Question: “What did Jesus mean when He told His disciples ‘...Be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven”? (Matt. 5:12.) Doesn’t this prove the reward of the saved is heaven”?
Answer: Only a few verses before Christ said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Now do some of the saved - “the persecuted” (verses 11-12) - go to heaven to collect their reward, while others - “the meek” - inherit the earth? Did Jesus Christ contradict Himself in His very next breath ? Certainly NOT !
We can begin to understand by noticing what the Apostle Peter was inspired to write: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, RESERVED IN HEAVEN for you” (I Peter 1:3-4). Notice it! The reward of the saved - the inheritance of true Christians - is RESERVED in heaven. That is where it is kept at this present time. But do Christians go to heaven to receive their reward?
Jesus Christ explained it in the book of Revelation: “And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is WITH ME, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Rev. 22:12). When Christ returns from heaven the second time, He will bring the reward of the saved with Him! Though now temporarily reserved in heaven, Jesus will bring the reward to this earth!
Jesus explained it further in the parable of the young nobleman who went to a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to RETURN (Luke 19:12). Christ went up into heaven to receive His Kingdom from the Father (Daniel 7:13-14), and at the end of the present AGE He will RETURN. At His second coming He will return to earth and REWARD His true servants according to how much they have overcome their sins and produced the fruit of obedience (Luke 19:13-19). But what is included in the reward of the saved? For one thing, rulership over the earth! When He returns Jesus will say, “Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou AUTHORITY over ten cities” (verses 17, 19).
Now read this: “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the NATIONS: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron . . .” (Rev. 2:26-27). The Prophet Daniel was also inspired to write, “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom UNDER the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Dan. 7:27). How clear! Jesus did not say Christians will receive their reward IN heaven. Rather, the reward - authority, an office of power in the Kingdom of God - is being temporarily RESERVED in heaven because that is where Jesus is now. But it will be brought to the earth, where Jesus will reward His saints, in the Kingdom of God, with positions of RULERSHIP and authority over the nations.
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