Heaven is a promise to those who are part of the body of Christ. It is a reward for faithful Christians who gave their hearts, wills and beings to the Lord, followed Jesus on the narrow way of self-denial and sacrifice, and stayed faithful unto death. They have part in the first resurrection and receive a special office as described in Revelation 20:6 (KJV) “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

This first resurrection takes place at Jesus’s Second Advent, “at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound, the dead (faithful Christians) will be raised imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:52, NIV). They will be in heaven, worship God day and night, and will reign with Christ. 

All Christians pray for the kingdom: “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, NIV). Jesus is the king of kings; so the collaboration with Him in the kingdom is called reigning. The Bible calls this time-period “the times of restitution of all things” in Acts 3:21 (KJV). Paradise and close communion with God were lost through Adam’s transgression and God has the plan to restore it and to bring mankind back into harmony with Him.

The majority of mankind, those not in heaven, will be resurrected on earth. The Bible teaches Jesus died for all and all will be made alive (John 5:28,29, 1Timothy 2:6, 1Corinthians 15:22). God “who fashioned and made the earth, He founded it; He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18, NIV). From heaven, Jesus and His church will work on earth. Mankind will be judged and the people will learn righteousness: “When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9, NIV). “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?” (1Corinthians 6:2, NIV). This judging under the leadership of the Jesus Christ will teach people God’s laws, lift them up and bring them back in harmony with God! Jesus and the saints are also called “priests of God.” (Revelation 20:6) as they will reconcile mankind with God. They “have the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18, KJV). All this is just the beginning of their work in heaven which will stretch to eternity.