THE BEMA SEAT AND OUR CROWNS & OUR RULE WITH CHRIST
Why King James Only?
Related Issues of the Laodicean church today
When each of us stand before the Judgment SEAT of Jesus Christ called the BEMA SEAT 2 Corinthians 5:10 KJV . This Judgment is not regarding our salvation but rather our works we’ve done for our Lord as Christians. Here are the crowns we may get depending on what we’ve accomplished. Exception: All true Christians will receive the crown of REJOICING.
The Crown of Righteousness 2 Timothy 4:8 KJV.
The Incorruptible Crown 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 KJV.
The Crown of Life James 1:12 KJV
The Crown of Glory 1 Peter 5:2-4 KJV
The Crown of Rejoicing 1 Thessalonians 2:19 KJV
A shining light of brilliance. Just as stars have different intensity some of us will shine brighter than others depending on our works and accomplishments that have been recorded in heaven.
See study on striving lawfully which is rightly dividing the word of truth in working and teaching in the proper dispensation of GRACE. 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
Also recommend Reading this link
God keeps records and memorials
THE INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN IS THE CROWN OF THE OVERCOMERS
Why this is so critical. Read 2 Timothy 2:12. See Suffering – Overcoming.
G5278 preserve under misfortunes and trials; used in Romans 12:12; 1 Corinthians 13:7 for the church. Now compare with Matthew 10:22, 13:13, 24:13 KJV which applies to the JEWS and the Tribulation saints which is salvation. For the church this is NOT a salvation issue but a REWARD and REIGNING issue in position of authority.
Disclaimer: Ironically and sadly the author I cite here does not use the King James Bible. They’ve taken liberties that are not with the King James. However, the overall meaning of overcomers does line up with the King James Bible. See my full study in link above.
Why is the Incorruptible Crown called the Crown for the Overcomer?
Incorruptible Crown (1 Cor. 9:25) – this crown would be the first level a believer would attain to. This crown indicates mastery over the sin nature. The Corinthians are being urged to run the Christian life in such a way as to receive the reward in the end. Here the emphasis is in self-control.
“They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. . . I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
a) Paul is focusing the believers on running the race or living the life God has given them to compete in.
b) Just as each life has a race, each life has a reward available.
c) Only those who run the race and run it according to the rules will get a prize.
d) The crown or stephanos would wither and sometimes was withered (either of pine or celery see “1 Cor., NICNT, Fee”) at the time of the victory but it meant fame, prestige and fortune. The symbol of victory would fade but the fame was more enduring.
e) Paul does not run aimlessly (9:26), meaning he does not life his Christian life with out purpose or direction. Nor should we if we want to achieve what has been made available to us. Consider someone who enters a race not knowing the distance or direction.
f) The boxer failing to land a blow is ridiculous and pointless. It is an analogy of the undisciplined believer missing his purpose.
Overcomers In Ephesus
NOTE: Compare Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians and in Acts 20 to Revelation 2:4. They had fallen from the heights spoken of by Paul.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (Rev. 2:4-5,7)
By the end of the first century, the Church had already become busy doing religious works. They had forgotten that the work was already done and our primary purpose is to worship the Lord and give Him thanks. The relationship He gave His life to have with us was already becoming another religion. Those who changed their attitude and overcame the human tendency to earn our position with God, and rested in the fact that Jesus did it all would meet Him at the Tree of life in paradise. The overcomer was the one who rested in faith and worshiped God.
Overcomers In Smyrna
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. (Rev. 2:10)
History tells us the ten days referred to here are the reign of 10 Caesars, which lasted for 250 years, through the third Century. During this time Christians were persecuted relentlessly. Many were called upon to give their lives for their faith. The Lord offered no escape from this except that which comes from death. But those who remained faithful in believing His promise of everlasting life received it. The overcomer died in faith and received life.
Overcomers In Pergamum
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. (Rev. 2:14-17)
In the 4th Century, the church was married to the pagan Babylonian religion, and practices that were not only un-Biblical but detestable to the Lord became common. The Lord threatened to fight these practices with the sword of His Mouth, which is his Word. The overcomers were those who stayed true to the unadulterated Gospel and lived by faith in its promises. They received the Bread of Life, and a token that would commend them to the Father in the name of the Son.
Overcomers In Thyatira
Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): Only hold on to what you have until I come. To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations. (Rev. 2:20-26)
The illicit marriage of the Church to Babylon produced four children, all alive on Earth today. Thyatira represents the Catholic Church, the first child. It became wealthy by confiscating property through false accusations, like Jezebel had, and also instituted the sale of indulgences that authorized licentious practices for a fee. But to those who hold Jesus in their hearts and reject the traditions that would add to what He accomplished on the cross, Jesus promises salvation. They haven’t learned Satan’s secrets of Jesus plus Mary, Grace plus works, Scripture plus sacraments, and have overcome, living by faith alone
Overcomers In Sardis
Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. (Rev. 3:2-5)
The Protestant Church, represented by Sardis, carried out the Lord’s threat to judge the Church’s practices by the Sword of His Mouth. The call of the Reformation was Sola fides (only through faith), sola gratia (Only by grace), solus Christus (only with Christ), and sola Scriptura (Only His Word).” For the first time, the Bible was available to all who could read it. Great seminaries were founded to teach pastors the Word of God. But into these seminaries, the devil crept, and the authority of God’s word was challenged. It was all in the name of intellectualism so it was thought to be good, but soon the Gospel had been robbed of its power, the light of faith had gone out, the Spirit was quenched, and the people had been lulled to sleep.
Many still are asleep, but there are a few who remember the Gospel and cling to it. They’ve repented of the Documentary Hypothesis, Modern Rationalism, and all the rest. They’ve overcome what Walter Martin called the Cult of Liberalism and have retained the power of the Gospel. They’ve been washed in the Blood of the Lamb and been given clean clothes. Their names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and He will never blot them out.
Overcomers In Philadelphia
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. (Rev. 3:8,10-12)
“Hold on to what you have,” the Lord commands the Evangelical Church, “because I’m coming soon. And because you’ve waited patiently for me, I’ll keep you from the hour of trial that’s going to test the whole world.”
And what do we have to hold on to? We have His Word, His name, and His promise. He’s coming soon. There are 5 crowns mentioned in the New Testament, to which believers should aspire. But here the Lord mentioned only one. Which one? I think it’s the one described in 2 Tim. 4:8, the Crown of Righteousness, for those who’ve longed for His appearance. Who but the Bible-believing, prophecy studying Evangelical Church can even qualify for this crown, and which one is more descriptive of the yearning in our hearts?
(Note: I take great exception to the author of this article claiming the Evangelical church is the Church of Philadelphia. It is so obvious today that most of the Evangelical Movement are completely apostate and are of the Laodicean church. The true Church of Philadelphia are those who are NOT in the apostate Evangelical Church movement but who are in individual home churches and the underground church)
Overcomers In Laodicea
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne. (Rev. 3:15-16-20-21).
Here’s the fourth child, the End Times Apostate Church. Prosperous and in need of nothing. They like to call themselves followers of Christ, not just believers, and the focus is definitely on doing. Hardly anyone hears His knock on the door, which means He’s standing outside trying to get in. Some will overcome this mad rush to conquer a world beyond saving, in the name of a Jesus many of them don’t know, in the hope of accomplishing something He doesn’t want. To those who hear the knock and invite Him into their heart to kindle the fires of faith, He will give the right to sit with Him on his throne.
These seven letters give us seven examples to show that we overcome by faith alone. From the church in Ephesus, we see that we overcome by worshiping the Lord and thanking Him for doing all the work of our salvation. From Smyrna, we see that it’s by remaining faithful to the point of death that we overcome and receive life. The overcomers in Pergamum rejected the pagan rituals of Babylon that obscure and pervert the Gospel Story. Those in Thyatira refused to add to the simplicity of the gospel, while in Sardis they refused to let its power be taken away. Overcomers in Philadelphia hold on to His Name, His Word and His Promise, and Laodicean overcomers listen for His knock at the door and open their hearts to him when they hear it.
The Incorruptible crown for overcoming for the Church
4) The rewards view: According to this view, the overcomer passages are promises of rewards given to believers to encourage them to overcome the trials of life through faithfulness.
This view is held by some very outstanding expositors of the Word. For instance, J. Sidlow Baxter writes:
But the promise is to “the overcomer.” Are all believers “overcomers”? Let him think twice about who would answer a dogmatic “Yes” to this question. The letters to the seven churches, at least, suggested otherwise to an unprejudiced reader. Our standing in Christ is no artificial position of immunity. As there are degrees of punishment [in hell] so there are degrees of reward [in heaven]. One is made ruler over ten cities, another over five. “One star differeth from another star in glory.
Barnhouse has a similar view which sees the promises to the overcomer as promises of rewards for faithfulness and writes:
Some have said that eating from the tree of life was the equivalent of receiving eternal life, but this is most evidently a false interpretation. Eternal life is the prerequisite for membership in the true Church. Eating of the tree of life is a reward that shall be given to the overcomer in addition to his salvation. His work, built upon the foundation that is Christ Jesus, abides the test of the Lord’s appearing, and he receives over and above his entrance into eternal life, a place in the Heavens in the midst of the paradise of God.15
These men, along with others, would heartily agree that all believers are overcomers in one sense, in the sense they have become children of God, have been translated out of darkness into the glorious light of Christ, have been taken out of Adam and placed into Christ. In this glorious position, they have become identified with Him as to His person and work, etc., and enjoy many other marvelous blessings in Christ (Eph. 1:3; Col. 2:10). Every believer is an overcomer in that sense (1 John 5:4-5). But these expositors would also insist that all believers do not overcome absolutely. Christians can fail to live for the Lord and overcome the desires of the flesh (1 Cor. 11:28f; 1 John 5:16-17). Furthermore, while the failure to overcome may be an indication of false profession, the fact a believer does not overcome the struggles of life, does not automatically prove they are not true Christians. If they have truly believed in Christ, they cannot lose their salvation, but they will lose rewards as the Lord warns in Revelation 3:11 and the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. Those holding to the rewards view would say the overcomer passages are promises given to believers to encourage and kindle love and obedience in view of who they are in Christ and what they posses in Him. These are not warnings against the loss of salvation, nor necessarily warnings against false profession, though that could be one application of these promises. Furthermore, they are not statements affirming the preservation of the saints. Instead, they are guarantees of special blessings or rewards for faithful service and lives of faith.
The Problem Discussed
Does 1 John 5:4-5 define who the overcomers are in Revelation 2 and 3? In other words, do the overcomer promises apply to all believers regardless of the kind of lives they live? At this stage in my study of the issues here, I have become convinced that 1 John 5:4-5 is not synonymous with the statements of Revelation 2 and 3.
They occur in different books, with different contexts that contain a number of differences and the differences are such that they suggest that the references to overcoming in Revelation 2 and 3 are not defined by 1 John 5.
In 1 John the apostle affirms that through believing in Jesus Christ there is a permanent victory over the world in one sense. When a believer exercises faith in Christ, he does overcome the world in the sense that the world system is intrinsically hostile to God’s commands, to faith in Christ, and is satanically blinded to the truth and under his dominion of control and death (2 Cor. 4:3, 4; Eph. 2:1-3; Heb. 2:14), but through faith in Christ, the believer has overcome that condition in that he is made a child of God, has been rescued from the domain of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col. 1:12-13).
In Revelation, however, the overcomer concept is restrictive within the realm of the daily conflicts and battles of the Christian life according to the context of each of the seven letters. Here are illustrations of the battles that believers must overcome and for which rewards are promised for overcoming. “But this is a long way from saying that all Christians live ultimately victorious lives. In fact, that is something the New Testament does NOT say.”16 Regardless, as demonstrated above, many use 1 John 5:4-5 to interpret the overcomer promises of Revelation 2 and 3 because of the similarity of terms.
Overcoming and the promises of these passages find their root in the Lord’s statement in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” The Christian life is full of conflict, tribulation, but victory awaits all believers through the victory accomplished by the Savior, but it is a victory that must be appropriated by an active faith that is fed though fellowship with the Lord.
While all believers have overcome the world in the sense of 1 John 5, conflicts and trials come to the believer in a variety of different shapes and degrees. When we turn to Revelation 2 and 3, we find each church with its own particular conflict and problems with specific rewards that are in keeping with or somehow related to the problem faced. No two Christian’s lives are the same in terms of their struggles and triumphs. The basis of victory is the same, faith in the person and work of Christ and our blessings in Him, but the struggles are different and it seems that God tailors the rewards accordingly.
These letters do not present victory as a certainty, but rather as an aspiration which each individual should pursue. The Savior’s words are never to them who overcome, but to him who overcomes. Victory is not a collective right, but an individual attainment … Clearly, the promises to the overcomers are rewards for obedience to the commands of the Lord of the Church.17
The problems that most have with this view come in the nature of the rewards mentioned in these promises and admittedly, these are difficult. The rewards in Revelation 2 and 3 are usually viewed as blessings all believers will automatically receive as, for instance, the right to the tree of life. This is associated with possessing eternal life, but as we will see, this is probably not the case.
An investigation of the promises in Revelation 2 and 3 will seek to show that these are not promises all believers experience because every believer is an overcomer, but that these promises are special rewards to believers who overcome specific conflicts in the Christian life through faith and obedience in their daily walk.
The Proof or Evidence
THE EXEGETICAL EVIDENCE
There is exegetical evidence within the letters themselves which restrict the meaning of the overcomer.
(1) In Revelation 2:26 the Greek text contains the conjunction “and” (kai) at the beginning of this verse. It reads, “And he who overcomes, …” This links the promise to the overcomer back to verse 25 and the statement, “Nevertheless what you have, hold fast (kratew, a strong word meaning ‘to hold firmly to something so that it is not lost’) until I come.” This both connects overcoming to the preceding admonition and makes it dependent on holding fast.
(2) In Revelation 2:26 overcoming is also connected to what follows or to keeping Christ’s works until the end. The Lord says, “And he who overcomes and (italics mine) he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him i will give authority over the nations.” This clearly shows that the overcomer here is not only a believer, but one who keeps the Lord’s deeds in contrast to the evil deeds promoted by the Jezebel like false prophetess being tolerated in the church at Thyatira.
(3) In Revelation 3:5, the promise to the overcomer is tied into verse 4 by the word “thus,” the Greek adverb, %outws. It may look at what follows, or it may draw an inference to what precedes as here. This shows us that the overcomer is restricted to those who have not defiled their garments in their earthly walk and are thus worthy of reward—the reward of being clothed in white garments. This is not the garment of salvation or the imputed righteousness that comes through faith in Christ.
In support of this, let’s compare Revelation 19:8. This verse shows that the wedding garment mentioned in this verse consists of the “righteous acts of the saints.” The Greek word here is dikaiwma. Instead of imputed righteousness, this Greek word refers to the state or virtue of righteous character. In this context, it refers to the acts or deeds or works of righteousness for which rewards are given, i.e., the wedding garments. Two different Greek words, dikaiwsis and dikaiosunh respectively are used in the New Testament to refer to imputed righteousness. It should be evident, then, that the white garment in 3:5 is a reward for works of righteousness that occur after salvation.
(4) In Revelation 3:12 the promise to the overcomer is again connected to a crown of reward for holding fast (kratew) at least by implication or location. And this fits with the thrust of 2:25-26 where the overcomer reward is specifically linked to holding fast by the word “and” in the Greek text.
(5) In Revelation 21:6-7 we find an important contrast. The waters of life are free. All believers partake of this, but eating of the tree is for overcomers in the broader sense. Compare 22:14 with 15. In the light of Revelation 3:4-5 and 19:8, access to the tree of life through the New Jerusalem is restricted for those who cleanse their lives through fellowship with Christ.
In 22:14 John pronounces a blessing on those who wash their robes, who lead the clean and pure Christ life, for they thereby have the right and privilege of entering into the gates of the city and partaking of the tree of life. This means not only immortal existence, but such relations with Jesus Christ and the Church that each has unrestricted access to all that is good in the universe of God.18
THE CONTEXTUAL EVIDENCE
The context of the letters restricts the meaning of the overcomer from all believers to rewards to faithful believers who overcome in the specific conflicts of their lives. Each letter without exception moves from an address to the church as a whole, of the church corporate and individual groups in each church, to the individual aspect with a personal appeal to the one who has an ear and to the one who overcomes.
THE APPLICATIONAL EVIDENCE
To apply these promises to all believers seems to rob them of their force as promises. As Hodges points out, “a command that everyone keeps is superfluous, and a reward that everyone receives is nonsense.”19
THE ANALOGICAL EVIDENCE
Evidence from the analogy of Scripture is consistent with the teaching of the New Testament in other places; a Christian may lose or gain rewards according to what he does with the stewardship God has given him (1 Cor. 3:11f; 9:27; 2 Cor. 5:10; Luke 19:11-26). In fact, if the promises of Revelation 2 and 3 are not restrictive, then we have what appears to be a contradiction between Luke 19:11f and Revelation 2:26 and 3:21. Many believe there is a difference in the New Testament between entrance into heaven and being an heir of the kingdom (cf. Rom. 8:16-17).
True, some of the promises are hard to explain and understand as rewards and not as general gifts that go with eternal life, but because of the above evidence we should give strong consideration to the view that these are promises that pertain to rewards. In the exposition of the messages to the seven churches of Revelation I will cover each of the overcomer promises in their contexts.