God's Promise of an Inheritance

INDEX:
*The Meaning of 'Inherit'
*An Alternate Hope?
*Keeping an Open Mind
*Promise to 'The Righteous'
*Inheriting the Kingdom
*A Contradiction?
*The Possible Meaning of 1 Corinthians 15:35-54
*Wearing 'the Image of the Celestial One'
*Sons of God
*What is the Meaning of Resurrection?
*The 'Large Crowd'
*The Kingdom of Heaven
*A Heavenly Reward?
*The 144,000?
*Parallels of Ancient Israel
*'Types' and 'Antitypes'
*Priests that May Have Been 'Types' of Heavenly Life
*Priests that Likely Weren't 'Types' of Heavenly Life
*The Antitypical Nation of IsraEl
*An Inheritance of Nations
*Who are 'the Nations?'
*Suggested Conclusions
*Is It Really All that Complicated?

The Meaning of 'Inherit'

At Matthew 5:5 in this Bible, we read that Jesus said:
'And the meek are the blest,
For they will inherit the land.'
What does that mean?

To understand what Jesus really meant, it's important to consider the meaning of the Greek word that Jesus used here when he said inherit (gr. kleronomesousin). Its closest translation in English is, to receive by lottery. The term reminds us of the way things were handled after the IsraElites entered the Promised Land, when some sort of 'lots' were cast to determine which family would receive each portion of land as their inheritance (see Joshua 21 as an example). We don't know exactly how this was done, but it obviously involved some form of chance that allowed for divine intervention.

You may also wonder why we have quoted Jesus as saying 'the meek will inherit the land,' at Matthew 5:5, rather than 'the earth,' as other Bible translators have done. 'Land' is actually the correct translation here, because, although the Greek word gen (pronounced gain) can be properly translates as 'earth' in many places, understand that the ancients had no concept of the earth as a globe in space (see the Note, 'The Heavens or Sky, the Earth or the Land?'). And Jesus, in his 'Beatitudes,' was foretelling a time when 'the meek' would receive an inheritance of land on the earth. How do we know this?

Notice how this point is emphasized at Proverbs 2:20-22, which reads: 'But, smooth are the roads that the righteous have found, for the meek will inherit the land, and the honest are those who'll remain. Then only the upright will camp in the land, and those who'll be left are the holy. Disrespectful ways will be gone from the land, and those who break laws will be banished.'

As you can see, this parallel description to Jesus' words at Matthew 5:5 is clearly talking about good people surviving God's destruction of those who are wicked and of their receiving their own inheritance of land in IsraEl.

We find another such parallel description at Isaiah 35:6, 7, where we can see what will happen to the 'lands' at that great future time. For God said there:

'A spring will burst forth in the desert,
And through thirsty lands will flow water.
Then deserts will be turned into marshes,
In a dry land, there'll be springs;
And among reeds and marshes, birds will find joy.'

So, while it's true that 'gen' can be properly translated as 'earth' in many instances, what Jesus appears to have been saying at Matthew 5:5 is that 'the meek' (gr. oi praeis the gentle) will receive an inheritance of land that will be assigned to them in a lottery, once the wicked are destroyed.

An Alternate Hope?

Also notice that at Matthew 5:3 Jesus had just said:

'The spiritually starved are the blest,
For, theirs is the Kingdom of the heavens.'

So, which will be the 'inheritance' of righteous mankind? Is it to live here on the earth and own land, or is it to live in heaven with God and Jesus? Also, was Jesus really speaking of two different destinies here (as some claim), or was he saying that the righteous would receive both rewards?

Keeping an Open Mind

Although it would seem as though the hope of righteous mankind should be so obvious that it needs no discussion; in our translating, we have found that the more we learn, the less we know to be absolute fact. And although all religions seem to have reached their own conclusions about the destiny or destinies that God promised, too many scriptures contradict the common teachings. Understand that we're just showing what the scriptures actually say and offering some suggestions for your consideration. So, please keep an open mind, and you'll see why we have chosen to do so.

The Promise to 'the Righteous'

Almost all Bible commentaries agree that what Jesus said at Matthew 5:5 was a direct quotation of the words of David as found at Psalm 37:11, for much of what Jesus said was quoted from OT prophecies. And so, to provide you with some frame of reference to all that David was saying there, let's consider the context. Notice that verses 10 and 11 say:

'In just a short time, the sinners will be gone;
You'll look where he was and not find him.
But the meek will inherit the land,
And find great delight in the abundance of peace.'

Then again, notice what verses 28 and 29 go on to say:

'The righteous will always be guarded,
As those without law are driven away.
The seed of the Godless will perish,
But the righteous will inherit [the] land,
And camp upon it through ages of ages
.'

If you can read Greek, you can see that verse 29 reads: δικαιοι δε κληρονομησουσι γην και κατασκηνωσουσιν εις αιωνα αιωνος εĻ' αυτης. Or word-for-word in English: the/righteous but inherit the/lands and camp into ages of/ages upon it.

As the result, we would have to conclude that 'the meek' who 'inherit the lands' will camp (or literally, 'tent') on their own piece of ground for a very long time. Therefore, what Jesus was promising the meek at Matthew 5:5, was that they work receive their own plot of ground on the earth at some future time when the sinners will be gone.

Inheriting the Kingdom

Then, notice how this idea dovetails with Jesus' words at Matt 25:346, where he was discussing 'the last days' and the separating of 'the sheep and the goats.' For, when he was speaking about the reward for 'the sheep,' Jesus said: 'Then the king will say to those on his right: Come, you who've been praised by my Father; inherit the Kingdom that's been prepared for you since the founding of the arrangement' (gr. kosmosworld, system, or arrangement).

Notice that the promise to 'the sheep' was that they would 'inherit the Kingdom' because they had done good things for Jesus' brothers. And while many believe that he was promising them a reward in heaven; if you look at the context, you'll see that they had just been separated from 'the goats,' whom we would logically assume to be here on the earth (not in heaven). And in his words thereafter, he doesn't say anything about the sheep being taken to heaven. So, it appears as though 'the sheep' are the same as 'the righteous,' and that 'inheriting the Kingdom' amounts to the same thing as 'inheriting the land.'

A Contradiction?

However, there does seem to be a Biblical contradiction to the thought that the 'sheep' who 'inherit the Kingdom' will inherit lands here on the earth. For notice the words of Paul that are found at 1 Corinthians 15:49-54: 'Therefore, as we've worn the shape of the one who was made from the dust of the ground, we'll also wear the image of the Celestial One. I tell you this, brothers: Flesh and blood can't inherit God's Kingdom, nor can [something] that's corruptible inherit something that's incorruptible. Look… I'm explaining a mystery to you: Not all of us will be laid to rest, but we'll be changed in a moment – in the twinkling of an eye – during the last trumpet! For the trumpet will blow and the dead will be raised incorruptible… and we will be changed. Then that which is corruptible will put on incorruptibility, and that which is dying will put on immortality. But when that which is dying puts on immortality, the words that were written are fulfilled: Death, which prevails, will be swallowed.'

Where is the contradiction? Well, these words of Paul – that Christians will 'wear the image of the Celestial One,' that they will be instantly 'changed' and then 'put on immortality' (gr. athanasia, or, undying) – have always been thought of as proving that those whom Paul was addressing were being promised life in heaven. But if so, then the 'sheep' of Matthew 25:34-36 must also have a heavenly calling. For as Paul said, 'Flesh and blood cannot inherit God's Kingdom.' So the sheep cannot possibly inherit the Kingdom as flesh-and-blood if Paul was talking about a heavenly calling at First Corinthians Chapter Fifteen!

However, could Paul have been writing about something other than being taken to heaven at 1 Corinthians 15:35-54?

The Possible Meaning of 1 Corinthians 15:35-54

While not being dogmatic, let's take another look at what Paul wrote at 1 Corinthians 15:35-54, to see if those scriptures could have a meaning other than people being resurrected as spirits into heaven.

Notice Paul's words at 1 Corinthians 15:42-44: 'And that's how the resurrection of the dead is. It's planted in a decaying condition and it's raised clean. It's planted without honor, but it's raised in glory. It's planted as weak, but it's raised in power. It's planted as a human body, but it's raised as a spiritual body… so if there's a human body, there's also a spiritual one. As it is written: The first man (Adam) became a living soul. However, the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.'

Look at the words that we have translated as spiritual body in this scripture. In Greek, they are, soma pneumatikon, or, body spiritual, not spirit body.

So what the Greek words seem to imply is that the thing that dies is the imperfect (fleshly) person, and then it will be resurrected not as a spirit, but in the perfect body of a spiritual person. That this is the correct understanding is verified by what Paul had just said in verse 42: 'It is planted in a decaying condition and it is raised clean.'

As you can see, the promise at 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 is that the faithful will be resurrected as clean and spiritual… not in a decaying or aging condition. They will no longer be living as fleshly people, but as spiritual people.

Also notice that the 'soulical' (natural) body and the 'spiritual' body seem to exist together. For in verse 44, Paul concluded by saying, 'ei estin psychikon, estin kai pneumatikon, or, 'if there/is body soulical, there/is also spiritual.'

For Paul had just written (in verses 35-38): 'Why, some of you have been asking, Just how will the dead be raised… in what sort of bodies will they return? You senseless person! Those who plant [seeds] know that the [seeds] can't live unless they die first, and that whatever is planted isn't the body that it's going to become… it's just a naked grain of wheat, or whatever. God will give it whatever body He wishes, the same as He gives each seed its body.'

So Paul seems to have been saying that the types of bodies we will receive won't be known until the resurrection.

And it's also important to realize that he was just talking to the congregation in Corinth about the resurrection in general. For notice what he wrote at 1 Corinthians 15:42: 'And that's how the resurrection of the dead is. It's planted in a decaying condition and it's raised clean.' So, this doesn't seem to be a discussion of a resurrection of anyone other than 'the meek' who will 'inherit the land.'

And while we're at it; notice that the Greek word used at 1 Corinthians 15:55, athanasia, doesn't really mean 'incapable of death,' as many have preached. The prefix 'a' in Greek means 'without.' And 'thanasia' means 'death.' So it appears as though Paul wasn't really talking about the hope of a special class that would be resurrected as 'incapable of death' in the heavens. Rather, notice what the outcome is: 'Death, which prevails, will be swallowed.' As you can see, the point he was making is that the prevailing death (due to Adam's sin) will then be gone, and that those who are raised will no longer be dying because of the sin in Eden.

Therefore, it appears to us as though, contrary to most religious teachings, Paul was not discussing a special heavenly hope at 1 Corinthians 15; but rather, he was saying that all who are resurrected will be raised in a non-aging and undying condition. Nor does he seem to have been saying that they can't be put to death if they should later choose to be unrighteous. Rather, it looks like he was saying the same thing that he wrote at Romans 6:7: 'Because, he who has died has been acquitted of his sins.'

'Wearing the Image of the Celestial One'

But, how would it be possible for humans (as Paul said) to be 'wearing the image of the Celestial One?' Don't those words imply that faithful humans will be given bodies like God and live in the heavens?

No, for notice that these same words were once used to describe Adam at Genesis 1:27: 'So God created mankind. He created mankind in the image of God'

As you can see, Adam started out by wearing the image of the Celestial One (God) as a human here on the earth. And he lost this image for future generations by his sin in Eden. So it appears as though 'wearing the image of the Celestial One' is a gift that men will regain here on the earth. For, notice that the word we have translated as 'Celestial' (epouranios) doesn't necessarily refer to a heavenly reward. Rather, Paul's words (that the faithful dead will be 'raised as a spiritual body') do seem to imply that the faithful will be raised as something we have never known before… with a type of spiritual life that is much greater than anything any of us have ever experienced or conceived.

What is the Meaning of Resurrection?

Understand that the Greek word which is commonly translated as resurrection, is anastasia… which simply means, to stand erect. Thus, it implies that that people who are resurrected will stand erect as humans once again. So the word resurrection that the Bible speaks of does not imply being taken as a spirit into heaven. Why, even when Jesus was resurrected, he first stood erect on this earth before ascending into the heavens!

But, wasn't Jesus resurrected as a spirit? Yes, all the scriptures indicate that he was. However, he still appeared as a human before he was taken into the clouds, sky, or heavenly presence of God.

Sons of God

Then the question arises: 'Isn't the reward for the sons of God life in heaven, as most teach?' Well, notice what Paul wrote about who the true sons of God are:

Galatians 3:26-29: 'The fact is; You're all sons of God because of your faith in the Anointed Jesus. All who were baptized into the Anointed One have put on the Anointed One. So, there aren't any Jews or Greeks, slaves or freemen, males or females, because you're all in the Anointed Jesus. And if you're in the Anointed One, you're really the seed of Abraham and heirs of the promise.'

Then John wrote a 1 John 5:1, 'Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Anointed One has been fathered by God.'

So, regardless of what some may teach;

  • If we have faith in Jesus, we are God's sons
  • When we are baptized into Jesus, we become the seed of Abraham and heirs of the promise.

Are there any who claim to be Christians that would deny faith in Jesus? We would hope not.

The 'Large Crowd'

A Bible Chapter that is usually ignored by most is Revelation Seven. However, to understand the meaning of the inheritance better, and to determine whether that promise refers to life in heaven and/or on the earth, we must consider this important Bible prophecy, because the answers appear to be found there.

Notice that Revelation 7:9, 10 reads: 'After all this, I saw a crowd so large that nobody could count them. They came from all countries, nationalities, ethnic groups, and languages; and they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were all wearing white robes, they carried palm branches in their hands, and they were shouting, We owe our salvation to our God who is sitting on the throne, and to the Lamb.'

Whom does this group represent, and what is their hope? We find the answer at Revelation 7:13-17, which says: 'Then one of the older men asked me, Just who are these that are dressed in the white robes, and where did they come from? And I replied, My lord, you're the one who knows. Then he told me, They are the ones who have come out of the great time of difficulty and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. That is why they're before the throne of The God, serving Him day and night in His Most Holy Place. He who is sitting on the throne will spread His tent over them, and they won't be hungry or thirsty anymore, nor will the sun beat down on them with blistering heat, because the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them. He will guide them to the springs of the waters of life, and God will wipe all the tears from their eyes.'

So, notice some specific features of this prophesy that help us to understand who they are and what their hope is.

First: They 'come out of the time of great difficulty' (that Jesus spoke of at Matthew 24:21)

Second: They are seen standing in front of God's throne; they aren't seen sitting on thrones

Third: They aren't raised to life in heaven; rather, they are '[guided] to the springs of the waters of life.'

The Kingdom of Heaven

It's interesting that throughout the Bible book of Matthew, Jesus is quoted as saying that 'the Kingdom of Heaven' is the hope of righteous mankind. Therefore, (since most people quote Matthew) many have come to believe that the hope they should be trying to attain is life in heaven. But notice that the words Kingdom of Heaven (although wildly popular) don't seem to be what Jesus actually said. Rather, they appear to be a corruption that entered the texts of the Gospel of Matthew (only) early in the Second Century when it was translated from its original Aramaic language into Greek. For we find Mark and Luke saying that Jesus called it 'the Kingdom of God' when they were quoting his same words in their Gospels. And although these word choices aren't that different; realize that reaching for the Kingdom of God doesn't necessarily mean that they will to go to heaven. Rather, it can mean that men were just trying to attain salvation via God's Kingdom.

Notice, for example, the question that Jesus' Apostles asked him shortly before his ascension to heaven, as found at Acts 1:6: 'Lord, are you going to return the Kingdom to IsraEl now?' As you can see, their understanding of the meaning of the Kingdom at that time wasn't of a Kingdom in heaven. Rather, they were looking for the reestablishment of an earthly Kingdom of IsraEl and the end of Roman (gentile) domination.

Therefore, the many references to the 'Kingdom of Heaven' in the book of Matthew and of people reaching out for it didn't necessarily mean that early Christians were looking for life heaven after their deaths. Rather, they were still expecting an earthly Kingdom of God that would be ruled from the Heavens.

A Heavenly Reward?

Yet, there does still seem to be some who will have a heavenly reward. Notice how Paul described a special destiny that he was striving to reach at Philippians 3:12-14: '[I’m not saying] that I’ve made it yet or that I’m already perfect, just that I’m chasing after it… I’m trying to grab hold of that for which the Anointed Jesus grabbed hold of me! Brothers, I don’t think of myself as having achieved it yet, but I am doing this one thing: [I’m] forgetting the things in the past and stretching out to reach for the things that are ahead… I’m running toward the goal, the prize of the higher calling from God, through the Anointed Jesus.'

So, can we assume from this that Paul was reaching out for a calling to heaven? Possibly.

And we find Paul speaking of a similar hope at 2 Corinthians 5:1, 2, where he wrote: 'We know that whenever our earthly house (this tent) is done away with, we have a building from God that lasts through the age… it's a house in the heavens that isn't made with hands. We groan over this, because we long to put on that house from heaven.'

The 144,000?

However, it's the description of another group that is discussed in Revelation Chapter Seven, which appears to speak of people receiving the reward of life in heaven as kings and priests. For at Revelation 7:1-3, we read: 'After this, I saw four messengers who were standing at the four corners of the earth. They were hanging onto the four winds of the earth so the winds wouldn't blow on the earth, the sea, or the trees. Then I saw another messenger who was coming up from the sunrise. He had the seal of the living God and he shouted aloud to the four messengers who were allowed to harm the earth and sea, saying, Don't harm the earth, the sea, or the trees, until after we have sealed the slaves of our God in their foreheads. And I heard how many of them had been sealed: a hundred and forty-four thousand from every tribe of the sons of IsraEl.'

So, is the hope of this 144,000 life in heaven?

Well, a second scripture mentions this same number. It's found at Revelation 14:1-5, where we read: 'Then I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard noise coming from heaven that sounded like a lot of water and loud thunder. Well, the sound that I heard was that of people who were all playing harps and singing. They were singing a new song in front of the throne and in front of the four animals and the old men. And nobody could learn that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand who were purchased from the earth. These didn't dirty themselves with women. In fact, they are virgins who keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. They were bought from mankind [and offered] as the first fruitage to God and to the Lamb. No lies are found in their mouths and they don't have any defects.'

The keys to understanding what this group represents and what their hope is, are the words, '[they] were purchased from the earth,' 'they were bought from mankind,' and they are offered as 'the first fruitage to God and to the Lamb.' So, it appears as though:

1. They are taken to heaven

2. They are no longer 'mankind'

3. They are a small group, because they're just the 'first fruitage.'

This is interesting, because the Law that God gave to Moses demanded that all the first fruitage of the IsraElite's crops, animals, and children were to belong to God. So, perhaps we should look at portions of that ancient Law to see what parallels it can provide.

Parallels of Ancient IsraEl

Recently, as the result of translating the Bible books of Leviticus and Numbers, we noticed some interesting parallels among the people who were first promised an inheritance, the children of IsraEl. We know that many of the events and Laws having to do with the pure worship of God in ancient IsraEl picture what will happen in the future, which Paul pointed out throughout the Bible book of Hebrews.

'Types' and 'Antitypes'

Modern Bible scholars have chosen to use the words 'type' when speaking of the first symbolic Law or event, and 'antitype' when speaking of a greater fulfillment of that Law or event, to make connections between the things described in the Ancient Scriptures of IsraEl and the fulfillment of these events in Jesus' day, as well as with events that could possibly happen in our day.

What we found interesting is that there were actually two classes of priests in IsraEl, and though both groups were considered very righteous and even 'perfect,' they were to receive NO inheritance of land, since (as the scriptures about them repeatedly say), "God is their inheritance.' Therefore, it appears as though there are or will be two groups in the modern antitype that will not inherit the land or the earth, and these classes may have an important prophetic significance when it comes to heavenly and earthly inheritances and to 'inheriting the Kingdom.'

What were these two different classes of priests? While it's true that all healthy male members the tribe of Levi were priests; those who were referred to as the Priests (note that we differentiate these special Priests with a capital P) came from just the lines of Aaron and Moses. In fact, as the father and firstborn of most of that line, Aaron was likely the 'type' that pictured Jesus, God's High Priest in heaven (the 'antitype'), because Aaron was spoken of as 'the anointed,' or as that word is also translated, 'the christ.'

Additionally, notice that Moses (who descended from the same father as Aaron) was again a 'type' picturing Jesus in his role as the mediator of the New Sacred Agreement and the Leader of God's people. So the two together (Moses and Aaron) pictured Jesus in each of these roles. In fact, their sister, the Prophetess Miriam, may have also pictured Jesus in his position of being a Prophet, since she was the descendant of the same father as Moses and Aaron (see Micah 6:4).

Priests that May Have Been 'Types' of Heavenly Life

So, where does the promise of an 'inheritance' tie into this scenario? Well, apparently Moses and Aaron (and possibly Miriam) were the only ones to picture Jesus. But the position of Anointed Priest was passed on to Aaron's and Moses' sons and descendants. For we read at Exodus 28:37: 'Then you must dress your brother Aaron and his sons, and anoint them [with oil]. Empower them and make them holy, so they can serve Me as Priests.'

What was so special about this Priestly position that they had to be 'anointed?' Well, they were in charge of all the services and sacred things within the Sacred Tent (and later on, the Temple). Then once each year (just on the Day of Atonement), the High Priest had the privilege of entering the Most Holy place where the Chest of Proofs ('Ark of the Covenant') was kept and into the very presence of God Himself. However, the rest of the Levites (who were also priests) weren't allowed to perform any of the sacred duties inside the Tent, and they weren't anointed in the same way as those of the lines of Aaron and Moses.

So, what did these special services within the Holy Place picture? In the case of Jesus (the antitypical Aaron), it meant that he went into the actual presence of God in heaven after his resurrection, carrying the blood of his own sacrifice. So, the Holy Place was the 'type,' and Jesus' presence before God in heaven was the 'antitype.'

However, as in the 'type' (the sons of Aaron); apparently there are and have been 'Anointed Priests' who will have the privilege of entering the Holy Place (the 'antitype,' or heaven) as did Jesus. Who are these? Jesus' faithful Apostles are surely numbered among this group, because they did offer up their lives in violent deaths (or die after great persecution and suffering, as in the case of John) for their faith.

Notice how God Himself indicated that at some future time, the Anointed Priests would serve in the Most Holy Place (possibly heaven) and that they would then not be allowed to defile themselves by going into the outer courtyard (possibly the earth). For at Ezekiel 42:14, we read:
'No one can enter [this place] but the Priests;
And from the Holy Place, they can't leave,
To go to the outer courtyard;
Thus, those who are leading will always be clean.

'Nor may people touch the garments they wear;
For, they are also most holy.
So when touching the people, they must wear other clothes.'

Therefore, the conclusion we reach from this scripture is that these Priests will then serve God in the heavens, and they are likely at least part of the group who will 'inherit the Kingdom,' for they seem to serve as a set number of Christian Martyrs who will rule as heavenly kings and Priests over the earth.

Priests that Likely Weren't 'Types' of Heavenly Life

Then, what is the position of those represented by the rest of the tribe of Levi… those who were also priests (small 'p'), but who served outside of the 'Holy' compartment of God's presence (antitypically, the earth*)? Notice that those who are referred to as 'the Levites' in the Bible didn't inherit the land either! For at Numbers 18:23, 24, they were told that like the descendants of Aaron and Moses, God is their inheritance, and the offerings that were brought as sacrifices to God by the people of IsraEl were to be their portion instead of having fields to plow and places to herd animals. They were also given places to live outside of the cities, where they had the special privilege of being judges and teachers (see Deuteronomy 17:8-10).

Unfortunately, most people wrongly assume that when the scriptures speak of these under priests, they are talking about those who also have a heavenly destiny. But as you can see from the Scriptures, this doesn't appear to be so. Therefore, it could be true that these faithful ones will live on the earth and serve as priests and judges. And it appears as though they will not 'inherit the land' either, but will be provided for by the rest of 'IsraEl.' If so, this sounds very much like the reward that Jesus promised to the 'faithful and sensible slave,' the two (out of three) faithful slaves, and the five wise virgins of Matthew 24, 25. To see why this could well be true, consider the linked document, 'The Faithful and Sensible Slave.'

The Antitypical Nation of IsraEl

Then, where does the rest of the nation of IsraEl (those of the non-priestly tribes) fit into this picture? Well in the antitype, they appear to be the huge numbers of those who have proven themselves faithful since the beginning. And what will be their reward?

An Inheritance of Nations

At Psalm 111:6 we read:
'His powerful deeds, He's announced to His people;
And they will inherit the nations.'

Remember that God's promise to IsraEl under His Sacred Agreement with them was that if they remained faithful to Him, they would become a nation of kings and priests (see Exodus 19:5). Kings and priests over whom? The words in the Psalm above provide the answer. The inheritance promised to faithful IsraEl was that they would not only inherit the earth or land, but they were also to inherit (or rule over) the nations (those who are not spiritual IsraEl).

However, IsraEl as a nation didn't remain true to Him; so the opportunity was thereafter opened to all peoples to become a 'spiritual IsraEl.' And these were thereafter to come under the ancient Sacred Agreement that God made with faithful AbraHam (see Romans 4:16-22). So, all those who have proven themselves faithful to God though the ages have been promised a rulership over 'the nations.'

Who are 'the Nations?'

Then the question logically arises: Who are the nations (or ethnics) over whom antitypical 'IsraEl' are to rule?' If you research the Greek word ethne (from which we translate the word nations or gentiles), you will see that it usually implies those who are not in a covenant relationship with God (for more information, see the linked document, 'Gog of Magog'). So they appear to be the billions of 'unrighteous' people who will be raised in the resurrection, as well as any who aren't under a Sacred Agreement with God and aren't destroyed in the Battle of Armageddon (see Zechariah 14:16-19).

Suggested Conclusions

So, in the 'type' there was:

1. The High Priest (Aaron)

2. Other 'Anointed and Holy' Priests (sons of the lines of Aaron and Moses)

3. The rest of the Levite priesthood who served outside the Holy Place and away from the Altar

4. The 'Children of IsraEl'

5. The nations.

And in the 'antitype,' they may picture:

1. Jesus (the firstborn).

2. The 'firstborn' or 'anointed' who are given life in heaven (these do not inherit the earth or the land).

3. The 'faithful slaves' who have been found worthy of life and are appointed as priests on the earth (these don't inherit the earth or land either).

4. Other righteous people, such as the large crowd of Revelation 7:9 who survive 'the time of great difficulty,' as well as all other faithful Christians and IsraElites, who will serve as kings on the earth (these are the 'meek' who inherit the land).

5. The 'unrighteous' dead who are resurrected and are then ruled by symbolic 'IsraEl' (these don't receive an inheritance until after they have proven faithful).

Are these suggested conclusions accurate? We will all know in time.

Is It Really All that Complicated?

We realize that simple people prefer simple answers, such as: 'All the good go to heaven.' However, no simple answer makes any sense when you consider all the scriptures. And yes, our suggested conclusions could change even tomorrow, as we continue to do Bible research.

*Note:

The term, 'inherit the land,' or 'inherit the earth' doesn't necessarily mean that people will live on planet earth forever; because, the Greek word ges (which is often translated as 'earth') doesn't really refer to the planet; it just refers to the land, or the ground… and this description could apply to any place in the universe where God chooses for men to live.

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