Study 4: God and Death
The Nature of Man | The Soul | The Spirit | Death Is Unconsciousness | The Resurrection | The Judgment | The Place of Reward: Heaven or Earth? | Responsibility To God | Hell | Digressions (Purgatory, Ghosts And Reincarnation, With What Nature Are We Raised?, The "Rapture") | Questions

4.7 The Place Of Reward: Heaven Or Earth?

Apart from the above reasons, any who still feel that heaven rather than earth will be the location of God's Kingdom, i.e. the promised reward, need to also explain away the following points:

The 'Lord's Prayer' asks for God's Kingdom to come (i.e. praying for the return of Christ), whereby God's desires will be done on earth as they are now done in heaven (Matt. 6:10). We are therefore praying for God's Kingdom to come on the earth. It is a tragedy that thousands of people thoughtlessly pray these words each day whilst still believing that God's Kingdom is now already fully established in heaven, and that the earth will be destroyed.

"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5) - not '...for their souls shall go to heaven'. This is alluding to Psalm 37, the whole of which emphasizes that the final reward of the righteous will be upon the earth. In the very same location that the wicked had enjoyed their temporary supremacy, the righteous will be recompensed with eternal life, and possess this same earth that the wicked once dominated (Ps. 37:34,35). "The meek shall inherit the earth...Such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth...The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever" (Ps. 37:11,22,29). Living in the earth/promised land for ever means that eternal life in heaven is an impossibility.

" both dead and buried...David is not ascended into the heavens" (Acts 2:29,34). Instead, Peter explained that his hope was the resurrection from the dead at Christ's return (Acts 2:22-36).

Earth is the arena of God's operations with mankind: "Heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's, but the earth hath He given to the children of men" (Ps. 115:16).

Rev. 5:9,10 relates a vision of what the righteous will say when they are accepted at the judgment seat: "(Christ) hath made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth". This picture of ruling in God's Kingdom on earth is quite removed from the vague conception that we will enjoy 'bliss' somewhere in heaven.

The prophecies of Daniel chapters 2 and 7 outline a succession of political powers, which would finally be superseded by the Kingdom of God at Christ's return. The dominion of this Kingdom would be "under the whole heaven", and would fill "the whole earth" (Dan. 7:27; 2:35 cp. v. 44). This everlasting Kingdom "shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High" (Dan. 7:27); their reward is therefore eternal life in this Kingdom which is to be located on earth, under the heavens.