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…But does it support the idea people have that when they die they go either to heaven or hell as a place of torment?
The answer to that is no. Why? For one reason, Judgment Day…
That was one of my arguments at my previous religion. I reasoned that if people went to Hell immediately on death, then surely they have been judged already, so why would there need to be a Judgement Day. Was God going to drag people up from Hell, where they may have already been for thousands of years, only to tel them, “Sorry pal, you’re going back down to Hell, just brought you up from there just to let you know.” It just didn’t make sense.
Also, if there was an immediate Heaven or Hell, wouldn’t those that Jesus, and others, resurrected, have had information to share? If you were having a jolly old time in Heaven, wouldn’t you be annoyed if somebody resurrected you from the dead to come back down to this old system?
LOL. You’ve got it! Again, remember that the second resurrection is of both the righteous and unrighteous. Thus many righteous people, even those already written in the “book of life” were in Hades or Hell. So hell, as JWs correctly understand is just mankind’s common grave, for everybody.
But second is who goes up to heaven. NOBODY GOES TO HEAVEN BEFORE ANYBODY ELSE!!! That means nobody going to heaven is in heaven yet. Paul addresses the issue of who might end up going to heaven first. Those still alive when Christ returns or those who have died and must come back. Who goes to heaven first? Paul clearly indicates that one group does not precede the other but all of them “together” go to heaven…
1 Thess 4:15-18 “For this is what we tell you by the Lord’s word, that we the living who survive to the presence of the Lord will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep in death; 16 because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first. 17 Afterward we the living who are surviving will, TOGETHER with them, be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord.”
So nobody precedes anyone else to heaven!! All those chosen to go to heaven, whether 144,000 or 1,440,000 (Isa 6:13) will all be changed in the twinkling of an eye together at the same time and all transformed to spiritual glorious beings. So this is another JW misunderstanding, that somehow after 1914 if you were of the heavenly class and died faithful then you go up to heaven to be with Christ and are now waiting for the rest of the anointed to die and come up to heaven. Not at all. No one goes to heaven before anyone else.
but this addresses the nature of the 1st resurrection. This is addressed at 1 Cor. 15 where it says: “46 However, what is spiritual is not first. What is physical is first, and afterward what is spiritual.”
Get it? The 1st resurrection has two phases; first back into a physical state, then later into a heavenly state. So just as 1 Thessalonians says the “dead rise first” then “afterward” they are all changed, the dead first come back in physical form to join the others still alive when Christ returns.
Thing is, the resurrected who serve as king-priests with Christ for 1000 years don’t become spirit until after Judgment Day is over. So those of the 1st resurrection are in physical bodies for over 1000 years. They serve in physical bodies for 1000 years, then endure Satan’s final test of mankind. Then after Satan is destroyed in the lake of fire the era of Judgment Day begins. These serve as judges of all of mankind, including the 12 tribes of Israel, all who come back from the grave and are judged. Then when the last evil man is judged, then Death is cast into the lake of fire. It is when death is no more, which is after Judgment Day is over that “corruption puts on incorruption,” that is, that the holy ones become angels.
1 Cor 15: “53 For this which is corruptible must put on incorruption, and this which is mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this which is corruptible puts on incorruption and this which is mortal puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: “Death is swallowed up forever.”
“Death is SWALLOWED UP forever.” How visual and poetic! Because death is cast into the lake of fire which literally “swallows up” death. So when is death swallowed up by the lake of fire? It is not until after Judgment Day. Judgment Day happens after Satan is destroyed in the lake of fire. Satan is destroyed in the lake of fire after the 1000-year reign of Christ. So those who have died who are set to go to heaven are back in physical bodies first before they get their spiritual bodies. But they are in their physical bodies for over 1000 years.
Of course, it makes no sense the resurrected heavenly class are here on the earth serving as king priests for a thousand years are doing so while Christ is in heaven. They are not. For Christ himself must return in a physical body along with them. Thus 1 John 3 notes: “2 Beloved ones, we are now children of God, but it has not yet been made manifest what we will be. We do know that when he is made manifest we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is.”
So just as those to be resurrected back into a physical body, likewise, Christ will also be in a physical body just like theirs and they will be able to see him just as he is.
But let’s just jump back really quick and look at this! Doesn’t it make a whole lot of sense if Christ and 1,440,000 co-king-priests are going to rule for 1000 years over the earth that it makes sense they are right here on the earth to do that directly? Of course. Christ came here the first time for just 33.5 years. He was here in a physical body. Why wouldn’t he be here for a 1000+ years in person?
This underscores how the WTS claims to be a “spiritual paradise” but they are actually a desolate spiritual wasteland who understands little about what the Bible really teaches.