Jesus Christ did His Father’s work here on earth, and God calls every Christian to do the same. Are you preparing for the glorious job ahead?
The meek inheriting the earth, ruling as kings and priests, serving forever as “pillars” in the house of God—the Bible speaks of Christians doing all of these things. But what do they really mean for the future of God’s called, chosen, and faithful followers?
When God created man and woman, He created them “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). While the animals were made after the animal kind, human beings were made after the “God” kind! All members of the human family, created by God, are rightly called His children. More remarkably, thanks to the indwelling of God’s Spirit, faithful Christians are destined to become part of God’s spiritual Family. But first we must be “born again.” As Jesus Christ told Nicodemus, “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
When we are born again, we enter the very Family of God. But when does this “second birth” occur? Jesus Christ became the “firstborn” from the dead at His resurrection (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5; Romans 8:29). Since He is the “first,” this implies that others will follow! The Apostle Paul explained that Christ is “declared to be the Son of God with power… by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).
But what will happen to us after the resurrection? In 1336, Pope Benedict XII described the Roman Catholic idea of the afterlife: “And after such intuitive and face-to-face vision and enjoyment has or will have begun for these souls, the same vision and enjoyment has continued and will continue without any interruption and without end until the last Judgment and from then on forever” (“Benedictus Deus: On the Beatific Vision of God,” The Christian Faith in the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church).
Certainly, actually seeing God will be an awesome and thrilling experience, as the Apostle John explained: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). To see God the Father on His throne, and to see Jesus Christ—both of whom shine like the sun—will definitely be exhilarating!
But will the saints simply gaze at the Father and Christ, unendingly, for all eternity? Eternal life—the greatest gift God could bestow on His children—will have a great and awesome purpose! Eternal life is not just the indefinite extension of a life like we now lead. It is not, as some Eastern religions teach, the time when we join the “world soul.” And while it will certainly involve joy and happiness, it will be an eternity filled not just with joy, but with purpose.
Human beings’ destiny is to be born into the family of God, as the “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). But what does it mean to be such an heir? The amazing truth revealed in your Bible is that God wants to share the “family business”—rulership over the entire universe—with His children! As members of the very Family of God, resurrected Christians will actually share in the Work of God, assisting our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ, in teaching others, beautifying His creation, and governing the entire universe in peace and righteousness forever!
To understand our spiritual destiny, we must recall the commission God gave when human beings were first placed on the earth. God gave Adam and Eve “dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26). The human family was given responsibility to govern—to rule—over God’s creation. In turn, Adam was to dress it and cultivate it. He and his descendants were to help in God’s creative work of enhancing and beautifying the earth!
Adam failed the test of obedience, and Satan, the devil, was able to ensnare and entrap all of humanity (Revelation 12:9). But through the work of the Messiah—Jesus’ life, sacrifice, resurrection, and second coming—the devil will ultimately be overthrown (Revelation 20:2, 10). After Christ’s second coming, the earth will be returned to a millennial, Eden-like state (Isaiah 51:3).
But whom will God use to restore the world? The resurrected saints! Scripture clearly describes their role: “You… have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10). God also instructs His saints: “But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” (Revelation 2:25–26).
In the parable of the minas, Christ explained the leadership role the resurrected saints will be given as a reward for their faithful service: “Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities’” (Luke 19:16–17). Here we see that Christ’s reward for faithful Christians is not some kind of idle enjoyment; it involves active service to our Savior. Indeed, during the prophesied Millennium, the saints’ role will be to rule over the earth assisting Jesus Christ (Revelation 3:12, 21).
And what will happen after the Millennium—the prophesied thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ on earth—has ended and after the general resurrection (Revelation 20:7–15)? What will the saints do after obedient and converted human beings have been glorified, and the incorrigible have been reduced to ashes in a lake of fire (Malachi 4:3)?
God inspired the Apostle Paul to write about our ultimate destiny:
For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands” (Hebrews 2:5–7).
There is more! Paul wrote further, “You have put all things in subjection under his feet” (Hebrews 2:8). What did Paul mean by “all things”? The Greek used here, ta panta, is all-inclusive, meaning “every, the whole” (Strong’s Concordance). The Weymouth translation renders “all things” as “the universe.” All things will be put under the dominion of the resurrected saints, working through God’s Kingdom.
In other words, even though all things—the whole universe—are not currently under humanity’s dominion, they will be (Hebrews 2:8). Can we grasp that? Just as God originally gave human beings dominion and rulership over the earth, His ultimate goal is for us to rule over the entire universe! In the same way that we were meant to work on and beautify the earth, God has also called us to assist Him in refashioning and “planting” the desolate planets throughout the vast universe (Romans 8:19–21). Our destiny is literally to join His family business!
Thank God for our awesome destiny—and God speed the day when His plan for each of us is complete.