By Raymond F McNair
Does God’s Word promise heaven as the reward of the saved? Did Jesus say believers would waft off to heaven?
What does God promise as the reward of the righteous — those who believe and obey Him? Does He promise heaven, limbo, purgatory — or will the “saved” inherit a paradise on this good earth?
Although millions of sincere people believe otherwise, the Bible says nothing about the saints going to heaven! God’s Word declares: “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men” (Ps. 115:15).
And David was inspired to reveal that “those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth” (Ps. 37:9, 22). Furthermore, he said: “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (verse 11).
Does this mean the meek will inherit the earth in this life? No, for it is often the proud, the arrogant, the wicked, the violent who inherit much of this earth during this age.
How long will the meek hold a title to this earth? “The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever” (verse 29).
Christ Promised the Earth
Some, however, argue that the Hebrew word translated as “for ever” in Psalm 37:29 does not really mean “forever.”
But let us notice Christ’s promise to the meek of the earth: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). Later, we shall see that this inheritance of the righteous is for all eternity.
But did Christ ever say the righteous would go to heaven or inherit heaven? Some carelessly assume that He did. What Christ actually said was: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).
Did Jesus contradict Himself — offering “heaven” in verse three, while promising the “earth” in verse five? No, what Christ meant was that the “poor in spirit” would inherit the kingdom ruled over or governed by (or from) heaven. In other words, He meant they would inherit the Kingdom of God.
Only Matthew used the expression “kingdom of heaven,” while Mark, Luke and John, as well as the writers of the rest of the New Testament, consistently used the term “kingdom of God.” But they both mean exactly the same thing.
The “kingdom of heaven” simply means the kingdom of that great Being whose throne is in heaven. God says: “Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool…” (Acts 7:49).
This simply means that “heaven” is now the place where God’s throne is located. Eventually God Himself will establish His throne on this earth. Christ will dwell with men during the “millennium,” and then, later, even the Father will come down and also dwell with men forever. Man isn’t going to heaven — God is coming to this earth!