Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Heaven—Part 1
When I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I used to dread having to put the Watchtower Society’s spin on an otherwise straightforward text. Like the scripture at Matthew 8:11, 12 where Jesus was telling his audience that the Gentiles would be invited into the kingdom, replacing the unbelieving Jews. This is what he said: “But I tell you that many from eastern parts and western parts will come and recline at the table with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of the heavens; whereas the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the darkness outside.” (NWT) Trying to fit that simple statement into the Society’s two-part doctrine of an earthly class and a heavenly class was like trying to fit a size 10 body into a size 2 dress.
To begin with, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob couldn’t really be in the kingdom of heaven because they had the earthly hope, right? Therefore, when Jesus said Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were in heaven, he didn’t really mean it. He must have been speaking in a totally-out-of-context parable.
As the Watchtower spin goes, Abraham pictures Jehovah, Isaac pictures Christ Jesus, and Jacob pictures the 144,000. (w ’62, 3/15, 191-192) So the three of them represent God’s kingdom arrangement in heaven that will rule over a paradise earth. (gt 36) Can you imagine Jesus’ audience making that leap? Even Pastor Russell, 2,000 years later, didn’t come close to that interpretation!
And to make matters worse, Jesus describes another group of people who join Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, namely, those from eastern parts and western parts. Who are they, if all others in God’s favor are living on the earth?
The spin continues. Although Jacob pictures the entire number of 144,000 Christians, including both Jews and Gentiles, the people from the east and west picture the Gentiles who are already a part of Jacob. In other words, the Gentiles are in Jacob, and they are also with Jacob.
Wait a minute. I thought the Watchtower publications said it was impossible to be with a person and also be that person, as in John 1:1 where it says that the Word was with God and the Word was God. Suddenly now in Matthew 8:11, 12, that relationship is possible, after all.
What a relief to no longer be required to twist the scriptures to make them fit a false premise. When the Bible says Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be in heaven, that’s where they’ll be. Heaven was the goal they looked forward to, which brings me to the Watchtower Society’s Super Spin Zone Part 2 in my next blog.