Heaven: Work and Rest On the New Earth…

This post is one in a series of posts on a Bible study I am doing titled Heaven by Randy Alcorn and Dave McCleskey. The focus of this study is to get a Biblical view of what heaven is really like.

Click HERE to see the previous post. Click HERE to start at the beginning.

First off, I apologize for posting so late today!  I took the day off of work, and that changed my entire daily routine, to the point that I am just now getting to my study today. Today’s study talked about a topic that I assume is mostly speculation, but they had some fairly positive scriptural support. That topic is, what will a typical day be like in Heaven? Will we sleep or even rest at all? Will we work? The answer to these is a very probable “yes”…

Resting in Heaven

Hebrews 4:9-11 says “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience”  This passage speaks of Heaven including a Sabbath-day rest, and so we can expect that when we go there will be periods of rest in Heaven. Rest is built in to everything God created. When He created the Universe, he rested on the seventh day (see Genesis 2:2), and when he made His law he commanded that the seventh day be a day of rest (see Exodus 20:8-11). God even rested the earth itself every seventh year (see Leviticus 25:1-7), so we know that He considers rest an important part of the completion of any work. But as we’ll see later, rest will not be our only experience in Heaven.

Sleep in Heaven

The idea of sleeping in Heaven seems odd to me – like if we are given perfect physical bodies, we won’t fatigue or grow weary, and therefore won’t need sleep. But Alcorn points out that the idea of sleeping in Heaven doesn’t necessarily go against having a perfect physical body. If we are going to eat in Heaven (which we will – see my previous post for more on this), there’s no reason to believe that we will not also sleep. There’s nothing bad about sleep – as Alcorn put it, “[sleep is] a matter of God’s design for the rhythym of life.”

Work in Heaven

Although some people think that working is terrible (I used to have a job where I would agree with you), working in Heaven will not be that way. We will be given meaningful tasks that bring us joy.  Some argue that at the Fall, work was brought in as a part of the curse, but this isn’t the case. In Genesis 2, before Eve was even created, it says that “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (v. 15). At the fall, when God announced the Curse upon mankind, He said “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.” The Curse didn’t bring work – it made work frustrating.

Revelation 22:3 says “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.” (emphasis added). The word serve here is an action verb – it’s doing something active for the Kingdom of God. And because there will no longer be any curse, our work will not be frustrating, but will be rewarding and fulfulling. Jesus said that doing God’s work was fulfilling – in John 4:32-34 it says “…he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you know nothing about.’ Then his disciples said to each other, ‘Could someone have brought him food?’ ‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.’ “

And if we consider the fact that we are striving to be more like God, then we can assume that work will always be a part of what we do in Heaven. In John 5:17, Jesus said “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working. And being given responsibility is a good thing – those that are faithful are given more responsibility (see Matthew 25:23).  I think Alcorn summed all this up very well:

Since work began before the curse, and since God, who is without sin, is a worker, we should assume that human beings will work ont the New Earth. We should assume we’ll be able to resume the work started by Adam and Eve, exercising Godly dominion over the earth, ruling it for God’s glory.

So although we will definitely have times of rest in Heaven, a majority of our time will be spent actively serving God. What this service entails, I can’t really say. Perhaps it will be things similar to what we do on earth today, but with a God-driven purpose behind it. Perhaps it will be new things that we can’t even conceive of. Either way, we know that it will be things we enjoy doing and that we will get much satisifaction out of it. If you’re like me, your just happy that we’re going to be doing more than just sitting on clouds playing harps!

Click HERE to see the next post in this series.

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