Traditionally, our goal as believers is to get to heaven, right? And once we’re there we’re all the same, right? Once we’re there everyone is perfect. I’ve heard preachers declare this from the pulpit; haven’t you? Yet in this blog I’m not talking heaven; I’m talking about a thousand years between now and then. I’m talking about the millennial reign of Christ upon the Earth. Where will you be then? What will your status be during this time?
I think I can scripturally justify at least three distinct classifications of believers once we pass from this age to the millennial age to come. Matthew 24 and 25 are the teachings of Jesus on the end times. It is in Matthew 25 that I see these three classifications. Matthew 25 consists of three parables from the mouth of Jesus. I used to call these three Judgments but my sweet wife didn’t like the term judgments when speaking of the rapture, so I changed. I speak of these three parables as The Three Separations. Perhaps that’s more accurate. The three are:
1. THE TEN VIRGINS: The Separation of the Bride of Christ from the Church.
Matthew 25:1-13 is the parable of the Ten Virgins. The five wise are separated from the five foolish. I have written extensively in other places about this separation. It is my belief that this parable indicates a partial rapture, so it is a separation within the Church. In this separation the Bride is separated from the rest of the church. All of the church is saved, but the Bride is separated out as family of God.
2. THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST: The Separation of Faithful Servants from Unfaithful Servants.
Matthew 25:14-30 is the rewarding of the faithful servants. This is The Judgment Seat of Christ and occurs immediately after Jesus’ Second Coming to Earth. Verse 19 says, “after a long time, the Lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. Here again, they are all servants; they are all saved. The separation is of the faithful from the unfaithful. So what is the reward for faithful service? To the faithful servants he says, “I will make you ruler over many things.” Here, as Jesus sets up His millennial kingdom, He is selecting those who will rule and reign with Him through the coming thousand years.
What about the unfaithful servant, you ask. Well, again, I say, all are saved. There are those who believe that in each of these separations, the ones not chosen are lost. I don’t think so. Some believe the five foolish virgins who were shut out were lost; some think the unfaithful servant is lost as is indicated by being cast into outer darkness. I could be wrong, but I believe this is a separation of servants who belong to the Master. Dr. and Mrs. Chuck Missler in their book, The Kingdom, Power and Glory suggest that in keeping with Old Testament references to the temple, that the outer darkness here refers to being outside the presence of Christ, for remedial instruction. This view is in keeping with the doctrine of Eternal Security of the Believer.
We have demonstrated in these two parables two classifications of Christ followers. The Bride of Christ who will return with Jesus at His Second Coming. All other believers will be gathered at that time for The Judgment Seat of Christ. All, at these two separations are believers, therefore redeemed, forgiven. These are the Servants of Christ who will rule and reign with Him. Finally, there is
3. THE GREAT WHITE THRONE OF JUDGMENT: The Separation of the Sheep from the Goats.
This separation or Judgment occurs after the thousand years have concluded. (Matthew 25:31-46) Here is the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous. Here, everyone from all nations, all time, living and dead who have not already stood before Jesus Christ will gather. This would also include those of the thousand years just concluded. The remaining righteous (made righteous by the blood of Jesus) are sheep. He says in scripture, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me.” The sheep will inherit the kingdom of God. The goats will be eternally separated from God. Scripture says in verse 46; “and these (the goats) will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Three classifications of believers can also be found in the 23rd Psalm. Quite obviously in the 23rd Psalm, all start out as sheep.
Verse 1; “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” We are his sheep…
Verse 5; “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil, My cup runs over.” We are now guests in the Fathers’ house, at the Lord’s table.
Verse 6; “…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” As permanent residents, we are now adopted into the family of God.
Some people are content to be sheep. They just want the ‘cabin in the corner of glory land.’ Their ticket is stamped. The unfaithful servants remain sheep.
Others aspire to rule and reign with Christ during His millennial reign on the Earth. They aspire to be faithful followers and servants of our Lord and Christ. According to Matthew 25:14-30, there must be faithfulness demonstrated here to be counted worthy to rule and reign with Christ there.
Some are family! This is based on watching and praying for His return; making oneself ready, having a singleness of mind to the point that some think ‘you’re no earthly good’. This is based on having the indwelling power and authority of Jesus Christ in the here and now.
Please note that by works of law, shall no flesh be justified. All are saved by grace through faith, not of works lest anyone should boast; however these parables do indicate that faithfulness, obedience and diligence have their rewards. And that, my friend, is a choice you make.