Jehovah's Witnesses: Do you take Psalms 37:29 and Psalms 104:5 to mean that the earth will last forever?

"What Does the Bible Really Teach? What Is God’s Purpose for the Earth?

What kind of people did God want to live on the earth? And for how long did he want them to live here? The Bible answers: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Psalm 37:29"

The words translated as "forever" in these scriptures are "ad" and "olam".

http://strongsnumbers.com/hebrew/5703.ht…

http://strongsnumbers.com/hebrew/5769.ht…

These words do not necessarily mean "forever" in the absolute sense. They can also mean for an extreme length of time or for as long as something endures.

(Compare Exodus 21:6; 2 Kings 5:27; 1 Chronicles 28:4; 1 Chronicles 23:13; Jonah 2:6)

Do Jehovah's Witnesses believe that they will literally live "forever" on earth in the absolute sense, or (as the word is often applied in scripture), only as long as the earth endures?

Update:

Thank you for your answers. How will Jehovah's Witnesses continue living on the earth once the sun becomes a red giant, burns up the earth, then expands far enough to swallow it?

Update 2:

"Jehovah's Witnesses believe that they will literally live forever on earth in the absolute sense."

Please provide evidence for the accuracy of your beliefs. Why do you interpret these scriptures to mean in the absolute sense? Thank you.

Update 3:

"Yes. The Bible teaches that those who keep their integrity to God will live forever on Earth."

Where in the Bible does it teach that they will live forever on earth in the absolute sense, not merely for as long as the earth endures, as possibly implied by the meaning of the words "ad" and "olam" used in Psalms 37:29 and Psalms 104:5?

Update 4:

"Forever on earth. God created Adam and Eve to live forever on the paradise earth. He did not give up on that plan."

Where in the Bible does it say that God created Adam and Eve to live on the earth "forever" in the absolute sense?

The word used at Genesis 3:22 for instance, translated in the NWT as "time indefinite" and other translations as "forever", is again "olam".

The same word is used at Exodus 21:6; 2 Kings 5:27; 1 Chronicles 28:4; 1 Chronicles 23:13 and Jonah 2:6, where it does not mean FOREVER.

Update 5:

“Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth. Why would they inherit the earth if they were not going to live there?"

The issue is not whether they will inherit the earth and live there, but how long they will live there.

Update 6:

"To answer your question yes, that is God's promise."

Is it? Or is it misinterpretation of scripture due to lack of understanding it?

"If forever is only as long as the earth endures, it won't be forever unless God makes the earth endure forever."

For as long as the earth endures will be "forever" in the scriptural sense.

Update 7:

just a man: "If not, well it's a big universe, why worry about that, when we should be focused on our pleasing him right now."

I agree, but it is delusional to go around believing and telling others that you will live FOREVER on earth, if that is not true.

Update 8:

B-Man: All those points have already been covered, and are, as yet, unanswered. I will cut&paste my previous answers as you evidently missed them.

"There's nothing delusional about teaching people what the Bible teaches, which is that people WILL be living forever on the earth."

"Is it? Or is it misinterpretation of scripture due to lack of understanding it?"

"It was God's intention from the start for humans, and it remains his purpose."

"Where in the Bible does it say that God created Adam and Eve to live on the earth "forever" in the absolute sense?"

The word used at Genesis 3:22 for instance, translated in the NWT as "time indefinite" and other translations as "forever", is again "olam".

The same word is used at Exodus 21:6; 2 Kings 5:27; 1 Chronicles 28:4; 1 Chronicles 23:13 and Jonah 2:6, where it does not mean FOREVER."

"The earth was made to be inhabited.."

"The issue is not whether they will inherit the earth and live there, but how long they will live there."

".. th

Update 9:

".. the earth will be here forever, hence humans WILL inhabit the earth forever."

That's called circular reasoning. First you have to provide evidence that the earth will be here FOREVER, not merely for as long as it endures, which, according to scientific fact, and as indicated by the scriptures, will not be forever in the absolute sense.

Update 10:

A Zebra Striking: "Evidence that the earth will be forever, lol??? Consider:"

Isaiah 45:18 ".. the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it (1), who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited..(2)"

1. "Firmly established" (Hebrew-kun) does not carry the necessary sense of eternitality, in either English or Hebrew.

2. The issue is not whether the earth will be inhabited, but how long it will be inhabited for.

Eccl 1:4 "A generation is going, and a generation is coming; but the earth is standing even to time indefinite."

The word rendered "time indefinite" by the NWT at Eccl 1:4 is again "olam". It does not carry the necessary meaning of "forever" in the absolute sense. (Compare Exodus 21:6; 2 Kings 5:27; 1 Chronicles 28:4; 1 Chronicles 23:13; Jonah 2:6)

Update 11:

In-de-cisive: “Ecclesiastes 1:4 A generation is going, and a generation is coming; but the earth is standing even to time indefinite.”

The word rendered "time indefinite" by the NWT at Eccl 1:4 is again "olam". It does not carry the necessary meaning of "forever" in the absolute sense. (Compare Exodus 21:6; 2 Kings 5:27; 1 Chronicles 28:4; 1 Chronicles 23:13; Jonah 2:6)

You are confirming my point and contradicting your own doctrine with your attempted interpretation of Daniel 2:44. The Messianic Kingdom does not literally stand to times infinite. It stands for a mere 1,000 years.

See “since Christ hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, in what sense is his Kingdom “everlasting”..? Page 170 Insight Vol.2

“Well as you can see the earth will be here forever, so of course this is in the absolute sense that we will live forever on the earth, because psalms 37:29 is in harmony with the rest of the bible.”

No, I can not see. The Bible does not explicitly state that the earth will

Update 12:

be here forever in the absolute sense, nor that anyone will live forever on the earth, in the absolute sense. Psalm 37:29 was covered at the outset, as were other scriptures which use the terms "forever" and "to time indefinite" etc. See above,

What is in harmony with the rest of the BIble is that that the use of "forever" at Psalms 37:29 and Psalms 104:5 should be in a temporal sense, as it in other scriptures which use the same Hebrew words, "ad" and "olam".

Update 13:

So far, I have seen nothing which indicates that anyone will live on earth "forever" in the absolute sense. Logical, scientific, and scriptural reasoning dictates that "forever" in these scriptures is meant merely in a temporal sense.

12 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Greetings,

    Yes, Witnesses understand Ps.37:29 to mean righteous humans literally will live forever on earth. The earth's eternity is a repeated theme in the Bible (Mt.5:5; 6:10; Ps.104:5; 148:1-6). God clearly said that the earth & humans on it will exist to eternity (Ps.37:29; Dan 12:3; Rev.21:3,4).

    The verses which state that the earth will exist forever shows that these are explicit & not symbolic. On the other hand, EVERY verse which is used in an attempt to show that the earth will be destroyed is ALWAYS in a symbolic context. The rules of exegesis state that you cannot use symbolic terminology to contradict what is explicitly stated.

    Let me first correct one comment. You stated: ”The words translated as ‘forever’ in these scriptures are "ad" and "olam". These words do not necessarily mean "forever" in the absolute sense. They can also mean for an extreme length of time or for as long as something endures."

    It is correct that the primary meaning of OLAM is NOT “forever.” This is why the NWT accurately renders OLAM as “time indefinite.” Other bible versions are imprecise when they always translate it as "forever." While OLAM can be used of something that is to last forever in itself the word can only *imply* eternity. The context and other parallel texts must be referred to in order to determine whether the sense of OLAM is to be understood as eternity or just an indefinitely long period of time in any specific occurrence.

    But you are incorrect regarding 'AD. This word always means “forever” or “eternal.” Show me where 'AD does not denote eternity.

    And there are scores of scriptures which EXPLICITLY state that the earth will exist “forever" or for “eternity” ('AD).

    So, in answer to your primary question, the verse at Ps.37:29 uses 'AD to show that “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside FOREVER upon it.” This is humans enjoying eternal, unending life on earth. There will NEVER be a time that righteous individuals will be removed from the earth. Both the earth and righteous humans will exist to ETERNITY ('AD)!

    You will also notice that Ps. 104:5 does not just use the word "time indefinite" (OLAM) but in the very same phrase uses the word “forever” ('AD) "to time indefinite, or forever." This is a common intensification in the Hebrew Bible and clearly denotes an assured and absolute eternity. This intensifying doubling of words is ONLY used of something which will literally exist to eternity!

    Jehovah will rule as eternally "for ever and ever" (Ex 15:18; Ps 10:16).

    He is our God "for ever and ever" (Ps 48:14).

    Jesus will now "live forever and ever" (Rev 1:18).

    Christ's rulership will last to eternity, "forever and ever" (Ps 45:6; Heb 1:8).

    The wicked will be destroyed "forever and ever" (Ps 9:5).

    Righteous ones, the earth, and the stars will exist "forever and ever" (Ps 148:1-6; Dan 12:3; Ps.37:29).

    So Witnesses base their teaching on what God's Word *explicitly* states. They allow the Bible to interpret itself by using rules of exegesis including standard word definitions, Hebrew grammar and the senses of words as proved by their usage in the Scriptures.

    On the other hand, using symbolic verses to support the idea that the literal earth will be destroyed is faulty interpretation and causes a contradiction in God's Word which explicitly states that the earth and righteous humans will exist forever.

    No matter how hard we may search, we will find no Bible text that contradicts the fact that the earth is eternal.

    Now in response to your belief that the sun will expand and burn up the earth I can only point out that the Bible explicitly says that the sun would "stand forever and ever" ('AD & OLAM) (Ps 148:1-6; 89:35, 36).

    To trust in human's understanding of physics reveals an over-confidence in human knowledge which is even contradictory on this point. Other scientists contend just the opposite; that the sun will actually run out of fuel and die out.

    It also demonstrates a serious lack of faith in the Creator. God has promised that He will keep the sun, moon & stars "standing forever." The Creator has limitless "dynamic energy," so he can sustain the universe forever (Isa 40:26).

    Real scientists recognize that human understanding of the universe and its laws is so elementary as to be laughable. And yet you want us to believe that *you* KNOW better than the Creator what the future of the universe will be.

    It is very clear that God has stated that the earth will exist to eternity and that humans will live forever upon it. I for one do not think that He would state that repeatedly in His Word if it were not scientifically possible.

    Yours,

    BAR-ANERGES

  • 9 years ago

    This would've been a good question to answer... if you hadn't answered it yourself.

    Humans, for whatever reason, deal in absolutes. So if the Bible says "forever", you're taking that too literally. An accurate understanding of Bible texts would show you that it could be an extended amount of time. But it is Jehovah's time, and not man's.

    I've seen the tired old argument about the sun becoming a red giant and then going nova. To the lame, inexperienced pseudo-scientist, this means that nothing lasts forever. Yet, like all scientist both pseudo- and otherwise, you ignore a very important part of the equation.

    Jehovah is involved. He always has been.

    So, are you so naive to think that Jehovah... the power behind the creation of the sun and universe... could not put into motion His own physical laws, some of which we barely understand, to prevent the sun from going nova? I certainly do.

    And there's nothing to say that the extended period of time (aka "forever") would not also include advanced knowledge of non-explosive propulsion that would enable light travel to other non-dying universes. The only limit in all of this is your own imagination and the incredible short-sighted understand of what Jehovah God is truly capable of doing.

    Will I be on earth for an extended period of time, as we as righteous humans clean up the mess we've made of the earth? Absolutely! Will it be forever, as "forever" is currently understood? I believe so.

    But my whole goal in life is to make it there, and to bring as many others who want to see that sun go nova with me.

    By that time, any and all who oppose us and Jehovah God won't even be a memory, for "the former things will have passed away", neither will they be brought to mind.

  • The answer to your question is Yes.

    But you are misusing "Additional Details" to debate, argue, and push your own opinions.

    That is the sign of a dishonest question.

    You asked us if we believed that the earth will last forever.

    We have answered your question: Yes. Debate is not necessary.

    It is mere speculation that the sun will become a red giant and burn up the earth.

    We have God's promise of a different future.

    Obviously, we will live on the earth as long as the earth endures.

    And the Bible uses the strongest possible Hebrew expression to show how long that will be, "'olam" and "'ad" joined together at Psalm 104:5:

    "He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever ['olam] and ever ['ad]." Psalm 104:5 -- New American Standard Version

    "He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved." -- Psalm 104:5, New International Version

    "You fixed the earth on its foundations, for ever and ever it shall not be shaken." -- Psalm 104:5, New Jerusalem Bible

    The same word "'olam" is applied in the Bible to God Himself, as having eternal, everlasting existence. So although "olam" need not always mean "forever" or "eternal," it certainly can mean that.

    If "'olam" is good enough to describe how long God Himself lives, that is sufficient for us.

    Our future does not rest on crafty argumentation or specious interpretation, but on the will of God.

    Source(s): The HOLY Bible
  • X
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    There's nothing delusional about teaching people what the Bible teaches, which is that people WILL be living forever on the earth. It was God's intention from the start for humans, and it remains his purpose. The earth was made to be inhabited, the earth will be here forever, hence humans WILL inhabit the earth forever.

    * FACT: The Bible says the earth will stand forever in Psalms 37.

    * FACT: The Bible record of God creating the first man and woman establishes clearly that they were made to live on the earth (hence their being made their) and the only thing that would have stopped their living forever would be their disobedience to God. (Nowhere does the Bible indicate that their life would cease at some established time or for any other reason, nor does the Bible ever indicate that at some point they would be taken to heaven. LOGIC, then, very clearly dictates that the first human pair would have lived forever on the earth in the absolute sense.)

    *** People, the asker is merely taking the word "forever" which is NOT an ambiguous term and is pretzel-twisting it in any way possible in order to try and change its meaning. (i.e. Their garbage about "living forever in the absolute sense" as if there's any other sense of the word.) The fact will always remain (which is verified by the Bible) that God always intended for man to enjoy life on the earth endlessly (or forever), and that purpose of his for humans will come to pass. The asker speaks of "logical, scientific, and scriptural reasoning" but refuses to actually use any of those in their argument.

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  • 9 years ago

    Evidence that the earth will be forever, lol??? Consider:

    Isaiah 45:18 For this is what Jehovah has said, te Creator of the heavens, He the true God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited: "I am Jehovah, and there is no one else."

    Ecl, 1:4 A generation is going, and a generation is coming; but the earth is standing even to time indefinite.

    Have you analyzed what is means when it is saying "A generation"? Do you not agree with 2 Timothy 3:1-5 as to the time we are living in now? However, considering the arguing you are doing, I guess not.

  • TeeM
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Again you are ignoring the context of Ps 37.

    I love how people cry "circular reasoning" when they themselves refuse to accept the simple answers provide by the bible.

    Can 'forever' mean "for all time" Yes.

    Why you won't accept this I can't explain.

    Can "forever" mean for the life an individual?

    Yes, when the context warrants it, as in your few examples.

    But even in your examples 'forever' is as long as the person is alive, right?

    Well if an individual doesn't die, then 'forever' is for all time.

    If the foundations of the earth are to remain 'forever'

    and since the earth will have inhabitants for as long as it remains.

    then those who never die will remain on the earth.

    Ps 37 is dealing when the wicked / evil ones will be no more.

    It also promises that the humble, meek, and blameless will live forever in peace.

    What kind of promise of peace will it be if our loved ones would die?

    But wait, Jehovah as said "Death is no more"

    So where are the blameless / humble / and meek ones going?

    Thank you for proving Paul correct when he wrote:

    2 Timothy 3:7

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    7 always learning and never able to come to the [a]knowledge of the truth.

    As to Adam, there was also a tree of life in the Garden, which is why Jehovah provided the flaming sword and angels to keep Adam & Eve from partaking of its fruit.

    .

  • 9 years ago

    Question: Do you take Psalms 37:29 and Psalms 104:5 to mean that the earth will last forever?

    Yes.

    The Hebrew word 'ad is translated in English as "without ever ending", or forever. If it is not forever then the trinitarians who translated it did not translate it correctly.

    KJV "The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever."

    KJV "[Who] laid the foundations of the earth, [that] it should not be removed for ever."

    Why do trinitarians disagree with their own translations of the bible? Are these bibles then useless to them as they don't find the word horama correctly translated as well since it does not support the immortal soul idea? (Matt 17:9)

  • 9 years ago

    Ecclesiastes 1:4 A generation is going, and a generation is coming; but the earth is standing even to time indefinite.

    Matthew 5:3

    “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them

    Matthew 24:14

    And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.

    What is the Kingdom of the heavens?

    Daniel 2:44

    “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite

    So this kingdom is a actual government that will crush of course all these governments or kingdoms on earth and it will stand to times indefinite.

    What type of people go to heaven?

    Rev 5:9

    And they sing a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth

    You see with Jesus blood he bought persons for God to make them Kings and Priest to God and there to rule over the earth

    Well how many go to heaven to be kings and priest in gods kingdom government?

    Rev14:3

    3 And they are singing as if a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one was able to master that song but the hundred and forty-four thousand, who have been bought from the earth.

    Notice that Rev 5:9 is in harmony with Rev 14:3 in that these people were bought from the earth to be kings and priest.

    Now if these are to be Kings and priest to God who will be on earth for them to rule over.

    Matthew 5:5

    Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.

    Ecclesiastes 1:4

     A generation is going, and a generation is coming; but the earth is standing even to time indefinite.

    Proverb 2:20-22

    20 The purpose is that you may walk in the way of good people and that the paths of the righteous ones you may keep. 21 For the upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it. 22 As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth; and as for the treacherous, they will be torn away from it.

    Jehovah intended for mankind to be fruitful and fill the earth but because of sin entering the world threw Adam and eve we all sin which means we all die

    Genesis 1:27-28 27

     And God proceeded to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. 28 Further, God blessed them and God said to them: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.

    Romans 5:12

    That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned

    You see Adam and Eve had a beautiful future planed and would still be living today if they didn't disobey Jehovah's simple command not to eat from the tree. When Jehovah caused a flood to come upon a wicked world, Noah and his family got out of the ark and he told him the same thing he told Adam. You see this is God's purpose for the earth. For righteous people like Noah to live forever on earth just like that scripture you pointed out at psalms 37:29 (The righteous themselves will possess the earth,

    And they will reside forever upon it)

    Well as you can see the earth will be here forever, so of course this is in the absolute sense that we will live forever on the earth, because psalms 37:29 is in harmony with the rest of the bible.

    Source(s): bible
  • Jesse
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    Well, as you pointed out from the words ''ad'' and ''olam'', yes, in the context of this is a big universe, but God has put man upon the earth, and if he wills it to last forever, it will. If not, well it's a big universe, why worry about that, when we should be focused on our pleasing him right now.

    The power and wisdom of God almighty is hardly delusional

  • 9 years ago

    The links for the online e-book you are refering to are here

    http://www.watchtower.org/e/bh/article_03.htm

    To answer your question yes, that is God's promise. If forever is only as long as the earth endures, it won't be forever unless God makes the earth endure forever.

    With God all things are possible!

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