Twelve Apostle Judges
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Twelve Apostle Judges (Revelation 20.9-10)

"They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Revelation 20.9-10)✞

Martyrs Being Killed

Twelve Judges of the Superior CourtMartyrs from the Greek word "martys" for "witness" like the first martyr Saint Stephen were those who were persecuted, suffered and actually died for their faith. We read in Acts 7.55-60, "But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 'Look,' he said, 'I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.' At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Then he fell on his knees and cried out, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.' When he had said this, he fell asleep." On the other hand, Confessors are those who have suffered but not actually died for their faith like the English king Saint Edward the Confessor (1003-1066). Edward ruled for a long 24 years and his nickname reflects the traditional image of him as "unworldly and pious." Confessors often suffered everything short of death for their loyalty to Christ.✞

The Final Judgement

Martyrs being killedBoth those who died for Christ and those who lived for Christ will receive his or her reward. A chosen group of twelve apostle judges who have been loyal to Christ are to receive the privilege of taking part of the final judgment. This is an idea which occurs more than once in the New Testament. Jesus said in Matthew 19.28, "'Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.'"

Saints will Judge

Ancient CorinthPaul in 1 Corinthians 6.2 reminds the Corinthians that the destiny of the saints is to judge the world. Saint Paul wrote, "Or do you not know that the Lord's people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?" The idea is that the world to come will redress the balance of this one. In this world, the Christian may be a person under judgment, in the world to come the roles will be reversed and those who thought they were the judges will be "the judged."

"Twelve Apostle Judges"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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