QUESTION: If there are 144,000 spirit anointed people who have a heavenly hope, and a great crowd of people who have another hope of everlasting life on paradise earth, why does Paul say that there is only ONE hope (Eph 4:4), instead of two?
There is only one hope for those who are called. Here is what Ephesian 4:4-6 states: “One body there is, and one spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
What is the calling? In the 3rd chapter of Philippians Paul referred to it as “the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus.” So, the hope, the goal of those who receiving the upward call, is to be with God and Christ in heaven.
But is that the sole destiny of man, to be called to heaven? No, actually Paul referred to another hope – the hope of the general resurrection of the dead, of even unrighteous persons. Here is what the apostle stated as regards this other “hope,” as he stood before the governor of Judea: “And I have hope toward God, which hope these men also look forward to, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.”
What hope was Paul referring to? Not the hope of the upward call. Unrighteous persons will not be resurrected into Jehovah’s presence in Heaven.
Furthermore, the men whom Paul spoke of who also hoped in a resurrection were his Jewish accusers who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah and who knew nothing of the upward call. What hope did they have then? The hope of an earthly resurrection.
So, Paul’s reference to the “one hope” is not to be understood as the only hope. Sadly, though, some people are so opposed to the truth, so thoroughly ignorant, they have no hope at all.