Knowing that the layout of the tabernacle was a pattern of what was in Heaven (Ex 25:9; Hb 8:5), and knowing that God has made many statements that Israel will be his people forever and be his witnesses to the world, it is likely that Israel will be surrounding the city of Jerusalem as they did when the tabernacle was first erected since God now dwells in the new Jerusalem. Also, there will be three gates on each side of the wall with a name of a tribe on each gate (Rv 21:12) – just like it stated in the Old Testament that three tribes camped on each side of the tabernacle (Nu 2). Again, it is likely that Israel will lead the nations in the worship of God (Is 43:10, 21).
As far as activities, the Bible does not have a lot to say on this subject. However, knowing that the intent is to return to a more Edenic state (however, it will be so much more), one can use that as a reference. The original intent for Adam and Eve was to have them have dominion over all the earth and to subdue it, and to “work it” and “to take care of it” (Gn 2:15). These words and concepts would imply exploration, production, guarding, and observing. Therefore, as then, one will learn about God: His attributes and His creation. All that one does will be to bring glory to God: everyone will explore His creation, learn more about God and recognize, acknowledge and proclaim His attributes. This would be one fulfillment of Revelation 21:24, 26: “And the nations [peoples] of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it... and they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.”
Dr. Herman A. Hoyt, who graduated from Ashland Theological Seminary with highest honors and who later served as academic dean of Grace Theological Seminary for fourteen years (1948-1962) and then as its president for the next fifteen years (1962-1976), summarizes what life in the Eternal State will be like:
“Will the redeemed sink into a state of ineffable bliss marked by release from exertion and hardship on the one hand, but filled with enjoyment and idleness on the other? The answer to this seems to be a positive no. And even though there is little information in the Scriptures on this point, it is sufficient to draw a picture of wonder and attractiveness with which to excite anticipation for this glorious future.”
He goes on to provide these descriptions:
• the attitude of worship will permeate every aspect of activity and employment
• research will enter every area of creation and will reach beyond the wildest imagination of men
• the kings, that is, those in administrative authority over the nations, will bring the results of their accomplishments to the city as an offering of praise to the King of kings
• the perfect administration of the universe will at last be achieved through grace
• at last, redeemed mankind will have reached that place of purity and perfection in a land of life, light and love where the deepest desires of the human heart will be satisfied.
In addition, Dr. Robert Congdon, a noted international Bible teacher, conference speaker, author, and radio commentator on subjects related to Biblical prophecy and world events states the following:
“Unlike most scientists and writers of today, redeemed individuals of the new earth will delight in giving glory to God as they explore His creation, and through it learn more about Him. God’s attributes will be recognized, acknowledged, and proclaimed. For example: As one saint goes forth in the universe and studies some aspect of a planet that is unreachable today, he will discover a new aspect of God’s greatness. Immediately he will return to tell others of God’s glory. Another, searching the microscopic world, will see God’s infinite details and call others to see God’s greatness. This will be the fulfillment of several of David’s psalms: ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork’ (Ps 19:1), and ‘the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself’ (Ps 5-6).”
It seems that everyone during this time are going to be exploring further all of the things that God knows that human beings don’t know. It is going to be a scientists’ wonderland!
Because of the large number of people, there will be the need for a lot of administration. Here are some of the groups and their likely responsibilities based upon what scripture has revealed about them:
• The Bride (New Testament Saints, i.e., the Church): assists in the administration and offers eternal testimony to God’s attributes of grace and love (Rv 2:26-27; 3:21; 20:6)
• The Resurrected Saints (Old Testament and Tribulation): friends and attendants of the Bridegroom (Mt 25:1, 10). They will rule over Israel and the nations.
• Israel: head of the nations and being God’s witnesses helping the nations worship the Lord (Is 61:6-11, 66:22; Dn 7:27).
• Kings and Nations: Administered by kings, the nations will carry on activity and production throughout eternity and bring the glory and honor that they find in their daily tasks and discoveries back to God for display when they visit the New Jerusalem (Rv 21:24).
This is only a peek of what things will be like. While everything can’t be directly supported by direct scripture references, many of these inferences are similar to the scenarios that have been provided above and give at least a glimpse of what true heaven may be like. Perhaps more was not provided because either mankind is not be able to understand it or it is too wonderful to even describe. I’m reminded of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey where the question was asked, “What’s going to happen?” The simple response was, “Something wonderful.” Well, that’s what’s going to happen here: something wonderful. Do you plan on being around to experience it? I trust you will. Come with me to visit Something Wonderful.
Quotes in this post came from the following:
Hoyt, Herman A. The End Times. Chicago: Moody Press, 1969.
Congdon, Robert R. Living in the New Heaven and Earth. Sixteenth Annual Pre-Trib Study Group: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX, 2007.
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