the glorious Liberty
of the children of GOD
Our first task in this Study is to define and understand exactly what is this Glorious Liberty, which evidently belongs to the children of GOD. The promise is found in the eighth chapter of the apostle Paul's epistle to the believers at Rome?
- ROMANS 8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Two ideas are set forth here, the one upon and above the other. First, the creature (mankind, see J. Stuart Russell's The Parousia, pages 224-225) is said to be in bondage to corruption, which no doubt means that he is wholly and fully encased and imprisoned within a decaying body (1 CORINTHIANS 15:42, 50). There appears to be no escape from it, and as his body continues to decay, man is corrupting with it. But then somehow he is to be set at liberty and this liberty has to do with being a son of GOD.
Some might think that when we became Christians that maybe it was then that we escaped corruption and were at that time delivered into this glorious liberty. Howbeit, that is probably not the case for Paul's continual and re-occurring theme here was the resurrection. In verse eleven he declared that GOD, who raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken (make alive) their mortal bodies. In verse thirteen he promised that if they shall mortify (make dead) the deeds of the body then they shall live, no doubt in resurrection. Then a couple of verses after the passage we are studying Paul reveals that he too was waiting for this deliverance, this adoption, the redemption of his body.
- ROMANS 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
This passage also is most curious. Paul stated here that they were groaning within themselves as they waited for their adoption, which was to coincide with the redemption of their bodies. What else can this mean than that their resurrection and adoption would happen together, or at least in close proximity to one another.
We should note that Paul was careful to make the distinction here that these sons of GOD were adopted children (ROMANS 8:15), and not begotten. Yeshua (Jesus) was GOD's only begotten Son (JOHN 3:18), all others are adopted (see the Study, By Birth or Adoption?).
We may be called sons of GOD now, but the fulness of the reality and all that that entails we won't enter into until our resurrection. After our death and resurrection, after our gathering together into heaven, into the kingdom of GOD and HIS Son, we shall then be formally declared GOD's adopted sons (EPHESIANS 1:4-5) and deemed joint heirs with Christ then entering into that glory (ROMANS 8:17, 19). It is only then that we shall receive new bodies, like unto His (PHILIPPIANS 3:21). It is then that we shall receive eminent and profound responsibilities, like unto His (2 TIMOTHY 2:10 REVELATION 3:21).
To grasp the depth and magnitude of all that Paul intended by this Glorious Liberty, let us begin by considering the context of his statement. Chapter eight comes off of chapter seven, for Paul emphatically stated in the first verse, "Therefore now"! Therefore means that we must look at what preceded the therefore to see exactly what he intended his reader to understand.
But chapter seven cannot be understood, indeed is not understood, unless we first perceive just what the entire epistle is about. This is thoroughly and minutely set forth by Paul S. Minear in his book, The Obedience of Faith, but we will give a brief summary of it here.
In his epistle, Paul was addressing a schism which had developed in the Christian fellowships at Rome (ROMANS 11:18; 12:3, 10, 16, 18-21; 14:2-3, 10, 13-15, 20; 15:2, 5). He was first confronting some of the Jewish believers who had become put off with and even separated themselves from many of the Gentiles believers because these were not willing to observe many aspects of the Jewish law (ROMANS 2:1, 17-29, 27-28; 4:1-17; 8:2-6; 9:6-13, 30-33; 10:1-11, 19-21; 11:9-11; 13:8, 10).
Following this, some of the Gentile believers had been ridiculing the weak faith of their Jewish brethren because of their strict observance of that same Jewish law, which these Gentiles deemed useless and unnecessary. Paul then had to remind these Gentiles not only of the special Jewish position but also how they themselves must not live a loose and lax life (ROMANS 3:1-2, 31; 6:1, 12-23; 7:12; 9:3-5; 11:1-5, 12-22, 25-32; 13:9, 12-14; 14:1, 21; 15:1, 8-12). As a result of this growing schism, some of the Jewish Christians refused to eat or fellowship with their Gentile brethren and the whole controversy was ripping the Church at Rome apart, which had been intended by GOD to be one unified fellowship (ROMANS 3:29; 4:9; 9:24; 10:12; 15:27).
Thus, in the seventh chapter, Paul rehearsed with them how he also had been misled by his misunderstanding of the true nature of the Mosaic Law (7:8-12), even condemning to prison and death those with whom he disagreed. For the interested reader we have set forth this exposition of the seventh chapter of ROMANS in more detail in the Study, No Condemnation.
So then in the eighth chapter Paul was building off of these preliminary remarks to declare that they likewise should not be condemning one another for how they each chose to live their lives, either Jews or Gentiles (8:1). If the Jews wanted to abstain from certain foods (14:2-3), the Gentiles shouldn't condemn them for it. And if the Gentiles didn't want to observe any of the Jewish holy days, then the Jews shouldn't condemn them for that either (14:5).
Chapter eight was Paul expounding unto them much that awaited them as adopted sons of GOD, in the kingdom of heaven. How can they then lower themselves and be carnally minded (verse 6) by condemning one another? The body is dead, only the spirit is life, and HE that raised up Christ from the dead shall soon raise them up also (verses 9-11), if indeed they have the spirit ion GOD.
Paul was endeavoring to lift their aspirations up from the petty affairs of this earthly existence to the future glory of that heavenly hope by encouraging them to view their fellow believers not from an earthly perspective but from an heavenly perspective, not after the flesh but after the spirit (verses 12-13). Thus, if they were to be adopted as GOD's sons, then they all, Jews and Gentiles, were destined to be heirs of GOD and even joint heirs with Christ (verses 16-17).
Paul further added that this earthly existence can not even be compared with that glory which awaits the believer (verse 18), for with earnest expectation (meaning with his neck outstretched in anticipation) mankind intently looks for that deliverance from the bondage of corruption into that glorious liberty of the sons of GOD (verses 19-21).
But as noted above, the apostle Paul along with all of his readers, were still waiting for the redemption of their bodies, when they shall formally be declared the adopted sons of GOD (verse 23). Only Yeshua had entered into that glory. All other believers must await His return and their own day before HIS throne (REVELATION 20:12-15) to discover and actually receive the glorious inheritance which awaited them.
Howbeit, however strange or foreign it may sound, a good argument can be made that Christ has already returned and gathered together His Church into heaven, probably around a dozen years after Paul wrote ROMANS (see the Study, Whatever Happened to Timothy?). That would mean that the gathering together of the first century saints has now already transpired. That further means that we today must await, not His Return, but our own death and resurrection (1 CORINTHIANS 15:23) so as to enter His kingdom.
That the return of Christ has already occurred might at first seem disconcerting to the modern Christian, but it is the only sensible explanation for the many and oft repeated statements in scripture concerning the Lord's expected return, which for the first century believers was fast coming upon them (REVELATION 22:6-7, 10, 12, 20).
- MATTHEW 16:27-28 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Yeshua plainly said here that some of His listeners would not die till He had returned "in the glory of His Father with the angels". Not only so, but every single writer of the Christian Scriptures (the New Testament) wrote of the expected return of Christ being in their very near future. Only Church Traditions have deceived and convinced the modern Church goer that this Parousia was for some reason held off, held in abeyance, or postponed, now for over two thousand years. But when the scriptures are read as they were plainly written, then we don't have to invent silly excuses for His assumed delay.
But in this present Study about this Glorious Liberty, let us look into the different aspects of that heavenly calling and see if we can understand more perfectly the promise and hope of that calling. Let us then consider what awaits us in His kingdom, what might be our responsibilities and purposes in that heavenly realm. Let us discover and at least glimpse that glorious liberty which continues to await the sons of GOD.
Not long before His capture, and torture, and crucifixion, Yeshua instructed His followers concerning many aspects of His Father's kingdom when He proclaimed several parables specifically detailing that kingdom. One particular parable had to do with a certain man traveling into a far country (MATTHEW 25:14), which no doubt mirrored His own approaching death and departure a short time later.
In the parable He taught that before this man left for his journey, that he granted his servants certain talents which they were commissioned to put to use. Then at his subsequent return he rewarded them accordingly. Yeshua closed the parable with these most solemn words;
- MATTHEW 25:31-34 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations [ethnos, not necessarily nations in particular but more so the multitudes]: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Some of those gathered together were to inherit a kingdom which was prepared for them even from the foundation of the world. A kingdom is not a fluffy cloud where one kicks back and relaxes, enjoying idleness and easy living. A kingdom is a place that must be governed, it must be administered, it must be kept up. A kingdom has rulers and servants; it has friends and enemies; it has obligations.
By the parable of the three men who received the talents, Yeshua was clearly revealing certain aspects of this heaven kingdom. He was plainly explaining to them that how one conducted his affairs in this life, was most definitely going to affect his responsibilities in the next life. We are not here on earth to just get saved and then go to heaven. We are here to prove our own worth (2 THESSALONIANS 1:5). We are here to learn discipline and forgiveness and mercy. We are here to produce the fruit of the spirit.
This parable was about three servants, two whom were diligent in varying degrees with their talents but another who was weak, perhaps lazy, at least fearful. The parable is the intricate and graphic backdrop of Yeshua's promise about a future kingdom for His faithful followers. Evidently, faithfulness in this present life was to be recognized and rewarded in the next life. Evidently, proper stewardship in this present life was to be put to use in the next life. The message is as clear as can be.
As we go through this Study, we shall see this theme repeated over and over in the scriptures. We shall read of promises and hopes and expectations for the faithful followers of Yeshua when they are resurrected to eternal life. They were not expecting some eternal rest from all of life's annoyances. Instead they found themselves being prepared for future challenges, for future endeavors, for future conquests.
This earthly existence is for the sole purpose of preparing us for that next life, that life after our resurrection. Then it will be that we shall realize how important it was for us to remain faithful to our calling. Then it will be that it fully dawns on us why GOD raised us up to learn and live by HIS precepts. Then we shall understand just how critically important the race set before us has been.
A good place for us to launch out upon this quest is with Yeshua's unprecedented Sermon on the Mount. In it He declared certain truths which are often received with some doubt and even skepticism. But all is made clear when we consider His words in light of the resurrection.
- MATTHEW 5:3, 5, 10 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. . . . Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. . . . Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the poor and meek and persecuted. This concept is hardly sensible to the modern ear. Yet if His words are considered in the context with which He delivered them, the context of not an earthly but a resurrected existence, then His words are perfectly logical. Only then, after resurrection are His promises sensible. The poor and meek and persecuted in this life will be immeasurably blessed in the next life.
We should note that Yeshua declared here that the meek were going to inherit the earth and evidently not heaven. But it is not this earth where sin and rebellion abound. It is rather a new earth, where righteousness and godliness shall flourish (REVELATION 5:10; 21:1).
Only when we consider His words in the light of the resurrection, that He was not speaking of this present world, but He was speaking of a future life, then His words can comfort and guide us into the truth. It was the resurrection kingdom for which He lived. It was the resurrection kingdom for which He gave His life. It was the resurrection kingdom to which he continually pointed His followers (for other references to the resurrection in this same sermon, see MATTHEW 5:20, 29; 6:19-21, 33; 7:13-14, 21).
- MATTHEW 8:11-12 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This was where His mind was set, on the resurrection. That is what He lived for and this is where He was continually directing His followers. But He also realized that many of them would fail the test. Many would not be faithful with the talents committed to their trust. Yeshua was well aware that after their resurrection many of them would weep and many others were going to gnash with their teeth. They would weep because they would only too late realize that they had wasted away their lives on trivial pursuits. They would gnash with their teeth in anger and bitterness because they were to be cast out into outer darkness, and not welcomed into the banquet hall.
These parables were Yeshua drawing the curtain back just a little, and giving us a glimpse of that hidden world which awaits each of us after this earthly life has run its course and come to its conclusion. But His message was not going to be received by everyone, for He repeatedly said, "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear" (MATTHEW 11:15; 13:9, 43). Some heard and then realigned their goals and ambitions, some didn't. Rejecting His words they continued to live as if this present existence had no bearing on the next life.
The consequences of this earthly life is not something for us to toy with. This present existence is not to be taken lightly. This is a serious business with which we are to concern ourselves; it is vital and critical to future life. Indeed, learning and heeding His guidance is our entire purpose and should be our whole-hearted and faithful pursuit.
The genius of it all is that our Creator designed HIS creation so that no one can escape HIS judgment; no one will be able to avoid the fact that GOD will have the last word. Many might think that they can evade or elude their Maker as they go about their daily routines, but we are all on the same train heading for the same final destination, and no one can get off until it arrives at HIS judgment seat. There we will all de-board and receive our just rewards.
- JOHN 5:28-29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation [judgment].
During this earthly existence we may each go our own way and think that we are choosing our own path, but eventually we will have to answer for each of our decisions. Some may laugh now; some may doubt and ridicule the scriptures now; some may laugh us to scorn; some may even curse their Maker and turn away from HIS calling; but in the end HE shall have the last word. In the end our Maker shall decide where we spend eternity, not us.
Yet HE is not a shrewd or unjust GOD. HE desires that all men be saved and make it into HIS kingdom (1 TIMOTHY 2:4). Scripture tells us that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (JOHN 3:16). Thus, Yeshua promised that He was going to prepare a place for His disciples, that where He was they could be also (JOHN 14:2-3). He more than once prayed to the Father that His followers would be allowed to be with Him and behold His glory (JOHN 17:24). But He also fully realized the hard fact that many would just not believe. Many were not going to hear and heed His warnings and instructions. Indeed, many were going to reject all which He was endeavoring to reveal.
Yeshua therefore sought out faithful stewards to be His fellow heirs, those who could be trained to be trusted, those who had proved their loyalty and faithfulness to GOD. Thus He admonished them that if they were not faithful in that which is least, if they had not been faithful even in unrighteous mammon, or that which is another's (LUKE 16:10-13), then why would they suppose that the true riches would be entrusted to them?
Our tests await us in this life. Here is where we are given countless opportunities to prove ourselves. In the here and now we face multiple chances to demonstrate our own worth.
Yeshua's original apostles and disciples also carried this same message, that it was in the kingdom of heaven, after the resurrection, where the believer who had cultivated and harvested this faith, was going to find true and everlasting riches.
- JAMES 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
The poor of this world are often rich in faith because they are the ones who usually have no where to go but to GOD. The rich and powerful do not need GOD. They have adequate insurance and available credit to get them out of most any jam. But the poor are the ones who must rely on their Maker and not their money. The poor are the ones who must cast all their care on HIM.
The poor of this world were to be heirs in the next world, and not just heirs but heirs of a kingdom. In other words, they were to inherit and be possessors of a future kingdom, no doubt vastly superior to any earthly one. But it was still a kingdom none the less, which required to be ruled and administered. It was an inheritance which would need to be stewarded, and governed and reigned over (MATTHEW 24:47). It was an inheritance which was to be "incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away" (1 PETER 1:3-4).
Evidently those heirs were not to be just idle inhabiters of this kingdom, but they were to be active rulers, for we are further told that they were to wear crowns.
- JAMES 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
- 1 PETER 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
- 1 CORINTHIANS 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
- 1 TIMOTHY 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
- (see also REVELATION 3:11; 4:4, 10)
These crowns were to be awarded after the resurrection when the chief Shepherd returned and gathered together His flock into heaven. We should note that a crown usually sets one individual apart from others, often for some special responsibility. The crown not only recognized one's accomplishments but often signified some special privilege or authority.
As noted in the above passages, crowns are indicative of ones accomplishments. James wrote that they were to be awarded after one endured temptation. Likewise, Paul wrote that they were given to those who had mastered self control or temperance. The crowns were to be awarded there, in a future kingdom, as rewards for accomplishments and achievements made here. Thus, it is natural to conclude that overcoming today's trials and tribulations earn crowns in the next life.
Peter wrote that the crowns were to be awarded to those who willingly fed the flock of GOD; not for money or as being lords over the Church, but as righteous examples for the other believers to imitate (1 PETER 5:2-4). If they proved themselves responsible in handling the fellowships here, and lived righteous godly lives, then they could expect to be rewarded with crowns of glory in the next life.
In REVELATION we are given further insight into the purpose of these crowns. Yeshua Himself promised that "he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power [exousia, authority] over the nations [ethnos, the multitudes]" (REVELATION 2:26). The Greek word ethnos, rendered here as nations, doesn't necessarily mean nations as we today think of the word. The Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon defines it as,
- 1. a multitude (whether of men or beasts) associated or living together;
- 2. a multitude of individuals of the same nature or genus
- 3. race, nation
- 4. foreign nations not worshipping the true God, pagans, Gentiles
- 5. Paul uses ethnos even of Gentile Christians
We must therefore look at and rely on the context of the word so as to understand to what multitudes Yeshua was referring. The second and third chapters of REVELATION were written to and about seven Churches in Asia. REVELATION itself was written concerning the end of the age when Jerusalem and much of the Land of Israel were to be destroyed and laid bare. It has to do with the tribes and peoples of Palestine and not the far flung nations of the globe.
Evidently some sort of authority was to be given to those who were deemed qualified to receive it; those who had overcome the trials and tribulations of this life. And further, this was to be an authority which the over-comers were going to wield over these multitudes. To what purpose? The next verse tells us, "And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers".
This is quite an astounding passage. Those who were faithful to keep Yeshua's works were going to be given authority to rule the multitudes with a rod of iron, possibly smashing them into bits and pieces. We must wonder how this could be? In what manner can a resurrected believer in a future kingdom, a heavenly kingdom, exercise such rule over multitudes?
The entire context of Yeshua's discourse here (the second and third chapter) was concerning the members of seven Churches, who were being encouraged to persevere with labor (faith, charity and patience) so as to overcome various challenges (tribulation, poverty, idolatry, fornication, adultery, and even prison) which they were then facing. As such, those who repented of their sins, those who were faithful unto death and kept the word of His patience, were to be awarded crowns with the consequence that they themselves would then have authority to rule over others.
This phrase about ruling the multitudes with a rod of iron is found three times in the Christian scriptures (REVELATION 2:27; 12:5; 19:15). It is probably a quotation from PSALM 2:8 where a king of Judah was being congratulated for his coming triumph over the neighboring nations (see Crawford Howell Toy's Quotations in the New Testament, page 204). These heathen rulers were raging against GOD and HIS newly anointed king, asserting independence from their authority. Howbeit, GOD laughed at their pathetic boastings, warning them of the fatal mistake they were together contemplating.
No matter how we slice it, when it comes to ruling the multitudes with a rod of iron, it does not appear that we can get around the fact that somebodies were going to be getting their heads knocked together. Sure, sometimes rule (poimaino) can mean to feed (see LUKE 17:7 and JOHN 21:16) and a rod can be a staff (MARK 6:8 and HEBREWS 11:21), but the context on all four of the occasions of this phrase substantiates the meaning which the translators have given it. Some obdurate multitudes were going to ruled, over-ruled evidently against their own will, and then possibly they would be smashed to pieces as clay vessels.
Perhaps the key for us in understanding these passages is to look and consider what Yeshua was doing as He Himself, in resurrection ruled the multitudes. If the resurrected believers are to be joint heirs with Christ (ROMANS 8:17), seated on thrones resembling His throne (MATTHEW 19:28), then should we not see the two roles as parallel? As King of kings and Lord of lords He will surely have other kings and other lords ruling under Him. Is it not natural for us to conclude that these other kings and lords are those believers which have been given crowns after their own resurrection (REVELATION 1:6)?
In this discourse in REVELATION Yeshua had instructed His apostle John to tell the Ephesian Church that if they refused to repent, then He would come and remove their candlestick out of its place (REVELATION 2:5). Being a candlestick meant that the Church had Yeshua in its presence, protecting and nurturing it (REVELATION 1:20; 2:1). Thus, we are to understand that if these church-goers failed to repent and walk worthy of their calling, that they would evidently then be removed and isolated from His care and protection.
We are also told here that unless the sinner repented of his sins, the Lord would come and fight against him with the sword of His mouth (2:16). This no doubt indicates that words would be His weapons. The words of truth would be plunged or driven deep within the sinners soul, sometimes inflicting a mortal wound, but then perhaps at other times causing repentance.
Then we have this most astounding declaration.
- REVELATION 2:22-23 Behold, I will cast her [Jezebel] into a bed [Aramaic has grave], and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Whether this Jezebel was a real individual in the Church at Thyatira or a figure representing the evil queen of former times, it can not be known. But it is noted that she was a false prophetess who was teaching and seducing the believers, even leading them to commit fornication. No doubt her children were her followers, those who participated with her in her sins (1 JOHN 3:10).
Further on in the next chapter we are told that those who do not overcome will evidently have their names blotted out of the book of life (REVELATION 3:5). But at the same time it is said that those who do overcome will have their names confessed before the Father and HIS angels. We picture here an heavenly court (REVELATION 4) being held where certain individuals have had their cases reviewed and presented to the Judge by certain witnesses (HEBREWS 10:28; 12:1). Judgment is passed and some are preserved to eternal life while others to eternal death.
Yeshua closed this most interesting section of scripture with the following important declaration.
- REVELATION 3:20-22 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
What a most remarkable mental picture this produces for us. Yeshua standing and knocking at the door, waiting for the inhabiter to respond and answer the call. All that He requires is for the individual to hear His voice and open the door of his heart. If he does this, all that follows will be a life of growth and learning, a life of fellowship and intimate communion. He will then train us to be over-comers. He will teach us all the necessary abilities so as to qualify us to sit with Him on His throne. What is required of us to initiate this transformation is simply for us to hear His voice and then open our hearts.
Thus Yeshua was declaring that He would come and set things right. Will this not also be the role of the resurrected believer? When some are set upon thrones will they not also be performing these same functions as their Lord (ROMANS 6:5)? Yeshua pointedly stated that He would give the over-comers this power over the multitudes. And we can further surmise that they are still ruling today (REVELATION 22:5). They are at this very hour, in some fashion, still wielding that rod of iron.
So who exactly were the multitudes over which Yeshua (and the over-comers) were ruling? They were both the believers and the unbelievers. They were members of the seven Churches as well as members of the Church of Satan (REVELATION 2:9; 3:9). They were both believers and deceivers. They were the erring Christians who were being called on to repent, and they were the false prophetess who was deceiving her children. In essence, the multitudes were every and all.
Thus, resurrection life is for those who have learned in this present world to be righteous. It is for those who have over-come the temptations and trials of this life so as to develop the fruit of the spirit for the next life. In the resurrection they are then given crowns because they have proved themselves qualified to rule the multitudes.
- 2 PETER 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
These exceeding great promises of which Peter spoke have to do with the glorious liberty which awaits the children of GOD, after their resurrection. He then went on a couple of verses later (1:7) to explain that the trial of their faith was much more precious than gold, expecting that when Christ returned they would then find praise, and honor, and glory. Praise, honor and glory are awarded in the next life for accomplishments in this life.
In this same epistle he stated that righteousness dwells in the new heavens and the new earth (3:13). This explains why we must learn to be righteous now, for there, in the resurrection, unrighteousness will not be tolerated. Thus, it is in this life where GOD is striving to make us perfect.
- 1 PETER 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
After they had suffered a while, Peter wrote, then they will be made perfect, and be established, strengthened and settled. As such we are not told that the believer can live an unholy life now, participating in all of the sins of the world, and then at his resurrection that he will be touched with a magic wand and be made righteous. No, according to the context here, he is to learn to be righteous by self discipline. This of course tells us that the challenges and struggles of this present life prepare us for that next life, after resurrection.
- 1 PETER 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
To gird up the loins of one's mind, means to grab hold of your mind and force it to do what is right. In Charles Biggs book, The Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude he has the following comment on this word.
- anazosamenoi. "Having girded up the loins of our mind"; the verb is used of gathering or tucking up long skirts by means of a belt so as to be ready for energetic action. . . . Those who have girded up their loins are ready for instant obedience. (page 112)
If we are to be obedient, then we must be disciplined. We must learn to control what we think and do. Thus, Peter wrote in the next few passages that being no longer fashioned by their former lusts, they were to be holy, for at the resurrection each of them were to be judged, not according to his whims or good intentions, but rather according to his works.
Peter went on in his second epistle to encourage them to diligently pursue such things, that at the resurrection they might be found without spot and blameless (2 PETER 3:14). If they were going to be found blameless, then they were not going to be living in sin. No where does Peter suggest anything about the sinner being cleansed or made perfect after his resurrection. It was all to be done here, in this present life. As such, they were to obey the Lord's precepts and learn to discipline themselves to live godly, righteous lives.
John plainly wrote in his first epistle that the believer is perfected as he keeps Yeshua's word (I JOHN 2:5). It is beyond comprehension how one can think that this perfecting will be accomplished in the next life, regardless how one conducts himself in this present life. To keep the word is to obey the word, which is a habit we must develop and perfect in this present life.
Peter capsulized all of this in the opening of his second epistle.
- 2 PETER 1:5-11 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. . . .
- But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Twice Peter instructed them here to be diligent. This was perhaps a reflection of those servants with the varying talents of which Yeshua had taught in His parable which we noted earlier. Two were diligent, the other was not. Two were given further responsibilities while the other was stripped of the little which had been entrusted to him.
Then Peter told them to add to their faith virtue, and then knowledge, and then temperance, and then patience, and then godliness, and then brotherly kindness, and finally charity. All of this demands effort and decision and discipline. But if one is not disciplined and has not learned to produce these fruit, then as Peter said, he "is blind and cannot see afar off", which means that he does not look at life in the perspective of the resurrection. He is living solely for this earthly existence and does not realize, or seem to realize, that there is a judgment day fast approaching.
Howbeit, for those who did what Peter instructed, for them an entrance was to be opened into that everlasting kingdom of the resurrection. Those who learned to produce and harvest these fruit were assured a seat at the table in that heavenly banquet (GALATIANS 5:21-22). All others were wandering around lost and confused, bewildered about all which life seemed to throw at them. They look at life as unfair and perhaps see GOD as cruel or uncaring, or unable to manage HIS creation.
We have many more details concerning this future kingdom spelled out for us in HEBREWS.
- HEBREWS 2:5-10 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying,
- What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet [PSALMS 8:4-6].
- For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
- But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Evidently then, the world to come was to be put in subjection to man, just as the present world is currently under his dominion. This revelation is most intriguing. In the present world man rules within the parameters within which GOD allows. He cannot govern beyond the laws of nature, so to speak. Nor can he inflict injustice beyond what GOD might allow. As such, in the world to come, those found worthy to be resurrected and granted crowns to rule, shall also be subject to their higher power. GOD is over all, then Yeshua rules under HIM. Others are then appointed to rule under them.
This resurrection kingdom is the better country which the Hebrew believers desired (HEBREWS 11:16), where GOD would not be ashamed to be called their GOD. In this resurrection kingdom is also the city they looked for, whose builder and maker was GOD (HEBREWS 11:10 REVELATION 21:10), for here in this present life they had no continuing city, but rather they sought one to come (HEBREWS 13:14).
We are also told that these believers were partakers of a heavenly calling (HEBREWS 3:1). This no doubt intimates that they were aware of a distant tugging on their heart strings. They were being exhorted and encouraged to pursue that calling which was echoing out from heaven itself. They were being instructed to seek that which is above rather than the trivial pursuits of this present life (MATTHEW 6:33 COLOSSIANS 3:1).
Scripture also described a rest which the people of GOD were to anticipate and enter into. But this rest was not an eternal rest, where one was to endlessly recline on some fluffy cloud in the wild blue yonder. This rest was instead likened to the rest which the ancient Hebrews were to experience when they entered the Promised Land (HEBREWS 3:18). A lifetime of fruitful and joyful activity awaited them there, but not a sleepy lazy existence.
We should note that the writer of HEBREWS also likens this rest to the rest GOD took on the seventh day after HIS creation work was finished (HEBREWS 4:4, 10). Howbeit, no where in scripture is it intimated that this rest was eternal. Instead it was plainly stated that GOD rested on one day, but then probably on the very next day HE was back at work managing HIS creation (EXODUS 31:17).
Thus it was exactly the same with the Sabbath which man was thereafter commanded to observe. He was to rest on one day and then after that refreshment he was to get back to work. As such, the Sabbath rest was meant to rejuvenate and re-invigorate the believer for future labors. We should then naturally conclude that the rest awaiting the people of GOD in heaven is not an eternal rest but a short respite, perhaps for the reason of re-setting our bearings and in all likelihood giving us a chance to recall much that GOD had done for us during our own wilderness journey (DEUTERONOMY 5:12-15).
Let us briefly recall what exactly happened when the Hebrews crossed the Jordan River, into this Promised Land. First they had to fight the inhabitants to gain control of their cities and towns. Then they would no doubt have to rebuild that which had been destroyed by the conquest. Eventually they would have to till the soil, care for the sheep and raise the cattle up into great herds. God did not call them to this Promised Land so that they could be idle and then become fat and lazy. HE gave this new Land as an opportunity for their growth and greatness. Not for their fleshly lusts but for their service to the nations, as GOD's priests.
Let us consider also what sort of activities Yeshua was involved in after being ascended into heaven and seated upon His throne in GOD's heavenly kingdom. We first see Him standing for Stephen as this first martyr gave his life for his Savior (ACTS 7:56). Then we read about Him confronting Saul as he proceeded to Damascus in his mad persecution of the saints. And let us not overlook the entire Book of REVELATION where He was not only revealing to His apostle John many details about the coming days of wrath upon the Land, but was also personally waging war with the Adversary.
The epistle of HEBREWS calls the resurrected Yeshua the High Priest (HEBREWS 2:17; 3:1; 4:14; 5:5; 6:20; 7:26; 8:1; 9:11; 10:21), which intimates that He was going to be acting in that capacity and performing these functions perhaps to the end of time. Yeshua was also called the Captain of Salvation, which suggested that He was guiding and directing His vessel, which no doubt contained His followers, through troubled waters into the safe harbor of salvation (HEBREWS 2:10). In resurrection, Yeshua was indeed a very busy Lord.
But this is not the kind of life which most of us have been led to believe is waiting for us after our resurrection, where it has been said that we will recline in an eternal rest. There is every indication in scripture that we are going to be kept very busy with our various responsibilities. Responsibilities which we are being trained and prepared for during this present life.
- HEBREWS 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
It was labor for the week so as to rest for a day. The believer is never instructed to set back and enjoy idleness. Instead they were told to "hold fast our confidence. . . firm unto the end" (HEBREWS 3:6). They were instructed to obey Him who was made perfect (HEBREWS 5:9). Yeshua Himself obtained His glory only after He had patiently endured (HEBREWS 6:15). Thus, the obedient follower is also to patiently endure that they too might be made perfect and thus become partakers of HIS holiness (HEBREWS 12:10), apart from which no man shall see the LORD.
The believer is likewise continually being prepared for the responsibilities which he is to be expected to perform in that next life, that resurrection life, in the kingdom of heaven (HEBREWS 8:10-11).
- HEBREWS 10:35-39 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
This passage says it in all of its beautiful particulars. The believer is instructed to remain confident in his calling, always cognizant that there awaits in resurrection great rewards. For the first century believer Yeshua's return was near, very near, a little while off the writer promises. But if his readers don't remain faithful to their calling they shall evidently find entrance into the kingdom of GOD difficult at best, if not entirely impossible.
Thus the readers were encouraged to remember that faith required the believer to first and foremost recognize that GOD is, and then secondly that HE will indeed reward those who diligently seek HIM (HEBREWS 11:6). This is in essence all which is required for a life of faith. First believe in GOD's existence and then over the course of our lives diligently seek HIM, realizing that in the end we will be amply rewarded. The believers were further assured that as heirs, they were to be helped along by ministering spirits (HEBREWS 1:13), sent forth to help and assist them during their own wilderness journey.
The apostle Paul likewise wrote of this need for self discipline and faithful stewardship as requirements for entering the resurrection kingdom.
- 2 CORINTHIANS 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The afflictions of this present life works for the believer. These so-called afflictions can effect in him that which is necessary to produce the fruit of the spirit. All which is eternal; righteousness, godliness and perfectness are the virtues and attributes which the believer needs for entering into his inheritance in the eternal kingdom of GOD.
- 1 CORINTHIANS 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
"Be not deceived" was Paul's plain warning. Those individuals who had given themselves over to the pleasures of their flesh and had failed to nurture and produce the fruit of the spirit were evidently going to find themselves shut out of the kingdom when their present life had come to its conclusion.
- 1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
"Know ye not?" Paul expected them to recognize this basic and fundamental truth, that as athletes train and practice to compete in a footrace for a plain wreath of leaves, so his readers were training and practicing as they ran the race of life. As such, Paul encouraged them that as he himself worked to control the desires of his own body so should they. As he brought into subjection the longings of his flesh, so must they.
This same warning he issued to the believers at Galatia.
- GALATIANS 5:21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
As he stated here, these are warnings which he had made before, evidently on more than one occasion. There is just no way an individual who continually practiced these works of the flesh was going to find entrance into the kingdom of GOD. As hard as it is to contemplate, these lost souls were going to find themselves shut out of eternal life.
Scripture gives us many keys enabling us to escape this corruption but it is always up to us whether or not we shall insert the key and open the door. We are the ones to decide how we respond to His knock at the door of our heart. We are the ones who decide if we are going to dwell on the things which are seen, or are we going to seek that which is unseen.
As lost wanderers we must first recognize the goodness of GOD (ROMANS 2:4). This is often accomplished as we sit at rest from our daily strifes and struggles and begin to consider and ponder HIS many blessings upon our lives. We might recall some of the mishaps we have barely avoided, by what at the time seemed like mere chance. We might also remember the fortunate coincidences which by simple happenstance changed our lives for the better. Once we recognize and become thankful for that divine favor, then our interest is aroused and we are motivated to take a closer look and consider more deeply our Creator.
Then we might graduate to the next step, which is to open the Book and receive with meekness that engrafted word which is sown in our hearts. We let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. We remain faithful to our heavenly calling and begin to be transformed, renewing our minds to what the scripture teaches. We learn to refuse to again allow ourselves to be conformed by that which the world is peddling. The fruit of the spirit thus begins to grow and develop within us and we begin to overcome our physical desires and instead pursue and direct our efforts to live for heavenly things.
- REVELATION 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
If we are ever going to be welcomed into that heavenly Jerusalem, that city whose builder and maker is GOD, then we must by discipline and determination, master the desires of the flesh and begin to reap the fruit of the spirit. It is all that simple. But it is also that utterly vital.
- 2 CORINTHIANS 5:1-4 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
Our physical fleshly bodies are only temporary tabernacles which must be discarded before we are able to enter resurrection (1 CORINTHIANS 15). The sole purpose of this life is to teach and prepare us for that next life. This treasure which GOD is perfecting within an earthly body is being prepared for entrance into HIS kingdom. As Paul wrote, "When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away" (1 CORINTHIANS 13:10).
1 CORINTHIANS 15:43-45 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:47-50 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
2 CORINTHIANS 13:4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.
GALATIAN 3:29-4:7 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
EPHESIANS 1:14, 18 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. . . . The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
EPHESIANS 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
PHILIPPIANS 1:6, 11 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: . . . . Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
COLOSSIANS 3:1-4 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
1 TIMOTHY 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
2 TIMOTHY 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2 TIMOTHY 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
TITUS 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (HEB 1:2)
GALATIANS 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
COLOSSIANS 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
COLOSSIANS 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.
COLOSSIANS 3:5-10 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
COLOSSIANS 3:25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
1 THESSALONIANS 2:12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
1 TIMOTHY 6:11-12 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
2 TIMOTHY 2:4-6 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
REVELATION 2:7, 11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. . . . He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
REVELATION 3:5, 11-12 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. . . . Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
REVELATION 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
PHILIPPIANS 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
COLOSSIANS 1:12-13 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
COLOSSIANS 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
1 TIMOTHY 6:19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
2 TIMOTHY 2:10-12. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
2 TIMOTHY 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
2 TIMOTHY 4:18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
HEBREWS 9:8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
HEBREWS 12:22, 28 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. . . .Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
REVELATION 7:9, 13-19 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands . . . . And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
REVELATION 19:7-8 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
REVELATION 20:12-15 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
REVELATION 21:1-8 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (New Jerusalem 10-27)
1 CORINTHIANS 6:2-3 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
2 CORINTHIANS 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (7-18)
2 CORINTHIANS 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
EPHESIANS 1:10-11 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
EPHESIANS 2:6-10 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
REVELATION 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
REVELATION 19:14, 21 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. . . . And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
REVELATION 22:3-4 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
PHILIPPIANS 3:11-14 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.