The term, “blessed hope,” gets thrown around from time to time in end times prophecy circles. Those who believe that Jesus will return secretly, without any previous sign or warning, to rapture His Church before the Antichrist can cause them any harm sometimes insinuate that the “blessed hope” exclusively represents their point of view. However, the “blessed hope,” of those who know Jesus as their Lord, represents so much more than when the Church will be caught up to meet Jesus in the air.
When Jesus’ talked with His disciples on the Mount of Olives, about His return to this earth and The End of the Age, He told a story about a master who goes away on a journey leaving servants in charge of his household.[i] In the story Jesus represents the “master,” who left the earth almost 2000 years ago, and the “servants” are those who claim to be His followers. Like the master in the story, Jesus will one day return, and hold His servants accountable for how they took care of Jesus’ “household” while He has been away.
The story speaks of both good and bad servants. For now, let’s focus on what happens to the good servants. Specifically, the words that the master speaks to them. The book of Matthew 25:21-22 records these words that we all want to hear;
His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
Setting aside for now what the “good and faithful servants” did to deserve to hear these words from the master, what does it mean to be given an invitation to take part in the “joy” or “happiness of the Lord?” God, literally, only knows. Followers of Jesus cannot possibly imagine all the joys that lay ahead of them.[ii] The mere concept of “eternity,” is something that will take a while to sink in… in eternity. Our lives now are spent rushing about with a looming sense of urgency, as though the clock is always ticking, and our time is running out. Many look forward to life slowing down in retirement. I did. Now, I am retired and I still rush around with a sense of urgency as if time is running out.
How blissful it will be for the elect of God to have the dimension limitation of time come to an end. What will it be like to have a body that is imperishable coupled with no time limitations? A body that does not know hunger, loneliness, sickness, soreness, tiredness, or sadness?[iii] A body that is no longer subject to death?[iv] And, no longer in bondage to hundreds of generations of genetic breakdowns caused by the fall of man?
The joy of the Lord? One day I will not need a bungee in order to jump into a river that is a hundred feet below, or an aircraft, wing suit or parachute to fearlessly soar within inches over the mountains. I, like my Master has done before me, will be able to walk across the top of a raging sea.[v] If Mount Everest survives the Second Coming and my Master gives me any vacation time, I plan on climbing it without the aid of an oxygen tank or ropes. There are places that I would love to visit that I likely will never see in my mortal lifetime. If they still have any appeal to me after Jesus returns, there will be no limit on time to explore. How about a picnic with Jesus and His disciples on the shore of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland followed by a hike along the rugged coast of Iceland (if those places still exist!). Or, maybe go for a 26.2 mile run from Marathon to Athens and never grow weary.
One day I won’t feel bad about children around the world who don’t have enough to eat, because my Master will stop hunger.[vi] I won’t need to pray for cancer patients, because cancer will be a thing of the past. Jesus, the Great Healer, will be the King of the World. Hospitals will be empty. Macular degeneration will be a thing of the past and will no longer stand in the way of recognizing the face of an approaching friend, even from a mile away. There will be no elections. Jesus will be the eternal King. Crime, corruption and injustice will not fill the headlines. Jesus will rule with a rod of iron.[vii]
The “faithful servant” of Jesus in this present age, will be given a great deal of responsibility in the coming age. In the eternal kingdom that Jesus brings to this earth, His faithful servants will act as His “deputies.” They will make decisions as they govern on His behalf in His Kingdom which extends throughout the entire world. Those who Jesus has chosen will “rule” with Him. [viii]
Under Jesus’ authority, His faithful servants will have complete dominion, power, and authority to execute the will of Jesus. That is how they will “reign,” with Him. [ix]
Wherever their Master has assigned them in His Kingdom, the faithful servants of Jesus will act as magistrates and arbitrators among the inhabitants of the earth. This will make the Elect of God “judges,” on Jesus’ behalf. [x]
In addition to the responsibilities in the coming age already mentioned, one of the things the Bible tells us we will be doing in eternity is serving God in His Temple.[xi] What could that possibly be like? Our God is a God of infinite wisdom and creativity. While on “temple duty,” we will never know who or what will next come through the door of God’s throne room.
Our physical universe is contained in three dimensions, yet goes on forever in all directions. Jesus demonstrated that His glorified body has the ability to travel in any one of those directions without aid, pass through matter and operate in both the physical and spiritual realm.[xii] How long would it take to explore an infinite universe if we are allowed to do so? Is there an infinite amount of things we cannot even dream of left to discover? Will our glorified bodies have the ability to feel, understand, sense and know things our current bodies are not capable of? We cannot even begin to imagine the depth of the joy that lies ahead for the faithful servant of Jesus!
My blessed hope is in Jesus and whatever future He has in store for me. It begins with seeing my master face to face, whenever that occurs.[xiii] It involves so much more than escaping temporary trouble at the hand of the Antichrist who, after all, is destined to be appropriately dealt with by our sovereign and just God.[xiv]
[i] Matthew 25:14-30
[ii] Isa 64:4, 1 Cor 2:9
[iii] Rev 21:4
[iv] 1 Cor 15:42-54
[v] Matt 14:25-33
[vi] Rev 7:16
[vii] Rev 2:27, 12:5, 19:15
[viii] Rev 3:21
[ix] 2 Timothy 2:12
[x] 1 Cor 6:2
[xi] Rev 7:15
[xii] John 20:19, Acts 1:9, Col 3:1 Heb 8:1
[xiii] Titus 2:13
[xiv] Rev 19:20