OF THE KINGDOM OF THE HEAVENS
The prophecy in Matthew 24:30 through 25:30 reveals the manifestation of the kingdom of the heavens. The millennium has both a heavenly aspect and an earthly aspect. The manifestation of the kingdom of the heavens is the heavenly part of the millennium. This manifestation is the kingdom of the Father. Matthew 13:43 says, "Then the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." The righteous are the overcomers, who will be the light shining in the kingdom of their Father. In the heavenly part of the millennium, which is the manifestation of the kingdom of the heavens and the kingdom of the Father, the overcoming saints will reign with Christ as co-kings.
CHRIST’S DISPENSATIONAL REWARD
The kingdom of God is a part of God’s eternal salvation to all believers, the entrance into which is by regeneration (John 3:5). God’s eternal salvation includes His kingdom. To enter into this kingdom we need to be regenerated.
The kingdom of the heavens, however, is Christ’s dispensational reward to His faithful followers, the entrance into which is by surpassing righteousness and the doing of God’s will (Matt. 5:20; 7:21). The kingdom of the heavens is Christ’s dispensational reward because it is just one period of time lasting one thousand years. We have received eternal salvation, but what about the dispensational reward? That is pending. It will be given to the faithful followers of Christ.
D. M. Panton once said that the Christian teachers of his day were giving out tickets for others to enter into the kingdom of the heavens. When they got there, however, said Panton, the gatekeeper would tell them that their tickets were not genuine. According to Panton, too many Christian preachers were cheating their listeners and giving them worthless tickets. Panton was very clear about the matter of the kingdom of the heavens.
While salvation is eternal, the reward is dispensational. This dispensational reward is conditional. If a student does excellent work in his studies, for example he will be rewarded at his graduation. He has disciplined himself to get top grades so that he may get a reward. As Christians we must exercise ourselves under God’s discipline all the years of our Christian life in order to receive the reward of the kingdom of the heavens. Many Christians today live in a loose way because they do not realize this matter of dispensational reward and punishment. Because of this there is the need for the recovery of the truth concerning the kingdom.
In 1936 I published a booklet on the matter of entering into the kingdom of the heavens. Brother Watchman Nee encouraged me to write more on this subject. He told me of a backsliding brother, who, after reading my booklet, was revived and brought back to the Lord. As a result, in 1939 I put out a number of messages on this matter of the kingdom of the heavens.
As Christians we must be careful not to lose our reward. Our salvation can never be lost. It is insured by God’s predestination of us. Calvin is strong in the matter of eternal predestination, with which we agree, but he did not see the dispensational reward. Without this key there is no satisfactory way to interpret much of Matthew and the five warnings in the book of Hebrews (2:1-4; 3:7—4:13; 5:11—6:20; 10:19-39; 12:1-29). We need to pick up the key to interpreting these five warnings in Hebrews. The key is dispensational discipline.
(The Basic Revelation in the Holy Scriptures, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)