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God's Purpose for Mankind

God's Purpose for Mankind

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God's Purpose for Mankind

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The purpose for man’s existence is stated at both ends of Scripture. At the beginning, God reveals that He created man in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27 Genesis 1:26-27 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
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)—language that refers to offspring or children (Genesis 5:1-3 Genesis 5:1-3 1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; 2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. 3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth:
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)—to, in submission to Him, share dominion or rule with Him over creation (Genesis 1:28 Genesis 1:28And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
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). 

And at the end of the Bible God says, “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son” (Revelation 21:7 Revelation 21:7He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
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). Again, the wording concerns shared rule with God over all creation in submission to Him as His children.

Thus we see that man’s destiny is to be part of the Kingdom and family of God. And in the latter verse here, as throughout the Bible, we are told that man can only reach this destiny through a process of overcoming.

It is God’s desire that no human beings perish but that all come to repentance so as to become members of His family as sons and daughters in His Kingdom (2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
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; 2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Corinthians 6:18And will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.
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). As part of this process, God is now calling some individuals to inherit eternal life at the return of Jesus Christ to the earth (1 Corinthians 1:26-28 1 Corinthians 1:26-28 26 For you see your calling, brothers, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yes, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are:
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; Matthew 20:16 Matthew 20:16So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
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; John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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; John 6:65 John 6:65And he said, Therefore said I to you, that no man can come to me, except it were given to him of my Father.
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), with others to be called later. 

Those being chosen now must accept Christ as their Savior, surrender their wills to God’s will and strive with God’s help to overcome sin during their present lifetime (Revelation 3:21 Revelation 3:21To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
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).

Jesus Christ is referred to as “the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29 Romans 8:29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
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; see also Romans 8:14-17 Romans 8:14-17 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
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; Revelation 1:5-6 Revelation 1:5-6 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
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; Colossians 1:15-18 Colossians 1:15-18 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
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). He came as a human being to lead the way for others to be glorified and inherit all things. Christians are actually referred to as “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17 Romans 8:17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
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). Yet as Hebrews 1 through 2 explains, mankind has not yet achieved its destiny of inheriting all things, but Jesus has, and God is in the process of “bringing many sons to glory” (Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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).

In this process, people become God’s children through receiving His Holy Spirit, which joins with each individual’s human spirit (Romans 8:16 Romans 8:16The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
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). We are thereby “begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible” (1 Peter 1:23 1 Peter 1:23Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and stays for ever.
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, American Standard Version).

And we become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4 2 Peter 1:4Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
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)—just as any child takes on the genetic traits of its parents. Through a development process, we become more and more like God in terms of character, while we are aimed toward an ultimate transformation involving our very essence and level of existence.

The apostle Paul explained that “as we have borne the image of the man of dust [the first man Adam], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man [Jesus Christ]” (1 Corinthians 15:49 1 Corinthians 15:49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
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). And while the first man Adam became a living, physical being, “the last Adam [Christ] became a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45 1 Corinthians 15:45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
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). So we will be spirit beings like Christ. Indeed, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50 1 Corinthians 15:50Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.
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).

The apostle John makes an amazing statement about our future resurrection at Christ’s return: “Brethren, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2 1 John 3:2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
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).

And Paul further explains that “we eagerly await … the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21 Philippians 3:20-21 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself.
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, NIV). That is, Christ’s divine spirit body is the same kind of body we will have in the resurrection!

Just as human children are the same kind of beings as their parents and older siblings, human beings, so will we be the same kind of beings as God the Father and Jesus Christ— divine beings. By saying that it’s not yet revealed what we shall be, John meant that we cannot now truly grasp what it means to be like the Father and Christ, as it’s beyond the capacity of our limited human minds. He nevertheless understood that we will be what They are.

In fact, God was even more explicit about our destiny in Psalms 82:6 Psalms 82:6I have said, You are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
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, stating His intention for people as, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.” Jesus actually quoted from this verse (see John 10:30-36 John 10:30-36 30 I and my Father are one. 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do you stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone you not; but for blasphemy; and because that you, being a man, make yourself God. 34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, You are gods? 35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36 Say you of him, whom the Father has sanctified, and sent into the world, You blaspheme; because I said, I am the Son of God?
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). The truth is that our destiny is to bear the name of the God family (Ephesians 3:14-15 Ephesians 3:14-15 14 For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
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). Presently, the one God—that is, the one God family—consists of two divine beings: God the Father and Jesus Christ. But ultimately, God intends to expand this divine family into billions.

The Church of God of this age is a forerunner in fulfilling this purpose. At the time of Christ’s return, those who have died in the faith will be resurrected, and those who are alive in the faith will be changed.

Those in both groups will become divine, immortal spirit beings in the family of God. They will then serve with Christ on the earth as kings and priests during His millennial, or 1,000-year, rule that will immediately follow (Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
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; Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
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).

King and priest are both offices held by Jesus Christ. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:15-16 Revelation 19:15-16 15 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
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). He is also our High Priest (Hebrews 3:1 Hebrews 3:1Why, holy brothers, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
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; Hebrews 4:14-16 Hebrews 4:14-16 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
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; Hebrews 5:5-6 Hebrews 5:5-6 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said to him, You are my Son, to day have I begotten you. 6 As he said also in another place, You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
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; Hebrews 6:20 Hebrews 6:20Where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
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; Hebrews 7:24-28 Hebrews 7:24-28 24 But this man, because he continues ever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Why he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them. 26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27 Who needs not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. 28 For the law makes men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, makes the Son, who is consecrated for ever more.
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; Hebrews 8:1-6 Hebrews 8:1-6 1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. 3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: why it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. 4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: 5 Who serve to the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, said he, that you make all things according to the pattern showed to you in the mount. 6 But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
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; Hebrews 9:11 Hebrews 9:11But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
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; Hebrews 10:12 Hebrews 10:12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
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). Thus, others will, as just noted, share in His responsibilities as both kings and priests serving under Him to carry out the Father’s will.

Those who become priests in the Millennium will be responsible for teaching people to discern between “the unclean and the clean,” a phrase that in its broadest sense includes discerning between good and evil (see Ezekiel 22:26 Ezekiel 22:26Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned my holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
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; Ezekiel 44:23-24 Ezekiel 44:23-24 23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24 And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all my assemblies; and they shall hallow my sabbaths.
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). As messengers from God, they will teach the law of God, making known its meaning and application (Malachi 2:7-9 Malachi 2:7-9 7 For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. 8 But you are departed out of the way; you have caused many to stumble at the law; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, said the LORD of hosts. 9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as you have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.
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).

One of the responsibilities of a king in the Old Testament was to write out the words of God’s law and “read it all the days of his life” so he would carefully observe it and not turn aside from it (Deuteronomy 17:18-20 Deuteronomy 17:18-20 18 And it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brothers, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the middle of Israel.
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). Those made kings and priests in the Kingdom of God will be those who have allowed God to write His laws in their hearts and minds while they are still human beings (see Hebrews 8:10-11 Hebrews 8:10-11 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
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; Jeremiah 31:33 Jeremiah 31:33But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, said the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
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).

As kings during the Millennium, they will teach God’s way of life to human beings living in that age (Isaiah 30:20-21 Isaiah 30:20-21 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not your teachers be removed into a corner any more, but your eyes shall see your teachers: 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.
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). They will administer God’s government in those areas in which He gives them responsibilities (see Matthew 19:27-28 Matthew 19:27-28 27 Then answered Peter and said to him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed you; what shall we have therefore? 28 And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, That you which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
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; Luke 19:11-19 Luke 19:11-19 11 And as they heard these things, he added and spoke a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. 12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said to them, Occupy till I come. 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. 15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called to him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, your pound has gained ten pounds. 17 And he said to him, Well, you good servant: because you have been faithful in a very little, have you authority over ten cities. 18 And the second came, saying, Lord, your pound has gained five pounds. 19 And he said likewise to him, Be you also over five cities.
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). They will even be given authority over angels (1 Corinthians 6:1-3 1 Corinthians 6:1-3 1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know you not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
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). And in all this, they will be completely subject to Christ’s will, just as He is completely subject to the Father’s will (John 5:30 John 5:30I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which has sent me.
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).

God’s great plan encompasses all mankind. The Great White Throne Judgment, described in Revelation 20:11-13 Revelation 20:11-13 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
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, is the period when all human beings who have died without ever understanding that great plan will be resurrected and have their true destiny revealed to them. God’s plan is comprehensive. All humanity will enjoy the opportunity to learn His truth and come to repentance.

This will take place during the time beyond the Millennium when the vast majority of human beings will be raised from the dead to receive their opportunity for salvation. Those who repent and accept Christ as their Savior will receive the gift of everlasting life in the family of God, finally achieving their God-given destiny.

With a transformed new heaven and new earth, the heavenly city of God, the New Jerusalem, will at last come down to the earth with God the Father. And those who have repented and faithfully served Him, then transformed into glorified spirit beings like Himself, will dwell with Him and with Christ forever in perfect peace and happiness—with no more suffering or death (Revelation 21:1-4 Revelation 21:1-4 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
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).

As already mentioned, those who are glorified will inherit from God “all things”—joint ownership and rule over not just the earth but the entire universe and spirit realm. This incredible aspect of man’s destiny was foretold early in the Old Testament by Moses when he stated that “the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven … the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage” (Deuteronomy 4:19 Deuteronomy 4:19And lest you lift up your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, should be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD your God has divided to all nations under the whole heaven.
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).

This, then, is the purpose for which humanity was created—to share God’s divine level of existence forever as His loving, happy family and to possess with Him and rule over the entire vast created realm. So transcendent is this destiny that we can barely even fathom it!