God's Kingdom Ministries
Serious Bible Study



Part 1: Salvation: Chapter 3: What is Our Inheritance?

Many Christians have been taught that the earth is an evil place and that God has plans for us to vacate the earth and escape from evil by going to heaven where we will live forever. Heaven is usually pictured as a great retirement home, where we sing praises to God for eternity and amuse ourselves by learning to play harps.

But God is a Creator by nature. I really cannot see Him being idle for so long, and because we were created in His image, we would soon find such a heaven to be quite boring as well.


The underlying doctrine behind the idea that the earth is evil and heaven is good is not found in biblical Hebrew thought but in the Greek view and in other non-biblical cultures. Unfortunately, the church adopted many Greek views when it evangelized the Greeks without teaching them the biblical viewpoint.

Greek religious culture was founded on the idea that spirit was good and matter was evil. In fact, matter, they said, was the creation of an evil god—a Satan figure—which they called the demiurge. They believed that the problem at the beginning of time was that spirit came down and intermixed with this evil matter. Hence, the solution was to separate the two into their respective spheres.

Dualism was thus built into the system. Light must be separated from Darkness, good from evil, spirit from matter. The Greek solution posited that good and evil were co-eternal and that the existence of either depended upon the other. Hence, after this great separation is completed, it would only be a matter of time before the two would again be comingled, and the entire process of separation would have to be repeated in future ages.

Many in the church have adopted a similar view that a great separation is coming, in which mankind will be separated into two groups. The “good” will go to heaven; the “evil” will go to hell, a realm that is eternally separated from God. In this view, God is not able to save most of His creation. Being unable to work all things out for good (contrary to Rom. 8:28), He can only separate them into two groups. This view makes God the greatest Loser of all, impotent against the “free will” of man, and He must then resort to punishing those that He was unable to save.

But is this really true?

The Biblical View

The Bible tells us that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). When completed, God pronounced all things “very good” (Gen. 1:31). The devil (“demiurge”) is a usurper, not a creator. Matter is not evil, but good. The solution is not to separate heaven from earth but to marry the two. The earth is destined to come into full agreement with the will of God, as heaven and earth come into unity (Gen. 2:24).

So Jesus taught us to pray in Matt. 6:10,

10 Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on [or “in”] earth, as it is in heaven.

The goal of history and the end of all things is clearly stated in many passages such as we see in 1 Cor. 15:28,

28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

The separation between God and man is a temporary problem, not a permanent one. The real question is whether or not we believe that God is able to subject everything to Himself and become “all in all.” Again, we read in Heb. 2:8,

8 You have put all things in subjection under [Psalm 8:6] His feet. For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing that is not subject to Him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him.

All things will be subjected to the Son, except for the Father Himself. Paul expresses this again in Col. 1:16-20,

16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him18 He [Christ] is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

All things were created “through Him and for Him.” The same “all things” were reconciled to Him by His blood, “whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Paul did not get this from Greek religious philosophy but from Psalm 8:6. The purpose of creation was to give everything to Jesus Christ. Will God’s will and purpose be fulfilled? Is God able to do this? I believe so.

The Greeks taught something very different. They thought that only things in heaven—spiritual things—could be reconciled to God. Things on earth were the realm of the demiurge (devil). But Paul lays claim to all things in both realms for Christ. Just because men may not know HOW the divine plan will be accomplished is no hindrance to His ability to do it.

Ruling with Christ

John caught the same vision as well, telling us in Rev. 5:13,

13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

Yet John also distinguishes between this vast multitude of creation and those called to higher positions of authority. Those who “sang a new song” (Rev. 5:9), being the overcomers in Rev. 14:3, are given a special reward in Rev. 5:10,

10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.

These are the ones who inherit life in the first resurrection a thousand years before the rest of humanity is raised. Rev. 20:5, 6 says,

5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

Having already been purified by the baptism of fire during the Pentecostal Age, these will not be subjected to the second death in the age to come. Their reward is the priesthood—not the priesthood of Levi but the Melchizedek priesthood, for our High Priest is Christ, not Aaron. Priests were given spiritual authority to mediate as intercessors between God and men. They were responsible to teach the ways of God to the people and to serve as judges when disputes arose among the people (Deut. 17:9). To judge is to rule.

Christ is the King and High Priest of Melchizedek, but He does not act alone. Most of the time, He acts vicariously through others—in this case, the “priests of God and of Christ.” Paul says in 1 Cor. 6:2, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” In the next verse, he adds, “Do you not know that we will judge angels?”

Christ is the great Judge, for He said in John 5:22,

22 For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son.

Why? Because creation was given to the Son, and He is therefore responsible for it. Yet this does not mean He does all the judging. It is His responsibility to appoint judges under Him, delegating the authority to judge the world, with Christ as the highest Supreme Court Justice.

The same is true with political rulership. He is the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Rev. 19:16). That is, He is the King who has earthly kings under His authority.

For this reason, we see that when the Ancient of Days takes His throne to judge the world, we read also that “thrones were set up” (Dan. 7:9). John, too, says, “I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them” (Rev. 20:4).

In other words, the “saints” will play an active role in the judgment of the world. Often we focus so much on Christ’s top role that we fail to recognize the lesser role of the saints under Him.

In my view, the saints will be seated on “thrones” at the White Throne judgment, participating in the verdicts that are pictured as the “river of fire” (Dan. 7:10). But each long-term calling will be to oversee a portion of humanity to administer the law (“lake of fire”) until the Creation Jubilee. Their judgments will manifest Christ to them through the Holy Spirit’s baptism of fire so that they will be able to learn righteousness through their example. And, if necessary, disciplinary measures could be taken as well.

Inheriting the Earth

Jesus said in Matt. 5:5,

5 Blessed are the gentle [or “meek,” KJV], for they shall inherit the earth.

Their inheritance is not heaven, but “the earth.” Psalm 2:8 says,

8 Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

While ultimately, this is a messianic prophecy, it also applies to us. Christ has been “appointed Heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2), but we, as children of God, are also “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). To be an heir, however, is conditioned upon faith during our lifetime. The rest of humanity will benefit from the divine plan, but they will not be heirs. They will be citizens of the Kingdom, but they will not inherit the Kingdom.

Hence, even as Adam was given dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:28), so also Christ has been given the dominion not only in the earth but also in heaven. As part of the family of God, we are coheirs with Him. Our dominion will not be limited to the earth, but neither will the earth be left out or lost, as some teach. The only thing that will be lost and burned up (figuratively) will be the systems and governments of men, along with their sin.

So as the first resurrection approaches, let us prepare our hearts according to the plan of God, and let us find our place in that plan, so that we know our calling and can function in it.

A Change of Mind

Psalm 2:8 tells us that the nations are our inheritance. Matt. 5:5 says that we will inherit the earth. As far as our relative position is concerned, Rom. 8:17 tells us that we are fellow heirs with Christ. In other words, our inheritance is not self-derived but depends fully upon Christ receiving His inheritance as King.

There is, however, a more basic inheritance that we must receive in order to rule the nations properly. We must be changed fully into His image, so that all of our decisions and verdicts are precisely those that Christ would do if He were to make those decisions personally. The rulers of the earth, then, must be in full agreement with Him. Phil. 2:5 (KJV) says,

5 Let this mind [phroneo] be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.

The Greek word phroneo means “to exercise the mind” and has to do with one’s opinions. Hence, our study of the word, along with the leading of the Spirit, is designed to conform our opinions to that of Christ Himself. If our views are different from His, then the Spirit still has work to do in our minds.

We are expected to renew our minds even now, so that we may “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is” (Rom. 12:2). This is obviously a process, and it is linked to our wilderness journey in our time of Pentecostal training. At some point, however, we will experience a flash point, where we will be “changed” in a moment (1 Cor. 15:52). This will complete our training and allow us to reign with Christ in the fullest sense of the word.

Some put off reigning until the resurrection; others say that we are already raised from the dead and are to reign in the earth here and now with a victorious life. These ideas are not mutually exclusive. Both are true. The fact that the old man has died and we have also been raised to “newness of life” (Rom. 6:4) is the basis of our daily walk today.

But this “resurrection” is imputed or reckoned as a legal act, in the same manner that our flesh has been crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6). It is on a legal level, God calling what is not as though it were. The legal act is a decree from heaven that brings our resurrected life into existence. Existence, however, is not the same as manifestation. Note that all things came into existence when God spoke the creative word in the beginning, but not all things were manifested in the earth until its appointed time.

A Change of Clothing

In 2 Cor. 5:1-5, Paul compares our bodies to clothing, tents, and houses. He says that we have an “earthly tent which is our house,” but that we also have “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” We live in this present house (body), but our hope is for a heavenly house (body). In this present house, “we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven” (2 Cor. 5:2).

In other words, our hope is to have a change of clothing—or to move into a new house or tent which is currently being held in reserve in heaven. It is clear that we are not currently dressed in heavenly garments, otherwise, we would not “groan, being burdened” (2 Cor. 5:4). The great apostle clearly includes himself in this groaning, so we are not alone.

How We Lost This Clothing

Adam lost his heavenly garments when he sinned, for only then did he discover that he was “naked” (Gen. 2:25; 3:10). The Hebrew concept of nakedness refers not only to physical nakedness but also to spiritual nakedness. For example, the church of Laodicea did not realize that it was naked (Rev. 3:18), yet this did not infer that the believers walked around naked.

Likewise, speaking of the heavenly clothing, Paul says in 2 Cor. 5:3,

3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.

In other words, being clothed in garments of mortality, we are spiritually naked, for our mortal and corruptible condition before God is thereby exposed. It is only when we finally put on our heavenly garments that we “will not be found naked.”

When Adam and Eve sinned, God took away their heavenly garments, and so they found themselves naked. God then clothed them with alternate garments, which were physical (earthly). Gen. 3:21 says,

21 The Lord made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

Mankind has remained in this condition since that time. Although they are clothed physically, they remain naked spiritually. Their garments of mortality allow them limited lifespans. They have life but only on a low level.

Meanwhile, Paul says that our heavenly garments are being reserved for us in heaven. We have not yet been clothed with those garments, but we have been given a pledge assuring us that we will indeed receive them at some point in time. That pledge is the Holy Spirit.

The Pledge

Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5:5,

5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge [arrabon].

Paul uses the Hebrew word arrabon in describing this “pledge.” The word was used a number of times in Genesis 38 in the story of Judah and Tamar. Tamar was Judah’s widowed daughter-in-law. The law commanded that if a man died, his brother was supposed to raise up an heir to inherit the estate, but when Tamar’s husband died, Judah refused to let his son Shelah marry her.

So Tamar pretended to be a harlot and sat along the road, knowing that Judah would soon pass by. When Judah saw her, he hired her, not knowing who she was, for her face remained covered. Judah had no money with him, so he gave her a pledge (arrabon). Gen. 38:16-18 says,

16 And he turned aside to her by the road, and said, “Here now, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” 17 He said, therefore, “I will send a young goat from the flock.” She said, moreover, will you give a pledge [arrabon] until you send it?” 18 He said, “What pledge [arrabon] shall I give you?” And she said, “Your seal and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him.

Later, he sent a friend to pay her with the young goat and to get back that which he had pledged as collateral, but his friend could not find her. Judah did not know how to retrieve his pledge until a few months later when it became apparent that Tamar was pregnant. Only then was it revealed who the father of her child was.

The point is that Judah’s seal, cord, and staff were not given to Tamar as a downpayment (earnest) on his debt. Earnest money is partial payment, which the purchaser does not expect to get back. A pledge is collateral, which Judah expected to get back when she received the young goat.

So when 2 Cor. 5:5, KJV renders arrabon as an “earnest,” it is incorrect. The NASB is correct in rendering it “a pledge.”

Paul tells us, then, that the Holy Spirit was given to us as a pledge (collateral) in regard to our heavenly garments that God is holding for us. Only debtors are required to pay pledges. That means God has acknowledged Himself to be our Debtor! How?

In the Garden, when Adam sinned, he became a debtor, because all sin is reckoned as a debt. So God took his garment as a pledge on Adam’s debt. Four thousand years later, Jesus came as the last Adam to pay the debt of the first Adam. This was paid in full by His own blood on the cross.

At that point, God should have given the pledge back to Adam (and his heirs). But instead, God chose to reserve these heavenly garments in heaven until the time of the end. That is what made God a Debtor, and He then gave us the Holy Spirit as a pledge on His debt to us. This is seen only by understanding the meaning of arrabon.

Clothing as an Inheritance

This heavenly clothing, or “house,” is our inheritance, from which we are able to reign with Christ and inherit the earth. Up until now, we have not been able to inherit the nations fully, because the Holy Spirit has been functioning as a pledge on God’s debt to us. While there is much that we can do with such a pledge, we can do much more with the inheritance that has been pledged to us.

Paul refers to this clothing as a “house” (2 Cor. 5:1, 2). The heavenly “house” is the “mansion” that Jesus talked about in John 14:2, KJV. The NASB reads,

2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places [monay, “staying places; abodes, residences”]; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

Many picture these as literal houses (“mansions”) built on Golden Street. But in fact, these are spiritual houses, defined by the apostle as the garment or house in which we dwell. In this case, the heavenly house is the residence of our conscious identity that makes us “us.” We will take our “mansion” with us wherever we go as we rule the nations in the age to come.

So Jesus instructed His disciples in John 15:4, “Abide in Me, and I in you.” The Greek word used is meno, the verb form of the noun monay (abiding place).

Our inheritance is not a mansion in the sky but an abiding place in Christ. John 15:7, 8 says,

7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified in this…

Earlier, when talking about the Holy Spirit who was soon to come, Jesus said in John 14:12-14,

12 Truly, truly [Amen, Amen], I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also, and greater works than these he will do, because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

Here John uses the Hebrew word “Amen,” within the flow of the Greek text. (Both Paul and John did this occasionally.) The term is used to bear witness to the truth of what is being said. When we abide in Christ, when Christ Himself is our dwelling place, our mansion, we will then do greater works than even He did during His ministry on earth.

When we abide in Him fully, we will fully have the mind of Christ. We will be in full agreement with Him, and for this reason, everything we ask of the Father will be in accordance with His will. Hence, our prayer requests will always be answered, even as everything Jesus asked was also granted.

This is the remarkable inheritance that awaits us when God gives us the heavenly garments that He owes us. Is not this inheritance far better than a mansion on 888 Golden Street in heaven?