I feel led to briefly mention something to you here, and this is regarding (an application of) what is translated in most of our English bibles as “eternal life.” In most places in our bibles, the Greek words that have been translated into “eternal life” are the words “zoe aionios,” and these make reference to God’s promise to us, but this promise is not of a “life in heaven with Jesus,” but more specifically of walking with the Father and of inheriting “The Life of the Age.” Let me explain.
Many have assumed that “zoe aionios” is a reference to immortality itself, and this is why it is often rendered as “eternal life.” But this is not a very accurate translation of “zoe aionios.” All throughout the New Testament we find many references to “eternal life,” and yes, we will all eventually inherit “eternal life” (or immortality in Christ), but the thrust of the meaning of the phrase “zoe aionios” is of an inheritance on earth in the Age of Tabernacles.
If we take a look at this subject through Hebrew eyes and not through our modern Western eyes, we can see better that the Hebrew concept of “zoe aionios” is of an inheritance laid hold of in the Age of Tabernacles. The Hebrews understood that the Messiah would come to earth to rule in His Kingdom at this time, and they also understood that His people would have an opportunity to rule with Him (in some capacity) at this time too. In other words, they hoped to be given “aionian life,” “age-abiding life,” or life specifically pertaining to the Tabernacles Age. The Church Age was still a mystery to the Jews in Jesus’ day, but they did have some understanding of the Kingdom Age of Tabernacles.
With this all in mind, we should be able to see that “The Rich Young Ruler” was not so much asking Jesus about how he might “get to heaven” someday, but about how he might inherit Kingdom Life and thereby rule with the Messiah during “The Age.” You might find it interesting to know that the Jews in Jesus’ day referred to the Age of Tabernacles as “The Age.” In this we can see that “The life of the Age” (zoe aionios) was known by some then to be THE PRIVILEGE of ruling and reigning (with Christ) during the Kingdom Age. All throughout the scriptures we are exhorted to strive to inherit THIS LIFE, beloved. This is surely part of “the prize” of Phil. 3:14!
What I am saying here is that our inheritance is not in some far away glittering jewel studded city with streets of gold, pearly gates, and our own personalized mansions prepared for us to someday relocate to. No, it is of a Kingdom whereby Heaven and Earth are joined together as one. This joining of Heaven and Earth together, by the way, this Heaven/Earth place, is what God has intended for man since the very beginning.
May His Kingdom come then, on Earth as in Heaven.