2 Cor. 5:8
2 Cor. 12:2-4
1 Thess. 4:17
2 Peter 3:10
- Matthew 5:12
- "Great is your reward in heaven"
- This passage is understood by Evangelicals and Pentecostals to teach that the righteous go to heaven at death, or are rewarded later in heaven.
- If the reward is in heaven, then there are two possibilities:
- The righteous go to heaven to obtain it.
- The reward comes from heaven to the righteous (here on earth).
- The following passages are conclusive - the reward comes to the righteous:
- The reward is "reserved in heaven" (1 Peter 1:4) "and when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (1 Pet. 5:4).
- "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." (Matt. 16:27).
- "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." (Rev. 22:12).
- See also 1 John 5:11 cf. Col. 3:2-4 and Rev. 22:12.
- [PK notes 4, 5, & 6 added below] The phrase "in heaven" may simply be a reference to God. The Jews often exchanged the word "God" with the word "heaven" (Mat. 5:34, 23:22). Examples of this are found with Matthew's use of the term "kingdom of heaven" (Mat. 13:11) whereas Mark and
Luke use the term "kingdom of God" (Mark 4:11, Luke 8:10). What Jesus may have been referring to may be found to more clearly expressed in Matthew 6:1-4, which also describes a reward for the righteous. There the reward is linked not to "heaven," but to "your Father who is in heaven": "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you
will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that
your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."
- Luke 12:33 describes how by giving alms in this life one can fill up an eternal purse which is kept in heaven. The picture is that of a secure repository which cannot be robbed or pilfered, since it is overseen and protected by God ("heaven"). It will serve as a
source of reward at some future date.
- Philippians 3:20 states: "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (NAS). Phil. 3:20 explains that despite a Christian having his/her citizenship existing in heaven, it is from heaven that a Christian's expectation will come. Christ is the king of
the kingdom to which our citizenship belongs, and it is when Christ comes from heaven that Christians will have part of that "city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11:10), that "city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" (Heb. 12:22), "the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a
bride adorned for her husband" (Rev. 21:2). That city is to come to saints, from heaven, where it is currently being prepared (Mat. 14:2-3). The saints do not need to go to heaven since the city will come to them.