The Jehovah Witness is a Dangerous CU...
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#108 Mar 24, 2013
In view of such inconsistency in non-Biblical writings, it is essential to let the Scriptures speak for themselves, showing what the inspired writers meant by their use of the term psy·khe′, as well as by ne′phesh. Ne′phesh occurs 754 times in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Scriptures, while psy·khe′ appears by itself 102 times in the Westcott and Hort text of the Christian Greek Scriptures, giving a total of 856 occurrences.(See NW appendix, p. 1573.) This frequency of occurrence makes possible a clear concept of the sense that these terms conveyed to the minds of the inspired Bible writers and the sense their writings should convey to our mind. An examination shows that, while the sense of these terms is broad, with different shades of meaning, among the Bible writers there was no inconsistency, confusion, or disharmony as to man’s nature, as existed among the Grecian philosophers of the so-called Classical Period.
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#109 Mar 24, 2013
Earth’s First Souls. The initial occurrences of ne′phesh are found at Genesis 1:20-23. On the fifth creative “day” God said:“‘Let the waters swarm forth a swarm of living souls [ne′phesh] and let flying creatures fly over the earth ...’ And God proceeded to create the great sea monsters and every living soul [ne′phesh] that moves about, which the waters swarmed forth according to their kinds, and every winged flying creature according to its kind.” Similarly on the sixth creative “day” ne′phesh is applied to the “domestic animal and moving animal and wild beast of the earth” as “living souls.”—Ge 1:24.
After man’s creation, God’s instruction to him again used the term ne′phesh with regard to the animal creation,“everything moving upon the earth in which there is life as a soul [literally, in which there is living soul (ne′phesh)].”(Ge 1:30) Other examples of animals being so designated are found at Genesis 2:19; 9:10-16; Leviticus 11:10, 46; 24:18; Numbers 31:28; Ezekiel 47:9.
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#110 Mar 24, 2013
Notably, the Christian Greek Scriptures coincide in applying the Greek psy·khe′ to animals, as at Revelation 8:9; 16:3, where it is used of creatures in the sea.
Thus, the Scriptures clearly show that ne′phesh and psy·khe′ are used to designate the animal creation lower than man. The same terms apply to man. The Human Soul. Precisely the same Hebrew phrase used of the animal creation, namely, ne′phesh chai·yah′ (living soul), is applied to Adam, when, after God formed man out of dust from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,“the man came to be a living soul.”(Ge 2:7) Man was distinct from the animal creation, but that distinction was not because he was a ne′phesh (soul) and they were not. Rather, the record shows that it was because man alone was created “in God’s image.”(Ge 1:26, 27) He was created with moral qualities like those of God, with power and wisdom far superior to the animals; hence he could have in subjection all the lower forms of creature life.(Ge 1:26, 28) Man’s organism was more complex, as well as more versatile, than that of the animals.(Compare 1Co 15:39.) Likewise, Adam had, but lost, the prospect of eternal life; this is never stated with regard to the creatures lower than man.—Ge 2:15-17; 3:22-24.
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#111 Mar 24, 2013
It is true that the account says that ‘God proceeded to blow into the man’s nostrils the breath [form of nesha·mah′] of life,’ whereas this is not stated in the account of the animal creation. Clearly, however, the account of the creation of man is much more detailed than that of the creation of animals. Moreover, Genesis 7:21-23, in describing the Flood’s destruction of “all flesh” outside the ark, lists the animal creatures along with mankind and says:“Everything in which the breath [form of nesha·mah′] of the force of life was active in its nostrils, namely, all that were on the dry ground, died.” Obviously, the breath of life of the animal creatures also originally came from the Creator, Jehovah God.
So, too, the “spirit”(Hebrew), ru′ach; Greek word (pneu′ma), or life-force, of man is not distinct from the life-force in animals, as is shown by Ecclesiastes 3:19-21, which states that “they all have but one spirit [u·ru′ach].”

Soul—A Living Creature. As stated, man “came to be a living soul”; hence man was a soul, he did not have a soul as something immaterial, invisible, and intangible residing inside him. The apostle Paul shows that the Christian teaching did not differ from the earlier Hebrew teaching, for he quotes Genesis 2:7 in saying:“It is even so written:‘The first man Adam became a living soul [psy·khen′ zo′san].’... The first man is out of the earth and made of dust.”—1Co 15:45-47.
The Genesis account shows that a living soul results from the combination of the earthly body with the breath of life. The expression “breath of the force of life [literally, breath of the spirit, or active force (ru′ach), of life]”(Ge 7:22) indicates that it is by breathing air (with its oxygen) that the life-force, or “spirit,” in all creatures, man and animals, is sustained. This life-force is found in every cell of the creature’s body.
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#112 Mar 24, 2013
Since the term ne′phesh refers to the creature itself, we should expect to find the normal physical functions or characteristics of fleshly creatures attributed to it. This is exactly the case. Ne′phesh (soul) is spoken of as eating flesh, fat, blood, or similar material things (Le 7:18, 20, 25, 27; 17:10, 12, 15; De 23:24); being hungry for or craving food and drink (De 12:15, 20, 21; Ps 107:9; Pr 19:15; 27:7; Isa 29:8; 32:6; Mic 7:1); being made fat (Pr 11:25); fasting (Ps 35:13); touching unclean things, such as a dead body (Le 5:2; 7:21; 17:15; 22:6; Nu 19:13); being ‘seized as a pledge’ or being ‘kidnapped’(De 24:6, 7); doing work (Le 23:30); being refreshed by cold water when tired (Pr 25:25); being purchased (Le 22:11; Eze 27:13); being given as a vow offering (Le 27:2); being put in irons (Ps 105:18); being sleepless (Ps 119:28); and struggling for breath (Jer 15:9).
It may be noted that in many texts reference is made to “my soul,”“his [or her] soul,”“your soul,” and so forth. This is because ne′phesh and psy·khe′ can mean one’s own self as a soul. The sense of the term can therefore often be expressed in English by use of personal pronouns. Thus Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros (p. 627) shows that “my ne′phesh” means “I”(Ge 27:4, 25; Isa 1:14); “your [singular] ne′phesh” means “thou” or “you”(Ge 27:19, 31; Isa 43:4; 51:23); “his ne′phesh” means “he, himself”(Nu 30:2; Isa 53:10); “her ne′phesh” means “she, herself”(Nu 30:5-12), and so forth.
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#113 Mar 24, 2013
The Greek term psy·khe′ is used similarly. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (1981, Vol. 4, p. 54) says it may be used as “the equivalent of the personal pronoun, used for emphasis and effect:—1st person, John 10:24 (‘us’); Heb. 10:38; cp.[compare] Gen. 12:13; Num. 23:10; Jud. 16:30; Ps. 120:2 (‘me’); 2nd person, 2 Cor. 12:15; Heb. 13:17,” and so forth.
Represents life as a creature. Both ne′phesh and psy·khe′ are also used to mean life—not merely as an abstract force or principle—but life as a creature, human or animal.
Thus when Rachel was giving birth to Benjamin, her ne′phesh (“soul,” or life as a creature) went out from her and she died.(Ge 35:16-19) She ceased to be a living creature. Similarly, when the prophet Elijah performed a miracle regarding the dead son of the widow of Zarephath, the child’s ne′phesh (“soul,” or life as a creature) came back into him and “he came to life,” was again a living creature.—1Ki 17:17-23.
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#114 Mar 24, 2013
Because the creature’s life is so inseparably connected with and dependent on blood (shed blood standing for the life of the person or creature [Ge 4:10; 2Ki 9:26; Ps 9:12; Isa 26:21]), the Scriptures speak of the ne′phesh (soul) as being “in the blood.”(Ge 9:4; Le 17:11, 14; De 12:23) This is, obviously, not meant literally, inasmuch as the Scriptures also speak of the “blood of your souls”(Ge 9:5; compare Jer 2:34) and the many references already considered could not reasonably be applied solely to the blood or its life-supporting qualities.
Ne′phesh (soul) is not used with reference to the creation of vegetable life on the third creative “day”(Ge 1:11-13) or thereafter, since vegetation is bloodless. Examples of the use of the Greek psy·khe′ to mean “life as a creature” may be found at Matthew 6:25; 10:39; 16:25, 26; Luke 12:20; John 10:11, 15; 13:37, 38; 15:13; Acts 20:10.
Since God’s servants have the hope of a resurrection in the event of death, they have the hope of living again as “souls,” or living creatures. For that reason Jesus could say that “whoever loses his soul [his life as a creature] for the sake of me and the good news will save it. Really, of what benefit is it for a man to gain the whole world and to forfeit his soul? What, really, would a man give in exchange for his soul?”(Mr 8:35-37) Similarly, he stated:“He that is fond of his soul destroys it, but he that hates his soul in this world will safeguard it for everlasting life.”(Joh 12:25)
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#115 Mar 24, 2013
These texts, and others like them, show the correct understanding of Jesus’ words at Matthew 10:28:“Do not become fearful of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be in fear of him that can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” While men can kill the body, they cannot kill the person for all time, inasmuch as he lives in God’s purpose (compare Lu 20:37, 38) and God can and will restore such faithful one to life as a creature by means of a resurrection. For God’s servants, the loss of their “soul,” or life as a creature, is only temporary, not permanent.—Compare Re 12:11.
Mortal and destructible. On the other hand, Matthew 10:28 states that God “can destroy both soul [psy·khen′] and body in Gehenna.”

This shows that psy·khe′ does not refer to something immortal or indestructible. There is, in fact, not one case in the entire Scriptures, Hebrew and Greek, in which the words ne′phesh or psy·khe′ are modified by terms such as immortal, indestructible, imperishable, deathless. On the other hand, there are scores of texts in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures that speak of the ne′phesh or psy·khe′ (soul) as mortal and subject to death (Ge 19:19, 20; Nu 23:10; Jos 2:13, 14; Jg 5:18; 16:16, 30; 1Ki 20:31, 32; Ps 22:29; Eze 18:4, 20; Mt 2:20; 26:38; Mr 3:4; Heb 10:39; Jas 5:20); as dying, being “cut off” or destroyed (Ge 17:14; Ex 12:15; Le 7:20; 23:29; Jos 10:28-39; Ps 78:50; Eze 13:19; 22:27; Ac 3:23; Re 8:9; 16:3), whether by sword (Jos 10:37; Eze 33:6) or by suffocation (Job 7:15), or being in danger of death due to drowning (Jon 2:5); and also as going down into the pit or into Sheol (Job 33:22; Ps 89:48) or being delivered therefrom (Ps 16:10; 30:3; 49:15; Pr 23:14).
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#116 Mar 24, 2013
Dead soul. The expression ‘deceased or dead soul’ also appears a number of times, meaning simply “a dead person.”—Le 19:28; 21:1, 11; 22:4; Nu 5:2; 6:6; Hag 2:13; compare Nu 19:11, 13.
Desire. At times the word ne′phesh is used to express the desire of the individual, one that fills him and then occupies him in achieving its goal. Proverbs 13:2, for example, says of those dealing treacherously that ‘their very soul is violence,’ that is, that they are ‘all out’ for violence, in effect, become violence personified.(Compare Ge 34:3, ftn; Ps 27:12; 35:25; 41:2.) Israel’s false shepherds are called “dogs strong in soul[ful desire],” who have known no satisfaction.—Isa 56:11, 12; compare Pr 23:1-3; Hab 2:5.
Serving With One’s Whole Soul. The “soul” basically means the entire person, as has been shown. Yet certain texts exhort us to seek for, love, and serve God with ‘all our heart and all our soul’(De 4:29; 11:13, 18), while Deuteronomy 6:5 says:“You must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your vital force.” Jesus said it was necessary to serve with one’s whole soul and strength and, additionally,“with your whole mind.”(Mr 12:30; Lu 10:27)
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#117 Mar 24, 2013
The question arises as to why these other things are mentioned with the soul, since it embraces them all. To illustrate the probable meaning: A person might sell himself (his soul) into slavery to another, thereby becoming the possession of his owner and master. Yet he might not serve his master wholeheartedly, with full motivation and desire to please him, and thus he might not use his full strength or his full mental capacity to advance his master’s interests.(Compare Eph 6:5; Col 3:22.) Hence these other facets are evidently mentioned to focus attention on them so that we do not fail to remember and consider them in our service to God, to whom we belong, and to his Son, whose life was the ransom price that bought us.“Whole-souled” service to God involves the entire person, no bodily part, function, capacity, or desire being left out.—Compare Mt 5:28-30; Lu 21:34-36; Eph 6:6-9; Php 3:19; Col 3:23, 24.

Soul and Spirit Are Distinct. The “spirit”(Heb., ru′ach; Gr., pneu′ma) should not be confused with the “soul”(Heb., ne′phesh; Gr., psy·khe′), for they refer to different things. Thus, Hebrews 4:12 speaks of the Word of God as ‘piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints and their marrow.’(Compare also Php 1:27; 1Th 5:23.) As has been shown, the soul (ne′phesh; psy·khe′) is the creature itself. The spirit (ru′ach; pneu′ma) generally refers to the life-force of the living creature or soul, though the original-language terms may also have other meanings.
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#118 Mar 24, 2013
Soul and Spirit Are Distinct. The “spirit”(Hebrew word., ru′ach; and Greek word, pneu′ma) should not be confused with the “soul”(Hebrew word., Ne′phesh; or Greek word, psy·khe′), for they refer to different things. Thus, Hebrews 4:12 speaks of the Word of God as ‘piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints and their marrow.’(Compare also Php 1:27; 1Th 5:23.) As has been shown, the soul (ne′phesh; psy·khe′) is the creature itself. The spirit (ru′ach; pneu′ma) generally refers to the life-force of the living creature or soul, though the original-language terms may also have other meanings.
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#119 Mar 24, 2013
Illustrating further the distinction between the Greek psy·khe′ and pneu′ma is the apostle Paul’s discussion, in his first letter to the Corinthians, of the resurrection of Christians to spirit life. Here he contrasts “that which is physical [psy·khi·kon′, literally, soulical]” with “that which is spiritual [pneu·ma·ti·kon′].” Thus, he shows that Christians until the time of their death have a “soulical” body, even as did the first man Adam; whereas, in their resurrection such anointed Christians receive a spiritual body like that of the glorified Jesus Christ.(1Co 15:42-49) Jude makes a somewhat similar comparison in speaking of “animalistic men [psy·khi·koi′, literally, soulical (men)], not having spirituality [literally, not having spirit (pneu′ma)].”—Jude 19.
God as Having Soul. In view of the foregoing, it appears that the scriptures in which God speaks of “my soul”(Le 26:11, 30; Ps 24:4; Isa 42:1) are yet another instance of an anthropomorphic usage, that is, the attributing of physical and human characteristics to God to facilitate understanding, as when God is spoken of as having eyes, hands, and so forth. By speaking of ‘my ne′phesh,’ Jehovah clearly means “myself” or “my person.”“God is a Spirit [Pneu′ma].”—Joh 4:24
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#120 Mar 24, 2013
Again:

Illustrating further the distinction between the Greek psykhe and pneuma is the apostle Paul’s discussion, in his first letter to the Corinthians, of the resurrection of Christians to spirit life. Here he contrasts “that which is physical [psykhikon, literally, soulical]” with “that which is spiritual pneumatikon. Thus he shows that Christians until the time of their death have a “soulical” body, even as did the first man Adam; whereas, in their resurrection such anointed Christians receive a spiritual body like that of the glorified Jesus Christ.(1Co 15:42-49) Jude makes a somewhat similar comparison in speaking of “animalistic men psykhikoi, literally, soulical (men)
not having spirituality (literally, not having spirit (pneu′ma)”—Jude 19.

God as Having Soul. In view of the foregoing, it appears that the scriptures in which God speaks of “my soul”(Le 26:11, 30; Ps 24:4; Isa 42:1) are yet another instance of an anthropomorphic usage, that is, the attributing of physical and human characteristics to God to facilitate understanding, as when God is spoken of as having eyes, hands, and so forth. By speaking of ‘my ne′phesh,’ Jehovah clearly means “myself” or “my person.”“God is a Spirit (Pneuma).”—Joh 4:24
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#121 Mar 24, 2013
God’s purpose was that humans would live on earth forever amid Paradise conditions. Adam died only because he disobeyed God’s law.(Genesis 2:8, 15-17; 3:1-6; Isaiah 45:18) When the first man died, did he go to some spirit realm? No! He—the soul Adam—returned to the inanimate dust from which he was created.—Genesis 3:17-19.
All of us have inherited sin and death from our forefather Adam.(Romans 5:12) This death is a cessation of existence, just as it was for Adam.(Psalm 146:3, 4) In fact, in all its 66 books, the Bible never links the terms “immortal” or “everlasting” with the word “soul.” On the contrary, the Scriptures clearly state that the soul—the person—is mortal. The soul dies.—Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Ezekiel 18:4.
Are Material Things Inherently Evil?
What about the idea that material things, including the earth, are evil? Such a view was held by adherents of Manichaeism, a religious movement founded in Persia during the third century C.E. by an individual named Mani. Says The New Encyclopædia Britannica:“Manichaeism arose out of the anguish inherent in the human condition.” Mani believed that being human was “alien, unbearable, and radically evil.” He also held that the only way to get out of this “anguish” was for the soul to escape the body, leave the earth, and attain to spiritual existence in a spirit world.
In contrast, the Bible tells us that in God’s view “everything he had made” when creating the earth and humankind was “very good.”(Genesis 1:31) At that time, there was no barrier between humans and God. Adam and Eve enjoyed close communion with Jehovah, even as the perfect man Jesus Christ enjoyed an intimate relationship with his heavenly Father.—Matthew 3:17.
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#122 Mar 24, 2013
If our first parents, Adam and Eve, had not pursued a course of sin, they would have had a close relationship with Jehovah God eternally on a paradise earth. They started life in Paradise, for the Scriptures tell us:“Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, toward the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.”(Genesis 2:8) It was in that paradisaic garden that Eve was brought into existence. If Adam and Eve had not sinned, they and their perfect offspring could have worked together happily until the entire earth became a paradise.(Genesis 2:21; 3:23, 24) The earthly Paradise would have been mankind’s home eternally.

Why Do Some Go to Heaven?
‘But,’ you may say,‘the Bible does speak about people going to heaven, doesn’t it?’ Yes. After Adam sinned, Jehovah purposed to set up a heavenly Kingdom in which some of Adam’s descendants would “rule as kings over the earth” alongside Jesus Christ.(Revelation 5:10; Romans 8:17) They were to be resurrected to immortal life in heaven. Their final number is 144,000, and the first ones among them were Jesus’ faithful first-century disciples.—Luke 12:32; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44; Revelation 14:1-5. However, it was not God’s original purpose for upright humans to leave the earth and go to heaven. In fact, when Jesus was on earth, he stated:“No man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man.”(John 3:13) Through “the Son of man,” Jesus Christ, God provided a ransom that makes everlasting life possible for those exercising faith in Jesus’ sacrifice.(Romans 5:8)
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#123 Mar 24, 2013
But where will millions of such humans live eternally?
God’s Original Purpose Will Be Fulfilled. Though God purposed to take some from the human family to serve as corulers with Jesus Christ in the heavenly Kingdom, that does not mean that all good people go to heaven. Jehovah created the earth to be the Paradise home of the human family. Very soon now, God will have that original purpose fulfilled.—Matthew 6:9, 10.
Under the rule of Jesus Christ and his heavenly corulers, peace and happiness will prevail in all the earth.(Psalm 37:9-11) Those in God’s memory will be resurrected and will enjoy perfect health.(Acts 24:15) By their faithfulness to God, obedient mankind will be granted what our original parents lost—everlasting life in human perfection on a paradise earth.—Revelation 21:3, 4.
Jehovah God never fails to accomplish what he purposes to do. Through his prophet Isaiah, he declared:“Just as the pouring rain descends, and the snow, from the heavens and does not return to that place, unless it actually saturates the earth and makes it produce and sprout, and seed is actually given to the sower and bread to the eater, so my word that goes forth from my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.”—Isaiah 55:10, 11.
In the Bible book of Isaiah, we get a preview of what life will be like in the Paradise earth. No inhabitant of Paradise will say,“I am sick.”(Isaiah 33:24) Animals will pose no danger to man.(Isaiah 11:6-9) People will build beautiful homes and inhabit them and will plant crops and eat to satisfaction.(Isaiah 65:21-25)
Moreover, God “will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces.”—Isaiah 25:8. Soon, obedient mankind will live under such blessed conditions. They “will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.”(Romans 8:21) How wonderful it will be to live forever in the promised earthly Paradise!(Luke 23:43) You can be there if you act upon accurate knowledge of the Scriptures and exercise faith in Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. And you can have confidence that it does make sense to believe in a paradise earth.
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#124 Mar 24, 2013
Jesus promised a dying man who courageously expressed faith in him:“You will be with me in Paradise.”(Luke 23:43) Where would the man be? Would Paradise be located in heaven, on earth, or at some intermediate location where humans await judgment?
Our ancestors once lived in Paradise. The Bible tells us:“Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, toward the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.... And Jehovah God proceeded to take the man and settle him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to take care of it.”(Genesis 2:8, 15) When those words were translated into Greek, the word “garden” was rendered paradeisos, from which came the English word “paradise.”
Just as a couple would enlarge their home when they have more children, so our first parents were expected to expand Paradise beyond the borders of Eden as the human family grew. God told them:“Fill the earth and subdue it.”—Genesis 1:28.
Our Creator’s purpose, then, was for humans to live and bear children in Paradise here on earth. They would live forever in an earthly garden with no need for any cemeteries. The earth was to become the permanent home for all mankind. No wonder the natural features of our planet bring us so much delight! We were created to live on a beautiful earth.
Has God’s purpose changed? No. For Jehovah assures us:“So my word that goes forth from my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted.”(Isaiah 55:11) Over 3,000 years after man’s creation, the Bible stated regarding “the Former of the earth and the Maker of it” that he “did not create it simply for nothing,” but he “formed it even to be inhabited.”(Isaiah 45:18) God’s will has not changed. The earth will yet be a paradise.
Interestingly, many Bible passages about Paradise are simply descriptions of life on earth. For example, a prophecy of Isaiah states:“They will certainly build houses and have occupancy; and they will certainly plant vineyards and eat their fruitage.”(Isaiah 65:21) Where are houses built and vineyards planted? Where is fruit eaten? On the earth. Proverbs 2:21 explicitly states:“The upright are the ones that will reside in the earth.”
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#125 Mar 24, 2013
Jesus too spoke about an earthly paradise. True, he also promised a heavenly paradise, but that was for a select few.(Luke 12:32) After death, these are resurrected to the heavenly Paradise and join Christ to rule over the earthly Paradise.(Revelation 5:10; 14:1-3) These heavenly corulers will ensure that Paradise on earth will be properly governed and maintained according to God’s standards.
Jesus knew that this was God’s will for the earth. After all, he was in heaven with his Father when the garden of Eden was created. Life in a future earthly paradise is open to all people who exercise faith today.(John 3:16) To such ones, Jesus promises:“You will be with me in Paradise.”—Luke 23:43.

Who Will Be Resurrected? Where Will They Live?

Well, it shows that God loves young people. But he will resurrect many others too. Will God resurrect only those who did what is good?— We might think so. Yet, many people never learned the truth about Jehovah God and his Son. So they did what was bad because they were taught wrong things. Do you think that Jehovah will resurrect people like that?—The Bible says:“There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.”(Acts 24:15) Why will those who were not righteous, or who did not do what was right, be resurrected?— It is because they never had a chance to learn about Jehovah and what he wants people to do.

When do you think people will be resurrected?— Think back to when Lazarus died and Jesus promised his sister Martha:“Your brother will rise.” Martha replied:“I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.”(John 11:23, 24) What did Martha mean when she said that Lazarus would rise on “the last day”?— Well, Martha had heard about Jesus’ promise:‘All those in the memorial tombs will come out.’(John 5:28, 29) So “the last day” is when all those in God’s memory will be brought back to life. This last day is not a 24-hour day. It will be a thousand years long. On this day, the Bible says,‘God will judge the people of the earth.’ The ones he judges will include those who have been resurrected.—Acts 17:31; 2 Peter 3:8.
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#126 Mar 24, 2013
Think about what a wonderful day this will be! During this thousand-year-long day, many millions of people who have died will be brought back to life. Jesus calls the place where they are brought back to live Paradise. Let’s see where Paradise will be and what it will be like there.
About three hours before Jesus dies he talks about Paradise to a man next to him. The man is being put to death for crimes he has committed. But as this criminal watches Jesus and hears what is said about Him, he begins to believe in Jesus. So the criminal says:“Remember me when you get into your kingdom.” Jesus answers:“Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.”—Luke 23:42, 43.
What does Jesus mean when he says this? Where is Paradise?— Think about it. Where was Paradise to begin with?— Remember, God gave the first man, Adam, and his wife a paradise to live in right here on this earth. It was called the garden of Eden. There were animals in that garden, but they didn’t hurt anyone. And there were trees with lots of delicious fruit on them, as well as a big river. It was a wonderful place to live!—Genesis 2:8-10.

So when we read of that criminal being in Paradise, we should picture in our minds this earth made into a beautiful place to live. Will Jesus be right here on earth with the former criminal in Paradise?— No. Do you know why he won’t be here?—
It is because Jesus will be in heaven ruling as King over the Paradise on earth. So Jesus will be with that man in the sense that Jesus will raise him from the dead and care for his needs. But why will Jesus let a former criminal live in Paradise?— Let’s see if we can figure that out.
Before the criminal talked to Jesus, did he know about God’s purposes?— No, he didn’t. He did bad things because he didn’t know the truth about God. In Paradise he will be taught about God’s purposes. Then he will have the opportunity to prove that he really does love God by doing His will.
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#127 Mar 24, 2013
Will everyone who is resurrected live in Paradise on earth?— No, they won’t. Do you know why not?— Because some will be resurrected to live with Jesus in heaven. They will rule with him as kings over the Paradise earth. Let’s see how we know this. The night before Jesus dies, he tells his apostles:‘In the house of my Father in heaven, there are many places to live, and I am going my way to prepare a place for you.’ Then Jesus promises them:“I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be.”—John 14:2, 3.
Where does Jesus go after he is resurrected?— Yes, back to heaven to be with his Father.(John 17:4, 5) So Jesus promises his apostles and other followers that he will resurrect them so that they can be with him in heaven. What will they do there with Jesus?— The Bible says that his disciples who have a part in “the first resurrection” will live in heaven and rule over the earth “as kings with him for the thousand years.”—Revelation 5:10; 20:6; 2 Timothy 2:12.

How many will share in “the first resurrection” and rule with Jesus as kings?— Jesus told his disciples:“Have no fear, little flock, because your Father has approved of giving you the kingdom.”(Luke 12:32) This “little flock,” who are resurrected to be with Jesus in his heavenly Kingdom, are an exact number. The Bible shows that “a hundred and forty-four thousand” are resurrected from the earth.—Revelation 14:1, 3.
How many will live in Paradise on earth?— The Bible does not say. But God had told Adam and Eve while they were in the garden of Eden to have children and fill the earth. True, they failed to do that. But God will see to it that his purpose to have the earth filled with good people is carried out.—Genesis 1:28; Isaiah 45:18; 55:11.
Just think how wonderful it will be to live in Paradise! The whole earth will become like a park. It will be alive with birds and animals and beautiful with trees and flowers of every kind. No one will have pain because he is sick, nor will anyone have to die. Everyone will be a friend of everyone else. If we want to live forever in Paradise, now is the time to prepare for it.

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