The Occupations of Heaven

By John Thiel, mp3

Matthew 25:23 His Lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

What do we gain from these words of Jesus? Does it not tell us that the way we dwell with Jesus here relates to our life there in the heavenly Canaan?

To His servants Christ commits “His goods”–something to be put to use for Him. He gives “to every man his work.” Each has his place in the eternal plan of heaven. Each is to work in co-operation with Christ for the salvation of souls. Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than is the special place designated on earth where we are to work for God. {COL 326.4}

What I do here on earth is a preliminary to what I will do in the occupation of heaven. In our preparation to enter the heavenly Canaan, we need to understand this principle. My life here on earth is a precursor to the life in heaven. This is further expanded in the words of Jesus in Luke. Jesus reemphasises this.

Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true [riches]?

True riches of the eternal world is what Jesus is talking about. The way I govern my life here on earth is what I will do in heaven. This provokes our enquiring mind to research our life across the proverbial Jordan in order to prepare my mind for heavenly occupation. If I want to be occupied in heaven, I must understand what I must be occupied with here on earth.

The Occupations of Heaven

Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

There in that heavenly realm during those one thousand years, Gods people are going to be doing what? Judgement is given to them. Judgement is an occupation that will be given them there. Apostle Paul made reference to this.

1 Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

The judging of things in this life if done under Gods direction is a preliminary activity to what we will do across the proverbial Jordan. We will be judging angels and the world. A thousand years of that sort of work needs a bit of training. People go to law school to be judges. Here God’s people are going to be judging the wicked world and the angels. We are not to go with our church affairs if anything needs to be judged to the law courts. We are to judge in Gods church here. We have to learn here the skill of Godly judgement. Jesus is a judge and Gods people will be judges together with him.

Isaiah 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

The judgement to take place is not dependent upon what you see and hear and it is this kind of skill that God laid upon Jesus Christ and he wants us to pick up on that and judging is an occupation on the other side.

Isaiah 65:21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit [them]; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. 22 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. 23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they [are] the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.

What is the occupation of heavenly Canaan? Did you pick up the two words? Work and labour. Building houses, planting vineyards and productivity. They will bring forth product from the work of their labour. This is the occupation of the heavenly Canaan.

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

What is meant here? Sitting in his throne. They will be sitting on thrones but they will be sitting in his throne.

Daniel 7:18 But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

What will they do? The saints of the most high shall possess the kingdom.

Daniel 7:27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

To sit in his throne means to be involved in the dominion and the kingdom of heaven.

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him [be] glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

What has Jesus made us? Kings and priests in the kingdom of God. If the occupations in heaven are going to be judging, we will have to learn here what it means to be a judge there. If there is going to be work and labour and building of houses and vineyards, we will have to be well prepared for such activity in a mindset and then to be kings and priests that Jesus has made us to receive a kingdom that rules over the universe as the heavenly Jerusalem from which the universe is ruled is going to be here on earth. God’s people will be sitting in the kingdom on their throne of government, taking care of the affairs of the kingdom of the universe. Learn of it now.

Revelation 21:24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

What do we understand with the glory of the nations that will be brought into it? We understand well that the different kings with their products will always come to give their products for the wellbeing of the whole. The wealth, glory and products of the nations will be brought into the heavenly Jerusalem. We will be gathering in the heavenly Jerusalem every week. What are we going to eat there? The products of our hands. Like people here, they bring their products to the city as people need to eat. There is an economy there. The riches that have to be looked after in heaven is mentioned in Luke. If we can’t be faithful here, how can we look after the real riches? There is something to learn here so we will be faithful economists in heaven.

The economy of heaven provides no place for the gratification of indolence. {MYP 216.2}

There is no indolence in heaven, what are we like here? We are in training here to be faithful in little things that God can intrust to us the greater riches, the real ones. This plan of schooling here to fit us for heaven needs to be understood. In all the affairs and pastimes of heaven, there is something else to bring into focus.

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Imagine the enormity of the kingdom of God across the universe and how everyone has a place to fulfil. What is suggested here? Order. God is a God of order and when Jesus was in the tomb, he arose and what did he do with his burial garments? What do you do when you get up in the morning? Do you get up and make your bed? How do we get up in the morning? Do we leave the bed clothes any old how order? When Jesus rose form the dead he folded his burial robes neatly. Heaven is a place of order. There are activities there that our mind set must be prepared for.

There is perfect order and harmony in the Holy City. All the angels that are commissioned to visit the earth hold a golden card, which they present to the angels at the gates of the city as they pass in and out. Heaven is a good place. {EW 39.2}

There is order even to the point that the angels even have a golden card as they pass in and out of the door of the gate. Why can’t they just walk through the gates? Our practise here on earth prepares us for the practise of heaven.

Isaiah 66:23 And it shall come to pass, [that] from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

The occupation of heaven is that every sabbath and every occasion for special fellowship, we are going to be gathering for regular meetings with God. What is the counsel in Hebrews here on earth?

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

There are going to be regular meetings in heaven and if we are not prepared for that in our mind set, we will absent ourselves there. Here it is says forsake not the assembling of ourselves. If we are Gods people we will attend our regular meetings. Become accustomed to regular meetings in Gods church here. Here is something that alludes to what our occupation will be.

Psalms 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. 3 [There is] no speech nor language, [where] their voice is not heard.

The heavens are a source of knowledge. To be in the heavenly Canaan, we are going to have a field of knowledge that we are going to spend eternity pursuing. Study and research of the amazing representations of God’s creation.

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

What you see and what you can study with your eyes now, we have technology that can go deeper with the microscope and telescope, but we still can’t see every detail. Our eyes will be able to see things we have never seen before and we will marvel to research that. Study to show yourselves approved of God. Is heaven going to be occupied by study?

There, when the veil that darkens our vision shall be removed, and our eyes shall behold that world of beauty of which we now catch glimpses through the microscope; when we look on the glories of the heavens, now scanned afar through the telescope; when, the blight of sin removed, the whole earth shall appear in “the beauty of the Lord our God,” what a field will be open to our study! There the student of science may read the records of creation and discern no reminders of the law of evil [the law of hereditary]. He may listen to the music of nature’s voices and detect no note of wailing or undertone of sorrow. In all created things he may trace one handwriting–in the vast universe behold “God’s name writ large,” and not in earth or sea or sky one sign of ill remaining. {

What will we do on the other side? We will study Gods beautiful creation down to the smallest electron. We don’t even know what is beyond that up to the most profound enormous planets around the universe. This will be man’s study.

There every power will be developed, every capability increased. The grandest enterprises will be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations will be reached, the highest ambitions realized. And still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of body and mind and soul. {Ed 307.4}

All the treasures of the universe will be open to the study of God’s children. With unutterable delight we shall enter into the joy and the wisdom of unfallen beings. We shall share the treasures gained through ages upon ages spent in contemplation of God’s handiwork. And the years of eternity, as they roll, will continue to bring more glorious revelations. “Exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20) will be, forever and forever, the impartation of the gifts of God. {Ed 307.5}

We will be studying and researching in eternity so study here and have a mindset of pleasure in study. To be happily occupied across the Jordan, our hearts need conditioning here. To judge, to govern, work and labour, to enter into enterprises, to attend to orderly procedures, to stop my own occupation so I can attend the regular meetings. To attend to education. Oh dear I hear some people say. Don’t we want release from all those things? From such responsibility? I thought he was just there to be served or to be entertained and have pleasure. Is this not he mentality of the natural heart? There are some people who wish heaven was like that which is why some pictures show angels sitting on clouds with harps drifting in a fairy world. The mind of Jesus is a different mind. It is a mind in contrast to the natural mind we have here on earth.

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

The natural man we must learn on this earth to discard. The natural man that says I have to go and work and I wish I could stay home and do my fun. That is the natural man. He has to go and work and educate himself so he can get a good job so he can get money so he can enjoy himself. Do you know of the idle rich? That is the natural man. Heaven is not an idle place. Heaven is a place where labour, judging, enterprising and governing is pleasure. I don’t know if you have come to a point where you were at school and it was so hard and you mastered what you were learning and it wasn’t hard anymore but a pleasure. This is what I have found. For me to share God’s word is no longer a heart pounding experience. I used to be scared stiff. When the Lord gives you training there comes a point where you enjoy the work given you. We will be happy to labour and work in eternity as that is the pastime that is pleasure and joy the Lord. if you multiply your talents on earth, you have the privilege of being a ruler in the heavenly dominion. God illumes us with his mind set as we prepare for a home with him.

Our following studies we will go into total detail of the occupations of heaven and what is written in God’s word that we will have to learn here to make sure our mindset is in place. Whether it is in reference to judging, work, labour, government or to submit ourselves to Gods form of government. How to be economical and enterprising, learn it here’s we can be trusted with it there. How to be orderly here so we can be orderly there. Our regular meetings to adjust our minds to lay aside things that prevent us from being in the regular meetings here on earth so we will be prepared to be faithful there as well. Also to be understanding of our study program here so we will be happily occupied in the study there.


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Posted on 15/10/2010, in Divine Service Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.



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