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
God wants us to worship Him directly—not through an idol. When we set up an idol, we are in fact sacrificing to one or more demons! God wants us to worship Him humbly rather than the way the world worships idols. It is degrading to worship an idol. Conversely, God calls us into His own spiritual presence to worship Him directly. Whenever we stop short of our face-to-face relationship and worship of our sovereign God by placing a visible entity before Him, we break the second commandment. God looks to those who worship Him in humility and respectful fear and despises those who choose their own ways.
Martin G. Collins
The Second Commandment
He put this in His Word to impress us and thus encourage us with the greatness of His power, wisdom, and humility. If we are so impressed and encouraged, we respond by honoring Him through our humble obedience, thus glorifying Him and enabling Him to form us into His image.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The First Commandment
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!
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Isaiah 57:15:
1 Peter 1:2
2 Peter 3:8