Matthew 11:11-15 (NWT): "Truly I say to you, among those born of women, there has not been raised up anyone greater than John the Baptist, but a lesser person in the Kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of the heavens is the goal toward which men press, and those pressing forward are seizing it. For all, the Prophets and the Law, prophesied until John; and if you are willing to accept it, he is ‘E·liʹjah who is to come.’ Let the one who has ears listen."
The traditional JW interpretation of this passage is that it means John the Baptist (and all those who died before the resurrection of Jesus) were not going to be "in" the Kingdom of Heaven, but instead they are going to be resurrected to a Paradise Earth.
A much more simplified explanation which fits the context, would be that John was not as great as Jesus' followers because John knew and lived under the Law of Moses instead of the Law of the Spirit and the teachings of Christ.
Luke 16:16 (NWT): “The Law and the Prophets were until John. From then on, the Kingdom of God is being declared as good news, and every sort of person is pressing forward toward it."
Matthew 13:16-17 (NWT): “However, happy are your eyes because they see and your ears because they hear. For truly I say to you, many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things you are observing but did not see them, and to hear the things you are hearing but did not hear them."
The context really doesn't say anything about an earthly hope and a heavenly hope held out for two different groups.