Occupation of the Saints in Christ’s Kingdom
March 24, 2015 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, email@example.com)
for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.
Micah 4:4We read in the Bible:
“And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised. There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth” (Psa. 72:15-16).
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut THE SIX WORKING DAYS; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened” (Eze. 46:1).
God made man to work and explore and learn. That is the purpose of the creation over which man is the head (Gen. 1:27-28).
The creation is for enjoyment, education, occupation, and revelation.
The idea of the saints sitting around strumming harps in a sort of glorious rapture is unscriptural. A lazy, inactive life is a wasted life that is out of God’s will. The book of Proverbs emphasizes how much God hates sluggardism. See Proverbs 6:6-11; 10:4, 26; 12:24, 27; 15:19; 19:15, 24; 20:4, 13; 21:25-26; 22:13; 24:30-34; 26:13-16.
We don’t know all of the things that men will do in the kingdom, but we read about teaching (Isa 2:3; 66:19), governing and administering justice (Isa. 60:17; Mat. 5:21-26; Rev. 2:26-27), mining, silver and gold smithing, metallurgy (Psa. 72:15; Isa. 60:6, 9, 17), shipping (Isa. 42:10; 60:8), land transportation (Isa. 60:5-6), husbandry and agriculture (Isa. 60:6-7; 61:5; 65:21; Jer. 32:12-13; Mic. 4:3-4), carpentry (Isa. 60:13), construction (Isa. 60:10; 61:4; 65:21; Jer. 31:38-40), real estate commerce (Jer. 32:43-44), fishing (Ezek. 47:10), chariot making (Isa. 66:20), textiles, sewing (Psa. 45:8, 13-14), perfume making (Psa. 45:8).
In Christ’s kingdom, the main work will be to learn of God in Christ (John 17:3; 1 John 5:20). Man was not created to live for himself but to know God and to walk in fellowship with Him in obedience to His law (Ecc. 12:13). Christ invites men, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me” (Mat. 11:28-29). As the eternal ages progress, we will be ever learning of God’s wisdom (Eph. 1:8-9), God’s grace (Eph. 2:7), God’s love (Eph. 3:17-19), and of every aspect of God’s character.
The central work in Christ’s kingdom, then, will be the work of the Millennial Temple. It will be built to display God’s glory (Isa. 60:7). It will be occupied and maintained by priests who will offer sacrifices and perform worship and teach. We consider this in the section on the Millennial Temple.
The Word of God will go forth from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, and the nations will come to Jerusalem to see Christ and to hear His Word and to see the priestly sacrifices that picture His cross-work. Priests will explain the meaning of eternal redemption. As we have seen, there will be great teaching and preaching by Spirit-filled ministers. And by Jesus Himself!
But another of the ways that we learn of God is by the exploration of His creation, which is a textbook of God’s character and a revelation of spiritual wisdom.
“But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?” (Job 12:7-9).
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun” (Psa. 19:1-4).
When God wanted to show Job His glory, He used the animal kingdom (Job 38-39).
Man will be restored to his God-given place as head of the creation in Christ (Heb. 2:5-9). All things will be put under his feet. Satan’s reign will be finished. Man will “subdue” the creation in the sense that he will use it for God’s glory and his pleasure in God’s will (Gen. 1:28).
Men will doubtless continue to investigate the creation, but they will do so by the key of knowledge, which is the fear of God (Psa. 111:10; Prov. 9:10). And they will do for the glory of God and not the glory of man.
When Christ reigns, the spiritual darkness will be lifted.
“And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations” (Isa. 25:7).
Satan, the father of the darkness of this present world, the “prince of the power of the air,” will be incarcerated in the bottomless pit.
“For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: (Isa 29:20)
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Rev. 20:1-3).
The “science falsely so called” of this age will give way to true science. The fathers of modern science, for the large part, believed in the God of the Bible and understood that they were investigating His handiwork. Men of science in the Millennium will be men like Johannes Kepler, one of the fathers of modern astronomy and the discoverer of the laws of planetary motion:
“I was merely thinking God’s thoughts after him. Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it benefits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.”
Kepler considered himself a priest of God who did everything to the glory of God, including his science, and that is how men will live in the Millennium and beyond. Even the most common and “mundane” thing will be done for God’s glory. Even the bells on the horses will be devoted to God’s holiness and glory (Zech. 14:20).
As we have said earlier in these studies, imagine a world, a universe, in which all of the citizens are priests of the most high God and do everything to the glory of God.
James Clerk Maxwell, one of the fathers of modern physics, understood man’s eternal purpose:
“I believe, with the Westminster Divines and their predecessors ad Infinitum, that ‘man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him for ever’” (Lewis Campbell and William Garnet, The Life of James Clerk Maxwell, 1882).
Michael Faraday, another of the fathers of modern physics, understood that the key to unlocking the mysteries of the universe is God’s Word:
“... the Christian who is taught of God ... finds his guide in the Word of God ... and looks for no assurance beyond what the Word can give Him. ... The Christian religion is a revelation, and that revelation is the Word of God” (Selected Exhortations Delivered to Various Churches of Christ by the Late Michael Faraday, Dundee: John Leng and Co., 1910).
In Christ’s kingdom every field will be unlocked by the key of God’s Word, whether it be cosmology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics, art, geology, oceanology, astronomy, meteorology, chemistry, botany, zoology, medicine, genetics, mathematics, or physics.
The darkness of this present time will be past, and light will shine into every corner of life on earth.
Even today, the believer thrills to study creation and to see the Creator’s glory reflected everywhere, from the details of the living cell to the mind-staggering depth and beauty of the galaxies and the perfectly-tuned laws of physics. How much more thrilling will this research be in Christ’s kingdom!
Today our exploration of the Lord’s world is handicapped by the fact that the fields of science are controlled by unbelieving men and governments in rebellion to God, and believers rarely have the proper resources to study and explore. In this present age, most of the world’s scientists and educators are spiritually blind (2 Cor. 4:4). They are crippled in their thinking by the willful rejection of the Creator (2 Pet. 3:3-5). They stumble along as blind men rather than walking in the glorious light of God’s Word. They study creation but don’t have the key to unlock its meaning. They think the universe just happened, that life sprang from nothing and carried itself along from complexity to complexity.
They build museums of “natural history” built on the philosophy of Darwinian “naturalism.”
In Christ’s kingdom, all of the instruments of research will belong to the Lord’s people. In that day, science and technology will be dedicated to God’s glory, and in His light we will see light (Psa. 36:9). Unlike today, when science textbooks and natural history museums are filled with myths and lies, in that day they will be shining bastions of truth! In Christ’s kingdom the museums of “natural history” will be replaced with museums of God’s handiwork!
And in that day we won’t be subject to weariness and danger and a thousand other things that so greatly limit research and exploration in this present time. In that day will be fulfilled the following prophecy:
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
I don’t know exactly how research and exploration will be done in Christ’s Millennial kingdom and beyond. I don’t know if there will be space travel, for example.
Doubtless the most fabulous machine of this present age, the space shuttle, with its 2.5 million parts, will seem like a child’s toy in Christ’s kingdom because of the wisdom that will flow from the Spirit of God.
The glorified saints apparently will be like Jesus in the sense of being able to transcend physical barriers such as walls (John 20:19).
In 1968, the astronauts aboard Apollo 8 circling the moon, sent a live Christmas message to earth by reading from Genesis 1:1-10 in the King James Bible. At the time, it was the largest audience to ever listen to a human voice. Borman said, “The only instructions that we got from NASA was to do something appropriate,” so he, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders took turns reading the Bible. They concluded the historic broadcast by saying, “And God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.” Responding to criticism by atheists and secularists, NASA has since forbad the reading of God’s Word.
In Christ’s kingdom, there will never again be such godless restriction, and the wonderful Creator will be glorified in everything.
Christ’s kingdom will not be a communist state; there will be private ownership of property.
“And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands” (Isa. 65:21-22).
“But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it” (Micah 4:4).
Some have tried to use the situation in the church at Jerusalem in Acts 2:44-45 as evidence that God’s people should practice communism and divide their income equally, but that was a temporary situation and it was voluntary and not prescribed by God’s law. Peter told Ananias that his property was under his own power and that he was not compelled to give it to the church (Acts 5:4). Ananias’ sin was not in holding back part of the profit for himself; his sin was in lying about the matter and claiming to have given everything to the Lord. The sin was deception and hypocrisy.
But private ownership in Christ’s kingdom won’t be like private ownership in this present world. There won’t be selfishness and greed and abuse. In Christ’s kingdom everything will belong to the Lord, and the citizens will understand that and be satisfied with that.
“There will no longer be such a monstrosity on God’s fair earth as of one man owning thousands of acres and another not even enough of ground to be buried in; one man worth millions and another worth nothing; one man able to gratify every desire and without an effort, and another with the sweat of his brow, the weariness of his body and the ache of both heart and brain scarce able to meet his minimum need. The day of graft and syndicate privilege, the conspiracy of the few against the many will be over. There will be but one ownership of land, the ownership of the Lord. Round the wide earth the proclamation of the twenty-fourth Psalm will be repeated: ‘The earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.’ (Ps. 24:1) All property will be held in trust from the Lord. Each individual will be a tenant of the King. Each man will be given a home; as it is written: ‘But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.’ (Mic. 4:4) There will be competition among men, but it will be a competition in righteousness, in devotion to God. It will be a competition in which he who is most filled with truth and holiness and love, love to man and love to God, ever expanding and deepening love to God through ever expanding and deeper love to man; he who seeks most in all things to please the Lord, shall be most exalted, most renowned. It will be a competition in which the success and enrichment will be measured not in land, but in love, in spiritual life, in soul dominion” (I.M. Haldeman, Ten Sermons on the Second Coming, 1916).
In Christ’s kingdom business and commerce will not be based on the old Babylonian model of greed and the selfish pursuit of profit by any means as described in James 5:1-7 and Revelation 18. There will be a focus on contentment and compassion rather than covetousness (Heb. 13:5). The golden rule will reign. Men will be like Boaz who had compassion on the poor (Ruth 2:4-8).
Everyone will be pulling together for the glory of Christ. The citizens of Christ’s kingdom will desire to pull one another up, as opposed to the common practice in this present world of exalting self while putting others down.
Business will be honest and considerate. Manufacturers will not make cheap junk to sell at a high profit. The deception and greed and manipulation that characterizes business in this present world will not be allowed in Christ’s kingdom. Profit will be as much for others as for self (Eph. 4:28). All will be done in accordance with God’s law and by His will and for His pleasure and glory.
Businessmen will be like George Burns, founder of the famous Cunard Line of ocean liners, who believed in putting the glory of God and human safety before profit. He said, “I believe in the power of prayer, but I also believe in doing work well, and subordinating profit and speed and public opinion to safety, comfort, and efficiency.”
Businessmen will be like James C. Penny, founder of J.C. Penny stores. At first they were called Golden Rule stores, because he was “dedicated to following the Golden Rule as a basic commercial principle.” The Golden Rule refers to Christ’s principle of “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” He offered good products at fair prices and treated the customers with respect. He kept the profit margin small. He tested every policy by asking if it was “right and just?” He operated on a cash only basis, because he didn’t want his fellow man to be in debt. He made his managers part owners of the stores in order to share the wealth. He gave away much of his personal wealth to charities. He said he would rather be known as a Christian than a merchant. In an early advertisement he said, “Business is therefore as much religious as it is secular. If we follow the admonition to love God, and our neighbors as ourselves, it will lead us to understand that, first of all, success is a matter of the spirit.” This is the attitude that will permeate Christ’s kingdom.
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