During his agony on the torture stake, Jesus provided irrefutable confirmation of mankind’s hope. An evildoer impaled alongside him said: “Jesus, remember me when you get into your kingdom.” Jesus promised him: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:42, 43)
Since this man evidently was a Jew, he needed no explanation about Paradise. He knew about the hope of everlasting life on earth in a world to come.
What did require an explanation, however, was Jesus’ reference to the heavenly hope. When he spoke to his disciples about his going to heaven to prepare a place for them, they did not understand what he meant. (Read John 14:2-5.) “I have many things yet to say to you,” he later told them, “but you are not able to bear them at present. However, when that one arrives, the spirit of the truth, he will guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:12, 13) Only after Pentecost of 33 C.E. when they were anointed by God’s spirit to be future kings did Jesus’ followers discern that their thrones would be in heaven. (1 Cor. 15:49; Col. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:3, 4)
The hope of a heavenly inheritance was a revelation, and it became the focus of the inspired letters in the Christian Greek Scriptures. But do these letters reaffirm mankind’s hope of everlasting life on earth?