No More Harps and Hallelujahs!
1. What are we going to do through all eternity? (Theological term: glorification)
Play harps? Sing Hallelujah? I hope not. I’m not musical and I don’t think a one word praise chorus would sustain me forever! I’m being facetious, of course, but my question is a serious one. Do we have any idea from scripture what you and I will do throughout the ages of the ages?
We do indeed! In the last verse of the visions of the book of Revelation and the first two chapters of Genesis. In these chapters, the only ones untouched by sin, we see God’s eternal planned fulfilled (Rev.21-22) and in their light that plan in embryo in the creation stories (Gen.1-2). In Rev.22:5, the last verse of Revelation’s visions, the people of God are said to “reign” throughout the eternal ages. When we look back to the creation stories in Genesis we can see that being made in God’s image to have dominion over creation as God’s royal representatives (1:26-28) and to protect and nurture that creation as priests in God’s garden temple palace (2:15-17) fill out the profile of the kind of “reign” we will exercise in the New Jerusalem/New Creation, the completed creational temple where God dwells forever with his creations!
This is what you are going to do throughout all eternity.
2. So what are we supposed to be doing now? (Theological term: sanctification)
Living as the royal priests God created and redeemed us to be. That’s what “salvation” is all about! Sin derails/damages/distorts God’s plan for us but does not destroy it. God never gives up on his eternal plan for us and the creation. Rather, he launches a rescue and restoration project with Israel that culminates with Jesus, the one faithful Israelite, living as the human being God desires and, as God, doing for us what we cannot and will not do for ourselves.
3. How do we do this? (Theological term: justification)
Faith in Jesus, in his faithfulness to his Father, enables us to belong to the people of God, even though that won’t be fully and finally revealed till Judgment Day. Thus, we live from Jesus’ victory toward our destiny: God’s people living forever with God on the new earth (which is actually this earth refined and purified to be what it always should have been). In Jesus we are more than restored to our primal dignity and vocation; we are made to participate in Jesus’ own victorious royal priesthood as we live out the reality of our own.
If harps and hallelujah’s are not our eternal destiny but continuing our work as God’s royal priests is, then our life is about beginning such royal priestly labor here and now! And God will purge and purify our works and use them in constructing the New Jerusalem, his eternal temple palace. So you see, you can “take it with you” after all!