By Massimo Franceschini and Ron Cappelli

The most commonly held belief among Christians is that the reward of the righteous is to inherit the kingdom of God (Matt. 25:34; 1 Cor. 6:9; Gal. 5:21), which is defined as living with God in heaven (Matt. 5:3; 18:3; 2 Tim. 4:18; 1 Peter 1:4). Furthermore, the scriptures also indicate that "heaven" and "earth" are two different places (Matt. 6:10; 16:19; Acts 7:49; Col. 1:20), with God living in "heaven," while sinful man lives on "earth." Therefore, it would seem that the Bible teaches that the reward of the righteous is to live eternally with God in heaven.

In contrast to this, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the righteous will inherit the earth which will become their sanctified, immortal, and eternal home (D&C 63:20,21; 88:17-27; 130:9). As such, in the beginning, when God created the earth, it was meant to become the place we would ultimately inherit. But if that is true, then how can man inherit the "kingdom of heaven" if he was meant to live eternally on earth?

To understand this seeming contradiction, let's take a look at what the Bible tells us.

In the first two chapters of Genesis the Lord has given us a very brief account of the creation of the world and of man. And in doing so, it has left out many important details. However, the Bible does provide us with a few clues that can help us fill in some of the missing pieces.

In Genesis 1:1 we read "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The question we need to ask ourselves is, "What `beginning' is the Bible referring to?" Is it the beginning of time, the beginning of all material existence, the beginning of just our universe as we know it, (was there another universe created before this one?), or is it merely referring to the beginning of the earth's creation? This is important to know if we are to more fully understand God's purpose for us and the earth, but the Bible doesn't really explain what it means by the word "beginning."

In Genesis 1:27-28 we read, "And God said, Let us make man in our own image, [and so] in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."

From what the Bible tells us God's purpose for creating this earth was so that He could place beings on it that were made in His own image and likeness and then give them dominion over everything on it. In fact, the Bible further tells us that the reason why God placed herbs and trees and beasts and fowl and even every kind of creeping thing upon the earth was for the benefit of man (see Gen. 1:29-30). Man is not merely just one of many different species of life that occupies this planet. God gave this planet and everything that is on it to us. This earth was specifically created to be our home. Everything on it was put here for our benefit. We are the masters of this planet. We have been commanded by God to have dominion over everything on it, and everything here was created to be in subjection to us.

As we look out into the universe and see all the grand and glorious things which God has created, nothing could be grander and more glorious than when God created something that was fashioned in His own image and likeness. But, what exactly does it mean to be made in the image and likeness of God? Does it mean that man has the physical appearance of God, or does it simply indicate that man has the divine characteristics of love, hate, compassion, mercy and justice which God also possess?

To understand the answer to this question we need to delve a little deeper into the origins of man.

The apostle Paul wrote, "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live?" (Hebrews 12:9) Paul said that we should "be in subjection unto the Father of spirits." What "spirits" was Paul referring to that God is the Father of? The Bible tells us that when we die "then shall the dust (i.e., our body) return to the earth [from which it was made] as it was; and the spirit [of man] shall return unto God who gave it" (Ecclesiates 12:7).

In Genesis 2:7 we read, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Man is composed of two parts. The part that we can see is our physical body which was made from the dust of the earth. The earth was not only created to be our home, but we, ourselves, are also part of the earth, and the earth is part of us (see Gen. 3:19). We and the earth share a common bond. We and the earth are joined together and are dependant upon one another. The earth provides life support for us and, in turn, we provide life support to the earth. What happens to one, affects the other.

But there is another part of man that gives life to his physical body. The Bible tells us that there is a spirit within man (Job 32:8) and that spirit comes from God. And when we die, our spirit "shall return unto God who gave it." According to the Bible, it is only when the physical body of man and the spirit of man come together that man becomes "a living soul." But if our spirit comes from God, and when we die it shall return back to God from where it came, that means our spirits originally were with God before they were united with our earthly body. That means, God is literally the Father of our spirits. And this is why the Bible states that we need to be in subjection to Him.

The Lord told Jeremiah, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5). Our physical body is formed and created in the womb, but God informed Jeremiah that before his physical body had been created, God knew him. More than that, before Jeremiah was created physically, God sanctified him and ordained him to be a prophet. As stated earlier, if there is a spirit in man that goes back to God when we die, that means our spirits lived with God before we were born physically upon the earth. But the Bible further informs us that God not only knew us back then, but he also ordained some of us to perform certain tasks, or accomplish certain assignments once we came to earth.

When referring to our salvation, the apostle Paul used the word "predestined" on several occasions. What that word means is that before ("pre") we came to the earth we were designated ("destined") to do certain things. But that couldn't have happen unless we lived prior to our being born here on earth.

We know that Jesus was called, ordained, and predestined to be the Savior of the world, long before the earth was created (1 Cor. 2:7; 1 Peter 1:20 ). The scriptures also state that before the foundations of the earth was laid, grace was given to Jesus Christ to save us from our sins (2 Tim. 1:9). Obviously, Jesus had to exist before the earth was ever created, and this is what Christians believe.

But the apostle Paul also stated that God has predestined us to become adopted children of His Son (Eph. 1:5), that we were predestined to obtain a heavenly inheritance (Eph. 1:11), and that we were predestined to be called into the gospel and then predestined "to be conformed to the image of his son" (Rom. 8:29,30). And the reason why God could predestine us is because of His foreknowledge of us. That means God knew each of us, individually, before we were formed in the belly and came forth from the womb.

Furthermore, Paul tells us that God promised each of us the hope of receiving eternal life (Titus 1:2), and that He commanded that we should be holy and without blame (Eph. 1:4) before the earth was ever created. But how could that be if we didn't exist before then?

Since the Bible declares that God is a Spirit (John 4:24), it is only natural and logical to assume that we likewise existed as a spirit with God, which would then make Him the Father of our spirits, before the earth was ever created. According to the Biblical scriptures we have just quoted, at the time of our birth here on earth our spirits came from Him, and after death our spirits will return to that God who gave it. It is not possible to return to some place where we have not already been.

Paul refers to us as being "the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 4"6; Philip. 2:15; 1 John 3:2). In the book of Job we learn that when the Lord "laid the foundation of the earth… the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy." (Job 38:4-7) Who were these "morning stars" and these "sons of God?" More importantly, why did they sing and shout for joy when God "laid the foundation of the earth?"

Before we answer those questions, we need to understand that there were other spirits in heaven besides those who have or do now, or will live upon the earth. In the Bible we read "How are thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are thou cut down to the ground which didst weaken the nations! For that hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God" (Isaiah 14:12-13, emphasis added). Who were the "morning stars?" Who were the "sons of God?" According to Isaiah, Lucifer was one of them because the Bible designates him as a "son of the morning" and that he sought to exalt his throne above the other "stars of God."

We further learn that Lucifer "drew the third part of the stars of heavan… and there was a great war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought with his angels and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out [of heaven], that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, which decieveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Rev. 12:4,7-9). One third of the morning stars who sang for joy when the earth was created in the beginning became drawn to Lucifer and, because of their rebellion against the Father of their spirits, they were cast out of heaven and sent to the earth as angels to the Devil. However, they were not given a physical body as we have. Instead, they remained as evil, wicked, unembodied spirits (see Matt. 8:16; Luke 7:21; Acts 19:13).

The word "sin" can be defined as "disobedience to God." Certainly, Satan and his angels sinned when they rebelled against God, and the punishment for this act of defiance was to be "cast out" of heaven and to be cut off and banished from the presence of God forever. This condition is known as "spiritual death."

Jesus preached "the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins" (Mark1:4). The message of the gospel was that if we would repent then our sins would be blotted out (Acts 3:19), and those who repented of their sins would inherit the kingdom of God (Matt. 25:24). In other words, Jesus came to earth to save us from spiritual death. If that is so, then why doesn't God redeem the Devil and his angels as He has done with man? The answer is that in the world of spirits, where the Father of our spirits dwells, it is not possible to repent once we have sinned.

Earlier, the question was posed, "Why did the morning stars sing and the sons of God shout for joy when the earth was created?" Were they happy simply because God made another new planet? Or was there a more exciting reason why we were so happy at the creation of this earth?

As we have already seen, the scriptures tell us that "before the foundation of the world" was laid, Jesus Christ was called, chosen, ordained and predestined to save us from our sins. That clearly indicates that God knew we were going to sin before He ever created the earth. Because of that foreknowledge, He prepared a way to redeem us from those sins before we ever committed them. This is further confirmed by the scriptures which states that God promised us the hope of receiving eternal life "before the foundation of the world was laid." The reason why the morning stars and the sons of God sang and shouted for joy when the earth was created is because that one, special creative act represented the promised hope of receiving eternal life which would come to us through a redemption from the sins we would commit while living on the earth.

Most Christians denominations teach that Adam and Eve were wicked people because they violated God's commandment not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yet, that is not what God Himself said. He declared, "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil" (Gen. 3:22). God knows the difference between good and evil, but Adam and Eve didn't when they were first created. The reason why God created this earth was to allow us the opportunity to become more like Him and inherit all that He has (Rev.21:7). But in order to achieve this lofty objective it was necessary for man to learn about and distinguish between good and evil. However, the only way to do that is through personal experience.

But man could not do that while he lived in heaven with God, the Father of our spirits, because evil cannot exit there. Furthermore, since God is all good, it is against His character to teach us evil. But without a knowledge of evil, it is not possible for us to fully understand good or the reason why it is better for us to choose good over evil. It was for this very reason that God created the earth. It provided us a place away from heaven where we could experience evil first hand for ourselves, thereby learning to overcome its tempting power and increase our own spirituality at the same time. That is why the "morning stars sang" when the earth was created.

But in experiencing evil we also suffer the same fate as Lucifer. We become spiritually dead, which means we become cut off and banished from God's presence. However, God had a remedy for this problem as well. As we have already seen, Jesus Christ was called, chosen, ordained and predestined by God, our Father - before the earth was ever created - to be the Savior of the world. And the way He would save us was by dying for the sins we would commit while on earth, thereby redeeming us, or rescuing us from the consequences of our own personal sins.

Furthermore, we can't fully appreciate eternal life if we have not experienced spiritual death. In other words, to better cherish and value a life of eternity with God, we have to know what it's like to live without His presence. Therefore, it was necessary for us to die, both physically and spiritually, so that we could have greater joy living in heaven with God. According to the plan which God designed, it not only allowed us to learn about evil, but it also allowed us the opportunity to experience death. Yet His plan also provided a way to save us from the effects of both. That is why the "sons of God shouted for joy."

But there was still another problem that needed to be overcome. If God could not teach us about evil, neither could he command us to do evil, or even willingly allow us to do that which is wrong, even if it was for a good purpose. In fact, if God were to do that, we would not be sinning because we would be doing something God fully permitted us to do. Sin is not just doing evil, it is also disobeying God's commandments. Therefore, a way had to be found to allow us to be confronted with evil without God deliberately presenting it to us.

To understand how He did this, we need to gain a better understanding of the creation of the earth. Since God is all good, so was the earth when it was first created, and, as such, sin did not exist anywhere in creation. That is why God could walk in the garden of Eden and converse with Adam and Eve and they could dwell in His presence. The scriptures define the word "temple" as being the "house of the Lord" (Exd 23:19; Josh. 6:24; 1 Sam.1:19; Isa.66:20) or "the house of God" (Judges. 18:11,26; 1 Kings 8:20; 1 Chron. 9:13). Jesus referred to the Temple as "my Father's house" (John 2:16). A temple, then, is a hallowed and sanctified place where God can dwell or reside. In the beginning of the earth's creation, the garden of Eden was a temple because it was a place where a sinless God could come and dwell among His people.

In this garden God placed a tree whose fruit was able to give the knowledge of good and evil. Had God allowed Adam and Eve to freely partake of this fruit, they would have not sinned in doing so. By the same reasoning, God could not deliberately allowed them to receive the knowledge of evil, because that is something a totally righteous God would not do. That would be like a father giving their child poison so that they could learn of its consequences. Knowledge without wisdom can be just as deadly. Therefore, God deliberately commanded Adam and Eve not to partake of the fruit of this tree.

But, had he really intended for them not to partake of it, He wouldn't have placed the tree in the garden in the first place. More than that, the Bible specifically states that the tree was "in the midst of the garden." That means it wasn't off in some remote corner, but was in the middle or the most prominent area of the garden. The fact that the tree was there at all, indicates that God had a reason for it to be there. And that reason was because it was necessary for man to partake of its fruit, but God could not be the one who told them to do so. Therefore, another means was needed to entice them to partake of this forbidden fruit.

Besides Adam and Eve, the Bible tells us that the animals were also allowed into the garden of Eden - God's earthly temple. That means, they, too, were sinless. However, Satan was not sinless, and, as such, was not permitted to enter the garden. Therefore, in an effort to tempt Adam and Eve into sinning, in hopes of desecrating and destroying what God had created, Satan entered the garden through the use of one of the animals. In this case, he chose a snake. Cloaked in this disguise, Satan then proceeded to beguile, trick, deceive, mislead, and take advantage of Eve's unsuspecting, naïve, child-like innocence.

When God discovered this fraud which Satan had perpetrated upon Eve, he cursed the serpent saying, "Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all other cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon they belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy see and her seed" (Gen. 3:14-15). Apparently, in the beginning of earth's history, the serpent had legs, but because of what it had done, God removed those legs and caused that it should crawl on its belly from that time forth.

Notice also that God said the serpent would be cursed above all the other animals. It is interesting to note, of all the animals upon the earth, the snake is the only one that crawls on its belly. More than that, all snakes have a forked tongue, which today we use as the symbol of someone who tells lies. Many snakes kill their victims by injecting a poisonous venom into them, which is symbolic of what Satan did with Eve to kill her spiritually. Some snakes kill their victims by coiling themselves around their prey and squeezing them to death. Satan likewise wraps his lies around us as he seeks to squeeze the spiritual life from us.

Although Adam and Eve had committed sin by disobeying God's command, there was a difference between what they did and what Satan had done before the earth was created. First of all, they had sinned in ignorance. To say otherwise would be to imply they fully understood the concept of good and evil, right and wrong, wickedness and righteousness. If that was the case, then eating the forbidden fruit would not have given them any greater knowledge than what they already had.

But there was a more significant difference between Adam and Eve and the Devil. Satan and his angels are spirits, but Adam and Eve had physical, tangible, earthly bodies.

It has been said that all of us are "born in sin" because of Adam's transgression. Obviously, Adam wasn't born in sin. Therefore, it is just as obvious that a change had to occur in Adam's body once he had sinned. The word "mortality" comes from the root Latin word "mort" which means "to die." Thus, "mortality" refers to that condition where our bodies are in a constant state of dying. From the time we are born, our bodies begin to decay. However, in the beginning, more cells are reborn or regenerated than are dying off so it appears as though we are healthy and growing. But at some point, the process begins to reverse itself and we find the body slowly but unavoidably deteriorating and becoming weaker. The immune system no longer fights off disease as it once did. Our bones and muscles lose their strength. Our eyesight diminishes, our hearing weakens and our memory fades.

To be immortal means that our bodies are not capable of dying. They retain their natural strength, vigor, and vitality no matter how long we live. They never get sick. They are not bothered by pain. They are perpetually and eternally in a state of extreme well-being. But, being immortal is more than being physically fit. Christ's resurrected, glorious body was immortal, but it could also go through walls, appear and disappear at will, ride on the clouds and shine with a brightness beyond that of the sun's.

Before he sinned, Adam was not capable of dying, but that doesn't mean he was immortal because his body couldn't do many of the things Christ's resurrected body could do. Adam was merely a man who would have lived forever in his earthly condition had he not sinned. But, because of Christ's atonement and resurrection, each of us will someday be resurrected ourselves and become immortal beings. That is, each of us will obtain a body that is both incapable of dying, and is spiritual, rather than earthly.

Christ didn't die and become resurrected just so that our earthly body could come back to life as it was laid in the grave. Paul explained, "That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die… So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15:36, 42-44). In order for our natural, earthly body to become spiritual and immortal, it is necessary for us to die. When we lay our mortal bodies in the grave, they are corrupt, dishonored through sin, and weak in what it can accomplish. Yet, in the resurrection, those bodies will be changed. They will rise from the grave as spiritual bodies, incapable of being corrupted, radiant with honor, and filled with power.

As wonderful as this may sound, in the resurrection not everyone will receive the same kind of body, as the apostle Paul explained to the Corinthians, (see 1 Cor. 15:35-46). Each body will differ in glory, power and honor. In this life, whether we sin or not, all human flesh is the same, but, in the resurrection, God will give each person "a body as it hath pleased him (God)" (1 Cor. 15:38). Those who belong to Christ, will have their physical bodies changed so that it will be fashioned after His glorious body (Philip. 3:21). But, as Paul has already explained, before our vile bodies can be changed into a glorious heavenly body, fashioned unto that of Christ's, we must first die. But Adam couldn't die unless he sinned. Therefore, it was absolutely essential that Adam sin in order to bring about death, so that all of mankind could die and then be resurrected unto glory and eternal life.

But what does all of this have to do with the creation of the earth?

According to the Bible we learn that, in the beginning "the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" (Gen. 1:2). In this verse of scripture, the Hebrew word translated as "moved" more specifically means "to hover" or "watch over." Therefore we could better interpret this scripture as saying that the Spirit of God hovered and watched over the face of the waters in much the same way a mother hen hovers and watches over her eggs while they are incubating. In the beginning of the earth's creation, the Spirit of God watched over and nurtured the earth as it incubated and became ready to be born.

We also learn from the Bible that a little later in the earth's process of creation, "God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst (i.e., middle) of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament" (Gen. 1:6,7). In the beginning, the earth was enveloped with and immersed in water. Man's beginning is the same as he grows inside his mother's womb. Even today, the earth's surface is 70% covered with water. Interestingly enough, man himself is composed mostly of water.

Thus we see that the earth came into existence in much the same way that we did. Rather than being "created" as an inanimate object, it could more correctly be said that the earth was "born" much like most other living creatures.

But it takes more than just water to create a living "birth." The first thing that happened during the creation of the earth is that "God said, Let there be light" (Gen. 1:3). If it wasn't for the light from the sun there could be no life on earth. Light gives life to plants, which provides food for man and animals. As such, this planet is alive with life, in millions if not billions of various forms because of light. If the sun should cease giving us light, everything on the earth would die. But you need more than just light to have life. Our moon is situated just as far from the sun as is our world, yet it is a dead planet. Through the use of space probes we have explored Mars, a planet which is within the range where life can exist in our solar system, yet it too is a dead planet. As we examine all the other planets and moons in our solar system, we cannot find any sign of life. Only earth is alive.

But the light which God commanded to shine forth was not that of the sun. It was a spiritual, life-giving light. The scriptures tell us that Jesus is the source of all life, and that this life is the "light of men" and that it "lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:4,5,9). In the scriptures, the terms "light" and "darkness" also refer to that which is good and evil, moral and immoral, righteous and unrighteous, virtuous and wicked. Thus, in the beginning when God began the creation of the earth by saying, "Let there be light," He was infusing the earth with a virtuous, righteous life-giving force. That's why the Bible declares, "And God saw the light, that it was good" (Gen. 1:4). (For a more in-depth look at this subject read The Light of Christ )

The earth is more than just a chuck of rock floating in the universe. It is a living creature that has been infused with the life-giving light of Christ. And this light is full of truth, grace and goodness. Therefore, in the beginning, the earth itself was sinless and good because it was made by a sinless and good God whose works are always good and sinless. But when Adam transgressed God's word, the ground was cursed, as was everything else on the earth. Before then, the earth was not immortal, but neither did it decay. Flowers didn't fade, fruit didn't rot, trees didn't lose their leaves. Everything was in the same state that Adam was - a never changing state between mortality and immortality. But once sin entered the world, thorns, thistles and noxious weeds began to spring forth, animals had enmity between one another, and the earth began to slowly die. When Adam sinned, the earth and all on it became mortal along with him.

Furthermore, when man sinned, the earth also died spiritually, thereby making it unfit for God's presence. That is why, when the Israelites built a House of the Lord (i.e. a temple), they had to sanctify it and dedicate it to the Lord before any ordinances could be performed within it. It had to be spiritually cleansed and made holy as a fit habitation in which God could dwell. As wickedness increased among the children of men, the more spiritually corrupt the earth itself became. That's because what we do affects the earth. There is a symbiotic relationship between us and the planet we live on.

The mission of Jesus Christ not only included redeeming us from our individual sins, but it also redeemed all of creation from the effects of sin as well. But to do that, the earth itself needs to fulfill the same law of salvation which man must obey. The Bible refers to baptism as being necessary for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 2:38). When the earth was flooded in the days of Noah, the Bible tells us that everything on the earth, including the highest mountains, was covered with water. The living earth was literally baptized with water and the wickedness and sin which existed on it was literally washed away. When the earth emerged from under the water, it had been cleanse of its iniquity.

However, to be fully saved, a person must also receive the Holy Ghost, which the Bible describes as being a baptism by fire (Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16). The Bible prophesizes of a time at the second coming of Jesus when the earth will be burned by fire (2 Pet. 3:12; Rev. 8:7; 16:8). In effect, this is a time when the earth will receive a baptism of fire, or, in other words, symbolically receive the Holy Ghost.

But, to become immortal and receive eternal life, the earth itself must also experience death and then a resurrection of sorts, just as we must. In that process, it will become sanctified and made fit for God to live on eternally. The apostle Peter told us to "look for a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwell righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13). Speaking about that time when this event would happen, the apostle John wrote, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [i.e. the temple, the House of the Lord] is with men and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people and God himself shall be with them" (Rev. 21:1-3). Then Christ will come and reign personally upon the earth. At that time, those who have been faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ, even unto death, and have overcome the world, even Jesus overcame, will receive a crown and sit with Christ in His throne and will reign on earth with Him (see Rev. 2:10; 3:21; 5:10).

The earth was created to provide us with the means of receiving eternal life. But in providing us with that opportunity, it also had to endure all that we have to go through to become immortal itself. Like us, in the beginning it was created sinless, but it too fell from God's grace when Adam did. It had to have its sins atoned for, be obedient to God's commandments, be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. Like us, it too must die and be resurrected. In the end, it will be redeemed and glorified, meaning that it will receive eternal life along with us. Once that has happened, it then becomes a place fit for God to live upon. Then the Holy city of New Jerusalem will come down from heaven, as a bride adorned for her husband and Christ will set up His throne here upon the earth. Those who are Christ's at His coming will sit with Him on His throne and rule and reign on this earth with him

But until that time, "heaven" and "earth" are two different places. Yet the apostle Paul has told us that Christ must subdue all things and put down all rule and all authority and all power until He has put all enemies under his feet (see 1 Cor. 15:24-25). When that happens, then "the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever" (Rev. 11:15). If the kingdom of heaven is a place where God lives, then the earth, in its redeemed and gloried state will have become part of the kingdom of God where He will be able to live and reign eternally upon it.

Therefore, when the scriptures say that the righteous will enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:20), that those who are worthy shall enter into the kingdom of God (2 Thes. 1:5), and that the meek shall inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5), all of those things are equally true because, after the resurrection, they will all be one and the same place.

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