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
HEAVEN and EARTH
Bible quotes are from the New Revised Standard Version
except for my own translations or as otherwise indicated.
There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies,
but the glory of the heavenly is one thing,
and that of the earthly is another. 1 Cor. 15:40
A Bible study project by Paul Phelps.
After several years of study this writing was completed in 2000.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth; Gen. 1:1. Therefore
in the beginning God made two different life conditions—heavenly and earthly.
They are not the same. God and all the angels are spirits, they are not material.
Psalm 104:1-4, (Heb. 1:7)
You are clothed with honour and majesty,
wrapped in light as with a garment… you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds* your messengers, fire and flame your ministers.
*(the Hebrew word RÙAKH is wind, breath, or spirit)
The peoples of heaven and earth are so different that contact between them
has always felt strange. When angels have shown themselves visibly to people
on earth, the usual effect has been to cause fear. Judges 13:20,
When the flame went up towards heaven from the altar,
the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar
while Manoah and his wife looked on;
and they fell on their faces to the ground.
I looked, and there was a figure that looked like a human being;
below what appeared to be the loins it was fire;
and above the loins it was like the appearance of brightness ...
Spirits are usually invisible; but angels can materialise and make themselves
visible for brief times, as in the above examples. This materialised appearance
is not a real human body however. The Bible describes angels as disappearing
very soon after a visible appearance. The bodies of angels in normal heavenly
existence are spirit bodies; they are really in another universe, a spiritual realm
outside of our material universe.
The heavenly dignitaries including God have a spirit nature appropriate for a
spirit body. We can be sure that the soulish nature of angels was created to be
in harmony with their bodies. They were created for heaven, soul and body.
It is like that for Christians forever—for everyone called to heaven. Christian
saints are a heavenly new creation (2 Cor. 5:1-4,17; Heb. 12:22). They therefore
need a new nature to fit their new heavenly bodies. That is why Apostle Paul’s
writings emphasise the renewal of a believer’s mind into “the mind of Christ;”
(Eph. 4:23-24; Phil. 3:13-15; Col. 3:10). The fact is that those called for heaven
must renew their minds for heaven, because the human body with its racial and
gender distinction and age variation will be abandoned forever. Their desire is
to have a spiritual body for heaven. A spiritual body for heaven does not have
racial distinctions, or gender attributes, or age.
It is important to rightly explain the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). One portion of
theology applies to heaven and another portion applies to earth, and it is well if
we are informed of both. The doctrine of salvation that was given to the Church
by the first apostles was not meant to save human nature; it rather was meant to
save the human soul. The Church age New covenant saves the human soul for
heaven, but at the loss of the human nature for earth.
At this time human nature is under a curse. People do not have human rights
recognised of God. But in the coming new world the curse of sin shall remove,
and humanity will have normal human rights and be recognised as a legitimate
life species in God’s protection. Human nature will then be restored to normal,
as originally in Eden.
Human priorities are different from divine priorities because human nature is
material and earthy, whereas God’s nature is spiritual and heavenly. Both are in
God’s plan but he must first remove the curse of sin in the earth before fulfilling
human priorities. Only at Christ’s return can the sin curse of earth be removed.
But the sin debt of humanity has already been paid. Messiah’s sacrificial death
on the cross has paid for all sins of human nature—both for the Church saints
and the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2,
Little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,
and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
Matt. 12:31; Mark 3:28,
Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven
for every sin and blasphemy…
Jesus is the only name given by which men can be saved (Acts 4:12), but the
timing of Church salvation is different from that of the world. The Church age is
the day of salvation for Christians. The heavenly inheritance is for those called
to follow Jesus during the Church age—while the invitation for heaven is open.
But the Church age ends the day Christ takes his bride home. The message of
the endtimes is about earthly inheritance and it is focused on the Messianic age.
It speaks about earthly salvation for the world.
The plan for the Church is different than for the world. Heaven is promised
to the Church; but as many people as possible will also inherit the New Earth.
That is why there will be a New Heaven and a New Earth, to provide place for
both heavenly and earthly people. Heaven is more awesome than earth but the
only ones desiring it are those called to it by the Spiritual new birth. All others
(having only human birth to guide them) always prefer earth. Both inheritances
are in God’s plan and will be satisfying, each in its own way.
At creation Adam and Eve had an earthly-life covenant that included living in
paradise. That is how the New covenant will operate during the thousand-year
kingdom—and forever. Messiah’s kingdom is the day of salvation for the world
(Isaiah 45:17-18,22). The New covenant of earth requires individual obedience
to righteousness—which is a return to the life covenant given to Adam and Eve.
If they had stayed in obedience to God, that covenant would never have ended.
Humanity’s earthly obligation will always be continuance in righteousness.
God’s kingdom will restore normal relationships between heaven and earth.
The evil angels that took part in Satan’s rebellion will be expelled from heaven
(Rev. 12:7-9,12) and Christian saints are their replacements. God’s objective is
the restoration of earth and heaven—as at the start, before the angels of heaven
rebelled. Never again will Satan or his angels be allowed in heaven; their final
destiny is the eternal lake of fire (Matt. 25:41). Satan can expect a brief release
from jail after one thousand years, to test the righteousness of each human heart,
but he will then be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:7-10).
After a millennium of Kingdom rule, everyone will be tested, living and dead.
The Bible does not say who will join Satan’s revolt; but the dead that rise at the
end of the Millennium are the unjust and are the majority that will be deceived.
The resurrection of the unjust is at the end of the Millennium. Despite this crisis
the Kingdom will not be a failure. Satanic snares such as Adam and Eve fell into
will have little effect on restored humanity because the children of the Kingdom
will know the LORD, and be taught in righteousness. Isaiah 54:13-15,
v 13, All your children shall be taught of the LORD,
and great shall be the prosperity of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established;
you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
v 15, If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me;
whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you.
(Gog and Magog, ‘the unjust,’ will stir up strife at the end; Rev. 20:7-10.)
The Bible is clear that God is going to return and rule earth but not everyone
understands how people will enter the Kingdom; it is by two ways. (A) Many of
the last generation enter the Kingdom age without dying; they are the last-day
elect, the ones protected by God (Matt. 24:22; Mark 13:20-27). (B) Many of the
dead of all nations will enter the Kingdom by the resurrection of the righteous;
(Dan. 12:2,13; Matt. 25:31-34; Luke 14:14; John 5:25-29; 11:24). “For to this end
Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the
living” (Rom. 14:9). Both the living and dead will face judgment (1 Pet. 4:5), and
those that qualify will enter the Kingdom.
Judgment-day is for the unsaved world. Earth’s people are not yet saved but
neither are they lost; they are waiting for God’s judgment to reveal their future.
None of the unsaved world is saved, or lost, until judgment-day, else there is no
need of the judgment-day; the rule for them is not faith but works of conscience;
(Rom. 2:14-16). “For you repay to all according to their work” (Psalm 62:12).
See, I am coming soon;
my reward is with me,
to repay according to everyone’s work.
The judgment of works is not final salvation but an entry into God’s kingdom
by the resurrection of the righteous. That is how men of good works will enter
God’s kingdom. “Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you
that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34).
The Book of Life is a name list of every person, except names that are erased.
Usually no one’s name is erased before judgment-day but after that it may be,
depending on the judgment. At begettal, everybody’s name is written into the
Book of Life; (we all start as children and God accepts each child; Mk. 10:13-16).
Everyone begins life with a name written in the Book of Life and everyone must
be careful that their name is not erased (Rev. 22:19). All them that remain in the
Book of Life after judgment-day are declared ‘righteous’ (Matt. 25:37); they will
rise to life in the early part of the Kingdom after Messiah returns as King. Those
that fail judgment—whose names are erased, are the ‘wicked.’ They rise to life
at the end of the thousand years, just in time to take part in Satan’s final revolt.
This judgment-day does not decide final destiny, to be saved or lost; it rather
determines who is resurrected into the Kingdom, or after the Kingdom. But that
decision can affect final destiny because resurrection into the Kingdom leads to
final salvation but resurrection after the Kingdom leads to Satan’s final deception
that leads to a second death. All people are promised resurrection because the
sacrificial death of Christ has paid for all sin and the death penalty is cancelled;
but God decides the resurrection for every person. The judgment of conscience
and righteous deeds will determine when every person is to be resurrected. The
need of unsaved people is to be in the early resurrection of the righteous, and
not to be with the late resurrection of the wicked.
Two ways are pleasing to God, faith and righteousness. God plans the future
so that both ways shall have reward. In this age faith is the greater way and has
greater reward. The way of faith is prompted by love for God and the desire to
follow him however he leads. The way of righteous good work is prompted by
conscience. Both ways are good but they are different. Love for righteousness
qualifies for life in earth. But love for God—with faith—even in paths unknown
qualifies for life in heaven. There is another way that often seems right to men,
but the end thereof is the way of death (Prov. 14:12); it is the way of self-interest
that does not trust in God or care about righteousness.
There will be three future destinies—the New Heaven, the New Earth, and the
lake of fire. There will be people in all three places depending on their heart;
the way of Godly faith, righteousness, or self-interest. The New Heaven will be
home to angels that never rebelled nor ever left their own habitation (Jude 1:6),
and it will be home also to Christian saints, the bride of Christ. The New Earth
is this planet but renewed for a renewed humanity (Acts 3:19-21; Rom. 8:21-22).
God’s kingdom removes the sin curse from humanity and from earth (Rev. 22:3).
Heaven will be joined to earth by a fabulous space-city called New Jerusalem
(Rev. 21); this is “my Father’s house” containing the mansions of glory prepared
for the saints (John 14:2-3). According to Rev. 21:16 this city is magnificent. It is
the future city of the great King (Matt. 5:35). It is referred to in Isaiah 54:11-12;
60; 62:1-5; Zech. 8:3-8. In vision John saw New Jerusalem coming down to earth
from heaven, and the city is prepared as a bride. Rev. 21:2,9-11,
v 2, And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven
...vv 9, from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. ...'Come,
I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.' And in the spirit
he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me
the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.
The bride is the finished Church in glory, adorned for her heavenly marriage
to Christ, just as his reign is about to begin. Rev. 19:6-7,
...‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice
and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb
has come, and his bride has made herself ready…’
At the correct time Christ comes to take his bride to heaven (1 Thes. 4:16-17),
marking the end of this age. Soon afterwards the city of heaven comes to earth.
That marks the start of the New Heaven—and the start of the New Earth as well.
The passing away of the first heaven and earth (Rev. 21:1) is the removal of this
present age of evil angels and evil men. The new heaven and earth is a time of
new people as in Noah’s day; heaven is renewed first and earth soon afterward.
In Scripture heaven can be three things; the sky (earth’s atmosphere of wind,
clouds, and birds); the material universe (including sun, moon and stars); and
the spiritual universe (God, the angels and hosts of heaven), the ‘third heaven’
that Apostle Paul was shown. 2 Cor. 12:1-4,
It is necessary to boast; nothing to be gained by it,
but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.
I knew a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to
the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body
I do not know; God knows—was caught up into Paradise and heard
things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat.
Jesus reigns in heaven and earth and the glorified saints will share in his rule.
God’s throne in the spirit realm is surrounded by angels (Dan. 7:10; Heb. 12:22)
but Jesus and the saints have inherited an authority above angels (1 Cor. 6:3).
…“having become as much superior to angels
as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
...“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and
wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing!”
1 John 3:2,
“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.”
Angels had administrative responsibility to carry out God’s directives in earth
but that part of heaven’s rule fell into disorder. Many angels were ensnared in
Satan’s revolt. Earth has suffered horribly under the misrule of corrupt angels.
God hates the distress this has caused; he has promised to remove Satan’s rule
and restore righteous rule. God accepts responsibility for all that went wrong.
God accepts responsibility to put all things right. That is why he came to earth,
as the man Jesus to redeem and restore earthly humanity. God chose himself as
the sin sacrifice from the foundation of the world (John 1:29; Rev. 13:8).
1 Peter 1:20,
... He was destined before the foundation of the world…
Restoration is more than payment for sin and redemption of earth. There is
also the need to renew heaven’s rule and to replace the multitude of angels that
rebelled. But God has said the new world cannot be ruled by angels (Heb. 2:5)
and he is not creating more angels; he is instead saving elect people from earth
in the Church age (between Christ’s first and second advents) and calling them
for heaven. This is the Church age New covenant, the Church call for heaven.
All overcoming believers from the Church age will inherit heaven and have the
right to rule in the world to come. This is God’s remedy for Satan’s rebellion.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing
in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the
foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.
He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ,
according to the good pleasure of his will...
We know that all things work together for good
for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed
to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within
a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called…
The New covenant has both earthly and heavenly provision and the fulfilment
for each is different. In the Church age (between the first and second advents),
Christians relate to God through the New covenant heavenly calling (Heb. 8-9).
The Church age New covenant calls born again persons to follow Jesus by faith.
It is Spiritual in nature and it has heavenly promises. 1 Pet. 1:4,
... into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
kept in heaven for you…
The heaven call was a mystery that Jesus told only to his disciples;
Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately,
‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many
prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.’
1 Pet. 1:10-12,
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace
that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, inquiring about
the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated,
when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and
the subsequent glory. It was revealed to them that they were serving
not themselves, but you, in regard to the things that have now been
announced to you through those who brought you the good news by
the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
Jesus expounded this new calling in parables, stories with a hidden meaning.
He spoke of the heavenly call as a secret mystery. Mark 4:11,
And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the
kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables...’
The Church call for heaven is a mystery because it was never taught in Israel
before Christ came. We know the call to heaven was not known to Jews because
the Pharisee master Nicodemus had never heard of it until Jesus announced it.
The Spiritual new birth was a NEW DOCTRINE to the Jews.
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.
He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you
are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs
that you do apart from the presence of God.’ Jesus answered him,
‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without
being born anew from above.
v 6, What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
v 9-10, Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’
Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel,
and yet you do not understand these things?’
v 12, ‘If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe,
how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?’
The Church age is 'an invitation to heaven;' an age of grace for those called.
The heavenly things that Jesus taught were new, not only to the Pharisees but to
his disciples as well. They did not understand until their own spiritual new birth
on Pentecost Day, fifty days after Passover week and the death and resurrection
of Jesus. Therefore the heavenly things that Jesus taught were a total mystery
in Israel. This confirms that the call to heaven was not part of the Law covenant
and it explains why Israel’s prophets did not understand their own prophecies.
After Noah, covenants were special purposes and given only to the few, while
the world was seemingly abandoned. The world is waiting for Jesus to reclaim
earth when he returns. The New covenant will then provide normal earthly life,
and it will be world-wide for everyone.
This world is a tragic place since the fall of Adam and Eve in Eden, a world
of unending suffering under evil spirits. The whole world is in the power of the
evil one (1 John 5:19); the only hopeful prospect is the promised Messianic age.
That will be a refreshing time for all peoples—for restoring humanity and earth.
Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out,
So that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus,
who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration
that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.
The Messianic age is the time for the whole world to be God’s chosen people
including past generations fallen in death that have deeds of good conscience.
The Messianic age will bring a covenant of normal human life in the New Earth.
The Bible does not call this earthly hope a mystery for it was never concealed;
(the Jewish hope was always for earth and the Law covenant is only about earth,
which is the reason Moses’ teaching is different from New Testament teaching).
The Old Testament focuses on earthly life and the hope for a renewed earth, but
the New Testament focuses on heaven as the priority call—until Jesus returns.
For believers in the heavenly Church call, earthly hope has been ‘replaced’
by heavenly hope. Old Testament texts are therefore ‘spiritualised’ to serve the
heavenly Church call. This mind view is called ‘Spiritualised Interpretation,’ or
‘Replacement Theology.’ But this theory can only apply during the Church age
because the earthly realities of Old Testament texts cannot be replaced in fact;
they may have been set aside only for a time, until the Church call is complete
and the saints are taken home. The New Earth promises can never be changed
or replaced. God’s promises are true as written—and his word abides forever.
All the New Earth promises are true and will remain forever unchanged.
The plan for national Israel was put aside for the duration of the Church age,
but it will be fulfilled in due time. Romans 11:7,28-29,
v 7, What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking.
The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened...
v 28… As regards the gospel they are enemies of God for your sake; but
as regards election they are beloved, for the sake of their ancestors;
for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Some may see Israel as something of the past with no further application, but
the plan for Israel pertains mainly to the future. The main goal of Israel’s calling
and election has never yet fulfilled, and cannot until Messiah is present on earth
as King. The Church age New covenant is a spiritual fulfilment of Jer. 31:31-34,
but the earthly provisions for this New Covenant promise remain to be fulfilled.
The purpose of Jesus’ return is to establish his kingdom in earth. If an earthly
New covenant is to succeed Jesus must be present in earth as King. The earthly
Kingdom will operate globally from heaven’s rule. The glorified saints will be in
New Jerusalem. Heaven’s government will operate from this heavenly city. The
main earthly focus then will not be religion but restoration of human wholeness.
At Christ’s return, the earthly New covenant will be approved in Israel. But
God alone decides who is in New Earth Israel—the “fleshly Israel” of the future.
“For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel, and not all of Abraham’s children
are his true descendants” (Romans 9:6-7). “For a person is not a Jew who is one
outwardly... Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly” (Rom. 2:28-29). This
is true in the Church age, and true of the New Earth in the future Messianic age.
“Inwardly” has been interpreted as the ‘Spiritual new birth’ for believers in the
Church call but it is not limited to that interpretation. The word “inwardly” has
another meaning for the 'fleshly Israel' of earthly promises. This is referring to
‘a secret identity,’ a secret destiny and heritage from Isaac and Jacob known only
to God. The complete identity of New Earth Israel is still a mystery.
The first covenant with Israel was cancelled because they turned to idolatry.
“The LORD uprooted them from their land in anger, fury, and great wrath, and
cast them into another land, as is now the case.” (Deut. 29:28). But all this was
hidden. Verse 29 continues... “The secret things belong to the LORD our God,
but the revealed things belong to us and to our children for ever.” Those Jews
that have retained Judaism have maintained Jewish identity wherever they live,
but Israel’s forgotten descendants in “another land” are the unknown Israelites;
they are part of the secret things only known to God.
God does not rely on tradition or religion to identify people. He identifies us
from our genetic code and information in our souls: inherited destinies, curses,
and blessings. The House of Israel taken captive to Assyria in 722 BCE was not
lost to God and was never in danger of being lost, for God looks at the inward
identity. Assimilation does not change the identities of successive generations
because, in God’s view, the soul decides the identity (not the body). The soul
has priority above physical genetics for deciding identity. Assimilation has not
diminished the House of Israel. Rather the opposite; they have increased.
Assimilation alters the physical genetic code in favour of the majority group
and can also affect the soulish nature of later generations. But the blessings or
curses borne in the souls of the former generation are what decide the identity
of successive generations. This reality affects our view of the world around us
and also our view of Bible prophecy, for this enables us to identify people in the
way that God identifies them, not in outward appearance but by inward reality.
The heaven-called Christians, reborn of the Spirit, are no more identified by
their genetic code, or their soul, but are identified by their new life in the Spirit.
That is why in Christ there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, male and
female, bond and free (1 Cor. 12:12-13; Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11). But the earthly
kingdom of God is not like that. Prophecy says that people of the New Earth
will observe distinctions of honour and servitude. And there will continue to be
distinction between males and females. And Israelis will differ from Gentiles in
the new world, for covenant renewal shall be only with the House of Israel and
the House of Judah (Jer. 31:31).
Human nature should not be mixed with spirit nature, or material things with
spiritual things, or earthly values with heavenly values. They are not the same.
There is a need for separate distinctions to help understand heaven and earth.
God’s mind is found in both Old and New Testaments but each has a different
characteristic. The Old Testament reveals God’s mind for earth-bound people,
but the New Testament reveals his mind for heaven-bound people, the Church.
The call to heaven is the highest priority in the New Testament, but when that era
changes the priority also changes. The New Testament also has much teaching
pertaining to earth because Jesus is Lord of both heaven and earth.
Jesus necessarily taught about both inheritance hopes (heaven and earth) for
he is Lord of both! Jesus is God, and God speaks total truth. Jesus is the head
of the Church but he is also God of the whole earth at his return. He therefore
must necessarily speak for both portions of his kingdom.
It’s interesting that the people of God’s kingdom, of heaven and earth, are all
originally from earth. Saints in the heavenly city go through a change of nature
and are no longer earthy because they get a new body in the likeness of Christ,
made for heaven. But people of the New Earth keep their earth nature because
they are called to live on earth. Human nature in the Kingdom will not contain
inherent sin, as now, because the curse on earth will be gone. Our flesh bodies
are part of earth because we are made of earth dust. The inhabitants of heaven
and earth will always be different but God does not want anyone to be envious
of another lifestyle. Everybody in God’s kingdom will be glad where they are.
The new world will be fully satisfying for all.
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