We often compare the idea of a Christ-ruled Millennium as a time of rest. It is compared to the Sabbath on occasion, and that’s not without good reason.
However, there will be work to be done in the Millennium – lots of work.
Garden of Eden
Sometimes, we think about the Garden of Eden as a place where Adam and Eve played all day long. I get the feeling that without cell phones, TVs and the Internet that they probably got a lot done in a very short amount of time. So, in a sense, they probably did have more time for play.
Regardless, Adam was given a job to do (Ge 2:15). What is the oldest profession in the world? Gardener.
I heard a radio preacher one time talk about “the curse”. According to him, Adam had to work for a living because of “the curse”. I had once heard about this type of belief in a COG sermon that disputed the notion, but that was the first time I’d actually heard someone who believed it.
No, the Bible is quite clear that God gave Adam a job to do. Eve was his “helper”, so they together were responsible for maintaining what God had created. They were to be good stewards of God’s blessings.
If in “Paradise” Adam and Eve worked, why would the Millennium be any different?
The Bible talks about beating swords into plowshares, about not needing to gather wood because of all the weaponry to be burned, about collecting dead bodies, about plows overtaking the harvester, etc. There are even silversmiths creating bells for horses with inscriptions. Who says there won’t be work?
What’s So Restful About That?
So, what is all this about “rest”? If people are working, then what is so restful?
Let me just throw a few ideas at you:
1. It is a rest from the source of evil. I cannot say enough times how important it will be that the author of evil will be put away and not be able to influence human beings.
2. It is a rest from deception. Isaiah 30:20-21 pictures a time when people will need guidance and will receive it.
3. Because of the former, work will be rewarding. In this world, part of the evil that exists is when someone works hard for something only to have it unjustly taken away. Fraud and theft will be things of the past, and so people will actually see the rewards of their hard work.
4. Work will be easier, or at very least less stressful. All of the worry and concern that goes into running a business and trying to abide by thousands of rules and regulations will be greatly reduced. You made money? Pay 10% in taxes. No loopholes, no gimmicks and no funny shuffling of money is required. Imagine the lower overhead because you don’t have to lock everything up at night or pay security guards to watch all night.
I suspect even farmers will have less problems to deal with as well, as long as they are obedient to God’s will. How else can you explain the plowman overtaking the reaper (Am 9:13)? I believe that thorns and thistles will be reserved for the lands of the disobedient, similar if not the same as how the Garden of Eden was setup.
5. People will be at rest from being afraid. Speaking of locking doors, how many neighborhoods exist now where leaving your door unlocked is unheard of? Even when you are home?
When people think of the Millennium, they naturally think of the lamb and the lion lying down next to each other. However, I often think of this:
4Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.
It boggles my mind to think of how good the consequences of everyone keeping God’s Law will be and how far reaching the effects will reverberate!
Rather than promoting laziness, then, the Millennium ultimately is about spiritual rest. It is a rest from evil and its consequences. People will not be distracted and finally be able to focus on what’s really important.
In fact, consider what the saints have to go through now vs what people will have to go through in the Millennium. They will see God’s ways in action. They will understand what they are supposed to do and why they are supposed to do it. Undoubtedly, some if not many will be saved during this time.
It will be like having spiritual training wheels put on. They will still have to learn how to balance out their human nature, but at least they are a lot less likely to fall and hurt themselves.
In comparison, it will be a time of rest, joy and prosperity (physical and spiritual) for all.