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Doctrine of Crowns, Rewards

January 15, 2011

Doctrine of Crowns

A.  The Principle of the Time and Place of Rewards
1.  1 Thes 4:13-18, the Rapture of the Church.  To talk of being the Rapture generation is a distraction to our proper function of living one day at a time.  Every believer has the interim body in the interlude of blessing prior to the Rapture after he dies.  During this period, there is no distinction between losers and winners.  This is as close as we ever get to equality.  The body sleeps, but the soul is in a new interim body face to face with the Lord.  People who die and are in heaven before us have no advantage by being there ahead of us.  In verse 16, the voice command is for the resurrection of those who are alive; the trumpet command is for those who have died.  The clouds here refer to stellar space.
2.  The big genuflex.  Rom 14:11,12, “every knee shall bow to Me.”  Phil 2:9-11, “that in the presence of Christ every knee shall bow; … and every tongue shall acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord.”  At this point there are still no distinctions among believers.  This is the only time when all of us have no distinctions and the same resurrection body.
3.   The Judgment Seat of Christ, 2 Cor 5:10.  Only two categories of believers exist at this point:  winners and losers.  Which one you are all depends on your use of logistical grace from salvation until death to fulfill the plan of God.
a. Potential rewards include decorations, knighthood, a uniform of glory, a coat of arms, a place in the eternal chivalry, and other rewards.
b. Losers have nothing and winners have everything.  There never has been nor will there ever be equality.  There is no excuse for being a loser.  All losers are losers by choice and by priorities.  Losers are arrogant and selfmade.
c. The judgment seat of Christ is where all distinctions begin and continue for eternity.  Crowns are distributed at the judgment seat of Christ.
d. Losers have limited happiness.  Winners have privileges the losers do not have.  Phil 1:20 assigns ashamedness to the loser at the judgment seat of Christ, cf 2 Tim 2:15; Phil 1:20; 1 Jn 2:28; Rom 5:5
4.  Rev 22:12, “Behold, I am coming suddenly and My reward is with Me to decorate each believer on the basis of his accomplishments.”  Rev 22:7, “Behold, I am coming suddenly.  Happy is he who keeps the doctrines of the prophecy of this book.”

B.  Etymology and Isagogics.
1.  The Bible must be interpreted in the time in which it was written.  The crowns of the Roman Empire are the pattern.
a. The Greek word STEPHANOS means crown; it is the reward for winning in battle and in athletics.  Believers will wear these rewards in eternity.
b. The Greek word DIADEMA means a crown for a king, used for the second highest decoration in the Roman army.  DIADEMA is not used because very few believers will rule with Christ during the Millennium.  The Lord Jesus Christ is described as wearing many DIADEMAs.
(1)  The adjective “royal” means kingly or pertaining to a crown.  It is used to describe a king as a sovereign ruler of people.  BASILEUS is the Greek word used for royalty.
(2)  Our Lord wears three crowns.  By virtue of His eternal and infinite being as God, He wears the diadem of the royalty of His deity.  By virtue of the virgin birth, He wears a second crown as the royalty of true humanity.  By virtue of His strategic victory of the first Advent, He wears a third crown as the royalty of His hypostatic union.
(a)  His divine royalty is based on the fact that He is eternal and infinite God, possessing all the attributes of divine essence.  As the manifest person of the Trinity, our Lord wears the crown of divine royalty, Jn 1:18, 6:46; 1 Tim 6:16; 1 Jn 4:12.
(b)  The Jewish royalty of Christ or the royalty of His human nature in hypostatic union.  The virgin birth introduces the humanity of Christ to the world.  At the point of the virgin birth, Jesus Christ became Jewish royalty as the direct descendent of King David.  David had four sons by Bathsheba, but only Solomon’s and Nathan’s lines came down to Joseph and Mary.  Solomon’s line is given in Matthew and is the line of Joseph.  Nathan’s line is given in Luke and is the line of the virgin Mary.  As Jewish royalty, our Lord fulfills the Davidic covenant.  Mary became pregnant because God the Holy Spirit provided the necessary chromosomes for her pregnancy.
(c)  Our Lord’s battlefield royalty is based upon His strategic victory during the first Advent, when He defeated Satan during His thirty-three years of executing the prototype spiritual life for the Church Age.
(3)  The titles of our Lord’s royalty are: Son of God for His divine royalty, Rom 1:4; Son of David is the title of His Jewish royalty, Rom 1:3; and the title of His battlefield royalty is King of kings and Lord of lords, the Bright Morning Star, Rev 19:16.
(4)  There are three royal families of Christ: the royal family of His divine royalty includes God the Father and God the Holy Spirit; the royal family of His Jewish royalty includes all the ancestors of the royal line of David; and the royal family of His battlefield royalty is the royal family of God–all Church Age believers.
(5)  Royalty is also applied to the name of Jesus Christ.  Each part of His name refers to one of His royal crowns.  Lord refers to His deity.  Jesus means savior and refers to His battlefield royalty.  Christ means Messiah and refers to His Jewish royalty.
(6)  The royalty of Christ is related to the Second Advent.  Each category of our Lord’s royalty performs a different function at the Second Advent.  The divine royalty of Christ changes creation for the Millennium, judges ecumenical religion and removes it, destroys the armies of the world, removes all unbelievers under the baptism of fire, and establishes perfect environment for the Millennium.  The Jewish royalty regathers Israel, terminates the fifth cycle of discipline, establishes Israel as the last client nation to God in history, fulfills the unconditional covenants to Israel, and causes Israel to become a great source of blessing during the Millennium.  Battlefield royalty makes Christ the strategic victor of the angelic conflict and replaces Satan as the ruler of the world, imprisons Satan for one thousand years, removes all demons from the world, and rules the earth for one thousand years.
(7)  The unknown royal title of Christ, Rev 19:12, “His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a royal title written on Him which no one understood except Himself.”
c. The Latin CORONA was the highest decoration in the army, and is the exact equivalent of the Greek STEPHANOS.
2.  The Romans had many different crowns as decorations in the military; they also gave crowns to the winners of athletic contests.
a. The corona obsidionalis or grammania–a wreath of golden strands–was the highest decoration.  This was given for breaking a blockade or raising a siege.
b. The corona civica was a crown made of golden oak leaves.  This was awarded to a soldier who saved the life of another citizen in battle and held the ground where this deed occurred for the rest of the day.
c. The corona navalis was the highest decoration in the navy for destroying an enemy fleet or the first marine to board an enemy ship.
d. The corona muralis was awarded to the first soldier who scaled the wall of a besieged city.
e. The corona vallaris was awarded to the first soldier to reach the enemy lines in battle.
f. The corona aurea was a golden crown for gallantry in battle or any heroic act in battle.
g. The corona triumphalis was awarded to a victorious commander.
3.  Each crown included monetary reward, freedom from taxes, children educated at public expense, a statue of the person erected in the public square, and a home wherever you wanted it built.  The crown is used by analogy for the greatest honors God can give to believers.
4.  There were also decorations worn around the neck, decorations on a baldric worn over the chest, and various spears as rewards.

C.  Doctrine Plus Momentum Equals Inheritance.
1.  Mass (metabolized doctrine in the stream of consciousness) plus motion (advance in the spiritual life) equals your crowns, rewards, decorations, and inheritance.
2.  In Acts 20:32 Paul gave his farewell address to the elders of Ephesus at Miletus and said, “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all of those who are sanctified.”  This is saying that experiential sanctification is the place where the spiritual life is lived, and the inheritance is fulfilled by Bible doctrine plus momentum in the spiritual life.
3.  Paul described the inheritance to the Galatians in Gal 5:21 as “the kingdom of God.”  This is not a reference to your salvation, but to your eternal rewards.
4.  When you have the crown of righteousness and/or the crown of life, you have your inheritance.  You have inherited the kingdom of God.
5.  In PLEROMA status you are a winner believer and have acquired both the crown of righteousness and the crown of life.  As a winner believer you have the capacity related to the crown of righteousness.
6.  The crown of righteousness and the crown of life actually go together.  If you have one, you will have the other.
7.  As a result of the fulfillment of the unique spiritual life of the Church Age two crowns are available to every believer–the crown of righteousness (2 Tim 4:8) and the crown of life (Jam 1:12).
8.  The crown of capacity righteousness is produced by the filling of the Spirit plus maximum metabolized doctrine circulating in the stream of consciousness.
9.  This capacity for virtue-righteousness sustained the human nature of Jesus Christ on the Cross.  The sequence for His staying power is His righteousness, His spiritual life, His doctrine, and His love.
a. Jesus Christ on the Cross was the virtue factor in His love for all of us.  Jesus Christ accepted the sentence of judgment of all sins because He had the capacity righteousness of DIKAIOSUNE.  Because He had this capacity righteousness, He also had the love to accept the sentence and judgment of every sin because of personal love for God the Father and impersonal love for all mankind.  Righteousness plus love gave Him the staying power to remain on the Cross.  No sin was able to challenge His capacity righteousness or virtue-love.
b.  There are some interesting words in the middle of 1 Tim 6:11, “But you, oh man of God, flee [rebound] these things [greed and fear in the previous context], and keep on pursuing capacity righteousness (DIKAIOSUNE), the spiritual life (EUSEBEIA), doctrine (PISTIS), virtue-love (AGAPE), perseverance (HUPOMONE) and thoughtfulness for others (PRAUPATHIA).”  To attain the crown of righteousness inevitably leads to attaining the crown of life.
c.  Capacity righteousness resulted in the love that sustained our Lord on the Cross.
d.  Capacity righteousness is the capacity for true love in the soul.  Our spiritual life must have a love based on a righteousness that has capacity from the word of God.
e.  True love is always the result of true righteousness in the soul.  All capacity for true love is soul capacity righteousness, not legalism.  Legalism is the enemy of love.  No one has love if he is legalistic.
f.  1 Tim 6:12-16, “Fight the good fight of doctrine; take an interest in eternal life to which you were called and you made a good witness in the presence of many witnesses.  I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified a good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time, He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality [the humanity of our Lord in resurrection body] and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see.  To Him honor and eternal sovereignty!  Amen.”
10.  The second crown (the crown of life) results from the virtue, capacity righteousness in the soul, as illustrated in 1 Tim 6:11.  Between righteousness and love you have two things: the spiritual life and doctrine.
11.  The second crown emphasizes virtue-love in the soul, which derives its capacity from DIKAIOSUNE.
12.  No believer attains the second crown without the first.  The two decorations go together.  You cannot have one without the other, which means that capacity righteousness must precede virtue-love in the soul.

D.  The Crown of Spiritual Capacity Righteousness.
1.  In 2 Tim 4:7-8 and 2 Pet 3:13 this crown is used to describe the capacity for the greater blessings in resurrection body that the winner believer receives.  God has given special capacity to winner believers to enjoy special blessings forever and ever.
2.  The crown of righteousness represents the perfect righteousness that follows grace, but is free from any legalism of any kind.  You do not get involved in legalistic activities of any kind.  As a parent you should impose right standards on your children, because you are trying to teach standards.  But you do not do this to other people.
3.  This crown is available to all believers who become winners.  This is given to mature believers with emphasis on the attainment of spiritual maturity.  This crown emphasizes capacity for enjoyment of eternal rewards and decorations of the invisible hero, the spiritual winner.
4.  The believer who wears the invisible uniform of honor will receive the crown of righteousness.  Ephesians chapter 6 describes the uniform of honor.  The function of impersonal love is the manifestation of the invisible uniform of honor.  The crown of righteousness is given for your virtue, honor, integrity, passing momentum tests, and fulfillment of the royal family honor code.
5.  2 Tim 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight.  I have finished the course.  I have kept the doctrine.  In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not to me only, but to all [winners] who love His appearing.”
a.  Every believer has the opportunity for this reward.  This is our eternal inheritance.  It is the greatest possible thing given to the ordinary believer in eternity, but many believers do not seem to be interested in this reward.
b.  “To love His appearing” has a very special meaning.
c.  Paul’s life was compatible with the righteousness of God.  As a mature believer, the perpetuation of spiritual maturity means to continue the daily intake of the Word of God.   The mass of Bible doctrine in the soul plus the momentum of the spiritual life equals the crown of righteousness.
6.  This reward has a relationship to the justice of God related to his love and His grace.  What the righteousness of God commends the justice of God blesses as an expression of the love of God in the conveyance of the inheritance of the winner believer as a manifestation of the grace of God.  This righteousness is far greater than any morality.
7.  Capacity righteousness is the only way you build true love in the soul.  Capacity righteousness plus soul love in two categories equals being an invisible hero.  Capacity righteousness must come before love for God comes.  Only then will capacity for love come in marriage.

E.  The Crown of Life.
1.  This decoration is awarded to invisible heroes for maximum production of divine good through the execution of the protocol plan of God.  This includes all the impacts a Jeshurun believer can have–personal, historical, international, angelic, and heritage impact.
2.  Therefore, the crown of life is related to the invisible hero’s production from his spiritual gift, his ambassadorship, and his royal priesthood.  The crown of life is awarded for consistent filling of the Holy Spirit, consistent perception of doctrine, and consistent use of the problem solving devices.
3.  Rev 2:10, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer.  Note that the devil is about to cast some of you in prison that you may be tested, and you will have special persecution ten times.  Keep on being faithful even until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
4.  James 1:12, “Happy is that person who perseveres under testing, for once he has passed the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.”
5.  The crown of life is awarded because of consistent use of the spiritual skills and advance to maturity, Jn 15.

F.  The Crown of Glory.
1.  This crown is awarded to pastors who faithfully study and communicate Bible doctrine to their congregation.  The size of the congregation never has anything to do with the evaluation of the pastor.  There are four categories of pastors in the Church Age.
a.  The cosmic pastor who lives in cosmic one and cosmic two and is distracted by social action, crusader arrogance, and is totally disoriented to reality.  He is very arrogant, selfrighteous, and ignorant of Bible doctrine.
b.  The baby pastor emphasizes his own personality while de-emphasizing the Word of God.  All he does is evangelize and give little moral lectures.
c.  The adolescent pastor teaches some truth but is distracted by various forms of high profile.  He is selling his own personality (rather than teaching doctrine) by visiting the sick, calling on the congregation, and conducting programs.  He can be a pseudointellectual, a crusader, a bleeding heart, selfrighteous, a pleasing personality, or arrogant.  He appeals to those with negative volition toward Bible doctrine.  He doesn’t have the time to study.
d.  The mature pastor through personal study and teaching advances to maturity and is leading his congregation there.  He has received the crown of life and the crown of righteousness as well, Heb 6:10.  He emphasizes doctrine and is a prepared person academically, knowing where he stands theologically.  He focuses on the message, not his personality.
2.  The motivation for the pastor is occupation with the Lord.  1 Pet 5:2-4, “Shepherd the flock of God with you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily on the basis of the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with a ready mentality; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears [Rapture], you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
3.  Phil 4:1 personalizes this concept.  “Therefore, my brethren, loved ones [congregation who is respected for their faithfulness], deeply desired ones, my happiness and my crown, keep on being stabilized [winners of the crown of righteousness].”
4.  1 Thes 2:19-20, “For who is our hope or happiness or crown of boasting [glory]?  Is it not you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?  For you are our glory and our happiness.”  At the judgment seat of Christ, those who have attained spiritual maturity are the crown of glory for the pastor.
5.  The pastor’s boasting or crown of glory is received because certain members of his congregation do two things by listening to the teaching of the Word.
a.  They take the giant step to spiritual self-esteem.
b.  They take the victory step to spiritual maturity.
6.  So the happiness of the pastor comes from the positive response of those faithful to the teaching of the Word of God.  The pastor’s happiness is different from that of anyone else.
7.  Protocol believers are the basis for the pastor receiving the crown of glory.

G.  The Warning Regarding Crowns.
1.  Rev 3:11, “I will be coming suddenly; attain [hold on to, become the master of] what you have, so that no one may take away your crowns.”
2.  The durative present active imperative of the verb KRATEO tells you what you should be doing if the Rapture occurs.  The word means:  to seize, to grasp, to get possession of, to become the master of something, to attain something.  You should be learning and becoming master of your spiritual life.  You should be attaining your spiritual life through consistently learning and applying Bible doctrine in preparation for the Rapture.  You are to carry on in the execution of the spiritual life as your only preparation for the Rapture.
3.  You do not pray for the Rapture, but prepare for the Rapture by the execution of the spiritual life.  This is also how you keep other people from distracting you from attaining your escrow blessings for eternity.  Losers participate in the resurrection of the Church but lose their escrow blessings for eternity.
a.  People cannot bless you; only God can.  People cannot make you happy; only God can.
b.  Crowns are decorations that accompany the various escrow blessings in the eternal state.
4.  Compare 2 Jn 8.  You already have these crowns deposited in escrow for you in eternity past by God the Father.  These crowns are not distributed unless you execute the protocol plan of God.  There are people who can distract you from Bible doctrine, and so keep you from receiving these crowns.

H.  The Ultimate Decoration–the Order of the Morning Star.
1.  This is the highest decoration awarded to any Church Age believer in Jeshurun status.  Rev 2:26. “Furthermore, the winner, even he who keeps My assignments [fulfillment of the protocol plan of God] until the end [of his life], to him I will give authority over the nations.”  Rev 2:28, “Furthermore I will give to him the order of the Morning Star.”
2.  This award is part of a new and eternal order of chivalry, and will be born by invisible heroes for their ultimate in advance in the spiritual life.  It is for maintenance of spiritual maturity in what may be classified as ultra-supergrace status.  Receiving this reward is the highest manifestation of glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ in the Church Age.
3.  With this decoration all winners will wear a special uniform of glory mentioned in Rev 3:4.
4.  This mature believer will be a king over a Gentile nation during the Millennium.  The “Bright Morning Star” as part of our Lord’s third royal title is mentioned specifically in Rev 22:16 and 2 Pet 1:19.
5.  This title was given to our Lord at His ascension and session, and is related to both the strategic and tactical victory of the angelic conflict.  Rev 22:16, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to declare these things to you for the churches; I am the root [Jesus Christ as eternal God], and the descendent of David [Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union], the bright morning star [His title for the first and Second Advents].”
7.  In Num 24:17, this title is related to our Lord’s strategic victory.  “I see Him, but not now, I behold Him, but not near.  Behold, a star [Christ as the morning star] shall come forth from Jacob [First Advent], and a scepter shall rise from Israel [Second Advent].”
8.  Mt 2:2 is a reference to the morning star related to the First Advent.
9.  Bible doctrine is related to Christ as the Morning Star in 2 Pet 1:19, “keep on having a more reliable prophetic doctrine, with reference to which doctrine you perform honorably by habitually concentrating in your right lobes on a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns, until the Morning Star comes [Second Advent].”
10.  The Order of the Morning Star is named after our Lord’s royal title and is given to believers for their historical impact in the Church Age.  It authorizes the recipient to reign with Christ in the Millennium and hold the highest privileges for all eternity.  Such a believer can eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God, located in the New Jerusalem.
11.  There are certain privileges that accompany the order of the morning star.
a.  The uniform of honor, being invisible and worn in the soul, is exchanged at the judgment seat of Christ for the uniform of glory.  It was first modeled by Jesus Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration.  Mt 17:2, “and His clothes became white as light.”  The uniform of glory is a monument to right decisions.  The uniform of glory is given as a translucent light which covers the resurrection body.  Rev 3:45, “in fact they will walk with Me in whites.”  The uniform of glory distinguishes the winner believer from the loser believer.
b.  The Order of the Morning Star includes presentation in the court of heaven during the Tribulation.  Only those on the honors list are presented to God the Father.  The honors list is made up of those believers who make Bible doctrine their highest priority daily.  Rev 3:5, “Thus the winner shall be clothed in white garments and I will never blot out his title [the winner is knighted at the judgment seat of Christ] out of the book of life.  In fact, I will acknowledge his title in the presence of My Father and before His angels [a formal presentation].”
c.  A new knighthood and eternal order of chivalry belongs to the believer winning this award, Rev 2:17 cf. Col 3:4,6.  A new order of chivalry includes a new title after your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  The new knighthood is given to the winner.  Rev 2:17, “To the winner, I will give him blessing [escrow blessings] from the hidden manna [Bible doctrine in the soul]; also I will give him a white pebble [the resurrection body, God’s final vote of justification–they voted with colored pebbles in the ancient world] and on that white pebble has been inscribed a new title [your royal patent in the eternal heraldry] which no one knows [you are an anonymous hero during the Church Age] except the one who receives it.”
d.  The winner will rule with Christ during the Millennium.  There are six different approaches with regard to ruling with Christ.
(1)  The a fortiori approach is found in Rom 5:17, “For if by the transgression of one, spiritual death ruled by that one, much more, they who receive in life this surplus from grace [escrow blessing] and the gift of righteousness, much more, they shall rule through that One, Jesus Christ.”
(2)  The sarcastic approach is found in 1 Cor 4:8, “You are already filled [with private sins]; you have already become rich [but not from escrow blessing]; you have become kings without us.  How I wish you really had become kings, so that we might also rule with you.”
(3)  The eternal security approach is taught in 2 Tim 2:12, “If we endure [perpetuation of the execution of the spiritual life], we shall also rule…”
(4)  The parable approach is found in Lk 19:12ff, especially verses 17 and 19.  To “take charge over ten cities” means rulership.
(5)  The direct approach is taught in Rev 3:21, “The winner, I will give to him the reward of sitting with Me on my throne, as I have won and sat down with My Father on His throne.”  Rev 20:4, “And they ruled with Christ for a thousand years.”
(6)  The Morning Star approach is found in Rev 2:2628.
e.  Your name is recorded in the permanent historical record section of the heavenly Temple because of your invisible impact on history during the Church Age, Rev 3:12a.
(1)  The impact of the winner is anonymous as far as the records of history are concerned, but not as far as God is concerned.
(2)  The mature believer’s historical record will be recorded forever in the heavenly temple.  Each pillar will have the record of his life as a winner.
(3)  Rev 3:12, “The winner, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God.”  The temple of God is the eternal record center in the future.  “Furthermore, he will never again [go outside] vanish from history.  Also, I will emblazon on him the title of My God, and the name of the city of My God, [this will be his pass to enter the eternal city, the New Jerusalem, a satellite city suspended above the earth in the atmosphere or in space] the new Jerusalem, which shall descend from heaven from My God; also My new title [King of kings, Lord of lords, Bright Morning Star].”
(4)  As an example, the temple at Ephesus had the great deeds of people inscribed on the pillars.  So this temple of God will be the historical textbook of the true heroes of history.  The mature believer as a part of the pivot is the true impact on history.
(5)  In Gal 2:9 the mature believer is currently called a pillar of the church.
f.  You are the recipient of a coat of arms of glory, Rev 3:12b.
g.  The winner has membership in the Paradise Club forever.  Membership includes three special privileges: the privilege related to the tree of life, the privilege related to the gazebo in the garden, and the privilege related to access to the paradise of God itself.  You are a member of a special club with special parties to which only you are invited.  Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21 “…To the winner, I will give to him the privilege of eating from the tree of life which is in the paradise of God.”  “Blessed are they [winners] who have washed their robes [rebound], that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city [the New Jerusalem].”  The tree of life is the ultimate in eternal reward and blessing.

I.  Military and Athletic Analogies to Rewards.
1.  2 Tim 2:4-5, “No soldier on active duty entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life [a person on active duty does not live a normal life], so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.  Furthermore, if anyone competes in the athletic games, he does not receive a winner’s crown unless he trains according to the rules.”
2.  Every athlete went through identical training no matter what his event.  This is analogous to every believer having the identical divine dynasphere as the place in which we train and compete.  We must fulfill the training rules of the protocol plan of God.  Only the protocol Christian is living the Christian way of life, and therefore is qualified to compete in the angelic conflict.
3.  The AGONISTAI were people who just worked out to stay in shape, which is just sheer agony.  This is analogous to the believer in the cosmic system and to arrogance in the cosmic system which is just sheer agony.
4.  The ATHLETAI were the ones who trained under the rules of the national gymnasium for ten months.  You were not allowed to leave the large walled area of the gymnasium for ten months, and you had to exercise under the authority of the GUMNASIARCH, the ruler of the gym (analogous to the pastor).  The rules were very strict.
a.  You could not leave for any reason.
b.  You were on a strict diet which everyone ate (other foods being analogous to distractions of the cosmic system).
c.  Everyone participated in group exercise naked outdoors, regardless of the weather (analogous to everyone getting the same doctrinal teaching).
d.  Daily trumpet calls had to be met each day at various times; if you missed one you were disqualified.
e.  Everyone had equal privilege and opportunity to compete.
5.  1 Cor 9:2427 illustrates how we compete to reach a reward which is imperishable.  Each winner in the national games received many rewards and privileges.
a.  He received a crown of ivy leaves, which represented the rewards he would receive when he returned home.  This is analogous to us receiving eternal escrow blessings when we go home to heaven.
b.  He had a special entrance cut into the wall of his hometown city which he passed through when he returned home.  Then a plaque was put up after the wall was sealed up again.
c.  He rode in the best chariot through the city in a parade.
d.  He received a lifetime pass to all future games.
e.  He received a great amount of money.
f.  An ode was written to him by a poet.
g.  A statue of him was put up in the public square.
h.  His children were fed and educated at public expense.
i.  He was exempt from all income taxes for life.
6.  1 Cor 9:24, “Run in such a way that you may win.”  Verse 27, “but I discipline my body and keep it in training, lest possibly, having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.”