Let us read what this verse says: “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.”
Does this mean that we will be looking into the face of God for eternity or strumming on harps with no constructive work to do?
First of all, it is critical to show that work is something that is important to God. We read in Genesis 2:2 that “on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” In John 5:17 we read: “But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.’” Luke 13:14 also tells us that Jesus said: “There are six days on which men ought to work…”
This aspect of work is a theme throughout the Word of God. This is further emphasised in 1 Thessalonians 4:11: “…that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.” In 1 Corinthians 4:12, we read: “And we labour, working with our hands…” In 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Paul writes: “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” Therefore, we see that work is a principle that God promotes throughout the entirety of His Word, and we are expected to follow that important example.
We know that the Kingdom of God will be on earth and that the saints will be kings and priests (Revelation 1:6; 5:9-10). What will our job be then? There will be much work to do after the horrors of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. Jesus Christ will rule in supreme power from Jerusalem, assisted by those who have been made members of the Family of God in the first resurrection (compare Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 15:50-53).
Towns and cities will have to be rebuilt, and the general infrastructure will have to be restored. Much work will be needed to restore the war-ravaged earth at that time. And we will be there to help those who have come through this end-time period, which Daniel 12:1 describes as follows: “There shall be a time of trouble Such as never was since there was a nation Even to that time.”
We will have to help in every way possible, and Isaiah 30:20-21 is instructive in this regard: “And though the Lord gives you The bread of adversity and the water of affliction, Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, But your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.” We will be there, as members of the Family of God, to help and assist everyone left on earth at that time, and those born during the Millennium, and that will be our job for 1,000 years.
And the work won’t stop then. Indications are that the Great White Throne Judgment or the “second resurrection,” following the Millennium, will last for 100 years (compare Isaiah 65:20), and at that time all who have ever lived and who were never given a chance for salvation, will have their first opportunity. One hundred years to help guide and assist probably tens or maybe scores of billions of human beings in the second resurrection (Revelation 20:11-12)!
And so we see this pattern of work from the first book in the Bible to the last. It is the way of God, and He doesn’t change in that regard (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8).
God’s government will continue to expand throughout eternity. Isaiah 9:6-7 states: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
What will happen after the Millennium and the second and third resurrections (Revelation 20:13-15)?
As we point out in our free booklets, “God Is a Family” and “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World,” it is not only the potential of man to rule the earth, but also the entire universe. Right now, Christ, by His power, is upholding the universe (“all things” in Hebrews 1:2, which is translated by Moffat as “the universe”), but it is the potential of man to assist Christ in that endeavor.
We read in Revelation 22:5 that the saints will reign forever and ever, and Romans 8:19, 22 tells us that the whole creation–the entire universe–waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
In a mini-study in the Good News magazine in December 1982, the following comments were made.
“But is there really enough ‘out there’ for our estimated 200 billion spirit sons of God to rule? Astronomers estimate that there are more than 40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (40 sextillion) stars that are suns to other planets. This figure is virtually impossible to comprehend. If our estimate of 200 billion sons of God is accurate, that means that each member of God’s family would be responsible for maintaining and developing 200 billion stars and their attendant planets. Those stars and planets would make up a galaxy twice the estimated size of our own Milky Way galaxy. This is your awesome potential – the glorious destiny God has in store for those who seek to do His will and follow His way. Yes, you were born to rule.”
Of course, if the estimated figure of 200 billion sons of God is greatly over-estimated in this article, then a fewer number would mean an even greater workload for born-again members of the Family of God.
Ultimately, this whole earth and the universe will be set on fire, to be changed from corruption into spirit (2 Peter 3:7, 10-13). But that spirit world will be very real–in fact, more real than this physical world–with myriads of suns and planets, but all consisting of spirit. And it will be our task, as spirit beings, to rule first the physical and then the spirit world.
We don’t know how much time will transpire, after the third resurrection and before the creation of the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21:1)–the change from physical to spirit. The saints might rule over this physical universe for quite some time, before this physical world will be changed into a spirit world and the New Jerusalem will descend to the new earth (Revelation 21:2-27; 22:1-5, 14). (Please see our Q&A, explaining the “New Jerusalem.”)
But after that change from physical to spirit, the saints will continue to rule the spirit world, under God the Father and Jesus Christ.
And so, having established the importance and continuance of work in the physical and spiritual realm, what does Revelation 3:12 mean when it says that “I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.”? It cannot mean, doing nothing. That is not the way of God. We must remember that we will be able to be anywhere at the speed of thought and so those restrictions that we currently have as human beings will be lifted.
Therefore, “going out no more” surely has to be in a spiritual context in the sense of a permanence in the God Family. Since the biblical reference to the temple of God can refer to the spiritual temple–the church of God–the reference in Revelation 3:12 refers to the fact that God’s saints will always be part of that temple. Once they are born again, they will never fall away; they will never “go out” or be cast out of that spiritual temple. They will always be “pillars”–necessary parts–in God’s spiritual temple, and God’s name will be on their foreheads (Revelation 22:4). As spirit beings, we will have so much work to do and will be completely dedicated to God and His way, and that for eternity. That has to be very encouraging news.
Lead Writers: Brian Gale (Great Britain) and Norbert Link