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Difference between revisions of "Diversity of Destinies."

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<p>These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4—NIV) </p>
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<p>To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21—NIV) </p>
<p>The second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation hold out marvelous rewards to "him who overcomes" and warn the sinning believers of punishment. The rewards are not given to all the members of the churches but to a few (it appears) whom Christ judges to be worthy to walk with Him in white (Revelation 3:4). The rewards to the overcomer set forth in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation have nothing to do with dying and going to Heaven, it may be observed, but with tremendous endowments of authority, life, nearness to God, and service to mankind. What must be made clear to today's believers is that such rewards, which often are presented as the destiny of all who make a profession of faith in Christ, are promised to "him who overcomes." No careless, disobedient believer has any hope whatever of eating of the tree of life, becoming a pillar in the temple of God, or being seated in the supreme throne of the universe. </p>
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<p>He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:7—NIV) </p>
<p>Should we conclude, therefore, that all the other believers will be cast into the Lake of Fire, there to be tormented without hope for eternity, never again to behold the Face of their Creator? Never again to have a prayer answered? Probably not! </p>
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<p>If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. (I Corinthians 3:14,15—NIV) </p>
<p>There is a "firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb" (Revelation 14:4). The very term firstfruits implies there is more to be harvested. </p>
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<p>Christian teaching and preaching leave people with the impression that only two choices of destiny, to be saved or lost, are available to mankind, and that all the saved are given much the same reward. However, it is not true that the destinies of all the saved are so similar there is not much point in examining the issue. </p>
<p>To our fellow Christians who would protest these differences apply only to the Jews, and all the saved Gentiles will receive the same reward in Heaven, our response is: such scripturally indefensible reasoning and assuming has all but destroyed the motivation toward growth in Christ of the members of the Christian churches. </p>
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<p>The differences in destiny among the saved are indeed important. The rewards the Scriptures hold out to us are 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. </p>
<p>One can look through the statement of faith of today's Christian denominations and perhaps not find one use of the term "the Kingdom of God," or the doctrine that the Kingdom will be established on the earth when the Lord returns. </p>
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<p>Christian teaching and preaching leave people with the impression that an individual will be seated on the throne of Christ as one of God's kings and priests or else he or she will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. </p>
<p>Yet the preaching of the Kingdom and of the rewards to be given to Christ's faithful servants when the Kingdom comes is the primary message of the New Testament. </p>
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<p>There is at least one aspect of the plan of redemption that indeed is an either-or situation. It has to do with the destiny of the individual after the judgment that takes place at the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Revelation 20:11-15). At this judgment, either the person is brought forward to enjoy eternal life in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ or else he or she is cast into the Lake of Fire prepared for the devil and his angels. </p>
<p>The main hope of the Christian salvation is the resurrection from the dead, which will take place on the earth, not in Heaven. When we are resurrected we shall stand before Christ. At that time we shall be rewarded according to the way we have behaved during our lifetime on the earth. </p>
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<p>When considering those who are brought forward to enjoy eternal life in the new world we see, in the Scriptures, that there will be saved people on the new earth who are not part of the Throne of Christ. The members of the Throne, of the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, are one set of saved persons who will occupy the new earth. But in addition there will be nations of saved people dwelling on the new earth, over whom the Lamb's Wife will rule. </p>
<p>Grace will not enter at this point. The rewards we shall receive will include a "house," a robe of righteousness that will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones. In addition we shall be given authority and power in the realm of Divine Life, nearness to God, and the opportunity for eternal fruitfulness. Our rewards will be exactly in accordance with what we have done in the body. </p>
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<p>And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24) </p>
<p>The careless, lukewarm believer who has indulged himself during his time on earth will receive the exact consequences of his disobedience. His sudden awareness of opportunities forever lost will cause him to weep in an agony of remorse and terror. </p>
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<p>The "it" of the above verse is the Wife of the Lamb. The "nations of them which are saved" are just that—the saved peoples of the earth. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament reveal to us that the saints of God will rule over the nations of saved people. </p>
<p>Let us follow the example of the honored men and women of the Scriptures and press forward toward God with all our might. The rewards for doing so will be unimaginably great. The penalties for neglecting our salvation will prove to be more painful than our worst nightmares. (from Diversity of Destinies—It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking) </p>
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<p>For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:12) </p>
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<p>And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5) </p>
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<p>To be continued. [[Diversity of Destinies 2 ]] </p>
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<p>[[Category:Sermons WOR]]</p>

Latest revision as of 23:01, 13 August 2019

Diversity of Destinies

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21—NIV)

He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:7—NIV)

If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. (I Corinthians 3:14,15—NIV)

Christian teaching and preaching leave people with the impression that only two choices of destiny, to be saved or lost, are available to mankind, and that all the saved are given much the same reward. However, it is not true that the destinies of all the saved are so similar there is not much point in examining the issue.

The differences in destiny among the saved are indeed important. The rewards the Scriptures hold out to us are 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.

Christian teaching and preaching leave people with the impression that an individual will be seated on the throne of Christ as one of God's kings and priests or else he or she will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.

There is at least one aspect of the plan of redemption that indeed is an either-or situation. It has to do with the destiny of the individual after the judgment that takes place at the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Revelation 20:11-15). At this judgment, either the person is brought forward to enjoy eternal life in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ or else he or she is cast into the Lake of Fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

When considering those who are brought forward to enjoy eternal life in the new world we see, in the Scriptures, that there will be saved people on the new earth who are not part of the Throne of Christ. The members of the Throne, of the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, are one set of saved persons who will occupy the new earth. But in addition there will be nations of saved people dwelling on the new earth, over whom the Lamb's Wife will rule.

And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24)

The "it" of the above verse is the Wife of the Lamb. The "nations of them which are saved" are just that—the saved peoples of the earth. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament reveal to us that the saints of God will rule over the nations of saved people.

For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:12)

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

To be continued. Diversity of Destinies 2