Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments and the faith of Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’

Revelation 14:12–13—NKJV

It is not such an unusual question. We know that earthbound living is only a tiny time that ushers one into eternity. Very few people throughout history have not believed in some sort of ongoing life after death. Our consciences require us to believe, at the very least, that there are two possible destinations. One is a destination of punishment for those who have violated God’s laws; the Bible calls this place Hell. The other is a destination of joy for those who have been absolved of their sins; the Bible calls this Heaven. Which destination is your final stop? Can you tell me why you believe your choice is right? Do you have any Scripture that promises Heaven to you?

Because we like to think “happy thoughts” most biblically uninformed people believe they will get some sort of second chance and find their final destination has been redirected to a happier destination than they deserve. They reach this desired conclusion and hope by rationalizing that God is some sort of easily duped, kind benefactor and reasoning that sin really has no eternal, serious consequences both in the here and in the hereafter. And so the question—What will we do with all that eternity to fill?

Our text gives some fascinating specifics for the future of the blessed redeemed ones. John’s task in the book of Revelation is to outline the general truths of end events and along the way challenge us to godly living in preparation for the eventual fulfillment of all biblical prophecies. In chapter 14, John has arrived at the crucial turning of events that will shortly bring the conflict in which Christ will prevail and establish His millennial kingdom. Buried in the chapter is the precious text to be treasured by each succeeding generation of believers.

In the midst of wrath being poured out on those who have not been born again through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ there is placed this little commentary and advice by the Spirit of God. Verse twelve is a strong proof text of the “perseverance of the saints.” God-authored faith in the heart of the saint will not fail. No matter what the external circumstances, genuinely saved people will endure to the end, obeying the commandments of God, and treasuring the authentic faith from Jesus. Jesus Christ will see to it that He loses none of His own.

Verse thirteen unpacks what the end is for the saint, and thus a glimpse into what he will be doing for eternity. A voice breaks out in the narrative (obviously from God) giving a kindly word of advice to all saints who long for the better clime of heaven. God tells John to write a beatitude–how happy are the dead who die in (the sphere of) the Lord from now on. Death for the believer is a welcome cause for joy for the one who is truly born from above. The Holy Spirit applies the practical aspect of this beatitude with the following two thoughts: 1) death for the saint is a rest from labors (weariness and toils because of the presence and consequence of sin) and, 2) the saint’s works follow closely after him (every activity undertaken for the Lord, the activities of the saint in earthly life).

There is no doubt that this speaks of rewards in eternity. But the teasing choice of the word for “work” brings before us that the spiritual activities and service done in this life will follow along with us to be continued in glory. Heaven is not a place of idleness, nor is it a place of lazy leisure like some luxury vacation. We are saved to serve. Is the same also true in eternity, but even better? Our created existence is for the purpose of bringing glory to our Creator! (Revelation 4:11)

An unsaved person couldn’t possibly find that kind of “heaven” enjoyable. Heaven for the saint will be joy filled because there will never be uselessness, sin, weariness, or well-meaning but ill-conceived acts of love. Why not begin serving now as you would desire to serve in eternity? Are you sure you are born again and have a spiritual thirst to please God? Trust and obey.