Jesus’ true disciples go to heaven. Not only did Jesus make this clear, but several other scriptures show this amazing result of God’s grace upon a life dedicated to walking in Jesus’ sacrificial footsteps. In the first two parts of this three-part series, we uncovered many heavenly privileges, inheritances and responsibilities that these faithful ones will have. However, at the end of our last episode, we left one question unanswered. This question has to do with another group of Jesus’ followers. Several scriptures allude to this second group of followers as being faithful - but not as faithful - as his truest disciples. What happens to them? Do they also go to heaven, or do they have another destiny? Fortunately, the Bible gives us this answer and gives it in surprising detail!
As with any challenging task, a life dedicated to following Jesus can result in different levels of success. We always focus on the results of being faithful and receiving the highest reward of being with Jesus in heaven. Those in this class are figuratively referred to as the "bride of Christ” or the "body of Christ.” It is these who are given the specific responsibilities of the “trees of righteousness” in Isaiah 61 we have been uncovering in Part I and Part II of this series. They are the rightful focal point of many teachings, prophecies and descriptions throughout Scripture. They are models of faith in action and examples of sacrifice even unto death.
Who is the great multitude?
But there is another group. While they are described in Scripture as faithful, they are also lacking in some ways as well. Revelation 7:9 describes them this way, “…Behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes…” Some Bible translations call them the "great company" or "great crowd." Revelation continues to describe then as having to experience great tribulation and having to wash their robes in the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice. It is saying they got there, but not without having to be pressed into compliance. So, how does this great multitude end up in heaven if their faithfulness was less than stellar?
Check out our October 10, 2022 podcast, “What Will We be Doing When We Get to Heaven? Part III” for more. We assemble the puzzle pieces for this great multitude. We uncover some of Jesus’ teachings about them, as well as those of the Apostle Paul. We connect these teachings with their descriptions in Revelation and an Old Testament prophecy. What we find is a comprehensive picture that clearly displays the differences and similarities between this great multitude and Jesus’ truest followers. All of this helps us to zero in on what the work, privileges and inheritances of heaven look like and require. Being called to heaven is no small thing. Join us as we dig into and appreciate all that the Bible teaches us about this marvelous future!