Is Revelation Related to a Christian's Reward?

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Is Revelation Related to a Christian's Reward?

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Geography is very important to grasping our human condition. As a species, we are place-oriented. We were all born at a specific place and at a specific time somewhere on this planet. Maybe we grew up at our birthplace and then moved elsewhere. Some of us have resided on more than one continent. Every person’s place experience is unique.

We often become emotionally, if not nostalgically, attached to our birthplace, to the sites of our greatest success and happiness and sometimes even to the land of our ancestors.

Ancient Israel’s Promised Land was and is an actual place on this earth. To this day it holds a special place in the thinking of almost every Jew and many Christians. God’s promises to the patriarch Abraham originally consisted of specific portions of this earth, but kept expanding until they now include the whole world (Romans 4:13 Romans 4:13For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
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). Jesus Christ noted that the meek “shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5 Matthew 5:5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
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).

If we look to the Bible as our guide, we may conceive of our future reward during the afterlife as being in a particular place too.

Common misconceptions

Many preachers speak of “when we get to heaven.” They may picture it as somewhere up there beyond what we can see in the sky above. Songsters have even sung about “the great somewhere.” Many apparently still seem to think that the saved will spend eternity playing harps in heaven.

Some seem to believe that heaven is where we are all going after we die—while cavalierly consigning unbelievers to the fires of an ever-burning hell somewhere below.

But are these ethereal concepts really true in the light of God’s Word? Only the Bible can reveal the real truth to us (2 Timothy 3:15-17 2 Timothy 3:15-17 15 And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.
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; 2 Peter 1:20-21 2 Peter 1:20-21 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
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).

The Bible: an earth-oriented book

Scripture speaks of heaven as where God resides. But we human beings live here on an earth protected by our planet’s atmosphere, continually breathing in precious air. Even if traveling to the moon in a spaceship, astronauts have to take life-preserving oxygen with them just to survive in space.

The psalmist exclaimed: “The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (Psalms 115:16 Psalms 115:16The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s: but the earth has he given to the children of men.
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). King Solomon further explains: “God is in heaven, and you on earth” (Ecclesiastes 5:2 Ecclesiastes 5:2Be not rash with your mouth, and let not your heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and you on earth: therefore let your words be few.
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). The vast majority of events described in the Bible play out here on this planet. The earth is where God is working with men and women to bring them into His divine family and Kingdom (Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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).

During this age of man, we are only privileged to have the briefest of biblical glimpses into the divine activities of God, Jesus Christ and the angels in heaven.

In the beginning book of the Bible, after it first announces that God is the Creator of both the heavens and the earth—His attention and creative action then focuses on planet earth (Genesis 1:1-2 Genesis 1:1-2 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.
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). This sets a basic pattern for what follows in the rest of Scripture. As a whole, the Bible is primarily written from the viewpoint of an earth-dweller.

Some 4,000 years later the living Jesus Christ revealed an overall outline of God’s future plan and purpose to the apostle John. He was instructed to write in a book what he saw and heard. It is called the Revelation of Jesus Christ because He is the Revelator (Revelation 1:1 Revelation 1:1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John:
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). The Bible’s final book concentrates on divinely caused activities that primarily occur here on this earth.

A new world order

Western statesmen and politicians sometimes speak of a new world order and how their plans, if implemented, would bring it about. But God does them one better and tells us in outline form, with sufficient detail, how He will institute a new age on earth in which the returning Jesus Christ becomes the new world Ruler.

“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ’ ” (Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
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).

Only God the Father and Jesus Christ can bring us a new world order worthy of the name. This task is simply beyond sinning mankind’s ability and capacity. Just look at the mess we are in now.

Jesus Christ tells us that Christians will be repaid for their good works, not necessarily always in this life, but “at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14 Luke 14:14And you shall be blessed; for they cannot recompense you: for you shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
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). This will occur when Christ returns to earth. (Please see our free booklet What Happens After Death? )

Now notice Revelation 20:1 Revelation 20:1And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
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: “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven [to earth]…” The scenario that follows, describing the restraining of Satan, takes place on planet earth.

We pick up the narrative in verse 4. “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God [those who were martyred]… And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Recall now Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
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, which explicitly says that the saints “shall reign on the earth.”

While still a human being, Jesus Christ had told His followers just before His suffering and crucifixion, “I will come again and receive you to Myself that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3 John 14:3And 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 only logical conclusion is that the resurrected saints will be with Christ reigning on this earth. After all, this planet is where the problems are.

Heaven comes down to earth

But Revelation 20 and 21 show us how every problem will be solved and every loose end tied up. Sin will finally become a thing of the past (Revelation 21:8 Revelation 21:8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
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). In fact, Christ’s righteous millennial rule anticipates the transfer of the very throne of God the Father from heaven to earth.

Then the Father Himself will join Christ and the rest of the divine family, dwelling with them forever. “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God… 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’ ” (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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).

For further understanding of these important doctrinal points that we can only touch on briefly in an article, request or download our free booklets: The Book of Revelation Unveiled , Heaven and Hell: What Does the Bible Really Teach? and What Is Your Destiny? WNP

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