Will there be an eternal inheritance? The history of this world proves that there will not be. The riches that parents leave for their children waste away. Kingdoms change hands.
Creso, king of Lydia (560 B.C.) was famous for his wealth. He wished to exhibit his happiness founded on his gold, so he called for Solon, a great thinker and legislator of Athens. Solon, after seeing the splendor and all the riches of the famous king said to him that nobody could consider himself totally fortunate before death comes. He was almost put into prison by the prideful king. A few months later, Cyrus, the Persian, invaded Lydia. The king Creso was imprisoned in Sardis, the capital of his kingdom, and tied to a pole to be burned alive. This is what this world is like.
Jesus Christ promised an eternal inheritance to his disciples. What is this inheritance? “TRULY, TRULY I SAY TO YOU, HE WHO HEARS MY WORD, AND BELIEVES HIM WHO SENT ME, HAS ETERNAL LIFE, AND DOES NOT COME INTO JUDGEMENT, BUT HAS PASSED OUT OF DEATH INTO LIFE” (John 5:24). This fabulous inheritance, according to Jesus, came from God the Father. “AND THIS IS ETERNAL LIFE, THAT THEY MAY KNOW THEE, THE ONLY TRUE GOD, AND JESUS CHRIST WHOM THOU HAST SENT” (John 17:3).
The eternal life transforms everything we have, either good or bad, into something eternal. So, when evil is our companion, this evil is not called life, but eternal death.
When Jesus gives eternal life, he gives eternal life to his own. And together with this eternal life, all their possessions are eternal: eternal peace, eternal joy, eternal happiness, eternal glory, and eternal kingdom. In the Old Testament, there was not any eternal inheritance, neither any eternal kingdom, nor any eternal life. “When a cloud vanishes, it is gone, so he who goes down to Sheol does not come up” (Job 7:9). “Before I go—and I shall not return—to the land of darkness and deep shadow…” (Job 10:21).
In the Old Testament there was no promise of an eternal life, but there was an eternal death. These are words of Solomon, whom Jehovah endowed with all wisdom, “I said to myself concerning the sons of men, ‘God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts.’ For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?” (Eccl. 3:18-21).
“Between morning and evening they are broken in pieces; unobserved, THEY PERISH FOREVER” (Job 4:20).
We read in the book of Hebrews that the men of faith, Abel Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, did not receive the promises. Which promises were they speaking about? Jehovah promised to save Noah and his family, and He did. He promised rain and sent rain. Jehovah promised a son to Abraham and gave him a son, besides other children, and other wives. He promised to give him the land of Canaan and he gave it. He promised to bless his son and he blessed him. The promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were fulfilled, but we read that they did not receive the promises (Heb. 11:13). Continuing to read in Hebrews 11 we find the names of Joseph, Moses, Rehab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not received what was promised” (Heb. 11:39). All that Jehovah promised to Moses was fulfilled, as well as the others. Which were the promises that they did not receive? THE ETERNAL LIFE AND THE ETERNAL KINGDOM. The kingdom that Jehovah promised was an earthly kingdom in Canaan. The first one to receive this promise was Abraham. “And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Gen. 17:8). The kingdom that Jehovah promised was also an earthly kingdom. “ …and you will be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). Jehovah declared, “I am Jehovah, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King” (Is. 43:15).
The words of Jesus go against these statements of Jehovah, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). The inheritance of Christ is not of this world. “…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. For he delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:12,13).
The great problem with the Old Testament is that his heirs were sentenced to death, and Jehovah, the executor of the will, alone, remains alive. The law of Jehovah was the covenant. Let us see what the Apostle Paul reveals:
“…who [God] also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, …how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?” (2Cor. 3:6-8).
“And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives” (Heb. 9:15-17). Well, Jesus Christ is not the mediator of the Old Testament, but of the New; and he died for the new agreement and for the new promises. As nobody dies for the Old Testament, it became invalid. Because the Father and the Son are one (John 10:30), it is clear that the Father takes part, not in the Old Testament, but in the New, together with Jesus. Whoever remains with Jehovah, is going to inherit death, and whoever gives himself to Jesus is going to inherit eternal life, in an eternal kingdom.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira