BibleTools

Topical Studies

 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


What the Bible says about Eternity
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 13:14-15

God commits Himself to giving Abraham this land forever. The concept of eternity enters the picture early in God's relationship with Abraham.

Charles Whitaker
Searching for Israel (Part One): The Promises to the Faithful

Psalm 90:1-4

Perhaps only Isaiah 40 can compare with this psalm in presenting God's grandeur and eternity in contrast to our frailty and mortality. Moses' point, however, is that God's eternity is the answer to our problem with time.

One might think that we hardly need to be reminded of this. But when the misconception that we are already immortal ("You shall not surely die") is combined with our innate and powerful proclivity toward abusing time, it is urgently necessary that God emphasize this on occasion.

God often underscores the brevity of our lives. Job laments: "Now my days are swifter than a runner; they flee away, they see no good. They pass by like swift ships, like an eagle swooping on its prey" (Job 9:25-26). In Psalm 39:4-5, David prays:

LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, you have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah.

And finally Asaph writes, "For He remembered that they were but flesh, a breath that passes away and does not come again" (Psalm 78:39).

The rapid passage of time is something we need to be serious about. We cannot live as though there is no day of reckoning because judgment is now upon the household of God (I Peter 4:17).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Simplify Your Life!

Related Topics: Eternal Life | Eternity | Mortality | Time


 

Psalm 90:4

Isaiah says that God "inhabits eternity" (Isaiah 57:15), so time to God takes on different dimensions. He can function outside of time if He so desires. These verses, however, give us a rough guide that a thousand years equal one day in God's prophetic revelation to man.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
God's Master Plan

Isaiah 57:15

This verse—wonderful, grandly mysterious, and full of import—exceeds our comprehension because it is something beyond human experience. What does it mean to inhabit eternity? No human can adequately explain it, and we are humbled to realize from verses like this how insignificant we are beside the awesome grandeur of our God.

We can say that eternity sums up all of time—past, present, and future; it stretches endlessly in each direction from when we find ourselves living. But God inhabits, lives in, all of time! In contrast, we are aware of only a tiny fraction of the past and virtually ignorant of the future.

God knows beginning and end. In fact, since He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), He is in control of the entire timeline; otherwise, He could not know how things will end. In comparison, we know by experience that we are in control of so little. Events frequently do not work out as we hoped. What a difference there is between God and us!

Eternity, according to Webster's, means "time or existence without beginning or end." We have applied this term to endless time so we can "measure" and grasp it to a limited extent. We do this because time, to almost everyone, is very important. To us of all people, time should be extremely important. We need not be frantic about it, but we should be concerned about its proper use. Why? Because how we use it will determine whether we will join God in His eternal Kingdom.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Simplify Your Life!

Related Topics: Awesomeness of God | Eternity | Time


 

Isaiah 57:15

Isaiah writes that God "inhabits eternity," that is, He dwells in perpetuity or lives eternally, continually. Moses puts it a different way in Psalm 90:2, "Even from everlasting to everlasting [or age to age], You are God." However, the way Isaiah constructed the phrase, "inhabits eternity" can mean that God moves freely in time; any period of time is accessible to Him. He made it and has power over it. Whether this was Isaiah's actual intent is unknown.

Understanding this is made more difficult because Hebrew has no general word for "time." Ad, the word used in Isaiah 57:15, simply means "duration, perpetual, continuity." This is similar to the idea behind the name Yahweh, translated "LORD," which means "He who is." This corresponds to "'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,' says the Lord, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty'" (Revelation 1:8). God is, has always been and always will be, no matter how men perceive time.

Another of God's names, "I AM" (Exodus 3:14) also implies that men cannot truly understand His relationship to time. Robert Young, author of Young's Analytical Concordance, writes of this word, hayah, "A name indicating rather the unsearchableness of God than his mere existence, as commonly supposed" (p. 506, his emphasis). As Paul points out in Romans 11:33, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!"

God's eternity allows Him to work out His plan over the whole expanse of time. From the most remote past, He has planned, created, and fulfilled each step of His purpose to bring about His ultimate goal, the birth of sons and daughters into His Family (II Corinthians 6:18). God Himself explains how this works:

Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure," . . . Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it. (Isaiah 46:9-11)

Because of God's endless life and His power over events and lives of men, He can prophesy a thing to occur in ancient times and bring it to pass today. Only a Being unconstrained by time could carry out such a long-term feat.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Time and Life

John 17:3

Here, Christ does not use the term "immortal" or "endless," to define eternal life, but He describes a kind and quality of life in terms of knowledge and a relationship with the Father and Son, a very intimate relationship.

Do not be misled by the limited Strong's definition of the word translated "eternal" in this verse. A more complete lexicon like Spiros Zodhiates' Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament gives a more precise usage—how the word is used in the Bible rather than merely in classical Greek. Zodhiates says that the word refers to the "life which is God's" (p. 107). The life of God is more than endless, and that is what is important here. He adds, "It is to be understood as referring not only to duration, but more so to quality. That is, it is not merely life that is eternal in duration, but is primarily something different from the natural life of man, i.e., the life of God."

The Daily Bible Study Commentary: John (Volume 2) by William Barclay contains this comment:

There is another important thought in this passage, for it contains the great New Testament definition of eternal life. It is eternal life to know God and to know Jesus Christ whom he has sent. Let us remind ourselves of what eternal means. In Greek, it is aionis. This word has to do, not so much with duration of life, for life which went on forever would not necessarily be a boon. Its main meaning is quality of life. There is only one person to whom the aionis can properly be applied, and that is God. Eternal life is, therefore, nothing other than the life of God. To possess it, to enter into it, is to experience here and now something of the splendor and the majesty, and the joy, and the peace, and the holiness, which are characteristic of the life of God. (p. 207)

John 17:3 also contains the word "know." To understand eternal life, we must also understand how this word is used here. It undoubtedly contains elements of intellectual knowledge, understanding, discernment, information, and familiarity. However, this word suggests more than this because the Old Testament regularly uses "know" to describe sexual knowledge. Sexual knowledge between a husband and wife is the most intimate of knowledge. Husband and wife are no longer two but one flesh. In this regard, in John 17:3, the important thing is not the sexual act but the intimacy of heart and mind that in true love precede the act. To know God, therefore, is not merely to have intellectual knowledge of Him, but it is having an intimate, personal relationship with Him like the nearest and dearest relationship between two people.

Hosea 4:6 provides an interesting example of the practical effect of "knowing": "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children." God's implication is clear. If they had possessed knowledge of God, they would have had the power to avoid being destroyed. Nobody in his right mind wants to be destroyed. Ignorance might be bliss, but this verse shows it can be dangerously life-threatening.

Consider the implications of a lack of knowledge in the area of physical law. A person who does not know the power of electricity, nitroglycerin, carbon monoxide, drugs, or certain medications could pay for his ignorance with his life. Or, even if a person's ignorance of these things does not kill him, he might have the quality of his life severely impaired through a maiming, debilitating injury. However, when they are used with knowledge, they can do worthwhile things. Similarly, knowing God opens to men the freest and most rewarding expressions of an abundant life.

What if a person does not know of God's righteousness? Proverbs 11:6 says, "The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the unfaithful will be caught by their own lust." What a person does not have cannot deliver them, thus they are injured or destroyed. Isaiah 11:9 shows that during the Millennium, the knowledge of God will cover the earth like a vast ocean. This is what will make the Millennium so wonderful!

Eternal life is more than just endless life. The biblical eternal life includes power to produce quality living superabundantly far beyond merely existing forever.

We should touch briefly on its sexual aspect. Genesis 4:1, 17, 25 each contain the Hebrew word yada'. It has a wide variety of possible applications, one of which is "to lie by man." In each case in Genesis 4, it is translated as "knew," since that is its basic meaning. The Hebrews used it to describe the sexual part of the relationship between husband and wife; thus, it suggests intimacy. When applied to God, it highlights not merely being acquainted with Him but, as we would say today, being "inside His head." The corresponding Greek word, ginosko, translated "know" in John 17:3, can be and is used in the same way as yada' in Hebrew (see Luke 1:34).

To know God thus includes a wide range of mental, emotional, and experiential knowledge. The fruit of this intimacy includes love, reverence, obedience, honor, gratitude, and deep affection. We come to know Him as sovereign Ruler, Master, parent, brother, friend, Savior, and Lawgiver. We would never know this mixture of admirable qualities and authority without getting close to Him. They compel us to yield to Him with all of our heart while we strive to obey and glorify Him.

In summary, John 17:3 points to Jesus' indicating that eternal life is not merely endless, though that is its dominant sense, but that those who have it live intimately with God and conduct their lives as God does—otherwise, there would be no close intimacy with Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Six): Eternal Life

Ephesians 3:21

The term "world without end" in this verse is mistranslated from the Greek phrase toú aiônos tôn aiônôn. The word aion can be translated as "ever," "world," "evermore," "age," "eternal," "always," "forever," "an unbroken age," "perpetuity of time," "eternity," "the worlds," "universe," or "period of time."The doubling of the word in the phrase suggests perpetuity. The New King James Version corrects the King James Version's error quite nicely: "To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen".

Staff
Thy Kingdom Come! (Part Two)


Find more Bible verses about Eternity:
Eternity {Nave's}
 




The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. See what over 145,000 subscribers are already receiving each day.

Email Address:

   
Leave this field empty

We respect your privacy. Your email address will not be sold, distributed, rented, or in any way given out to a third party. We have nothing to sell. You may easily unsubscribe at any time.
 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
©Copyright 1992-2020 Church of the Great God.   Contact C.G.G. if you have questions or comments.
Share this on FacebookEmailPrinter version
Close
E-mail This Page