Heck, the original WTS, the Bible Students, taught the heavenly hope for thirty-eight years from its foundation in 1884 to 1922 when Rutherford introduced the idea of "two hopes".
Are Jehovah's Witnesses the only religion to teach a paradise earth?
Doubt we are the only ones. Google it. We paint it so extremely attractive, though!
Seventh Day Adventists also believe in a paradise earth. The only difference is that the SDA's believe all christians will go to heaven first, for the thousand years, then at the end of the thousand years they return to live on a paradise earth. Revelation 21:2,10 seems to lend some credence to the SDA view. In many respects the SDA view seems more in line with the NT.
" I had a Muslim lady tell me years ago when I was preaching to her that the Koran also teaches about a paradise earth. There was a bit of a language barrier so maybe we misunderstood each other..."
I don't think the Quran teaches a paradise earth. The Quran teaches a paradise heaven. Interestingly the NT also refers to a paradise heaven a few times.
It is true that most christian religions don't focus much attention on living forever on earth - but many/most of them do believe that humans will eventually live forever on earth. Watchtower seeks, dishonestly, to give the impression that all/most of christendom does not believe humans will live forever on earth. The truth is that many believe in some variant of what the SDAs teach. For example, many believe that this earth will be literally destroyed and God will literally create a new earth and those who go to heaven will then return to the new earth to live forever. It's just not mentioned much in the churches because most people are looking forward to the more immediate reward of being in heaven with Jesus.
The JW view seems at odds with NT's focus on all christians going to heaven. It also results in christianity (as least the JW version of it) being divided into two classes - class distinctions! - each having a different hope (in contrast to Ephesians 4 saying that all christians share the same hope). The SDA view keeps all christians united without class distinctions because they all have the same hope of going to heaven to be with christ for a thousand years and returning to live on a paradise earth.
I would attribute the teaching about PARADISE ON EARTH to the writings of early church father PAPIAS.
The reign of Christ, however was 10,000 YEARS and not one thousand!
Papias made it his business to hunt down all living Apostles he could find in order to interview them.
What is amazing about the stuff he obtained was how WILD it was.
It was so off-the-charts, these writings had to be disbelieved by the nascent Catholic Church.
Papias was blamed for the craziness of the Apostle's responses!!
Eusebius defamed Papias this way:
“Papias is a man of small mental capacity who mistook the figurative language of apostolic traditions
Why the cutting remarks? Eusebius did not believe in a ten Millennial reign by Christ, especially upon the earth that would usher in a paradise. So, Eusebius bad-mouthed him when Papias quoted the followers of Jesus as having taught this very thing.
Among which he says that there will be a period of some ten thousand years after the resurrection, and that the
kingdom of Christ will be set up in material form on this earth. These ideas I suppose he got through a
misunderstanding of the apostolic accounts, not perceiving that the things recorded there in figures were spoken by
Fortunately, Eusebius quoted some of Papius’ writings and we can stitch together what he said about certain things, such as:
“Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord's sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements. Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.”
The New Testament had ZERO books written in Hebrew, by the way. All were Greek.
It's a major focal point in the Left Behind series, which has millions of fans who subscribe to the ideology behind it.
Even the catholic faith believes or had believed in a paradise earth. Look up cremation and how it was forbidden and banned by catholics and most christian faiths because cremation was said to be a rejection of a 'bodily resurrection'.
I highly doubt that the believers in 'living forever'....whether in 'Heaven' or on a 'Paradise Earth'..... can even articulate or comprehend what the term 'forever' really entails. The human mind cannot really grasp the true implications of 'living forever'. Multiply 'forever' by 1,000,000 and you still have 'forever' left to live. Most people don't really even appreciate and make the most of the 'actual' life they are living NOW! Would doing that 'forever' be any different?? No, folks, this living forever business is yet another example of Magical Thinking. Many cultures in the near and distant past have believed in some sort of 'afterlife'. I hate to break it to you, but all those people are now DEAD and gone, forever! They don't 'come back' from the dead and they don't 'live forever' in some made-up 'Heaven' or 'Paradise Earth'. Stop believing in Fairy Tales, and 'Come up to present time'. Life is occurring NOW, not in some hoped-for mythical 'future'.