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The High Calling - The Book of Revelation
Week 4, 2017
As we also see throughout Revelation, as well as other biblical prophecies of the age to come, there are positions of authority in heaven. Many Christians are under the delusion that in eternity we will all be the same, but that is well-refuted in Scripture and in Jesus’ teachings about the age to come. In places like The Parable of the Talents, Jesus taught that those who are a better steward with what they are given in this life determine how much authority they will have in the age to come.
We also see distinctions, such as the “great company” that stands before the throne of God in Revelation 7 and the overcomers who will “sit with Him on His throne” (see Revelation 3). He also taught about those who are “greatest in the kingdom” and those who will be “the least in the kingdom.” His authority in the kingdom age is a kingdom—not a democracy as some seem to suppose. That He is “the King of kings” indicates that there are many kings in His kingdom, but He will always be preeminent.
This brings up a question that we should now consider: If we are all perfect in the resurrection, as many suppose, what is authority in the kingdom for? We need to consider this now because of how it can affect other things revealed in Revelation.
First, Scripture reveals an earthly resurrection and a heavenly one. Many think of eternal life being in heaven, but obviously not all are resurrected in heaven. Some, and maybe most, are resurrected on the earth. There are also rulers in the age to come, and those they rule over.
The Scriptures are clear that it will be this way, but it does not give much detail, but rather hints. When God does not address things in more detail it is because this is all we need to know at this time. We know there is what is called “a better resurrection” (see Hebrews 11:35), which is the heavenly one. We know there are those who will not just be subjects of the kingdom, but of the Lord’s own household.
Seeing the different resurrections helps us make sense of the many prophecies about the age to come. Also, we can understand what Paul wrote in Philippians 3—that he did not consider that he had yet attained. He was not talking about salvation or eternal life, which he attained the moment he believed in the cross of Jesus for his atonement. Paul wrote in this text near the end of his life that he was pressing on toward “the mark of the high calling of God in Christ.” Paul saw a “high calling” so great that after living one of the most remarkable missionary lives of all time, he did not assume that he had yet attained it. Rather, saying “this one thing I do,” he pressed on for the high calling (see Philippians 3:13-15).
This life is about “training for reigning.” We are also told that the earth will be restored to the paradise it was originally created to be, and that it will be populated. The consensus of theologians and teachers has often been that many who are saved and have eternal life but did little to pursue the high calling—or did not mature in Christ—will be resurrected on the earth as part of the restoration. Those who attained to the high calling that Paul saw will be resurrected in the heavenly nature in the heavenly realm.
This does raise other questions, which we will address as we come to the passages that illuminate them. For now, the greatest quest one could ever be on in this life is for the high calling of God in Christ. There is nothing greater that we could ever achieve in this life than this. What this is and how we pursue it is revealed throughout the Scriptures for those who have eyes to see. This is part of the message of Revelation that we see unfolding.
We also know that all who are resurrected will have a life so wonderful that we cannot comprehend or describe it yet. Even so, as we saw in the promises to “the overcomers” in the Seven Churches of Revelation, there are greater positions and rewards bestowed on those who overcome. This also seems to be a theme of the high calling—that they fought the good fight of faith and prevailed. To be an overcomer, there must be challenges to overcome.
What do we overcome? This begins with our carnal nature, which the New Testament teaches us how to overcome. This is no doubt a huge battle, but overcomers are those who do not give up until they have prevailed over it to abide with the Lord in the Spirit.
The overcomers in the Seven Churches overcome the great delusions and stumbling blocks of their times as well. We began to cover some of these, as revealed in Revelation, in the church age represented by Laodicea. There may be others that are specific to the countries we have been called to, or even the profession we have been called to.
The point is that we develop the mindset of an overcomer. We refuse to be overcome by anything of this world, even our own flesh. This whole life is meant to be a battle to test and purify those called to the highest calling—to be sons and daughters of the King of kings.
next week 5