My question is based on 2 Tim 2.12. Its a popular view in my church that if you suffer in this life, and respond well to it, you will be rewarded by becoming part of a ruling class in heaven. This sound fine except that isn’t it true that all members of the church will enjoy the same privilege regardless of their life experience (Rev. 1:6)? I am not able to find support for such a hierarchy of believers in Heaven. Is there such a thing?
This teaching is not exactly accurate. All believers are considered to be part of the ruling class. In Ephesians 2:6 Paul said we’ve been seated with Christ on His throne, and as you said in Rev. 1:6 we’re referred to as kings and priests. Rev. 5:10 says we’ll reign on Earth. 2 Timothy 2:12 simply agrees that we will reign with Christ.
But there is a special reward for those who stand the test of persecution. James 1:12 explains this.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
This is one of five crowns that believers can receive at the bema seat judgment after the rapture. Personally, I don’t believe these crowns entitle us to become part of an elite class in Heaven.