by Michael Harley
16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
With God All Things Are Possible
23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
27 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?”
28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. Matthew 19: 16-29
The preceding verses are about salvation into the Kingdom of heaven (vs. 23); about salvation into the Kingdom of God (v. 24), not salvation from eternal damnation. The one who came to Jesus in verse 16 was a Jew who was just as saved as any Christian is saved today. The nation of Israel had been shedding the blood of lambs since the days of Moses, for the forgiveness of sins, all the way up to the time of Jesus Christ. When this saved Jew asked in verse 16, “what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” he was speaking about life for an age. The Greek word for eternal is aion[i], which means age. An age is a period of time, having a beginning and an end (Ephesians 3:9; Matthew 13:49)[ii]
He was speaking about life in the Messianic Age when Jesus Christ sits on the throne of His glory. He also asked “What good thing shall I do?” Salvation from eternal damnation is “by grace,” “not of works” (Eph. 2:8,9)[iii]. There was nothing that this man could do to save himself from eternal damnation, but to have salvation into the Kingdom of heaven is something that saved man must work for. He must “strive to enter” (Luke 13:24).[iv]
Jesus said to him, “if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (v17) Once again demonstrating that this life is something that the saved individual has to work for himself. The young man said that he had kept all these commandments from his youth and asked what he still lacked (v 20). So Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me.” But the young man was not willing to give up his earthly possessions in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Although the young man was not willing to give up his possessions to have salvation into the Kingdom of God, Perter and the disciples were willing and had given up all and followed Jesus. And because of this Peter asked, “Therefore what shall we have?” (vs 27). “So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me, will also sit on the twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (v. 28).
The Kingdom of heaven is the Messianic Age, when the Son of Man returns sits on the throne of His glory, and rules over the nations for 1,000 years. And just as the disciples who left all and followed Jesus will sit on the thrones in the Kingdom of Heaven and rule over Israel, Any Christian who leaves all and follows Jesus will sit on Jesus’ throne in the Kingdom of heaven and rule over the nations. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— 27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ as I also have received from My Father; Revelation 2:26-27New King James Version (NKJV)
Man was created to have “dominion over all the earth” and God is not going to change His mind about why He created man “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). Man will realize the purpose for his creation “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. Matthew 25:31New King James Version (NKJV) All Scripture moves toward this purpose.
[i] αἰών (aiōn 165)
(from ἄω, ἄημι (aō, aēmi) blow, breathe), the life which hastes away in the breathing of our breath, life as transitory; then, course of life, time of life, life in its temporal form; then the space of human life, an age, or generation (αἰών (aiōn 165) looks at a generation from the point of view of duration, while γενεά (genea 1074) does from that of race), αἰών (aiōn 165) always includes a reference to life, filling time or a space of time. Accordingly — the unbounded time, in which the history or life of the world is accomplished; and hence, the world as filling the unmeasurable contents of immeasurable time. Reference(s)
(from ἄω, ἄημι (aō, aēmi) to blow, breathe) the life that hastes away in the breathing of our breath, life as transitory; then, the course of life, time of life, and generally life in its temporal form; then, the space of human life, an age. αἰών (aiōn 165) always includes a reference to the life, filling time or space of time, hence, the unbounded time past and future, in which the life of the world is accomplished; immeasurable time (Genitive plural of ages). Reference(s)
the life that hastes away in the breathing of the breath, life as transitory, course of life, and generally life in its temporal form; then, the space of human life, a space of time, time as moving, an age, time so far as history is accomplished in it; an age or dispensation. Reference(s)
εἰς αἰών (eis 1519 aiōn 165) ever (for); *with the article, unto the age. [KJV]
εἰς (eis 1519) into, unto.
[ii] Ephesians 3:9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; New King James Version (NKJV) Matthew 13:49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, New King James Version (NKJV)
[iii] Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. New King James Version (NKJV)
[iv] Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 4New King James Version (NKJV)