Jude 6; 2Pe 2:4; 1Co 6:3.

    May or May Not Be Condemnatory. Most of the occurrences of "judgment" (Gr., kri'sis and kri'ma) in the Christian Greek Scriptures clearly carry the force of condemnatory, or adverse, judgment. In John 5:24, 29 "judgment" is set in contrast with "life" and "everlasting life," plainly implying a condemnatory judgment that means utter loss of life-death. (2Pe 2:9; 3:7; Joh 3:18, 19) However, not all adverse judgment leads inevitably to destruction. Illustrating this are Paul's remarks at 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 about celebrating the Lord's Evening Meal. If a person did not discern properly what he was doing, he could eat or drink "judgment against himself." Then Paul adds: "When we are judged, we are disciplined by Jehovah, that we may not become condemned with the world." Thus one might receive adverse judgment but because of repenting not be destroyed forever.

    Furthermore, the possibility of a judgment that is not condemnatory is apparent from 2 Corinthians 5:10. About those manifest before the judgment seat it says: "Each one [will] get his award . . . according to the things he has practiced, whether it is good or vile." The judging mentioned in Revelation 20:13 evidently results in a favorable outcome for many. Of the dead judged, those receiving an adverse judgment are hurled into "the lake of fire." The rest, though, come through the judgment, being "found written in the book of life." Re 20:15.

    Judgment Day of Personal Accountability. Pre-Christian Hebrews were acquainted with the idea that God would hold them personally accountable for their conduct. (Ec 11:9; 12:14) The Christian Greek Scriptures explain that there will be a specific future period, or "day," when mankind, both the living and those who died in the past, will individually be judged. 2Ti 4:1, 2.

    Identity of the judges. In the Hebrew Scriptures Jehovah is identified as "the Judge of all the earth." (Ge 18:25) Similarly, in the Christian Greek Scriptures he is called "the Judge of all." (Heb 12:23) He has, though, deputized his Son to do judging for him. (Joh 5:22) The Bible speaks of Jesus as "appointed," "decreed," and "destined" to do judging. (Ac 10:42; 17:31; 2Ti 4:1) That Jesus is thus authorized by God resolves any seeming contradiction between the text that says that individuals will "stand before the judgment seat of God" and the verse that says they will "be made manifest before the judgment seat of the Christ." Ro 14:10; 2Co 5:10.

    Jesus also told his apostles that when he would sit down on his throne in the "re-creation," they would "sit upon twelve thrones" to do judging. (Mt 19:28; Lu 22:28-30) Paul indicated that Christians who had been "called to be holy ones" will judge the world. (1Co 1:2; 6:2) Also, the apostle John saw in vision the time when some received "power of judging." (Re 20:4) In view of the above texts, this evidently includes the apostles and the other holy ones. Such a conclusion is borne out by the remainder of the verse, which speaks of those who rule with Christ for the Millennium. These then will be royal judges with Jesus.

    The fine quality of the judging that will take place on Judgment Day is assured, for Jehovah's "judgments are true and righteous." (Re 19:1, 2) The kind of judging that he authorizes is also righteous and true. (Joh 5:30; 8:16; Re 1:1; 2:23) There will be no perverting of justice or hiding of the facts.

    Resurrection is involved. When using the expression "Judgment Day," Jesus brought into the picture a resurrection of the dead. He mentioned that a city might reject the apostles and their message, and said: "It will be more endurable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on Judgment Day than for that city." (Mt 10:15) This projected the matter into the future and naturally suggested that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah would then be alive by means of resurrection. (Compare Mt 11:21-24; Lu 10:13-15.) Even clearer are Jesus' statements that the "men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment" and "the queen of the south will be raised up in the judgment." (Mt 12:41, 42; Lu 11:31, 32) The Biblical statements about Jesus' judging "the living and the dead" can be viewed in the light of the fact that resurrection is involved in Judgment Day. Ac 10:42; 2Ti 4:1.

    A final indication that many being examined on Judgment Day will be resurrected ones is the information in Revelation 20:12, 13. Individuals are seen "standing before the throne." The dead are mentioned and so is the fact that death and Hades gave up those dead in them. Such ones are judged.

    Time for Judgment Day. In John 12:48 Christ linked the judging of persons with "the last day." Revelation 11:17, 18 locates a judging of the dead as occurring after God takes his great power and begins ruling in a special way as king. Additional light on the matter comes from the sequence of events recorded in Revelation chapters 19 and 20. There one reads of a war in which the "King of kings" kills "the kings of the earth and their armies." (Earlier in Revelation [16:14] this is called "the war of the great day of God the Almighty.") Next Satan is bound for a thousand years. During that thousand years royal judges serve with Christ. In the same context, resurrection and the judging of the dead are mentioned. This, then, is an indication of the time when Judgment Day comes. And it is not impossible from a Scriptural standpoint for a thousand-year period to be viewed as a "day," for such an equation is stated in the Bible.-2Pe 3:8; Ps 90:4.

    Basis for judgment. In describing what will take place on earth during the time of judgment, Revelation 20:12 says that the resurrected dead will then be "judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds." Those resurrected will not be judged on the basis of the works done in their former life, because the rule at Romans 6:7 says: "He who has died has been acquitted from his sin."

    However, Jesus said that unwillingness to take note of his powerful works and repent or unresponsiveness to God's message would make it hard for some to endure Judgment Day. Mt 10:14, 15; 11:21-24.
  10. edpobre

    edpobre Well-Known Member

    First, your statement that "there is no Scriptural reason to conclude that Jesus was to descend from heaven LITERALLY" is FALSE.

    Jesus SAID that ALL tribes of the earth will SEE the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matt. 24:30).

    When Jesus ascended to heaven, his disciples SAW him taken up into heaven BEFORE a cloud received him out of their sight (Acts 1:9). The SAME Jesus who was  taken up into heaven, will COME in LIKE manner as the discipes SAW him go into heaven (Acts 1:11).

    Second, the term "fallen asleep in death" or "sleeping in death" is NOT scriptural. The Bible teaches that "falling asleep" or "sleep" is synonymous to "being dead." When Jesus said Lazarus SLEEPS  (John 11:11),  the disciples thought that he was speaking about taking rest in SLEEP (John 11:13). Then Jesus said to them PLAINLY, "Lazarus is DEAD" (John 11:14).

    Jesus did NOT say, "Lazarus is ASLEEP in death!"

    Third, 1 Tim. 6:16 does NOT refer to Jesus. It refers to God who alone is IMMORTAL and INVISIBLE (1 Tim. 1:17) whom NO ONE has seen at any time (John 1:8).

    Fourth, the situation of Jesus is NOT comparable to the heavenly Father. As Heb. 1:3 teaches, Jesus is ONLY the "brightness of His (God's) glory and the express IMAGE of His (God's) person.

    As I said earlier, "falling asleep in death" is an ALTERATION of the scriptures to SUIT your FALSE interpetation of 1 Thes. 4:16-17.

    My NKJV Bible renders 1 Cor. 15:51 DIFFERENTLY from our NWT, thus: "Behold, I tell you a mystery; We shall not ALL sleep, but we shall be changed." My TEV Bible clarifies: "Listen to this secret truth; we shall not ALL die, but when the last trumpet sounds, we shall ALL be changed in an instant."

    The sound of the last trumpet is associated with the coming of Jesus (1 Thes. 4:16). Apostle Paul is simply saying that when Jesus comes, the DEAD "in" Christ will be raised "incorruptible" and those who have NOT died and "in" Christ will be changed to being "incorruptible." They will be caught up in the clouds TOGETHER with the DEAD "in" Christ to meet Jresus in the air (1 Thes. 4:16-17).

    As I said earlier, "sleep in death" is a phrase NOT found in any Bible except the Jehovah Witnesses' New World Translation of the Bible.

    BTW, you haven't answered my questions which I posted earlier. You said earlier that the "kingdom of God's son" is "spiritual Israel." What is this "spiritual Israel" called, if any? How can one RECOGNIZE this "spiritual Israel?"  How does God "deliver people from the power of darkness and TRANSLATE them INTO the "spiritual Israel?"

  11. LightBearer

    LightBearer Veteran

    Jehovahs Witness
    If someone comes in the clouds you cant see them.  Can you see the sun on a cloudy day, or a 747, no.

    You paraphrase Acts 1 by saying Jesus diciples saw him taken into heaven before a cloud took him out of their sight.  They must have pretty good eyesight to see all the way to heaven.  What was the point of the cloud?  Acts 1:9-11 actually says "And after he had said these things, while they were looking on, he was lifted up and a cloud caught him up from their vision.  And as they were gazing into the sky while he was on his way (After being caught out of their sight), also, look! two men in white garments stood alongside them, and they said: "Men of Gal'i·lee, why do YOU stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who was received up from YOU into the sky will come thus in the same manner as YOU have beheld him going into the sky." 

    So none of his disciples saw him ascend into heaven.  The two Angels tells them that Jesus would return in the same manner.  Just as they could not see him ascend to heaven because of the cloud,  so he would return, unseen to the visible eye.

    You also say that "fallen asleep in death" or "sleeping in death" is NOT scriptural. Then you used the very same terms to describe death saying, The Bible teaches that "falling asleep" or "sleep" is synonymous to "being dead." And that when Jesus said Lazarus was sleeping he meant dead.  It's all the same thing. 

    First Timothy 6:15, 16 mentions "the one alone having immortality." Why is this applied to Jesus rather than to Jehovah?

    These verses read: "This manifestation the happy and only Potentate will show in its own appointed times, he the King of those who rule as kings and the Lord of those who rule as lords, the one alone having immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom not one of men has seen or can see. To him be honor and might everlasting. Amen."-1 Tim. 6:15, 16.

    Many persons have thought that these words describe Jehovah. That is understandable, for most of those things could be said of God, he the "King of eternity," "incorruptible," a "happy God" and the "Lord of lords." (1 Tim. 1:11, 17; Deut. 10:17) Also, no man ever saw or can see him. (Ex. 33:20) However, when Paul wrote 1 Timothy 6:15, 16, he could not say that Jehovah alone possessed immortality, for Jesus was given immortality at his resurrection. 1 Cor. 15:50-54; Heb. 7:16; Rom. 6:9.

    The description in 1 Timothy 6:15, 16 does, though, fit Jesus, who is "the reflection of [Jehovah's] glory and the exact representation of his very being." (Heb. 1:3; Col. 1:15) Since Jesus' resurrection and ascension to heaven, he "dwells in unapproachable light." No man has actually seen the glorified Jesus. When he revealed himself to the persecutor Saul, the overpowering light blinded Saul. (Acts 9:3-8; 22:6-11; John 14:19) And as a grand Potentate Jesus will receive everlasting honor, for his Father crowned him "with glory and honor."-Heb. 2:9; Phil. 2:9-11.

    But how is it that Jesus 'alone has immortality'? Let us note the setting. Paul was not discussing God's kingship or immortality but was contrasting Jesus to others of mankind. Jesus is "King of those [men] who rule as kings." (Rev. 17:12, 14; 19:16) Christ is also preeminent in lordship, being "Lord of those [humans] who rule as lords." (Compare 1 Corinthians 8:5, 6.) So when Paul wrote that Jesus is "the one alone having immortality" he meant that of all kings or lords from humankind, the glorified Christ is alone immortal.  And so in this context this verse can not refer to God because as has been previously mentioned, at this time God was not alone in having imortality.

  12. LightBearer

    LightBearer Veteran

    Jehovahs Witness

    1 Corinthians 15:51 NWT
    Look! I tell YOU a sacred secret: We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed,

    15:51 The New American Standard Bible  
    Behold, I tell you a mystery; R662 we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, R663

    15:51 The New King James Version  
    Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-

    15:51 Third Millennium Bible  
    Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed

    15:51 The Revised Standard Version  
    Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

    15:51 The NAS Strong's Version  
    Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,

    15:51 New Century Version  
    But look! I tell you this secret: We will not all sleep in death, but we will all be changed.

    15:51 World English Bible  
    Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,

    And there are many more.

    1 Thessalonians 4:14-15 NWT
    For this is what we tell YOU by Jehovah's word, that we the living who survive to the    presence of the Lord shall in no way precede those who have fallen asleep [in death];

    4:15 The Bible in Basic English.
    For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are still living at the coming of the Lord, will not go before those who are sleeping.

    4:15 The new American standard.
    For this we say to you by R156 the word of the Lord, that we R157 who are alive and F50 remain until the R158 coming of the Lord, will not precede those R159 who have fallen asleep.

     4:15 NKJV
    For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.

    4:15 Third Millennium Bible  
    For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord: that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who are asleep.

    4:15 The Revised Standard Version  
    For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.

    4:15 The NAS Strong's Version  
    For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

    4:15 World English Bible  
    For this we tell you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left to the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep.

    4:15 The Darby Translation  
    (For this we say to you in [the] word of [the] Lord, that *we*, the living, who remain to the coming of the Lord, are in no way to anticipate those who have fallen asleep;

    4:15 Hebrew Names Version of World English Bible  
    For this we tell you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left to the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep.

    4:15 Webster's Bible Translation  
    For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive [and] remain to the coming of the Lord shall not precede them who are asleep
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