This post is one in a series of posts on a Bible study I am doing titled Heaven by Randy Alcorn and Dave McCleskey. The focus of this study is to get a Biblical view of what heaven is really like.
I should apologize to anyone who happens to read my posts on a daily basis – I wasn’t able to make a post yesterday due to some stuff with work. I’m not sure how many people, if any, are following my posts on Heaven, but if you are, I apologize for being absent yesterday. The good news is that I will be making 2 posts today on this study, to make up for missing yesterday’s study.
Today’s study asked the question “will we actually rule with Christ?” There’s no doubt that Christ will someday rule in His kingdom on the New Earth – there are many scriptures that say just that. In John 18, when Pilate asked Jesus if He was the king of the Jews, Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place…You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (v. 36-37). In the Old Testament, in Zechariah 9:9-10, it says “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” This was fulfilled in Matthew 21, when Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem on the donkey. And of course, there is prophecy of Jesus being the king over everything in Revelation – in chapter 19, when speaking of Jesus it says ” ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” So there is no doubt that Christ will someday be king of all, but we are surprised whenever we are told that as Christ’s bride, that we as the church will serve as the queen, so to speak. We will rule with Christ, under His authority.
In my study, Alcorn says that it is a wonder that we don’t understand this concept. Apparently, it is written through the entire Bible, from the first few chapters of Genesis, to that which is discussed by Jesus in the gospels, and by Paul in the Epistles:
- The Beginning. When God created the earth, he placed Adam and Eve as king and queen over the earth. He told them “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28, emphasis added). Alcorn says “their job was to rule the earth, to the glory of God. They failed.” As I’ve written about before, what God originally intended to happen with Adam and Eve and the earth – to have a creation with which He could fellowship and which would bring Him glory – is still His intention for us on the New Earth. The New Earth will be where God’s intentions finally come to fruition. His original plan will be accomplished as he originally intended. So, we will someday rule over the earth, just as Adam and Eve were supposed to from the beginning.
- The Teaching of Jesus. In Matthew 19:28, Jesus point-blank tell his disciples that they will rule with him in eternity. He says “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” While this seems to point to the apostles, there are other teachings of Jesus that seem to indicate that everyone will have some level of ruling position in eternity. Jesus’ teaching that there will be a great reversal of roles in Heaven is one of them. For instance, in Luke 14:11 Jesus says “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” This would tell me that those with lower roles on earth will be given higher roles in Heaven.
- Paul’s Epistles. On top of Jesus’ direct teachings, Paul teaches that all believers will share in Christ’s rule in Heaven. He spoke of this idea of us ruling with Christ in Heaven as a well-known concept. In 1 Corinthians 6, he asks the believers in Corinth “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” (v. 2), and “Do you not know that we will judge angels?” (v. 3). Alcorn says that the way this is written in the original Greek, it implies a continual kind of judging, or a continual rule over them. This isn’t the only area where Paul teaches this concept. “In Romans, eschatological (end times) life and eschatological reign are blended together (see Romans 5:17) and linked with Paul’s participationist understanding of baptism (see Romans 6:1-4). Ephesians further develops this idea (see 1:23; 2:6).” (quoted from THIS article).
Knowing that we will be given authority on the New Earth should help give us some perspective in our lives today. Though we may have hopes and dreams, and we may feel slighted by God when those hopes and dreams fall through, we must understand that God is preparing us now for our positions in Heaven. He is grooming us for something better. One day, we will dream greater dreams and we will get to live them out in eternity with Christ.
Click HERE to see the next post in this series.