We’ve mentioned that we will worship in eternity, because the pictures of the Throne Room in Heaven that are found in Revelation all contain an element of worship, whether by Creation or by what is believed to signify the saints of God. We also read about the Warrior, who must take up his elements of warfare, be trained and skilled in them, so that when the times for battle arise, we can fight alongside our King who is counting on us to wage war with Him against our enemy. The third role I’d like to discuss is that of the Ruler/Judge.
John mentions both of these stations, ruler and judge, within just two verses of each other.
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, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. . . . they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years (Revelation 20:4, 6b, NKJV).
It might be difficult for us at first glance to put these two offices together. After all, the founding fathers of our Western, democratic nations went to great pains to develop a system of government reliant upon checks and balances against corruption, which included a separation of what is considered “executive” (ruling) powers from the “judicial” (judging) powers.
It might almost seem disrespectful to those cherished fathers to suggest bringing what has become two roles into one. Yet there is biblical support for doing so.
- Those leaders of Israel from Moses to Samuel are considered the “judges” of Israel. But when you look at these persons, they not only made judicial-type decisions, they – through the leading of God – made or delivered executive decisions which most of the people followed without great resistance.
- Solomon, as king of Israel, was clearly the ruler over the people. But having had a sensitive heart in his earlier years, Solomon asked for wisdom from the Lord, Who was lavished it greatly upon the young king. As a result, he was sought after for judgments by the people (see 1 Kings 3:16-28).
Once again it is easy to believe that God will give us that wisdom when we enter that day and age. But I think we can ascertain from verses in the New Testament that this wisdom is to be acquired and developed in the present, so that it can be available to us in our eternal state.
1) Ask for Wisdom
Solomon isn’t the only the time we read about asking God for wisdom. James writes, “If you need wisdom – if you want to know what God wants you to do – ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (1:5-6, NLT).
2) Test the Spirits
John tells us, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1, NKJV). Paul, in writing to the Thessalonians, wrote that we should “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21, NKJV).
A lot of the time we believe that the pastors, the leaders, or those who have been given the spiritual gift of discernment are the ones who test all things. But these letters were written to whole bodies of believers; in fact, John’s letter is not addressed to anyone, making it applicable to the universal church. Neither one of these portioned this duty off to any particular leadership, or those with specific abilities. We should all learn to test what is of God and what is not.
3) Walking by the Spirit
Paul said, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25, NKJV). We live in the Spirit as a result of our regeneration: the death of the sinful nature gives way to life through Christ; we are reborn by water and the Spirit; the old passes away allowing all things to become new; the birth of a new creation. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God…” (Galatians 2:20, NIV). This is what it means to live in the Spirit.
But what does it mean to walk in the Spirit? I find it frustrating at times to hear people who are reluctant to make a decision in their life. It could be the simplest, most basic, clearly aligned with Scripture sort of choice in their life, but they fail to commit to what God has placed before them. I see this most often in the lives of those who have finally learned that God can speak to them, direct them, and work in a more definitively in their daily walks. But when it comes time to choose to do something, their answer is, “I’ll have to pray about that and get back to you.” And I feel like saying, “Don’t you know what it means to walk by the Spirit? Don’t have a handle yet on what God has called you to do, or how He has shown you to live, that you have an instantaneous leaning one way or the other?” Learning to walk in the Spirit will prepare us for ruling and judging in eternity.
There is one more aspect of ruling that I’d like to mention before closing out this post. And that is the fact that Jesus gave us authority in our present lives.
…“I saw Satan falling from heaven as a flash of lightning! And I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you” (Luke 10:18-19, NLT).
This authority can be exercised in the here and now, and should be. Otherwise it really does us little good. We should remember that, “Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given” (Luke 12:48b, NLT).