For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. Mark 9:41.
Christ made this statement in retort to John’s assertion that someone who was not following Christ was casting out demons. Christ said that even non-followers, who do good deeds, will be rewarded for their good deeds. If they are not born again they will not enjoy heaven and if they are rewarded they, also, cannot be in eternal torment. One possible explanation is that they will be on the new earth.
woe to that man by whom He is betrayed. Luke 22:22
Why is it worse for Judas than for any unbeliever, if all unbelievers partake of the same eternal punishment? This adds one more assertion to the argument that good non-Christians will not spend eternity in torment, but rather on the new earth.
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? 1 Cor. 6:2
we shall reign on the earth. Rev. 5:10.
When will the saints judge the world if all the saints are in heaven eternally, and all “non saints” are in eternal torment because they did not accept Christ? A reasonable answer is that there will be people (good non-Christians), living on the new earth throughout eternity, and those are the people who will be judged by the saints in Heaven.
Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13
Peter very distinctly tells us that there will be good people living on the new earth. Some are waiting for that new earth in a similar manner as we, who are born again, are waiting for heaven.
I once talked to a saintly lady who said that she did not want to go to heaven. She was born a cripple and had never had the chance to climb a tree, and she was so looking forward to the opportunity to climb a tree, which, she must have assumed, would not be possible in heaven.
the dead were judged according to their works. Rev. 20:12-13.
This is a judgment that comes on all people. This judgment is in payment for works done, and for the lifestyle that was lived while on earth. This verse does not say that all those thus judged, will spend eternity in torment. The purpose of this judgment is to determine a person’s “standing” on the new earth, or in heaven, throughout eternity. Conversely, if all non-Christians are in eternal torment the idea of rewards has no meaning to.
The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honour into it. ...there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, ...but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Rev. 21:23-27. The kings who are ruling on the earth after the rapture of the Church will bring their glory into it (the city of God, heaven).
The nations who ... walk in its light (the people who walk in the light shed on the new earth by the holy city) are the subjects of the kings of the earth who bring their glory into heaven. This happens after the rapture of the church. He continues on to say that only born again people will enter heaven.
If all non-Christians are in eternal punishment, and all Christians are in the eternal city, who are the people whose kings bring their glory into heaven? This must refer to people living on the new earth forever.
One thousand years seems insignificant in view of the fact that heaven will last forever. Furthermore, this scene is portrayed as happening after the thousand-year reign of peace was finished. The only conclusion, is that it refers to the people living on the new earth, who have righteous rulers, and bring their glory into the city of God.
The Old Testament is teeming with passages, which speak of the eternality of the coming Kingdom, and of the fact that the kingdom will be on earth and not in heaven. Here we will look at just a few of them.
Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. Isaiah 9:7
Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them;…The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore. Ezekiel 37:25-28
in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Daniel 2:44
So, the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on, even forever. Micah 4:7
David’s throne will be set up on earth, not in heaven, and it is that throne that will be established forever! The purpose of that kingdom is to be a home for all those that are not in heaven and yet, because of their lifestyle, are not condemned to eternal punishment.
In the next post we ask the unthinkable question, "Is Satan really a bad angel"?