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§ 228. Believers are to Reign with Christ.

Matthew mentions in this connexion (xix., 28) the promise of Christ to his disciples, that, when the Son of Man should appear with dominion corresponding to his glory in the renewed and glorified world, they should “sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” The word “judging” includes the idea of “governing,” according to its ancient acceptation. The collocation of this passage may be one of those instances in which Matthew arranges his matter more according to the connexion of thought than of time; but there is no reason to question its originality. The idea of a participation of believers with Christ in the government and judgment of the future world is bound up with the whole mode of representing the kingdom of God in the New Testament;618618   Cf. p. 225. Various passages of Paul (1 Cor., vi., 2, &c.) presuppose such sayings of Christ. our duty must be to separate the idea from its symbolical form derived from the old Theocratic mode of thought, and to recognize the new Spirit that was to be developed from it. The passage (like the other promises in the context) recognizes degrees in the share of government and judgment allotted to believers. Not only 336the Head, but also all the organs of the kingdom of God are to share in its dominion; because its dominion is to be universal. This is an important idea for Christian ethics. There are to be “judges” and “judged,” “rulers” and “ruled”—but in an exalted sense—in the new form of the Theocracy as well as in the old.

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