The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men. (kjv)
Jehovah’s Witnesses often quote this verse to “prove” that man’s destiny is life on earth, not in heaven. The Watchtower Society teaches that only a limited number of 144,000 would be eligible for heavenly life, and that this number was reached by the year 1935. Since then, the sect has been teaching new converts to look forward to everlasting life on an earth restored to paradise conditions. (See the discussion of Rev. 7:9, for consideration of the 1935 date.)
This is one of the many areas in which the Watchtower organization turns mainly to the Old Testament and leads its members back into a twisted form of Judaism, denying essential features of the New Covenant mediated by Jesus Christ. (Other examples of Judaizing include focusing on the Hebrew name Jehovah; denying the deity of Christ; inculcating a salvation-through-works mentality; strict legalism; and so on.) The best way to answer the Witnesses on this point is to turn them to the New Testament and show them the “heavenly calling” (Heb. 3:1) given by the Savior to all who would follow him.
For example, Jesus tells us: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2–3, kjv). When Jesus prayed to the Father “that they also, whom thou has given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory,” he was praying not only for his original disciples, “but for them also which shall believe on me through their word” (John 17:20, 24, kjv). Ask the Witnesses if they have believed on Christ through the word of the apostles. If they can truly answer yes, then they are included in Christ’s prayer that all future believers would end up with him in heaven.
See also the discussions of Psalm 37:9, 11, 29; John 10:16; Revelation 7:9.
Reed, D. A. (1997, c1986). Jehovah’s Witnesses : Answered verse by verse. Includes indexes. (electronic ed.) (37). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.