Thanks for Asking: Will We Reign in Heaven?
Each week one of our leaders will answer any questions submitted at https://www.cf-northwest.com/cellgroup. The Answers will be posted on Fridays in the series "Thanks for Asking."
Randy Alcorn makes the claim, "Treasures in Heaven... will surely include the rewards of God entrusting His faithful children with positions of leadership in proportion to their service on Earth" (The Treasure Prinicple, p. 16).
What does it mean that believers will be given leadership in heaven? And, how might this look?
Answer from Daniel Barta (Pastor)
Whenever we attempt to describe an aspect of eternity, we must remember that Scripture does not speak with great detail about many aspects of heaven. There is a sense of mystery when we contemplate such, and we are wise to not define with clarity what God has not revealed unveiled. With that said, God has revealed some aspects of heaven that Christians will enjoy when Christ returns.
As Randy Alcorn has stated, the Scriptures teach that Christians will indeed reign with Christ. Believers will hold positions of authority and dominion. Consider just a few of these passages.
The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. - I Timothy 2:11-13
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus... - Ephesians 2:4-6
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ ” - Revelation 3:20-22
As we consider the future ruling of believers in heaven, a few observations can be made.
Observation #1 | Men and Women Were Originally Given Dominion.
If we remember the creation narrative of Genesis 1 &2, we will be reminded that God gave Adam and Eve dominion over everything in creation. He established them with responsibility and authority.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” - Genesis 1:26
Like God excercises dominion, the first couple was to exercise their authority to cultivate what was entrusted to them for the advancement and betterment of all. They were to cultivate the garden. They were to use their knowledge and their strength to work so that they and their offspring would benefit from all that God entrusted to them.
To be sure, sin has corrupted men and women leading to the corrupt use of authority and power in this world. Thankfully, when Jesus returns He will finally and forever remove sin. But, authority and the exercise of it will be preserved.
Observation #2 | Not Everyone Will have the Same Level of Authority.
Much like in today's world, some men and women will hold domion and authority over very little while others will be entrusted with much.
And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ - Luke 19:17-19
The amount of dominion entrusted to an individual in the heavenly kingdom correlates with his/her faithfulness in the present age. Did they serve the King faithfully with the little entrusted to them on earth? If so, they will be entrusted with much in the age to come. However, those who prove unfaithful will be entrusted with little.
Observation #3 | All Who Rule in Heaven Will Rule with Christ.
In the age to come, no rival kingdoms will compete with the Lord. Instead, the believers will faithfully and rigteously excerise their dominion in whatever measure they posess for the will and desires of the Jesus. Each will do so freely, uncoerced by threat or compelled by selfish impulse. Instead, all God saints will know Him, love Him, and with joy serve Him. In a world full of corrupt authorities and powers, we long for the day when Christ returns, His kingdom is fulfilled, and believers along with Christ begin to rule according to righteousness and truth.
Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice. Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land. Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed, and the ears of those who hear will give attention. The heart of the hasty will understand and know, and the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak distinctly. The fool will no more be called noble, nor the scoundrel said to be honorable. For the fool speaks folly, and his heart is busy with iniquity, to practice ungodliness, to utter error concerning the Lord, to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied, and to deprive the thirsty of drink. As for the scoundrel—his devices are evil; he plans wicked schemes to ruin the poor with lying words, even when the plea of the needy is right. But he who is noble plans noble things, and on noble things he stands. - Isaiah 32:1-8