As a Christian, you expect to go to heaven when you die, but what do you expect to be doing after you arrive? Perhaps you will spend time with loved ones, make appointments to meet the great saints of the ages, or take a long rest. But, is that all you will be doing? Eternity is a long time you know!
Is it possible that what you are doing with your life on earth right now, is actually setting you up for a job when you get to heaven? Let’s consider the proposition from a Biblical perspective.
- Man’s very creation designated him as a working being: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:27-28); “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis “2:15). The creation mandate has not been withdrawn.
- Following the flood, God said to Noah and to his family, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given” (Genesis9:1-2). Referred to as the Noahic mandate, like the creation mandate, it has never been withdrawn.
Do we have any insight from Scripture that we may continue to work in eternity?
- Eternity for human beings begins at the moment of conception – for both the saved and the unsaved. For the saved who die before the return of Christ the sequence is as follows: earth life – heaven life – return to earth life (1k), and finally life eternally as citizens of the new heavens and the new earth.
- Consider these words from the world to come – “Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘My lord, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes’” (Revelation 7:13-17). Notice “and they serve Him day and night (:15). Serve – (latereuo) lat-ryoo’-o: comes from “latris” meaning, a hired menial. It means to perform service – to work – to have a job!
- “And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, `Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them’” (Revelation 14:13). Labors is “kopos” kop-os meaning a beating, trouble – from the root “kop’-to” (to cut strike, smite). Labors they rest from. “Deeds” (work) on the other hand follow them – “ergon” er-gon means that business, employment in which one is occupied. NOTICE- their labor does not follow them, but their deeds (work) do.
Consider the labor (trouble) experienced by Moses, Abraham and Elijah. Then consider their work.
- Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus at His transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-3), talking with Him about the coming events. Who better to discuss the fulfillment of the law than the one who transcribed the Book of the Law – Who better to discuss the fulfillment of the prophets than the prophet whom God translated?
- Abraham appears in Jesus’ account of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:22-21), serving as an overseer and comforter for the abode of the righteous dead. Who better to comfort the righteous dead of Israel than the father of their nation?
- At the death of Jesus on the cross, many of the O.T. saints came out of the tombs and went into the city appearing to many no doubt work as as witnesses of the truth of Jesus.
- And what of the great host of all the saints from the resurrection of Jesus to the present. Of these (which includes us) St. Paul says, “and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:6-10). Why should we take this to mean for earth life only?
- While we need not think that we shall exactly replicate our earthly activity in heaven, neither need we think that the sum of our lessons in life will be discarded or wasted in heaven. What you have done, are now doing, and will do matters eternally —- not wasting your time, talent or treasure, but investing it, as all this will be put to good use in the world to come!
Check pastorresources.com for part 2 of Are We Working Out Our Heavenly Job Description On Earth?
Dennis D. Frey, M.Div., Th.D., President
Master’s International University of Divinity
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New American Standard Version.