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?

At Matthew 5:5 in this Bible, we read that Jesus said:
‘And the meek are the blest,
For they will inherit the land.’

The Meaning of ‘Inherit’

To understand what Jesus really meant by this, 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 can be properly translated 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 here.
Then, only the upright will camp in the land,
And those who’ll be left are the holy.
Disrespectful ways will no longer be,
And those that 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 that 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 praeisthe 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:
‘Blest are those poor in spirit,
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

Though it may 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 though all religions have reached their own conclusions about the destiny or destinies that God has promised to the righteous, too many scriptures contradict their teachings.

Understand that what we will be doing here is just showing you what the scriptures actually say, and thereafter, we will offer some suggestions as to what these things could mean.
So understand that we are keeping an open mind, and we urge to do so also, for we will be comparing modern religious traditions against what the Bible actually says.

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 actually reads (in the Septuagint):
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.’

So as it says; ‘the meek’ that ‘inherit the land’ 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, is that they will see a time when they will live on their own plot of ground after the sinners are gone.

Inheriting the Kingdom

Then notice how this idea dovetails with Jesus’ words at Matt 25:34, 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).

As you can see, 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).
Then 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.’
(For more information about the actual meaning of Jesus’ words about the sheep and the goats, see the linked document, ‘The Sheep and the Goats’).

A Contradiction?

However, there does seem to be a Biblical contradiction to the thought that the ‘sheep’ that ‘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 that 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 and taken into heaven as spirits.

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 34-38):
‘Brothers, become more serious about being righteous and stop sinning! For some [of you] know nothing at all about God (yes, I’m saying this to embarrass you)! Because, some have been asking,
Just how will the dead be raised… in what sort of bodies will they return?
You foolish people! Those that plant seeds know that they can’t live unless they die first; for whatever is planted isn’t the body that it’s going to become… it’s just a naked grain of wheat, or whatever.
So understand that God will give us any [type of] body He wishes, just as He gives each seed its own 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’ that 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 those that 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 that 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, those that have died have been acquitted of their sins.’

‘Wearing the Image of the Celestial One’

But how would it be possible for humans (as Paul said) to ‘wear 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?

Not necessarily, 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. However, he lost this image for future generations by his sin in the garden that many call Eden.

Therefore, 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 that is commonly translated as resurrection is anastasia… which simply means, stand erect. In fact, that is also the meaning of the English word resurrect. It means re-erect or, stand again.
So by definition; when the Bible speaks of a resurrection, it’s saying that faithful humans will stand erect on the ground once again.
Therefore, the word resurrection, by definition, doesn’t imply being taken into heaven as a spirit.

But, wasn’t Jesus resurrected as a spirit?
Yes, all the scriptures indicate that he was. However, he still ‘stood erect’ on the earth before he was taken into the clouds, sky, or heavenly presence of God.
For just as he had to undergo forty days of cleansing in the desert before he presented himself as the Messiah, he also had to undergo forty days of cleansing before he could enter the heavens.
So if that was true of Jesus, we would have to assume that there is no such thing as a resurrection into the heavens, and that all resurrections first involve a ‘standing erect’ on the earth.
Then if one is taken into the heavens thereafter, it requires a period of cleansing.

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 that 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.’

1 John 5:1:
Everyone that believes that Jesus is the Anointed One has been fathered by God.

So, regardless of what some may teach;

Š If we have faith in Jesus, we are God’s sons

Š When we are baptized into Jesus, we become the seed of Abraham and heirs of the promise.

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

The ‘Large Crowd’

A part of the Bible that is usually ignored by most is the Seventh Chapter of Revelation. 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:
‘Then I saw {Look!} a crowd so large that no one could count them. They came from all countries, nationalities, ethnic groups, and languages, and they were standing within view of the Lamb and the throne. They were all wearing white robes and carrying 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 elders 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 that knows!
‘Then he told me: They’re the ones that have come out of the great time of difficulty and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
This is why they’re under the gaze of the throne of The God, serving Him day and night in His Most Holy Place.
And the One that is sitting on the throne will spread His tent over them so they won’t be hungry or thirsty anymore, nor will the sun beat down on them with blistering heat; for the Lamb that is in the middle of the throne will shepherd them and guide them to the springs of the waters of life, and The God will wipe all the tears from their eyes.

So notice some specific features of this prophesy that help us to understand who these people 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. And because of this, (since most people quote Matthew) many have come to believe that the hope they should be trying to attain is life in heaven.
However, notice that the words Kingdom of Heaven don’t seem to be those of Jesus! Rather, they appear to be a corruption that entered the texts of the Gospel of Matthew (only) early in the Second Century CE when it was translated from its original Aramaic language into Greek. For in Mark and Luke (whose Gospels appear to have originally been penned in Greek) we find Jesus calling it ‘the Kingdom of God’ whenever they were quoting Jesus’ same words.
And though it’s a fact that the words aren’t that different; realize that seeking the Kingdom of God doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is trying to get to heaven. Rather, it can mean that they are seeking salvation under the rule of 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 in heaven after their deaths.
Rather, back then, they were still expecting an earthly Kingdom of God that would be ruled from the Heavens.

So are we saying that the Bible book of Matthew may not always be trusted? Yes, we are, especially when Jesus’ words differ substantially from what he is quoted as saying in the book of Luke (which has seen less corruption through the centuries).

A Heavenly Reward?

Yet, there still seem to be some that will receive a heavenly reward. For 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.’

Therefore, it does seem as though Paul was saying that he and those to whom he was speaking had the hope of being taken in to (but not resurrected into) the heavens or the presence of God.

The 144,000?

Most religious groups are familiar with the words of Revelation Chapter Seven, which appear to be speaking of people receiving the reward of life in heaven, and they are often referred to as ‘the Saints’ or ‘the Holy Ones.’ For at Revelation 7:1-3, we read:
‘After this, I saw four messengers that 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 that was coming up from the sunrise. He had the seal of the living God and he shouted aloud to the four messengers that 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 this portion of scripture speaking of a literal 144,000 people that will be taken to heaven (as some teach), or is this a figurative number… and is it really speaking of life in heaven at all?

Well, a second scripture mentions this same number. It’s found at Revelation 14:1-5, where we read:
‘Then {Look!} I saw the Lamb standing on Mount Zion; and with him there were a hundred and forty-four thousand that had his name and his Father’s Name written on their foreheads.
I also heard a noise coming from the sky that sounded like a lot of water and loud thunder, and the sound that I heard was that of people that were all playing harps and singing.
They were singing a new song before the throne and before the four animals and the elders, and no one was able to master that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand that had been purchased from the earth.
These hadn’t polluted themselves with women. In fact, they are virgins that kept following the Lamb no matter where he went. They were bought from among mankind as first fruitage to God and to the Lamb, for no lies were found in their mouths and they didn’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 belonged 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 that 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, as Paul pointed out several times in 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 and/or 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 line of Aaron. 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 in Greek, ‘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, notice that the position of Anointed Priest was passed on to the male descendants of Aaron. 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 to be 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 line of Aaron.

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.
Therefore, the High Priest entering the Holy Place with the blood of a lamb was the ‘type,’ and Jesus’ appearing before God in heaven with the value of his own shed blood was the ‘antitype.’

However, as in the ‘type’ (the sons of Aaron); apparently there are and have been ‘Anointed Priests’ that 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 that 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 could be a set number of Christian Martyrs that will rule the earth as kings and Priests from the heavens.

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 that 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 they were told (at Numbers 18:23, 24) 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 special places to live outside of the cities, where they were to serve as judges and teachers of God’s people (see Deuteronomy 17:8-10).

Unfortunately, most people wrongly assume that when the scriptures speak of these under priests, they are talking about those that also have a heavenly destiny. But since they were to live and serve among the people, this doesn’t appear to be so.
Therefore, it could be true that the faithful ones represented by that group will live on the earth, serving as judges and priests. And if this is so, it appears as though they will not ‘inherit the land’ either, but will be provided for by the rest of ‘IsraEl.’

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 that have been proving 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, 6).
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 that are not spiritual IsraEl).

However, because IsraEl as a nation didn’t remain true to God, 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 that 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 that 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 that will be raised in the resurrection, as well as any that 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 that served outside the Holy Place

4. The ‘Children of IsraEl’

5. The nations.

And in the ‘antitype,’ they may picture (and we aren’t being dogmatic):

1. Jesus (the firstborn).

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

3. The ‘faithful slaves’ that 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 that survive ‘the time of great difficulty,’ as well as all other faithful Christians and IsraElites that will serve as kings on the earth (these are the ‘meek’ that inherit the land).

5. The ‘unrighteous’ dead that are resurrected and are then ruled by symbolic ‘IsraEl’ (these don’t receive an inheritance until after they have proven themselves 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 good people 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 may choose for mankind to live in the future.

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