Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 22, 1962
NUMBER 45, PAGE 5,13c

Ye Also Shall Sit Upon Twelve Thrones

Connie W. Adams, Newbern, Tennessee

"Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Matt. 19:27-28) This passage has been the object of perversion by proponents or error for years. Some apply it to the falsely conceived millennial reign of Christ. Others think the meaning cannot be understood, or is, at best, obscure. I do not believe it involves the difficulties assigned to it and certainly do not believe ;t teaches what some say it does. The purpose of this essay is to establish when the apostles were to sit, judging and how they judge.

When They Judge

1. "In the regeneration." The word regenerate meant to put life into again. In the scriptures it is used with reference to the restoring of spiritual life. The apostles were to "sit" and "judge" during the time that men are being restored spiritually. That time is now. Jesus taught Nicodemus that no man can enter the kingdom without being born again. (John 3:3-5) Paul wrote, "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." (1 Cor. 4:15) Peter said, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." (1 Pet. 1:23) "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." (2 Cor. 5:17) In Romans 6 Paul said that those raised from baptism are raised to "walk in newness of life." "Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord . Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." (Rom. 6:8-13) To Titus Paul wrote that the mercy of God had saved them "by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost." (Titus 3:5) If the time of the regeneration is not now then the following conclusions are in order: (1) None are in the kingdom, for regeneration puts one in it; (2) none have purified their souls, being born again; (3) there are no new creatures in Christ; (4) none live unto him; (5) none have been washed from their sins and renewed with the Holy Spirit. That is not all. In Luke 22:29-30, Jesus said they would eat and drink at his table in his kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. If the time of the regeneration is not now then no one can scripturally observe the Lord's Supper, and yet this was to "shew forth his death" until he comes. Since men are being regenerated now on the terms of the gospel, then the apostles sit and judge now.

2. "When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory" also shows the time of the sitting and judging. When does the Son of man sit in the throne of his glory? Hear Daniel: "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him, And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." (Dan. 7:13-14) Acts 1:9-11 coupled with the events of the day of Pentecost reveals that this was a prophecy of the ascension of Christ. When he came to the Ancient of days, he was given a kingdom. On Pentecost Peter affirmed that he was raised up to sit on David's throne, and that he was seated at the right hand of the Father. From that official position he had "shed forth this which ye now see and hear." Paul speaks of what God wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead and set him at his own right hand. He then describes those things which are under his feet. He is now highly exalted. (Phil. 2:9) He "sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" according to Heb. 1:3. To those who overcome he will grant to sit with him "in his throne" even as he overcame and is set down with the Father. (Rev. 3:21) These suffice to show that Christ now sits in the throne of his glory. And this is the time Christ said the apostles would sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

How They Judge

Since the time of their sitting and judging is during the gospel era when men are being regenerated and while Christ sits in the throne of his glory, the question remains as to how, or in what sense, they judge. To the apostles Jesus said, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt. 18:18) By means of inspiration, the apostles would set forth the will of Christ, settled in heaven. When Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth, he said, "For he shall take of mine and declare it unto you." What they declared was not their own invention, neither did it simply become the will of God when they said it or wrote it. It was already the will of heaven, God's eternal purpose, and it was revealed unto them as the Spirit searched the deep things of God. Another passage which shows the sense in which they judged is John 20:23. "Whose sins ye remit they are remitted; whose sins ye retain, they are retained." What they delivered by inspiration was the standard by which men could receive remission of sins. These terms were given as faith, repentance and baptism. (Matt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15-16; Lk. 24:47) In Antioch of Pisidia, Paul declared, "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins." (Acts 13:38) Not only were they judges with regard to entrance into the kingdom, but all other matters should be regulated by the gospel they revealed. To preach another gospel is to invoke heaven's curse. (Gal. 1:8-9) God gave unto them the ministry of reconciliation, made known by the word of reconciliation, and they were ambassadors for Christ. (2 Cor. 5:18-20) The church at Thessalonica was told to hold fast to what they had been taught "whether by word, or our epistle." (2 Thess. 2:15) So then, what they delivered is the standard by which all things related to the kingdom of God are to be judged. In this sense they sit and judge.

"Ye shall sit upon twelve thrones" denotes the completeness of the apostolic office. "Judging the twelve tribes of Israel" again denotes completeness and refers to "the Israel of God" which is the church. (Gal. 6:16) Israel now is reckoned after the faith of Abraham and not after his flesh. In Eph. 2:11-22, Paul showed that both Jews and Gentiles are builded together into an holy temple in the Lord, that through Christ, peace is made and that both are reconciled unto God in the one body. Both Jews and Gentiles who come into Christ are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ being the chief corner stone.

Are you living in harmony with the word of the apostles? Remember, they sit and judge through their word. I bid you, study these things.