THE PRIZE OF THE THRONE
BY JESSIE PENN-LEWIS
"HE THAT OVERCOMETH, I WILL GIVE TO HIM TO SIT DOWN WITH ME IN MY THRONE, AS I ALSO OVERCAME, AND SAT DOWN WITH MY FATHER IN HIS THRONE" (Rev. 3: 21).
These words were spoken directly by the Ascended Christ, and they describe the climax reward for all who will fulfil the conditions for obtaining it. Many may ask why we should go forward in ceaseless conflict and warfare with the forces of evil. It is for the PRIZE OF THE THRONE. In His messages to the churches the Lord clearly holds out to all the incentive of reward. Paul's writings are full of reference to 'reward', to all who will fulfil the conditions.
Christ is not yet seated on His throne. At His ascension God said to Him, "Sit Thou on MY RIGHT HAND until... " (Heb. 1: 13). He is "seated on the RIGHT HAND OF THE MAJESTY ON HIGH" (see Heb. 1: 3; 8: 1; Acts 2: 34,35; Heb. 10: 12, and 12: 2) waiting for the time when He will have His Throne, and those who are to share it with Him.
The throne is for overcomers! Is it possible? Are they to share the throne of the Son of God? We can see now why, as we pass through the closing days of the age, there must be such a terrible conflict, and why the prince of darkness will challenge every child of God who wants to 'overcome'. It is the final testing and training of all who are to share the throne, and to rule and reign with Christ.
Now what is the throne which awaits our Ascended Lord? It is the millennial throne of reigning and ruling the kingdoms of the world. After it is given to Him, the voice from heaven said: "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ" (Rev. 11: 15). This throne God promised to Him, when far back in the ages of eternity He was "appointed to be heir of all things" (Heb. 1: 2). This is foreshadowed in Daniel 7: 13, 14.
Then the millennial throne of Christ is to be shared with others on certain conditions, by the gift of Christ Himself. "I will give to him to sit with Me." Paul refers to this heirship in his unfolding of the work of the Holy Spirit in Rom. 8. "Joint-heirs with Christ ... if so be that we suffer with Him" (Rom. 8: 17). This is foreshadowed in Daniel 7: 22-27, where it says, "the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom." The fact that Christ's coming throne is to be shared by overcomers, who are appointed by the Father to be 'joint-heirs' with Him, who was "appointed heir of all things," is therefore quite clear.
Glimpses are to be found, too, into the future time when the Christ, and those who are to share the throne with Him, will reign. Paul said: "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?" "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" (1 Cor. 6: 2, 3). What angels? Certainly not the unfallen ones. The explanation will be found in 2 Peter 2: 4. "The angels which kept not their first estate ... judged." These fallen angels - Satan and his hierarchy of evil powers - are to be judged by those who reign with Christ on His throne. In brief, they who are 'overcomers' - those who overcome the world and Satan now will be the 'judges' of the fallen hosts of evil, when these overcoming ones are 'glorified together' with Christ upon His throne.
The obtaining of the prize of this 'high calling' of sharing the Throne with Christ was the incentive which urged Paul on to count all things loss to obtain it, and to be willing to be made conformable to the death of Christ as the primary means for reaching such an end (see Phil. 3: 10-14); for each believer who reaches the prize of the throne, goes by way of the Cross in the path of the Ascended Lord. "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection ... being made conformable to His death, if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from among the dead" wrote Paul. In Greek it means the resurrection "out from among the dead." A little later in this same chapter, Paul says "I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Notice the word 'if' which Paul uses, "If by any means I may attain ..." 'If.' Paul was perfectly sure of his eternal salvation as a 'free gift' from God, through the finished work of Christ. Rom. 4: 4, Rom. 6: 23, and many other passages make this clear, but he again and again refers to a 'Prize' which even he could not be sure of, unless he pressed on to fulfil the conditions for obtaining it. In Romans 8: 17, the same 'if' comes in again in connection with the same subject; "joint-heirs with Christ IF so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him." We shall be 'joint-heirs with Christ,' and be 'glorified' with Him, when He is given the millennial throne of visibly ruling over the kingdoms of the world, if we are willing for the path He trod. He obtained eternal life as a 'free gift' for all who will believe on Him; but for His new government over the world when it has been re-taken from the hand of the enemy, He must have those who will have gone through the same 'made perfect through sufferings' that gave Him the throne.
What is in the balance, therefore, for every believer in the present warfare with Satan, which must intensify as the age closes, it is the millennial crown and throne. The question for each is, how to hold fast all spiritual victory hitherto obtained, that we do not lose the crown; for we must expect that Satan will challenge every one he sees moving on to the throne, where, with Christ, he will 'judge angels'. In brief, he contests the future judges of the evil hosts of darkness when he contests and hinders those who, like Paul, press on toward the goal.
Now consider the qualification for obtaining the prize of the throne. The Ascended Lord gives it in the words, "He that overcometh will I give" - a personal gift - "to sit with Me" - a personal sharing with Him - "ON MY THRONE" - Christ's own throne open to the overcomer - "EVEN AS I OVERCAME." Here is the qualification, and the path made clear.
Notice again that in qualifying for the 'prize' each believer must stand ALONE. It is "HE that overcometh." Each future ruler with Christ must have individual preparation and training, and his environment and Satan's attacks upon him will be specially permitted and weighed by Christ (1 Cor. 10: 13) to bring about the required results. Each 'heir' to a vast estate must be carefully trained according to his capabilities and sphere (Gal. 4: 1, 2). There may be only one placed by the Head of the Church where 'Satan's seat' is, but he must 'overcome' or lose his crown (Rev. 2: 13). He must not look for a second to 'overcome' with him, for "one receiveth the prize" (1 Cor. 9: 24). He, alone, must alone qualify for the throne, by a faith developed by trial (1 Pet. 1: 7), and a triumph over Satan because of the Spirit of God in him as the sufficient power.
Let us look for a moment at Revelation 12: 1-12, and see the last hour of the believers made ready for sharing the millennial throne. Verse 5 depicts the overcomers prepared for the destined throne, even as Christ overcame and sat down with His Father in His throne. Here we see the dragon's attitude toward the souls who have overcome, and who will share the throne with Christ, and take part with Him in his work of judging the world, and the fallen angels. (See also Rev. 2: 26, 27.) We find at the crisis hour, the 'great red dragon' erect and ready to devour the overcomers, as they emerge into the sphere between earth and heaven, on the ascension road to the throne; joining their conquering Lord, to share with Him the final carrying out of the Calvary judgement upon him.
Notice, too, that the conflict in heaven between the Archangel Michael and his hosts of light, and Satan and his fallen angels, apparently is over the translation of the throne-sharers. But it results in the casting down of the accuser. "Satan and his angels were cast down to the earth," and then the seer heard "a great voice in heaven saying, Now is come ... the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ; for the accuser ... is cast down..." The part of the overcomers in the conflict is given in Revelation 12: 11. They are in direct personal conflict with Satan now, not only with his works, for they "overcome him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death."
From this point let us take one glimpse into the future, and in Revelation 17: 14 see Christ and the overcomers with Him carrying out the judgement; the Heir and the joint-heirs. In Revelation 17. Christ is carrying out terrible things on His enemies who "war against the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for He is the Lord of lords and King of kings; and THEY ALSO SHALL OVERCOME WHO ARE WITH HIM, called, and chosen, and faithful." The saints shall judge the world, the saints shall share in judgement. They will appear before the judgement- seat, first to be judged themselves (2 Cor. 5: 10), and then they who are given to share Christ's throne, "the called and the chosen and the faithful," will be with Him in His dealing with the world.
may say: Ever since I began to testify to Satan's defeat at
"The overcomer is manifestly the one who endures to the end;
he is not a temporary ... they will take part in the first
resurrection. They will eat of the hidden manna; that is, they will be
secretly sustained ... These will be granted ability to rule; thus we
shall be like Christ, for only as we have conquered or ruled ourselves are we
qualified to rule others. ... The overcomer will be a pillar in the
- Jesse Sayer, D.D.