Joseph, I know that some like to cite Acts 1:11 as "iron clad" proof that Jesus would return to Earth in the flesh: however, it could also be argued in light of other scriptures that refer to Christians reaching out for heavenly "citizenship", that Jesus "throne" is located in heaven etc. that Acts 1:1 could be understood to mean that Jesus return would be in Spirit with some sort physical manifestation ("as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.").
The reason that I use this verse so much is because it cannot be refuted or altered to mean something else regardless what you think Acts 1:1 means. And Acts 1:1 does not say what you do does it? No, not even close. Stay with the material. Acts 1:11 are not our Lords words which can sometimes be called parables and open to interpretation, but a pure simple direct statement of truth uttered by the men in white robes the credentials of which cannot be questioned. It is a foundation text for the future coming of Christ.
Artful said: Not to get into a discussion on the return of Christ...my point is that by extracting our own "proof" scriptures and then insisting that our view is correct when presented with scriptural evidence that suggests a contrary view (when interpreted differently than we do), we are in danger of being as dogmatic as the WTS.
None-sense. This kind of thinking has no place in a discussion such as this. Some people get burned and very visibly sure and the weakness of an argument hits you in the face at times, yes, but we cannot and should not accuse anyone of being dogmatic. We should reveal such biased thinking by the proofs offered or even by those not supplied and not by accusations such as this.
Artful said: Maybe, this paradise issue could be considered in the same way that you suggested regarding "after the 1000 years"...when you wrote "Trying to speculate beyond that is a waste of time". In other words, these "speculation" points make for some interesting discussions, but are in no way strong enough to be considered "basic scriptural truths".
The paradise issue is a doctrine of Christ. It was uttered as truth, a fact from which the thief could take comfort. It should be more than considered. It should be understood by all claiming to be disciples of the one that taught this truth in the first place.