The Jehovah’s Witness view of the New Heavens and New Earth.
By Jason Wright
For a Jehovah’s Witness the “New Heavens and New Earth” is the utopian dream of all witnesses. The future realisation of this NHNE will according to witness theology bring Gods original plan for man to its fruition. This topic is closely related to the JW teaching about “God’s Kingdom” and the “Paradise earth”.
The JW metanarrative is thus: God made man to live eternally in a paradise earth. Satan used Adam to thwart Gods plan and through Adams rebellion he and all subsequent humans lost eternal life on a paradise earth. However God intends to restore planet earth for humanity. To achieve this a ransom sacrifice had to be prepared to balance what was lost in Adam. Hence Jesus the first creation of Jehovah was sent to buy back the opportunity for life on a paradise earth. Consequently heavenly life is only for an elect few viz., 144,000 which will rule over planet earth acting as eternal guardians of humankind.
My point in reviewing this metanarrative is to highlight the WT insistence that Jehovah’s divine plan is solely to restore the earth for perfect humans to live in eternally. Is this the case? Certainly we must acknowledge the dire consequences of rebellion and sin; humans die, and in the wider environment we see the affects of sin. Therefore it is a natural to desire eternal life and to want to live in a peaceful world. Such desires are hard wired into us. However the watchtower has built a theological system on an eschatological expectation! The presupposition that Gods divine plan is to restore humans to eternal life on this earth shapes the interpretation of other scriptures such as the “New Heavens and New Earth”.
For example in the very first edition of the “Zion’s Watchtower and Herald of Christ Presence” July 1879, C.T. Russell explained the purpose of the magazine:
“This is the first number of the first “volume” of “ZION’S WATCH TOWER,” and it may not be amiss to state the objective of its publication. That we are living “in the last days” – “the day of the Lord” – “the end” of the Gospel age, and consequently, in the dawn of a “new” age…”To him that hath an ear to hear what the spirit saith unto the churches,” ZION’S WATCH TOWER hopes to give assistance and encouragement…As its name indicates, it aims to be the lookout from whence matters of interest and profit may be announced to the “little flock,” as the “Herald of Christ’s Presence,” to give the “meat” in due season” to the “household of faith,”. (Page 1, paragraph 1-2, 7-8, capitalization in original)
Herein on the first page of the 1879 Watchtower magazine we see the foundational error. The publication is built NOT ON THE GOSPEL of Jesus Christ but on an eschatological presupposition presented as FACT to its readers – this metanarrative pervades all JW publications and as I said at the beginning of this essay the “New Heavens and New Earth” stand as a beacon of hope to JW’s – it is this coming reality that witnesses long for.
Please note I am not dismissing eschatology, far from it, a healthy understanding of what lies ahead is invigorating and biblical. However our focus as Christians is on the Gospel of Christ “to become all things to all people that we may save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). Therefore eschatology is important but peripheral (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) The Watchtower from the beginning has taken a peripheral issue and made it a central, turning it into a salvific truth. It is important to get a handle on this basic error of interpretation, as doing so will equip us to understand why the WT interprets the NHNE the way it does. So let us begin and explore the JW teaching on the NHNE. First the proof texts:
Isaiah 65:17, 22 “For here I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind For just as the new heavens and the new earth that I am making are standing before me,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “so the offspring of YOU people and the name of YOU people will keep standing.” (NWT)
1 Peter 3:13 “But there are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.” (NWT)
Revelation 21:1 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea is no more.” (NWT)
Psalm 37:9, 11, 29 “For evildoers themselves will be cut off, But those hoping in Jehovah are the ones that will possess the earth…But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace….The righteous themselves will possess the earth, And they will reside forever upon it.” (NWT)
INTERPRETATION of NEW HEAVENS according to Jehovah’s Witnesses
“What are the “new heavens”? They are the new spiritual governing powers that God has ordained to rule the righteous new world. They are a heavenly government. God has purposed that the “new heavens” or Kingdom government would be made up of the King together with a limited number of “a new creation….Thus the “new heavens” will be made up of Jesus Christ and his 144,000, the “joint heirs with Christ” (Watchtower August 1st 1960)
“The “new heavens” is a new government that will rule over the earth. It is new because it will replace the present system of rulership” (WTBTS “Keep on the Watch” Pg 16-19 2004)
“The New Jerusalem, together with Christ on his throne in this symbolic city, constitutes the “new heavens” that rule over the “new earth,” which is human society on earth.” (WBTS “Insight of the Scriptures Vol 2 Pg 496-7 1988)
INTERPRETATION of NEW EARTH according to Jehovah’s Witnesses
“What is the “new earth”? It is not a new globe, since the Bible clearly states that the earth will be inhabited forever. The “new earth” is a new human society. It will be new because the wicked will have been cut off.” (WBTS “Keep on the Watch” Pg 16-19 2004)
“What is the hope of this “great crowd” of sheeplike persons that come “out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues” to associate with the New World society? Their hope is to live in the new world and to enjoy everlasting life on earth. They expect to survive Armageddon along with the remnant of God’s spiritual nation. They keenly look forward to the time when, after the old, wicked “earth” is destroyed, the remnant dedicate the “new earth” to Jehovah’s worship. The remnant, in Jehovah’s due time, will leave the post-Armageddon “new earth,” that they may be with the King Jesus Christ in the eternal “new heavens.” The “new earth,” then, will eventually be made up entirely of the “other sheep”…. These “other sheep” will include not only the “great crowd” of Armageddon survivors and their offspring but also those who are brought back from the dead in the “resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Watchtower August 1st 1960)
Please notice that the “New Heavens” and “New Earth” have been interpreted by the WT society as symbolising extra-biblical things i.e the “new heavens” is symbolic of the heavenly government of 144,000 while the “new earth” refers to a new human society. The watchtower has spiritualised the text thus forcing upon the text ideas alien to the author. Why do they do this? Because the watchtower metanarrative viz., “Gods divine plan is to restore mankind to a paradise earth” dictates how the scriptures are interpreted. The biblical text is forced to dovetail watchtower theology.
CHRISTIAN VIEWS OF NEW HEAVENS & NEW EARTH.
Before I present this information I must stress that exactly how God carries out his divine purpose for earth and how exactly the “New Heavens and New Earth” become reality is a secondary issue to proclamation of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Christian thought we have core doctrinal truths that cannot be compromised and as we move away from these central doctrines questions such as “what are the NHNE” must be understood as secondary and non-salvific. This caveat is by way of reminder that we as Christians need not argue over non-salvific differences. How Christians interpret the meaning of the NHNE depends heavily upon the theological system undergirding the interpretation. In the case of the WBTS they are the theological system! Thus the society spins and weaves whatever interpretation of scripture they desire depending on the needs of the day.
In Christian theology there are two main views of the “new heavens and new earth”, both views are underpinned by a theological system. The first interpretation is known as the “restoration view” In this model the earth is viewed as humanities eternal home and God’s future plan is to restore the earth to edenic conditions. Once restored the “New Heavens and New Earth” becomes the eternal dwelling place of the saints. Evangelical Scholar Gale Z. Heide writes:
“the creation in which we now live has a future. Though its future state may result from a process similar to what we expect for our resurrected bodies (Phil 3:20–21), it nonetheless will be a transformation and renewal rather than a re-creation ex nihilo… We were given the responsibility to act as stewards over this created world (Gen 2:15–25). This responsibility has not diminished, even though sin permeates the world and all things in it.” (For full article please e-mail me and I’ll send a pdf)
I have written before on the subject of restoration and I admit the restoration view is feasible I struggle to reconcile this view with the apocalyptic language of scripture, which infers the present earth and cosmos is to be annihilated and replaced by a “New” heaven and earth. The only way around annihilation is to interpret the apocalyptic language as “symbolic”. The JW’s tried this and ended up in a quagmire! Hence I will adopt a literal interpretation and present an annihilationist apologetic:
Looking at the creation account in Gen 1:1 it reads “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” The Hebrew word ‘bara’ is used for creation. This same Hebrew word ‘bara’ is used by Isaiah in relation to the “New Heavens and New earth”
Isaiah 65:17 “For, behold, I create (bara) new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall Not be remembered, nor come into mind”
Thus some feel that the use of bara/create proves the present earth and heavens will be totally destroyed and re-created – ex nihilo. The old order tainted with sin will be completely annihilated and God will create a new physical universe. Peter speaks of the new heavens and earth in these terms;
2 Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (KJV)
The passage seems very clear when read literally, the literal earth and literal heavens will be burned up and replaced by a whole new physical universe. Another pericope suggesting complete destruction of the universe is Revelation 20:11:
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them” (KJV)
Annihilations believe the whole universe will be burned up before the glory of God during his great white throne judgment. Peter spoke in 2 Peter 3:11 of “all things being dissolved” After this final destruction when “all things are dissolved” a new literal “New Heavens & New Earth” will be established. Glorified humanity will enter a new period of History, which is yet to be written, but is touched upon in Chapters 21 & 22 of Revelation.
Always remember that the JW’s teach the “New Heavens” are the 144,000 a heavenly Government and that the “New earth” is a restored human society. These ideas are alien to the scriptures and do not match either the restorationist or annihilationist positions.
Having looked at the annihilationist view there is one final anomaly that requires explanation. The OT prophets (Isaiah 65:17-25. 66:22), Jesus and the apostle Paul spoke of a future “restoration” If the current earth and cosmos is to be destroyed and replaced by a NHNE what is this restoration referring to?
Act 3:21 “whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.”
Commenting on this passage apologist Matt slick says “This is most probably a reference to the future period when God will restore the earth to its original condition which existed before the fall of Adam and Eve.”
Matthew 19:28 “Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world (regeneration), when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (ESV)
Commenting on this passage scholar Dr. Thomas L Constable says:
The “regeneration” or “renewal” (Gr. palingenesia) refers to the establishment of the messianic kingdom (Isa. 2:2-4; 4:2-6; 11:1-11; 32:16- 18; 35:1-2; 65:17; 66:22; cf. Acts 3:21; Rom. 8:18-23). Then the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne (lit. throne of glory, cf. 25:31; Dan. 7:13-14). This is a very clear messianic claim. Jesus equated Himself with the Son of Man, the judge of humanity (Dan. 7:13). Moreover the 12 disciples will then sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel (cf. Isa. 1:26; Dan. 7:22).
Hebrews 2:5 “For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.”
Romans 8:20 “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
Thus from this brief selection of scriptures we can deduce that earth will experience a restoration period. Is this a restoration of this present earth (restorationist view) or partial restoration leading to the NHNE (annihilationist view)?
Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.”
It would appear that earth will experience a partial restoration for a one thousand year period in which Old and New Testament prophecies will undergo fulfilment. This in no way diminishes the role of Jesus, his sacrificial death or atonement. Such an interval before the eternal state is the more literal understanding of the text under consideration.
EARTH ENDURES FOREVER according to Jehovah’s Witnesses
The Watchtower society argues against annihilation of planet earth claiming the bible teaches the earth will endure forever. I will be here arguing from a annihilationist viewpoint. Those Christians holding to a restorationist viewpoint may well agree with the WT on this point. However let us explore the WT claims and see if their proof texts hold up under scrutiny.
“It is God’s purpose for the vast majority of those who serve him to make this earth their home forever. Note how God’s Word, the Bible, comments on this. Psalm 37:11 foretells: “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” For how long? Psalm 37:29 says: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Awake 4/8/1997 Pages 8-10)
“Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that eventually billions will receive everlasting life on earth as subjects of the Messianic rule. Thus, we are firmly convinced that the earth will never be destroyed and that the Bible promise will be fulfilled: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Psalm 37:29.” (WTBTS 1992 Jehovah’s Witnesses What do they believe)
To the uninformed such logical argumentation appears theologically watertight and highly appealing. After all what normal human would not want to see earth restored and made perfect. Who would not want to live forever in a perfect world? No more crime, no more war, no more death, no more pollution. It is such seductive and logical argumentation that has led many a weary soul into the JW religion. In my own desire to see justice, and harmony I was drawn into this vista of paradise on earth. But like so many JW’s the glamor and glitz soon wears off, as the “coming new world” seems further away each passing year. So then does the earth endure forever?
Psalm 104:5 “He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.” (ESV)
The NWT version reads substantially differently placing emphasis on the words ‘forever and ever’ “He has established the earth on its foundations. It will not be moved from its place forever and ever.”
Likewise Ecclesiastes 1:4 in the NWT reads, “A generation is going, and a generation is coming, But the earth remains forever.”
How are we to understand these verses? Will the earth remain forever? Well according to the Annihilationist view the NHNE will be completely new ex nihilo. Do we have a contradiction? Are the JW’s correct after all?
In the overall context of Psalm 104, the writer is conveying Gods sovereignty over his creation. This is about Gods control over his creation, i.e God has made the world and He sustains it and nothing can “move the foundations” that God has laid. This is not a statement of earth’s longevity but a passage of poetic contrast between God the Supreme Being and the finite limitations of man.
Likewise the book of Ecclesiastes must be understood first in its genre of literature viz., “wisdom poetry”. The pericope must also be understood in context. What we find the writer doing is contrasting earth with a generation of humans. From the vantage point of the writer earth will last forever whereas generations of men come and go. As Dr. Constable points out:
“No person is permanent on the earth. The earth remains, but people die and the next generation replaces them. The point is that since man is not permanent, it is obvious that his work cannot be, either. While a person’s work may outlive him or her (e.g., a skyscraper usually outlasts its builder), it will only last a little longer than he or she does. It, too, is only relatively permanent, not permanent as the earth is.”
Therefore Ecclesiastes 1:4 cannot be used as proof text that planet earth will exist forever. We must also examine the Hebrew word olam translated in the New World Translation “forever” or “time indefinite”. Does the Hebrew word olam in every instance convey the idea of “never ending”? Should the Hebrew word olam always be understood in terms of eternity? In ancient Hebrew culture the Word olam can simply refer to a “Long time” consequently olam is often used in a relative way. An example is in relation to the Aaronic priesthood. It was axiomatic to Moses that the Aaronic priesthood would indeed be “Forever” (olam).
Exodus 29:9 says “….the priesthood must become theirs as a statute to time indefinite” NWT (time indefinite = Hebrew olam)
However the Aaronic Priesthood DID end it did NOT last “Forever” Thus when God speaks of the “earth” enduring forever or time indefinite this is in relation to His purpose, the Historical and temporal setting and the context. Earth cannot be made to “totter” or “be removed from its place” because God is sovereign, however as and when he decides to God can and will create a “new Heavens and New earth” for his saints.
DID NOT JESUS SAY HIS FOLLOWERS WOULD INHERIT THE EARTH?
Matthew 5:5 “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they shall inherit the earth” (NWT)
Yes he did, but Jesus also said his followers would inherit heaven! Do we have a contradiction? First let us deal with the subject of “inheriting the earth” Christians who hold to a premillennial eschatology will understand this statement to refer to the one thousand year reign of Christ, wherein the saints rule alongside Christ over planet earth, this will be followed by the eternal state a literal new heaven and new earth. Christians who believe Jesus is the complete fulfilment of eschatological history (supercessionist) will interpret Jesus words as pointing to the new restored earth. Whichever view is held heaven as well as earth is the inheritance made to all believers.
Matthew 5:10, 12 “Happy are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them. Rejoice and leap for joy, since YOUR reward is great in the heavens”
In fact Jesus told those listening;
Matthew 5:8, 9 “Happy are the pure in hear, since they will see God. Happy are the peaceable, since they will be called “sons of God”
John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”
Notice what Jesus is asking, he says to his Father: ensure that all who believe in me “MAY BE WHERE I AM”, and actually see me with their own eyes and behold “MY GLORY”. This is a real paradox for JW’s for they teach believers will never literally see Jesus. What then is Jesus talking about? How can believers see Jesus glory? Well where does Jesus reside?
Hebrews 9:24 “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.”
Heaven is where Jesus is and he wants his follows to be where he is and see his glory! What is a witness to do with this text?
The JW get-out-of-jail card is the “144,000” to which the JW’s will claim Jesus is directing his request. However we have at work here not exegesis but rather eisegesis. The witnesses are forced to read into the text an idea, which is alien to the author. Why? Because an erroneous presupposition about Gods plan of redemption dictates that this verse must be reinterpreted within the JW metanarrative. Paul made clear that a believer’s destiny is in heaven;
Philippians 3:20-21 “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body”
Far from waiting for a bodily resurrection to earth, Paul explains that at death a believer is instantly “at home with the Lord”.
2Co 5:1, 5-8 “For we know that if the tent [body] that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens… He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
What we have here is two sides to one coin, the first phrases “at home in the body” and “away from the Lord” are in the Greek present tense indicating continuation, that is to be “at home in the body” is to be continually “away from the Lord” however the later phrases “to be away from the body and home with the Lord” are in what is known as the Greek aorist tense which indicates “once-for-all-time” occurrence. The Greek word here for “away from” is ἐκδημέω means to emigrate, that is, vacate or quit: – be absent. Hence Paul is effectively saying that death for the Christian brings an immediate transition from being in the body to being “with” (indicating face to face) the Lord. Many scholars interpret this as the intermediate state where believers are with the Lord prior to bodily resurrection.
Ron Rhodes who holds to a restorationist view comments on what believers may look forward to in the NHNE:
“An incredible thing to ponder is that one day heaven and earth will no longer be separate realms, as they are now, but will be merged. Believers will thus continue to be in heaven even while they are on the new earth. The new earth will be utterly sinless, bathed and suffused in the light and splendour of God and unobscured by evil of any kind…the new Jerusalem the eternal city that measures 1500 x 1500 x 1500 miles will come down and rest upon the newly restored earth (Rev 21:2) this eternal city will be the dwelling place of the saints through all the ages…How glorious the new heaven and the new earth will be”
What a wonderful description of what awaits the redeemed! This is the REAL NHNE! We have commented above on many apparently unrelated topics – so how do we bring these together? While the following is NOT absolute for we cannot be dogmatic about future events which are in the Father’s jurisdiction (Matthew 24:36) the outline is scripturally defensible and follows a literal dispensational system.
END TIME CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
1) Jesus becomes the second Adam our atonement for sin by his death, burial and resurrection (Romans 5:17, 1 Peter 3:18, 1 Corinthians 15:22, Hebrew 9:14,15)
2) After his glorification Jesus return to heaven and awaits the time of restoration (Matthew 19:28, Hebrews 1:8,9,13 2 Thessalonians 2:6)
3) Jesus returns for His Church (bride) meeting them in the clouds (first resurrection) followed by the Bema seat Judgment (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17, 2 Tim 4:8, 2 Corinthians 5:9, Rev 19:17)
4) The Great Tribulation of God’s wrath upon earth begins and concludes with Jesus literal return to earth in Power & Judgment (Matt 24:30, 2 Tim 4:1, Rev 5:12,13, Phil 2:10; Jeremiah 30:7, Mark 19:20)
5) Satan & Demons are abyssed and removed from earth (Rev 20:2,3)
6) Jesus sets up his earthly Kingdom for 1000 years, thus begins the time of restoration (Rev 20:6,40, Rev 5:10, 2 Tim 2:12)
7) Satan is let loose at end of 1000 years for the final Battle (Rev 20:7)
8) Satan & His Demons are defeated and cast into Lake of Fire (Rev 20:10)
9) Great White throne Judgment of the unsaved dead (Acts 17:31, 1 Cor 4:5, 1 Peter 4:5, Rev 20:5,11)
10) Separation into eternal life or eternal damnation “Lake of Fire” (Rev 20:12-15)
11) New Heavens & New Earth established the eternal state begins (2 Peter 3:10,12,13, Rev 21:1, 5) Merging of heaven and earth with the New Jerusalem.
As I explained at the beginning of this essay the Watchtower society has built on the ideas of C.T. Russell. The watchtower magazine and its subsequent religious system are predicated on false eschatological expectations and erroneous chronology. For example Russell taught Jesus returned in 1874 invisibly and would return visibly in 1914 to establish his Kingdom on earth. Nearly 100 years on this prophecy has completely failed. However just like in a shantytown where houses are built from flimsy materials and huddled together for strength the watchtower has built its theology around this original concept, in reality its theology has no substantial strength but rather one idea props up another. The JW teaching on the NHNE is but a loose shack tacked to a monstrous lie, yet in that lie is just enough truth to make the whole edifice extremely dangerous. The WBTS has not built on the solid foundation of Christ but on the shifting sand of men’s ideas. Understanding the root of JW error is a useful weapon for Christians engaging JW’s.
Thus we have debunked the JW teaching that the “new heavens” is a new government that will rule from heaven over the earth. Whether we hold a restorationist view or annihilationist view the “New Heavens” is clearly literal. It is impossible to spiritualize the “New heavens” to mean a “Government of 144,000” elite Christians. Such ideas must be read into the text. Likewise it is impossible to interpret the “earth” as referring to a “new humanity”. To be honest these WT teachings are an infantile attempt to “bodge” together extra-biblical ideas using proof texting methods. Russell’s false teaching about Gods plan for man is at the heart of all these false interpretations. In this chaos the simple Gospel of redemption is lost.
Admittedly Christians will differ slightly on how they understand eschatology but Christians do not build their lives or destinies on the coming NHNE. Our foundation is Christ. He is the centre of our lives and expectations. In Christ we are a “new creation” – in Christ we are “eternally secure” and wherever Jesus resides, whether heaven, earth or the NHNE – ALL who have believe unto Him, will live eternally with him in a restored eternal relationship. This is the gift of God!
Always remember the JW focus is not on a restored relationship with God, or spending eternity with Jesus but on working hard in this life to be fit and worthy for life in the coming perfect earth. JW’s have no concept of a real relationship with either the Father or Son. They are alienated from the “true life”. For the JW the coming paradise earth is the only way out of a life of drudgery. The event of Armageddon and the subsequent JW NHNE actually become in JW theology their salvation. How sad that JW’s have been robbed of the glorious grace of God, the simple and efficacious free gift of Christ, through whom all who believe are given eternal life. JW’s are trapped in a web of false hope. It is our duty as Christians to help these lost people.
Let us continue to probe the depths of scripture, equip ourselves with sound doctrine and pray for victory in what is the dark and confusing world of the Watchtower.
(PS. Please do not hesitate to contact me on this subject as it is a complex and sometimes confusing topic, firstname.lastname@example.org)
 I will abbreviate this to NHNH for convenience.
 A metanarrative is the worldview of an individual. Our metanarrative is the structure by which we interpret the world around us. How we perceive the world and interpret the world depends on our metanarrative.
 This doctrine also known as a “trial for life” teaches that all mankind will be resurrected to the restored paradise earth and be given a second chance to prove their loyalty to Jehovah and thus attain everlasting life.
 For a modern JW version visit http://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/a-peaceful-new-world-will-it-come/1101991230/
 Let me clarify what “everlasting life” means to a JW, it means living an eternally, perfect obedient life. Witnesses must earn their eternal life and maintain that position before God forever in the restored earth. Failure to do so results in immediate annihilation.
 It is interesting to note the promises made by Isaiah were not to some future religious group called the Jehovah’s witnesses, but rather to his elect people Israel.
 Broadly speaking the two main protestant theological systems are supercessionism and Dispensationalism. For those following a supercessionist model Jesus is seen as the climax of all history. Eschatological history is understood as fulfilled in Jesus, past present and future collapses into Jesus. This model views the church as the new spiritual Israel and leans towards a spiritualization of passages especially in the apocalyptic genres. The dispensationalist view acknowledges Jesus as the ultimate climax in redemption history, but teaches that many OT and NT prophecies are yet future and will be played out literally at Jesus Second Advent. This model lends itself to literalism. If you are interested in this subject please e-mail me for further discussion.
 Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. Volume: JETS 40:1 (Mar 1997) Article: “What Is New About The New Heaven And The New Earth? A Theology Of Creation From Revelation 21 And 2 Peter 3” Author: Gale Z. Heide
 I believe the teaching that “Gods purpose is to restore the present earth and cosmos” lends itself to Amillennial triumphalism. For example if we are now living in a spiritual millennium, that is the Kingdom of God has “come” and is eschatologically realized in Jesus, then it follows that this present earth will not be destroyed but restored. In this construct the “New heaven and earth” refer to planet earth and the cosmos in its final restoration. The spiritual heavens are thus seen as a temporary dwelling for the disembodied saints, who upon resurrection will be placed back onto a restored earth. A merging of heaven and earth will take place as New Jerusalem comes down from heaven. However some Amillennialist adherents do hold to an annihilationism viewpoint.
 Much of the prophetic and apocalyptic material is symbolic however much is also literal; to spiritualize the NHNE I believe does violence to the text.
 This is a restorationist view http://carm.org/apologetics/verses-examined/what-does-restoration-all-things-mean-acts-321
 This is a dispensationalist view “Notes on Matthew 2012 Edition” Dr. Thomas L. Constable page 227.
 The Greek word for “world” is οἰκουμένη land, that is, the (terrene part of the) globe.
 Those holding to a restorationist view normally spiritualize the millennium as being a reality now and one that is fully realized at the Second Advent.
 As I have explained in previous essays much JW argumentation draws upon Aristotelian logic. For example Isaiah (65:17) prophesied a “New heavens and new earth” however to a witness using a false ‘logic’ this verse cannot possibly be interpreted literally because Gods plan was for man to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28) and additionally the Psalmist wrote that the “earth will endure forever” (Psalm 104:5). Thus logic not biblical revelation dictates what Gods plan must be for mankind i.e. to live forever on a restored earth (Psalm 37:29). We must never allow logic, emotion or desire to dictate the biblical revelation, otherwise we end up with a false Gospel.
 Notes on Ecclesiastes 2012 Edition Dr. Thomas L. Constable page 8.
 By saints I mean all the redeemed.
 The JW’s teach that a person who dies no longer exists and any future life is fully dependent on God remembering them. The dead who no longer exist are metaphorically speaking waiting on God to give them life again. However if we cease to exist at death ‘who’ is put back into the resurrection body? I’ve heard JW’s say its your personality or memory, but if you cease to exist at death how can such memories be retrieved? Some JW’s argue Jehovah stores ‘our personality and memories’ in his own memory. If this is the case then surely the dead still exist? If not then we cannot be resurrected and actually any future existence would be through being re-created, an entirely new person, that is certainly not biblical resurrection.
 Death, soul, intermediate state, glorification etc… is known as the doctrine of individual eschatology. Space does not permit a discussion of this subject. A good systematic theology will cover the various interpretive options. See Louis Berkhof “Systematic theology” Page 661-692, or Millard J. Erickson “Christian Theology” Page 1172-1190.
 Bodily resurrection, also known as glorification, is thought to occur either at the rapture or the Second Advent, although views vary on this. Either way the bodily resurrection and glorification of the saints prepares them for the eternal state, i.e. the new heavens and new earth.
 Rhodes Ron “The Wonder of Heaven” Harvest House Publishing page 135.
 The Great Tribulation is a unique event, which takes place either before the rapture of the church or sometime after. Various theories have been put forward. http://www.gotquestions.org/Great-Tribulation.html
 When we simply read the pericope at Revelation 7:4-11 without any preconceived ideas we naturally conclude the 144,000 are Jews chosen out of the nation of Israel or in the supercessionist construct the 144,000 are symbolic of the Church. Either way they are definitely NOT a limited elite group of Christians who govern earth. This is pure WT fantasy. For more information on the 1444,000 doctrine visit: https://watchtowerinvestigated.co.uk/2013/11/14/the-jehovahs-witness-view-of-being-born-again-the-doctrine-of-the-144000-by-jason-wright/