There are in the Scriptures thoughts and claims of such a startling nature as to occasionally cause one to do a double take. One such thought is found in the words of Jesus in Mark 10:29, 30: “And Jesus answered and said, ‘Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.’ ”
Clearly, Jesus’ intention here was for us to know that no one making a sacrifice for His sake would go unrewarded. We can understand to a degree that a believer will be compensated for the loss of his family in this life by joining a larger family of faith. We can even understand the promise of persecutions because the Bible is consistent in teaching that heaven can be gained only through much tribulation. (See Acts 14:22; 2, Timothy 3:12; Matthew 24:21.) But what did Jesus mean by declaring “he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time”? What measure was Jesus using? What currency was He alluding to?
When we consider the lives of the apostles, we realize that every one of them died a martyr’s death – except for John, who barely escaped death being deep fried in a pot of boiling oil. So where was the promise of “an hundredfold” for them? But we know that Jesus never lies. This means, therefore, that each of the apostles did indeed receive “an hundredfold” in this life even though to human vision they suffered the loss of all things, including their very lives. This is of profound interest to us living in the last days because the promise of Jesus clearly embraces all His followers to the end of time even as the crisis of the ages steals relentlessly upon us with its specter of suffering and persecution.
Jesus spoke the promise of the “hundredfold” in the context of losing all things for His sake. Does this suggest that only certain believers may be entitled to the promise, while others may not? The answer is an unequivocal No. All believers, regardless of their ultimate earthly fate, may receive the “hundredfold” in this life by surrendering all by a covenant of sacrifice: “Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice” (Psalm 50:5). Every believer who has ever lived has had in his or her grasp the “hundredfold” promise in this life, because God credits us for the intents of our hearts more than for what is observable to human sight. This great promise is separate from and in addition to eternal life “in the world to come.” Thus, even though not all believers are called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice of martyrdom, all can qualify for the “hundredfold” blessing here and now by being willing to stand unyieldingly for the truth despite the cost.
To grasp the concept of the “hundredfold” we must first understand the economic principles of heaven. In the cashless economy in heaven there is no trading or bartering. All things pertaining to life and well-being are freely available to the inhabitants of that wonderful world. The river of life proceeding from the throne of God and the tree of life represent the inexhaustible supply of all things needed for the perpetuation of life and happiness. No one will ever experience scarcity or want in the great hereafter. It is in this world alone that economies are driven by the forces affecting supply and demand. The reason that precious metals are precious and gems are so expensive is that they are so rare. If rubies and diamonds were as plentiful as pebbles on the seashore, who would try to gain a monopoly on selling them? They would quite literally be “dirt cheap!” It is so in heaven. Nothing of a material nature possesses any intrinsic value because God can call into existence a planet of gold as easily as one of rock and dirt.
What then is of value in the heavenly economy? It is living, intelligent beings endowed with free wills, able to choose their own destinies. In making the will sacrosanct, God has effectively tied His own hands by a policy of strict non-interference, even though the choice may go against Him. He has limited Himself to entreating and reasoning to prompt a response. The reason for this is as profound as it is true. As a God of infinite love, the only option that could possibly harmonize with His character was that of freedom of choice. Since love begets love, and forced love is no love at all, His intent was to demonstrate His love in such a way as to evoke a love response from His creatures. This unforced, voluntary response was of such major importance to Him that He was willing to jeopardize heaven for it. For true love, by its very nature, carries with it the unavoidable risk of rejection. The fact that God had in truth given intelligent beings the ability to reject Him was proven beyond the shadow of a doubt when Lucifer chose the path of rebellion and became His staunch enemy as Satan.
In certain ways the sin experiment, its dire results notwithstanding, was necessary to definitively vindicate the Father’s character, for if rebellion had never arisen, there would always have remained a lingering question as to how free intelligent beings really are. Now that question is settled forever.
Thus, as free moral agents, intelligent beings, by choosing to reciprocate the love of the Father, afford Him that which He prizes most – sincere, heartfelt thankfulness and gratitude manifested in worshipful adoration, praise, and obedience. In the heavenly scales, the value of such a response from His creatures far outweighs the value with which He regards the entire inanimate universe. This is what He really wanted even during the Jewish era with all its bloodletting in the animal sacrifices. Unfortunately, the Jewish church misunderstood and misconstrued the rites and ceremonies by placing much emphasis on that which was truly abhorrent to the Father, while losing sight of the incredible truth they represented – the coming of the great Deliverer.
And oh, the price the Father paid that we might offer Him the genuine love He craves! We will never in eternity fully comprehend the price of our salvation, for in giving Jesus to us, the Father emptied heaven of all that was lovely and precious. If intelligent beings represent the riches of heaven, how much greater would be the worth of the Son of God, the highest of all the intelligences of the universe! The Spirit of Prophecy describes Jesus as the “outshining of the Father’s glory.” (See Education, 131, 132.) Human language cannot express the tender ties that bind the Father’s heart with that of His Son. In a real sense, the Father had to rip His own heart out and hand it to the human race in one unfathomable gift. Is it any wonder He hesitated at the fall of Adam and Eve to implement the plan of salvation? Three times Jesus went before Him in the “counsel of peace” to volunteer to die for the guilty race before the Father finally consented to it. (See Christ Triumphant, 30 and Early Writings, 126.) The hesitation was not due to a lack of love for lost man, but because the cost to Himself was going to be so supremely daunting. But love won the day, while the immutability of His law cancelled all other options. Note the following inspired words with respect to the Father’s mind in consenting to send His Son on the rescue mission:
“When God gave His Son to our world, He endowed human beings with imperishable riches—riches compared with which the treasured wealth of men since the world began is nothingness. Christ came to the earth and stood before the children of men with the hoarded love of eternity, and this is the treasure that, through our connection with Him, we are to receive, to reveal, and to impart.” The Ministry of Healing, 37. The hoarded love of eternity! How can we understand this mind-blowing concept?
Notice also in the next quote the infinite love of the Father and the principle of free choice:
“It is God’s will that all shall be saved, that not one shall perish; but He does not compel obedience. He leaves all free to say whether or not they will take advantage of His offer of mercy. In giving Jesus, He poured out all heaven in one gift, making it possible for man to come into possession of eternal riches.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 345. All heaven in one gift! Absolutely unbelievable, amazing love!
Unquestionably, the driving force behind the rescue effort was love of such a degree as to stagger the human mind. The Scriptures affirm the thought: “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).
In the parable of the pearl of great price, we see Jesus portrayed as a jewel of incredible value: “The blessings of redeeming love our Saviour compared to a precious pearl. He illustrated His lesson by the parable of the merchantman seeking goodly pearls ‘who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it’ (Matthew 13:46). Christ Himself is the pearl of great price. In Him is gathered all the glory of the Father, the fullness of the Godhead. … All that can satisfy the needs and longings of the human soul, for this world and for the world to come, is found in Christ. Our Redeemer is the pearl so precious that in comparison all things else may be accounted loss.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 115.
These revelations help us understand the promise of “an hundredfold” benefit now. It is not just for some special class of believers, but for all who will unreservedly accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. So, if Jesus is the riches of heaven poured out in one great gift to humanity – the treasure hid in the field, the pearl of great price, it is He alone who constitutes the “hundredfold” blessing to the believer. Every other benefit is simply a tiny bonus.
But the lesson goes deeper, because in order to obtain the treasure in the field or the pearl of great price, the farmer and merchantman had to “sell all that (they) had.” Short of this, the desired articles would have been out of reach. This teaches the great lesson that salvation can only be received through a complete surrender of the soul to Jesus – a total renunciation of the things of this life. A great exchange must take place with the believer giving up all to receive the priceless gift of all-in-all in Jesus. “But what do we give up, when we give all? A sin-polluted heart, for Jesus to purify, to cleanse by His own blood, and to save by His matchless love. And yet men think it hard to give up all!” Steps to Christ, 46.
In promising a mere “hundredfold” (10,000%!), Jesus was in fact stating a very conservative return on investment in human terms. For who can estimate the value of the Being around whom all heaven revolved? Jesus was the main attraction of heaven. Without Him heaven would not be heaven. Note the words of inspiration: “The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father. He was the surpassing glory of heaven. He was the commander of the heavenly intelligences, and the adoring homage of the angels was received by Him as His right. This was no robbery of God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 247. And so in Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 345, previously quoted, we read again, “In giving Jesus, He (God) poured out all heaven in one gift … .”
Human minds cannot conceive such a fantastic thought, much less can human tongues express it. Who can compute the price of such a gift? We stand speechless, our heads shaking in disbelief, as we try to grasp the thought, but this is what we receive when we accept Jesus into our lives!
The thief on the cross represents those who receive salvation in the last moments of life – a death-bed conversion, as it were. It is only as we comprehend the supreme value of Jesus as our personal Saviour that we can understand how he received the “hundredfold” promise before he died. Notice what he experienced in the dialogue with Jesus: “As Christ spoke the words of promise, the dark cloud that seemed to enshroud the cross was pierced with a bright and living light. To the penitent thief came the perfect peace of acceptance with God. Christ in His humiliation was glorified. He who in all other eyes appeared to be conquered was a conqueror. He was acknowledged as the Sin-bearer.” The Signs of the Times, Oct. 25, 1905.
In acknowledging Jesus as Lord, the thief received the invaluable gift of peace and the assurance of heaven. He was face to face with eternity, but that did not matter. He was ready to die. The world held no attraction for him anymore. He had the Pearl of incalculable worth in his grasp – the “hundredfold” promise “now,” and that was enough. In his next conscious moment, he will hear the call to “awake” and rise to eternal life with Him whose crown of thorns was now exchanged for a diadem of indescribable glory.
Thus it is that the earthly existence of a Christian, whether short or extended, is measured not so much by the quantity of earthly benefits, as by the inestimable quality of peace and joy in Christ that nothing can destroy. This is the “hundredfold” promise that God lavishes on all His true children “now.” We cannot thank and praise Him enough!
[All emphasis supplied.] All scriptures are taken from the King James Version.
Dr. Pandit is a retired cardiologist living in Arkansas with his wife Dorothy. He is proud to call himself a historic Seventh-day Adventist. He, with his wife, is involved in backing two self-supporting ministries in India: 1) Medical Missionary Training and Lifestyle Center in South India and 2) A printing ministry in Western India. They are also founding members of a “home church” located in Hot Springs, AR. He can be contacted via his email address: email@example.com, or phone: 870-356-4768.