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In Revelation 3:21 promises the conquerors, the true believers, that he will give them the right to sit with him on his throne, just as he conquered and sat down with his Father on his Father’s throne. [In the visions in Revelation ‘the throne’ is portrayed as something quite extensive, rather than a seat to accommodate a single individual.]

We must be careful here that we do not so exalt what it means for believers to sit with Christ on his throne that we end up diminishing his rule and his position. The throne is his by right of his essential being and by right of his victory over his enemies by his death. Any ‘right’ that we have to sit with him on his throne is by his invitation and by his gift.

It would seem that in this promise Christ is giving an example of an amazing fact: that all that is his by right he shares with those who believe in him as a gift. Everything, the whole universe, is his. The throne is his. But he shares it all with us. And in this particular promise, he gives us the right, he permits us, to sit with him on his throne.

‘Throne’ is a physical symbol of power, rule and honour. Whoever is on a throne is in a position of victory, power and authority. Whoever is on a throne reigns.  To understand Christ’s meaning here we need to ask ‘Is there any way that who believe in Christ reign? And is it in the present, or in the age to come? For the moment let us remember that each of the promises made in these seven letters to those who overcome are promises that are already a reality for all who believe, and will be a reality for eternity. They each have both already and not yet aspects.

John has already stated that Jesus Christ ‘has made us to be a kingdom …’ [1:6] and that he is his readers’ ‘brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom that are ours in Jesus’ [1:9]. These two verses indicate that this ‘kingdom’ is already present. Christians are already ‘a kingdom’. They already reign.

Paul taught that those who receive God’s abundant grace and righteousness in Christ ‘reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ’ [Romans 5:17]. This reigning in life through Christ is the opposite of death reigning over us because of Adam sin [Romans 5:12-17]; it is thus also the opposite of sin reigning. Prior to faith in Christ sin and death reigned – sin and death determined our standing before God and our fate under his judgment. But now sin and death no longer reign. Indeed, we have been set free from their rule and from the condemnation they imposed [Romans 8:1,2,31-34]. This reign began when we believed in Jesus Christ and continues right through this age and beyond.

Paul also teaches that ‘God has raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus’ [Ephesians 2:6]. He has already taught that that God has seated Christ ‘at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but in the one to come. And God has placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church …’ [Ephesians 1:20-22]. The church is seated where Christ is seated, because it is ‘in Christ’, in a position ‘far above’ all other authorities.

This is the amazing privilege of those who ‘conquer’ – of all who have true faith in Jesus Christ – because true faith does endure.

The indwelling Spirit affirms that the believers are already children of God, and therefore heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ [Romans 8:16,17]. To ‘sit on throne’ with Christ is part of that inheritance.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2015