Is Heaven the Reward of the Saved?

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Is Heaven the Reward of the Saved?

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Where will the family of God reside? What will its members be doing? Is there any biblical basis for the common idea that they will be playing harps somewhere in heaven for eternity?

What did Jesus say about the reward of the righteous?

“In My Father’s house are many [rooms]; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3 John 14:2-3 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
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The crucial question is where will Christ be? Several scriptural passages clearly show that Jesus will return here to earth and rule the nations with His saints (compare Revelation 19:1-21 Revelation 19:1-21 1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, to the Lord our God: 2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he has judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and has avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 3 And again they said, Alleluia And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. 4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. 5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all you his servants, and you that fear him, both small and great. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunder, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. 8 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. 9 And he said to me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God. 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, See you do it not: I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a clothing dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the middle of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God; 18 That you may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that worked miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat on the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
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; Revelation 20:1-6 Revelation 20:1-6 1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
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Where will the righteous rule?

“You [Jesus Christ] are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10 Revelation 5:9-10 9 And they sung a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
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The righteous saints will assist Jesus Christ in reigning over the nations during His millennial rule. As a specific example, the Bible states that the 12 apostles will reign over the descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel (Luke 22:28-30 Luke 22:28-30 28 You are they which have continued with me in my temptations. 29 And I appoint to you a kingdom, as my Father has appointed to me; 30 That you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
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; compare Matthew 19:28 Matthew 19:28And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, That you which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
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). Scripture even reveals that King David will preside over the reunited tribes of Israel (Ezekiel 37:21-25 Ezekiel 37:21-25 21 And say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, where they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22 And I will make them one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. 23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. 24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. 25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelled; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
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). Others will oversee the administration of several cities (Luke 19:16-19 Luke 19:16-19 16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, your pound has gained ten pounds. 17 And he said to him, Well, you good servant: because you have been faithful in a very little, have you authority over ten cities. 18 And the second came, saying, Lord, your pound has gained five pounds. 19 And he said likewise to him, Be you also over five cities.
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). This is a sorely neglected biblical truth.

What did the apostle Paul say about the future activities of those who receive everlasting life?

“Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” (1 Corinthians 6:2 1 Corinthians 6:2Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
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What does Jesus Christ, through the apostle John, plainly state in the book of Revelation on this subject?

“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” (Revelation 2:26 Revelation 2:26And he that overcomes, and keeps my works to the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
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“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:21 Revelation 3:21To him that overcomes 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.
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The apostolic writings show that the true role of the resurrected saints ruling in the world of tomorrow was widely taught and understood in the first-century Church. However, over the many centuries since, an apostasy grew and grew until today relatively few comprehend this major biblical teaching. The proclamation of these largely misunderstood Bible truths remains an important goal of the teachings and publishing efforts of the United Church of God.

Simply moving from the earth to heaven is not the promised reward of the saved. Assisting Jesus Christ in ruling over the nations of this earth is! (For further understanding, please request our free booklets What Happens After Death? and The Gospel of the Kingdom ).

Will the righteous ever be with God the Father Himself?

“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from 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 will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:2-3 Revelation 21:2-3 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 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.
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God, our heavenly Father, has promised ultimately to make His headquarters on the new, or totally renovated, earth (Revelation 21:1 Revelation 21:1And 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.
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), dwelling forever with those who have been transformed into spirit and glorified to live forever with Him.