Love carries faithful people into places of suffering because suffering (not rejected nor recoiled from) is A TOOL used by the Father to let-out self. The Apostle Paul knew this, and he knew that deliverance from self was the ONLY way for man to enter into the fullness of Christ’s resurrection, the fullness of Life. So it seems that because of Paul’s God-given desire to attain to this resurrection (the “exanastasis”- GK) at any cost, and because of his understanding of his need to be ENTIRELY delivered from self to attain to the fullness of Life, Paul continually expressed before the Father his willingness to suffer according to the Father’s will.
Some of you may now be thinking, “It is the Father’s will that I suffer?” Yes, beloved, it is, for that is a needed part of your processing. In a large part, this is a major theme of the book of Philippians. In the opening chapter of that epistle Paul writes, “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.” (vs. 1:29)
Now, this might seem like a bit of a digression, but I feel to mention here that Jesus sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane can also represent for us the divine process of self being let-out through severe testing and trial. The self-life of adamic man is represented in his blood. Flesh and BLOOD cannot inherit the Kingdom of God because blood represents the beastly side of the soulish, adamic creature. On the cross, a Roman spear was thrust into Jesus’ side and His blood then poured out from the gaping wound, and I propose to you that even this is a metaphor for the annihilation of our self-life, the LETTING-OUT of everything in us that cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. I believe that the full “letting-out” of our self-life is the finish line for us, beloved, the checkered flag portion of our spiritual race. I also suggest that trials can seem quite severe as we near the end of this race. When Jesus finished His race and came forth in the power of His resurrection as FIRSTBORN from the dead, He came forth as “flesh and bone,” not flesh and blood, and I suggest to you that this depicts a state of union with God where the adamic soulish man NO LONGER EXISTS. This resurrected state (devoid of self) is THE PRIZE given to those who ENDURE to the end of this most grueling race, beloved.
I’ll hit on all of this now from a slightly different perspective. Revelation 20 4-6 says…
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
I propose to you, beloved, that “beheaded” here can represent the cutting off of the natural selfish mind from man, and his re-heading with Christ.
I propose to you that “to not worship the beast nor his image” can bespeak of no longer having any love for the beastly fallen creature-life – that which is alienated from Life and union with God the Father.
I propose to you that “to not receive the mark of the beast upon one’s forehead or in one’s hand” can represent for us a complete forsaking of the thoughts and the deeds of selfish beastly man.
I propose to you that in order to “live and reign with Christ” one must be reigned over fully by Christ – the self-life FULLY “let-out.”
I propose to you that the “rest of the dead” here does not necessarily bespeak of those in their graves, but of those who have not gotten entirely free from their bonds of sin and death. These people cannot “rule and reign” with Christ in the Kingdom of God because their self-life (and thereby death) is still intact and active in them.
I propose to you, beloved, that “the second death has no power” over the overcomers of the first resurrection because these people no longer have any wood, hay or stubble left in their nature, no longer any DEAD THINGS of Adam left in their character which need to be subjected to God’s fire.
I propose to you that these “Priests of God and of Christ” reign in the Kingdom of God because it is the Lord Himself reigning through these people – nothing soulish or selfish at work in these people any longer to get in the way of Christ’s full rule and reign in and through them.
Beloved brethren, I propose to you that it is given for us to not only believe on the Lord Jesus Christ but to also suffer for the sake of His manifestation in and through us (Philippians 1:29). I also propose to you that even Jesus Christ’s suffering in obedience to the Father is an EXAMPLE FOR US TO FOLLOW as this is the divinely chosen way for the letting-out of our self-life and for bringing us into the fullness of Christ’s resurrection (1 Peter 2:21). If we suffer with Him, suffer in agreement and accordance to the Father’s will, not recoiling from suffering, but rather working with the Spirit IN IT to expose and kill off all self in us, then we shall also reign with Christ in the Kingdom of God (2 Timothy 2:12).
This is what the Bible says (speaks of) anyway.