And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God (Revelation 21:3).
What will be some of the essential features of the future happiness of God’s chosen people?
We will have an intimate knowledge of God. Though God is everywhere present, he will reveal himself especially in the eternal city, where he will live with his people forever
- This will be the fulfillment of all the covenant promises (Leviticus 26:12; Ezekiel 37:27; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Hebrews 8:10; 13:5).
- At that time, we will be permitted to see God (Psalm 17:15; Matthew 5:8), not that we will see God’s spiritual essence, since that is invisible (1 Timothy 1:17; 6:16), but that we will be able to see God as revealed through the Mediator, Jesus Christ the Lord (John 1:18). He will communicate the glory of God to our senses (2 Corinthians 4:6; John 17:24; Revelation 21:23). “The glory of God is the illumination, and the Lamb is the luminary from which it emanates. Jesus will still be our teacher there, and through him we shall acquire our knowledge of the perfections and counsels of God.” [Dagg, Manual of Theology, p. 359]
- Our knowledge of God and God’s ways will always increase, as those in fellowship with each other continually grow in knowledge of each other, as we will not have anything to hinder its progress, and we will have an inexhaustible subject for study.
- What will we learn of God? We will be able to study his works (cf. Psalm 111:2), his government of history, and his deep plans of redemption (cf. Romans 11:33). Perhaps in the eternal state, we will be able to see how truths that now seem disconnected form one harmonious whole and perhaps many other things beyond our current understanding.
We will have perfect moral conformity with God (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2). In Christ, this is already begun (Ephesians 4:24), but then it will be perfected. Being free from sin forever and always thinking righteous thoughts will be a new and very enjoyable experience. “In being conformed to God, who is love, we shall love the display of divine perfection, of which we shall obtain increasing discoveries… As our knowledge enlarges, our love to the things learned will become more intense, and the new developments which will be made at every stage of our endless advancement will be increasingly ravishing” (Dagg, p. 361).
We will have a full assurance of God’s approval. Now in this world, we grieve because of our sin, even though we know the truth of justification (Romans 5:1-11; 8:1; etc.) But in that day, the assurance of Christ’s word of welcome (Matthew 25:34) will govern our hearts and banish all fear (cf. 1 John 4:18).
We will have the best possible society (Revelation 21:3; Hebrews 12:22-24). Since our eternal home is a city, we should think in terms of residing in fellowship with beings sharing the exceeding riches of the eternal God.
- God will live with us.
- We will be with Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.
- There will be an innumerable company of angels.
- The full assembly of Christ’s chosen people will be present (Hebrews 11:39-40). We will sit down (Matthew 8:11) in perfect fellowship with the people of God from all generations. We will be with believers from before the Flood and before the giving of the law. We will meet those believers like Moses, Joshua, David, Hezekiah and Daniel, who lived under the law. We will fellowship with the apostles, prophets and many others whose names are written in the New Testament Scriptures. We will share life with those who suffered martyrdom in the earliest days of the church, with those who lived during many dark years, with those who rejoiced during times of great awakenings and the spread of the gospel to all nations, with those from other places and times, and those who sat in church buildings and homes with us, and with those who will make up the last generation when Christ returns.
We will have delightful employment. We are told simply, and his servants will serve him (Revelation 22:3). This service will occur in an atmosphere where the curse because of sin will be removed, and so we will be released from wearisome toil that characterizes our work now. What kind of service is not revealed, so it is useless to speculate. But we will be doing the will of the holy, wise and loving God, and we may sure that it will be significant and fitting for us. One of our activities will include worship.
Nothing will be present that can damage our happiness. God will remove our sorrows and all that accompanies them. Everything will be new (Revelation 21:4-5). No sinners will be present to disrupt the joy we will forever experience (Revelation 21:8).
Grace and peace, David