Is heaven an option?
When Jehovah's Witnesses are recruiting new converts they present three distinct reasons why the new trainee should desire only paradise earth. The first reason why the Watchtower teaches that paradise earth is to be desired over heaven is that heaven is not an option available to new Jehovah's Witnesses. The Watchtower teaches that the full number of people qualified for heaven was completed in the year 1935. After that date the door to heaven was closed and the only option for new converts is paradise earth.
Physical perfection only on earth?
The second reason presented to new Jehovah's Witnesses is the promise of physical perfection on this earth. The Watchtower magazine as well as their book You can live forever in paradise on earth is filled with drawings of a beautiful garden setting where humans as well as animals live together in perfect harmony. No tears, no sickness, no death - just happiness and joy.
Must they give up their humanity?
The third reason that the Watchtower has presented to their followers that discourages them from desiring heaven is that to enter heaven, they say, one needs to give up their humanity and become a spirit being. Who wants to give up their humanity to become an invisible spirit being? Those who qualify for heaven, according to the Watchtower, will become invisible spirits in a spiritual city eternally separated from the rest of their family who remain on earth. Since the Watchtower teaches that no human will be allowed into heaven, their teaching separates families forever. Who would want to give up their family just to go to heaven?
The rest of the story
How easy it is for the new convert to decide to give up heaven in favor of the new earth when the Watchtower doesn't tell them the complete story at the beginning of their training. Many find themselves serving the Watchtower as a magazine salesman for many years before they find out that they will probably not even qualify for paradise earth. What does the Watchtower carefully hide from the general public and especially new converts? The Watchtower leaves the impression that the beautiful pictures in their books are what paradise will look like in just a few years after Armageddon. What they don't tell new converts is that their real teaching is that the new earth will not be perfect like their pictures until the 1,000 years are finished. Their pictures actually depict the earth after the enormous earth-wide destruction of Armageddon has been labouriously cleaned up by the Witnesses themselves.
New converts aren't told that they will be working 1,000 years reconstructing buildings, roads and cities and at the same time they will be required to go from door to door teaching Watchtower doctrine to all of the newly resurrected ones who died before Armageddon. Every Jehovah's Witness who survives Armageddon will also be responsible for making homes and clothing for the billions of humans that will be resurrected to live on the earth during the 1,000 years. Then after 1,000 years of manual labor and after spending all of their spare time witnessing to the billions of people who have been resurrected, Jehovah's Witnesses will face a final life and death test. The Watchtower says that many Jehovah's Witnesses will fail this final test and never get to live in the paradise which they have worked so hard to create.
The Watchtower also does not tell new converts that although they closed the door to heaven in 1935 they had closed the door to heaven once before in 1881. They were wrong in 1881 are they wrong again now? The question we are compelled to ask is, why did Jesus lash out at those who shut up heaven to the common man? "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in." Matthew 23:13. Next week we will be discussing whether one goes to heaven in the flesh.