AFTER Jesus’ final meal with his apostles on the evening before his execution, Jesus promised to reward them with a place in heaven. He said: “In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going my way to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) Why would Jesus provide them a place in heaven? What will they do there?
Jesus had in mind a special assignment for his disciples. During that same evening, he said: “You are the ones that have stuck with me in my trials; and I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom.” (Luke 22:28, 29) God had promised Jesus that he would be the King who would provide for one of mankind’s greatest needs—good government. Jesus will save people from affliction and will crush those defrauding them. Although Jesus will have subjects extending “to the ends of the earth,” his throne will be in heaven.—Psalm 72:4, 8; Daniel 7:13, 14.
However, Jesus will not rule alone. Hence, he promised his apostles a place in heaven. They were the first ones chosen to “rule as kings over the earth.”—Revelation 5:10.
How many go to heaven? As in any government, the rulers in God’s heavenly Kingdom are few in comparison with all the people who live under its authority. To those who will rule with him, Jesus said: “Have no fear, little flock, because your Father has approved of giving you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) That “little flock” will finally number 144,000. (Revelation 14:1) That number is small in comparison with the millions who will enjoy endless life on earth as loyal subjects of the Kingdom.—Revelation 21:4.
Thus, not all good people go to heaven. About good King David, the apostle Peter plainly said: “David did not ascend to the heavens.” (Acts 2:34) John the Baptist was a good man. Yet, Jesus indicated that he would not be exalted to rule as a king in heaven. “Among those born of women,” Jesus said, “there has not been raised up a greater than John the Baptist; but a person that is a lesser one in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is.”—Matthew 11:11.
To receive the reward of living forever on earth, what must a person do? Jesus said: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Notice that God’s love for the world leads him to make everlasting life available to all, but only those “exercising faith” actually receive that reward.
Faith needs to be based on accurate knowledge. (John 17:3) You can demonstrate that you are a good person by learning more about Jehovah’s purpose for man. Respond in faith to what you learn. And be assured that the opportunity of life without end is really open to you.