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Where Will Old Testament Believers Spend Eternity?


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A unique teaching of the Watchtower Society is that all followers of Jehovah who died prior to Jesus’ resurrection will not enjoy everlasting life in heaven but on the earth.

“In fact, all faithful men and women who died before Jesus died had the hope of living again on earth, not in heaven. They will be resurrected to become some of the earthly subjects of Gods Kingdom.” - You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, 1989 ed., p. 122

So, according to the Watchtower, faithful men such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David will not spend their eternity in heaven. Heaven is reserved for a specific group of people numbering 144,000. All others outside of this group have only an earthly hope. Can this teaching be justified? Will all the Old Testament saints be relegated to spend eternity on the earth? Let’s turn to the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures to find out.

Matthew 8:11 “But I tell YOU that many from eastern parts and western parts will come and recline at the table with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of the heavens.” So, according to the greatest authority on this subject, Jesus Christ, gentiles will come from various lands to enjoy company with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in heaven.

Since the Watchtower cannot accept a literal interpretation of this text, they have proceeded to explain it another way. They say:

“Abraham, Isaac and Jacob represent God’s kingdom arrangement“ - The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, 1991, section 36, p. 3

How do the patriarchs represent God’s kingdom arrangement? The following publication says:

The inclusion of Isaac and Jacob together with Abraham in this instance makes a fine picture of the Kingdom, the Theocracy, in its complete setup. Abraham, the father of those who adhere to faith, pictures the heavenly Father, Jehovah, the real source of all the blessings to the nations. Isaac, Abraham’s son, pictures God’s Son, Jesus Christ....In turn, Isaac’s son Jacob pictures the Christian congregation.” - The Watchtower, April 1, 1967, p. 208

So, according to the Society, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob figuratively represent God’s Kingdom in its complete setup. Abraham pictures the Father, Isaac pictures the Son and Jacob represents the 144,000 anointed ones. Is this accurate? Let’s read a parallel verse to see:

Luke 13:28 “There is where [YOUR] weeping and the gnashing of [YOUR] teeth will be, when YOU see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God , but yourselves thrown outside.” If, as the Watchtower stated, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob represent God’s Kingdom in its complete setup, who do the prophets in the above verse represent? How can we fit them into what is already the entire and completed Kingdom arrangement?

Let’s look at another passage to see if we can determine the destination of Old Testament believers.

Hebrews 11:8-10 “ By faith Abraham when he was called, obeyed in going out into a place he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, although not knowing where he was going. By faith he resided as an alien in the land of the promise as in a foreign land, and dwelt in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs of him of the very same promise. For he was awaiting the city having real foundations, the builder and maker of which [city] is God.”  Did you see that? Abraham was awaiting a city whose builder is God!   Now, this can’t be the new earth because according to the Watchtower, Jehovah is not the builder of the new earth, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are.

 If we continue to read on in Hebrews 11, we see starting in verse 13 that it says “In faith all these (meaning all the Old Testament persons spoken of in the preceding verses) died....and publicly declared that they were strangers and temporary residents in the land....But now they are reaching out for a better [place], that is, one belonging to heaven. Hence God is not ashamed of them, to be called upon as their God, for he has made a city ready for them.” Do you see that the city they are going to inherit has already been made by God. Past tense. This obviously can’t be the future new earth. The place where all our forefathers are going had already been established at the time of this writing.

Jesus knew about this city. In John 14:2-3, He said, “In the house of my Father there are (present tense) many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told YOU, because I am going my way to prepare a place for YOU. Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for YOU, I am coming again and will receive YOU home to myself, that where I am YOU also may be”. So, the city written about in Hebrews 11 is the same city that Jesus talked about in John 14. Jesus knew of this city well since He came from it. He also said that He was going to prepare a place for His disciples and come back someday to take them home to be with Him.

It is the belief of this ministry, that anyone who reads the bible alone without additional literature will come to the conclusion that all true believers will spend eternity in the same place. There is no segregation between them. Jesus said in John 10:16, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (KJV)

Tower To Truth Ministries

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