Is Heaven the Reward of the Saved?

John Plunkett

October 15, 2015

Today we are here to celebrate God’s Feast of Trumpets.

When we celebrate this day each year, we often think about the seven last trumpets of the 8th chapter of the book of Revelation – especially the seventh and last trumpet, which will herald the return of Jesus to this earth – and will herald the wonderful First Resurrection.

But when we think and talk about any of the resurrections, we might often also tend to talk about the death that precedes it.

Some years ago, when my family and I were living in Victoria (on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada) and attending the local WCG congregation there, I joined five other church members in one of the most solemn activities that a human being can ever experience – that of bearing the casket of a friend – in this case, long-time church member, Amanda Surette – from a funeral chapel to a hearse, and from the hearse to the grave.

Yes.  Sweet little Mrs. Surette – who just a couple of weeks previously had softly murmured the Canadian national anthem in French to my family and I – had died.

On the seemingly interminable walk from the hearse to the grave site, I couldn’t help thinking about our beliefs now and the memories of some of my old beliefs from the Anglican Church of England, which came flooding to my mind. 

I was asking myself lots of questions.  And I was coming up with lots of answers too!  Answers from God's Word:

Has Mrs. Surette's soul gone to heaven?

No!  God’s Word clearly tells us!... That it is only her human spirit that has returned to God!  (Job 32:8; 33:4; 34:14; Psalm 31:5; 76:12; Ecclesiastes 3:21; 12:7). 

But how do we know that our Church doctrines on this are true?

Again because God’s Word clearly tells us!... That Mrs. Surette and others will come up in the First Resurrection.

The encouraging words of I Thessalonians 4:17, often read at church funerals, speaks of this time – the time of the First Resurrection – and gives us an exciting description:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Placed in the wrong hands, these encouraging words can become a very difficult scripture.

Some churches use this very same verse in an attempt to prove that heaven is the reward of the saved... that upon their deaths, Christians will go immediately to heaven and that they will remain there with Christ forever.

It is the purpose of this message to give you a clear explanation of this verse from the Bible – and to answer the question, “Is heaven the eternal reward of the saved?”

First of all, where did the doctrine that heaven is the reward of the saved come from?   Does the Old Testament teach it?  Did Jesus and His apostles teach it?  

I looked up articles on "heaven" in various encyclopaedias, and found that this doctrine originated many hundreds of years before Jesus Christ walked this earth.  It originated with the pagan, polytheistic Greeks and Romans.  Their deified heroes and other favourites of their multiple gods were supposedly given admission to their "heaven" – which they called "Elysium."

Various races evolved their own versions of Elysium.  The Germans and Scandinavians had their Valhalla.  The North American First Nations peoples had their Happy Hunting Grounds.  The eastern Buddhists had – and still have – their Nirvana, which offers the dubious promise of "the extinction of all desire and personality."  

But it is the western, professing-Christian heaven that was – and still is – most similar to the original Greek concept.

As I was growing up in the Church of England, I never questioned the idea that one day, we would go to heaven – although it was never proved to us from the scriptures.  

What a shock I received when I first started listening to The World Tomorrow radio broadcast on Radio Caroline in 1966 – to learn for the first time, after fifteen years of church-going, that Christ will come from heaven to be with us – rather than us going from earth to heaven to be with Him.

In order for us to understand what the reward of the saved really is, we first need to review what God's Kingdom really is.

Let us look first at Daniel's prophecies on the subject; prophecies that were inspired by one of the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon and his  empire – a dream in which he saw a huge statue – the different parts of which were made of different materials: a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, lower legs of iron, and feet of iron mixed with clay.

Daniel 2:
31: Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image.  This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
32:  This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
33:  His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
34:  Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
35:  Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
36:  This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
37:  Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
38:  And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.
39:  And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
40:  And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
41:  And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
42:  And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
43:  And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

These verses describe four powerful kingdoms, empires or governmental systems which have ruled over the greater part of the known, civilized world:

i)  The Chaldean-Babylonian Empire
    which existed from 625 to 538  BC,

ii)  The Medo-Persian Empire
     which existed from 538 to 330 BC,

iii) The Greco-Macedonian Empire
     which existed from 333 to 31 BC,

iv) The Roman Empire
     which began in 31 BC,
     reappeared in various forms throughout the centuries since,
     and which, as we understand it,
     will return and rule until the end of the age of man.

It is clear that these all were physical kingdoms and empires that existed on earth:

44:  And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
45:  Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

These verses follow on to say that God's Kingdom will encompass all of these previous kingdoms – on earth!

This fact was reiterated through another of Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams – this one (in Daniel 7) having four great beasts which were symbolic of four kingdoms – earthly kingdoms. 

For the sake of time, we won’t read the whole account; but here are just a few of its verses containing the crux of the prophecy:

Daniel 7:
17:  These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.
18:  But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever...

God here tells us, again through His prophet Daniel, about four earthly kingdoms that will ultimately be taken and given to the Most High God and His saints.

Verse 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. 

This scripture states that this Kingdom, God's “everlasting Kingdom,” shall not be in heaven; but shall be "under the whole heaven"!

Why then, when we read these scriptures, should we be surprised to find out that God's Kingdom will be on earth.

Millions of professing Christians who misuse our difficult scripture – I Thessalonians 4:17 – would better understand the meaning of it by simply studying in detail the words of what they call "the Lord's Prayer" which, ironically, so many of them vainly repeat every day: 

 Matthew 6:10:
Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 

Jesus instructs His people to pray for His Fathers God's Kingdom to come! Not for God the Father to take us away to it, just as we see in Jesus final prayer to His Father:

John 17:15:
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

I realize that what I am giving you here might be “old hat” to many members; but it is something that, as the pressure of the world of its beliefs come on us increasingly, we need to have these things firmly fixed in our minds.  And on the Feast of Trumpets even more so.  We need to know what this day is all about and what we can expect when all of its symbolism comes to pass.

Next, let's read another prophecy – one that is rarely read – about the Kingdom of God on earth. 

17:  But upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

This is physical – the physical Mount Zion and house of Jacob.

18a:  And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble; and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.

Esau is pretty much shut out of the Abrahamic Covenant promises.

19:  And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.
20:  And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south. 
21:  And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S. 

This prophecy has not in any way come to pass yet.  It is will come to pass in the future, after the first resurrection. 

All of these places mentioned here are on earth.  These verses mention parts of the physical territory of Israel and who will possess them in the early years of the Millennium.  These promises for Israel are all part of the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant.

Let us turn next to one of the most beloved Fall Holy Day scriptures, which we often hear quoted at the Feast of Tabernacles.  This prophecy proves that Jesus is going to dwell on the earth in the physical Jerusalem, and that He is going to make Himself accessible to physical people and nations.

Micah 4:
1:  But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 

This morning I went out for a walk by the ocean.  It was a beautiful clear morning.  I could see the mountains that rise up behind the towns of Courtenay and Campbell River, and the sight made me think about this verse, as well as the scripture that reads: “Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill made low.” (Isaiah 40:4).  However, I don’t think that Mount Zion is included in that huge change.

I do believe, though, that when this Isaiah prophecy is fulfilled, the topography of the whole world will be turned inside out; but Mount Zion will be an exception the general rule.  It, along with God's temple, will be right up there on the very tops of the mountains for everybody to see.  Perhaps Zion will replace Everest as the world's highest mountain!

2a:  And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob…

I strongly believe that this will be a physical temple at the summit of a physical mountain during the Millennium.

2b: … and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3:  And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.  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 then repeats – twice! – that God's Kingdom will come:

8:  And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the Kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem. 

We can be sure, then, that God’s Kingdom is going to come here to earth.

Returning to the New Testament, Matthew 24:3 shows that the disciples knew, and therefore were taught by Jesus Himself, that He had pre-planned to come back to this earth:

Matthew 24:3:
And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, “Tell us, when shall these things be?  And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” 

In His reply to them, Jesus continually repeated that He will come back to this earth.  Let's hopscotch through a couple of verses, still in Matthew 24, in which Jesus continually repeated over and over again that He is going to come back to this earth:

27:  For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shines even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be...
30:  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory...
37:  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be...
39:  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be...
42: Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come...
44:  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh...
46:  Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing...
48:  But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming...
50:  The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of.

Are all these repetitions in such a small space a mere coincidence?  No!  Jesus was pounding the fact into His disciples, and He's pounding it into us too.  He is coming back here!

Even after all this clear proof, some might argue that, because
Jesus went to be with His Father in heaven after His death and resurrection, we also must go to heaven to be with them.


But no.  The Parable of the Pounds gives us the clear answer on this:


Luke 19:
11:  And as they heard these things, He added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.

12:  He said therefore, "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
13:  And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, 'Occupy till I come.'
14:  But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.'
15:  And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.

These verses clearly show that, yes, Jesus did go to heaven to receive His Kingdom, but then He was to return.  The parable shows a time-lapse between the time He went to heaven and the time of His return.

At another time, Jesus clearly told His disciples that He will come again to earth and that there He will receive them to Himself to be with Him:

John 14:3:
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

If Jesus wants us in heaven, why would He have to come here to get us?  It doesn’t make sense.

After all Jesus' teaching, the disciples, although still somewhat limited in their understanding, knowledge and wisdom, one thing that they knew for sure was that Jesus was to restore the kingdom to Israel:

Acts 1:6:  
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel?"  

Shortly after this, and just after Jesus had ascended back to heaven, two of God's angels clearly stated to them exactly where Jesus will come back to, and exaxctly how He will come.  Still in Acts 1:

 9:  And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 
10:  And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11: which also said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." 
12: Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath day's journey. 

Yes.  He will come down from heaven, through the clouds, and will set down on the Mount of Olives just outside Jerusalem.  These angels who said this were basically repeating what God had inspired the Old Testament prophet Zechariah to write about this wondrous event:

Zechariah 14:4:
And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 

This account shows how God's great power will be displayed at the instant of Jesus' "touch-down" on earth by splitting the Mount of Olives in two.

We are destined to see that event!  We are going to witness it.  How?  Because we'll be with Him at the time – after we'll have risen to meet Him in the air (I Thessalonians 4:17). 

More than once, Jesus revealed to the apostle John that He will not return meekly or unnoticed to this earth:

Revelation 1:7:
Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.  Even so, Amen.

We who will be with Him on that day are going to see Him coming back through the clouds.  Yes.  Bit every eye shall see Him. 

I have often wondered how this is going to happen – how every human eye will witness His return.  Although prophecies show that there will be a lot of people "out of the picture" before then – a great and drastic reduction in the world's population – there will still be quite a lot of people alive around the world. 

The only way I can logically imagine the ability of every eye seeing Him coming down is that He will have to do multiple orbits around the world's northern and southern hemispheres before He actually lands on the Mount of Olives.

Revelation 19:11:
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. 

The point here is that when He comes back there is not going to be a secret rapture.  Rather, it is going to be a very big deal.  He is not going to come back meekly:

12:  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. 
13:  And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. 
14:  And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 
15:  And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 
16:  And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 
17:  And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
18:  that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
19:  And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. 
20:  And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image.  These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
21:  And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. 

His return will be witnessed by the human survivors of the whole world whose kings and armies (verse 19) will gather to battle against Him. 

No secret, quiet "rapture" whisking Christians quietly off to heaven; but the most terrible battle in man's history. 

That is what we might think of as "the bad news" of the Feast of Trumpets.  But now, more of the the good news – again, given to us through the book of Revelation; and again, one of its main prophecies describing the end-times clearly says that Jesus will bring His Kingdom to this earth:

Revelation 12:10:
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night." 

What about this phrase “Kingdom of Heaven?”  Jesus used this phrase thirty-two times, all in the Book of Matthew.

But is this a problem?  Does God’s Word contradict itself? 

No! All of tose thirty-two mentions mean just what they say: – the Kingdom of Heaven, not the Kingdom in Heaven.

Herbert Armstrong, in explanation of this point, often used to compare the grammar of the term "Kingdom of Heaven" with that of the "Bank of Morgan."  But, as many of us might not be familiar with this bank, we Canadians could substitute the Bank of Montreal as an example. 

If I say that I'm going to do some business at the Bank of Montreal, you would assume that I will be going to the bank's local Parksville branch over there on the Island Highway – not, of course, all the way to the bank's Head Office in Montreal, Quebec, which is three thousand miles away! 

It is the Bank of Montreal, not the Bank in Montreal, although Montreal, of course, is the city where the bank's headquarters office is. 

Similarly, God's Kingdom is the Kingdom of heaven, not the Kingdom in heaven, although heaven is where its headquarters is at this time. 

Along these same lines, here is another scripture that might be put forward as a potentially difficult one:

I Peter 1:
3:  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4:  to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 

Does this not state that our inheritance is being reserved for us in heaven? 

Yes, it does!  Heaven is the place where our inheritance resides right now; but, as God makes clear (again through the apostle John), it will not remain there:

Revelation 22:12:  And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.  

Our place in God's Kingdom and its associated rewards are, in fact, being reserved by Him in heaven right now, until Jesus Christ brings them with Him to earth, at His return.

There are so many, many scriptures that prove that Jesus is coming to earth, that He is going to bring our reward with Him, and that He is going to stay with us on earth, when we put all of these scriptures together and study them, it is astounding that any professing Christian who claims to use the Bible as his guide can honestly believe the pagan idea that we will be spending eternity in heaven.  I only have time today to quote a few more of these scriptures.

Let’s go back to our original “difficult scripture” in the fourth chapter of  I Thessalonians and let's look at the previous verse – verse 16:

16:  For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.

This is the central scripture of this day – this Feast of Trumpets.  It proves that the time-frame of the First Resurrection and of our receiving of our reward is at the the second coming of Jesus Christ – not at the death of each Christian.  That idea doesn’t make sense.  It is just not scriptural.  It also proves that Christ will be descending from what we call "the third heaven" –  the place where God’s throne is.

We will not meet Him in the third heaven of God’s throne; but in the air atmosphere of what we call "the first heaven.'

But where do we go from there?  Do we go back up to the third heaven with Jesus?  Or do we come back down to earth? 

Although there are some scriptures that do indicate that, at some point in time, we will be honoured with a brief visit to God's throne in Heaven for the marriage of the Lamb.  But we will not remain there. 

Our opening “difficult scripture” clearly says that we are to be with the Lord forever.  But where will the Lord be?  Again, so many scriptures give the clear answer.  Let us turn to:

Zechariah 14:4:
And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east…

More questions arise from this. 

Could this be some kind of spiritual Mount of Olives?  

No!  It is the one that is before Jerusalem on the east. 

Could this Jerusalem be some spiritual Jerusalem? 

No!  To show how physical and earthly it is, Jesus is going to split that mountain in half:

4b:  ... and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Who is going to be with Him when He arrives on earth?

5b:  And the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints
          with thee.

All of the resurrected saints (Hebrew Qadowsh: holy ones) will be with Him, as well as all of His holy angels.

(This, by the way, is yet another scripture that proves that Jesus Christ is the LORD, the Eternal, the YHVH of the Old Testament).

Another question?  Will Jesus stay on the earth? 

9:  And the LORD shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His name one.

Yes, He is going to stay and He is going to rule here on earth.  He is not going to go back to Heaven and rule the earth from there.  He is going to stay and rule the earth as its resident King.

The Kingdom of God and the reward of the saved is on this earth.

Do we need even more rock solid proof of this?  We can choose from many verses.  Here are just a few:

Matthew 5:5:
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.  

Matthew 25:
31:  When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory:
32:  And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:

Jesus is going to come to this earth.  With His saints?  Yes.  And with His army of angels too. 

He will take His rightful place on His glorious, earthly throne which, uring the Millennium, will likely be in his rebuilt physical temple.  Physical nations will come and bow before Him.

These are exciting scriptures.  The spiritual "meat and potatoes" of this day – this Feast of Trumpets.

Revelation 2:26:
And he that overcomes, and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

We are not going to be sitting around in Heaven and ruling angels there.  We are going to be ruling over the physical, earthly nations – alongside Jesus, of course:

27:  And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be

Jesus is going to share His rulership and power with His saints – His spiritual brothers and sisters who will then become kings and priests.  Just as we all have jobs to do now, in that day, we will all have individual jobs to do with Him.  Yes, He is going to share that power with us, over the physical nations of the earth. 

God tells us this yet again through thye apostle John:

Revelation 5:8: 
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

I can’t get it into my limited mind what these four living creatures and twenty-four elders actually look like, nor the magnitude of the power that will be displayed at the fulfilment of this prophecy.  It is beyond my thinking.

9:  And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10:  And have made us
{us saints – this includes you and me} unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."

It doesn’t get any clearer than this.  Jesus Christ and His resurrected saints will reign on the earth!

Little Mrs. Surette, and many others of our beloved dead-in-Christ, will take a well-deserved rest for a little while longer.  The sadness of their deaths will soon be turned into incomparable joy when they are resurrected as Jesus is on His journey back to earth.  As I look at the condition of the world today, I don’t believe it is going to be long now.

We will join them in a meeting with our Eternal God that is beyond our human imagination.  We will follow Jesus Christ, flanked by all of our changed or resurrected brethren and a vast army of angels.  We will begin our new sets of exciting responsibilities, to rule with Jesus Christ – on earth!

I originally wanted to finish the sermon right there.  In the sermon today, I’ve naturally concentrated on the fulfilment of the symbolisms of the Feast of Trumpets – the first of the Fall Holy Days.

But before we finish today, I thought it would be good for us to take a brief leap forward to the fulfilment of the last of the Fall Holy Days – the culmination of all of God’s Holy Days and to ask, in this regard, What about the fulfilment of the Last Great Day – at the end of the Millennium?  What will happen then?  Will that perhaps be the time that we will be taken up to heaven to live with God the Father and Jesus for eternity?

No! It won’t!  Let’s read it for ourselves:

Revelation 3:12:
Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

This is talking about the same time frame as:

Revelation 21:
1:  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2:  And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3:  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He
{God the Father} will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself {the Father} shall be with them, and be their God.

Even at the end of the Millennium when we will be united with God the Father, He will not take us up to the third heaven to be with Him. 

On the contrary, He has promised that He will bring the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, the New Heavens and the New Earth down to us!

What love from God the Father, the supreme King of the universe; and what love from Jesus Christ.

God speed that day!