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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Diversity of Destinies, #10
Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. (Revelation 3:12—NIV)
The rewards mentioned by the Lord are not trivial differences in which all the saved receive approximately the same reward: one receives an acre of diamonds and the other receives two acres of diamonds. The rewards the Scriptures hold out to us are substantial and desirable. They will be our possessions for eternity.
The fear of punishment and the hope of glory provide us with the strongest of motivations to serve the Lord with all our mind and strength.
If God did not desire we be motivated in terms of punishment and rewards He would not have spoken so many times of these factors. When preachers and teachers dismiss such motives as being unworthy, or not factual, they are making themselves wiser than God. They are setting aside the Word and wisdom of God in favor of their humanistic teachings or because they have been deceived by the traditions of men.
When Christ's followers asked Him concerning their rewards for following Him, He did not rebuke them. He answered them straightforwardly:
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)
. . . but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. (Matthew 20:23)
It is not true that every saved person will sit on a throne judging the twelve tribes of Israel, or will sit on Christ's right hand or His left hand in His Kingdom, or will have his name inscribed in the foundations of the wall of the new Jerusalem. Such incomprehensible glory will be the destiny of specific believers.
The true members of Israel, the holy martyrs and saints, both Jewish and Gentile, will be raised in the first resurrection. They will be seated on the highest thrones of the universe and will reign with Christ for a thousand years (Revelation 20:4-6). It is not true that all the saved will rule with Christ to this extent. Over whom would they rule? Over one another? Over the lost? Obviously there must be nations of saved people for us to rule.
Is it reasonable that an individual who believes in Christ but who never has gained victory over sin and self-will in this world will suddenly, by virtue of the fact of having died physically (perhaps prematurely as a result of sin—I Corinthians 11:30), be elevated to one of the spiritual thrones that govern the material creation? Is this scriptural—or even sensible?
Some of the saved are as the "bruised reed" and the "smoking flax" (Isaiah 42:3). They must be plucked from the burning (Jude 1: 23).
There are some who are immature but who are related to the Wife of the Lamb (Song of Solomon 8:8). There are numerous queens, concubines, and virgins. There is one whom the Lord loves above all (Psalms 45:10; Song of Solomon 6:9).
King David had his "mighty men," and even they were arranged in order of prowess (II Samuel, Chapter 23).
To be continued.