THE EARTHLY INHERITANCE SERIES of BIBLE SUBJECTS
Various Bible study guides in subjects pertaining to
New Earth prophecy, as taught by Paul Phelps.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD,
they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 37:9
Bible quotes are from the New Revised Standard Version
except for my own translations or as otherwise indicated.
Everlasting life is an important Biblical teaching, but
some texts say one kind, and others say another kind.
A Bible study project by Paul Phelps.
After several years of study this writing was completed in 2014.
Humanity is a composite of body and soul, held together and enlivened by the
human spirit, the breath of life (Num. 27:16; Job 27:3; 33:4; 34:14-15; Isaiah 42:5).
The soul exists in the spirit realm and by nature was created for everlasting life,
so any further discussion of everlasting life has to do with the body, not the soul.
(This is further explained in our essay—“The nature and origin of human souls.”)
Unending life for the body is an idea first presented in Genesis 3:22,
… and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life,
and eat, and live forever—
and from then onward, Bible references to the tree of life refer to everlasting life
in earth. This kind of “everlasting life” is identified as the result of physical food
from a physical tree, and this reality is further confirmed in Revelation 22:14,
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they
will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.
Both the above readings show that everlasting earthly life is not obtainable if
access to the tree of life is denied; and according to Rev. 21:27; 22:15; and 22:19,
access to the tree of life will indeed be denied to anyone morally unclean, or to
anyone that removes God’s prophetic words. (The context of these Scriptures is
the New Jerusalem City of Revelation Chapter 21 and 22:1-5, which is pictured as
coming from heaven to earth for the future Messianic Kingdom age.) Therefore
everlasting life in earth is conditioned upon maintaining righteousness, as it was
for Adam and Eve at the start, and again will be for mankind in a restored Earth.
More tree of life references include Prov. 3:18; 11:30; 13:12; 15:4; Rev. 2:7; 22:2,
which all point to a universal restoration at Christ’s return to earth (Acts 3:19-21).
Hope of continued life is further seen in prophecies of the resurrection and an
end of death. Everlasting life is in Psalm 16:11; 133:3; 139:24; Prov. 12:28; 13:14;
14:27; 15:24; Isa. 35:10 and Dan. 12:2. Earthly inheritance for righteous people
is promised in Psalm 37:11,22; Prov. 2:20-22,—and lasts forever; Psalm 37:27,29,
v 27 Depart from evil and do good; so you shall abide forever.
v 29 The righteous shall inherit the earth, and live in it forever.
Unending life had become a topic of interest for Jews of New Testament times
because of these earlier texts, which is why Jesus was asked about it; Matt. 19:16,
Then someone came to him and said,
‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’
Just then a lawyer stood up to test him.
‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’
A certain ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit life?’
His answers (from Lev. 18:5 and 19:18) referred to earthly life. Matt. 19:17-19,
… ‘If you wish to enter life, keep the commandments.’
He said to him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder;
You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal;
‘You shall not bear false witness; Honour your father and mother;
also, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’
He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?
He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind;
and your neighbour as yourself.’ And he said to him,
‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’
Jesus said to him, …’You know the commandments:
You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal;
You shall not bear false witness; Honour your father and mother.’
Upon further inquiry, Jesus talked about eternal life in heaven, (which was then
an idea unknown to Jews. A call to heaven is not in Torah.). Matthew 19:20-21,
The young man said to him, ‘I have kept all these; what do I still lack?’
Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect,
go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’
He replied, ‘I have kept all these since my youth.’
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘There is still one thing lacking.
Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’
The call to heaven—the new and living way (Hebrews 10:20) is a better hope of
eternal life. Hebrews 7:19,
… (for the law made nothing perfect); there is, on the other hand,
the introduction of a better hope, through which we approach God.
This “new and living way” of eternal life in heaven started at Pentecost, when
the Holy Spirit came to the world. This calling is the New Testament message.
This gospel promises resurrected spiritual bodies for heaven as the ‘eternal life’
of overcoming spiritually born-again believers, “the Bride of Christ.” These new
bodies will be spiritual and immortal, like Jesus, a HIGHER NATURE of eternal life.
1 John 2:25; 3:2-3,
And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.
Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet
been revealed. What we do know is this: when it is revealed,
we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.
And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
From this, we see two kinds of everlasting life according to the body received
in the resurrection, whether earthly or heavenly; 1 Cor. 15:40. Earthly bodies in
the New Earth can live forever by the fruit from the trees of life; but the glorified
bodies of Christians in heaven are spiritual, immortal and eternal—like God.
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