Sunday, June 25, 2017
 

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By : Lonnie Branam [ Sermon Difference Between Time and Eternity ]

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TIME AND ETERNITY
Lonnie Branam

Isaiah 57:15 says, “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy. I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” The word eternity is a difficult term for humans to comprehend. We are finite beings, and because of this fact we cannot form a clear-cut idea of eternity. Eternity is related to time, but it is something far superior to time in quality and duration. As humans understand it, time is duration in which things are considered as happening in the past, present and future. Time is measurable, having a beginning and ending. What we call time began with the creation of the material universe. Earth time is measured by the revolution of the earth around the sun and the rotation of the earth upon its axis. By this method of computing time, the days of our life are measured to last 70, 80 or a little over 100 at the longest. Time as we know it has a measurable limit, and whatever has a measurable limit is said to be finite. The word finite comes from a Latin word that means finished, concluded, or ended. Somewhere between 70 and 120, human beings are finished, and time as they know it, comes to an end. When the earth makes a trip around the sun 70, 80 or 90 times, most of us are gone. This is the only clear-cut and clearly understandable concept which humans have of time.

However, the Bible says that God inhabits eternity. How shall we define that word? As used in scripture the word seems to denote unlimited duration. Timeless existence is what we mean by eternity, and it has nothing to do with the revolution of planets around stars. We might consider eternity simply as time no longer measured by a succession of events, as it is in our finite material universe. It had a beginning, and it will have an end. Eternity is not to be thought of n terms of past, present and future; it is one eternal now. Whatever ends is said to be finite, but whatever does not end is said to be in-finite, more correctly pronounced, infinite. Hence, eternity and infinity are synonyms. We are talking about endless existence, and that should greatly interest human beings who are dying creatures.

One of the greatest thoughts that has ever entered the human mind is the eternity of God. When the Bible says that God inhabits eternity, it means that He lives eternally, and eternity is one of the attributes of His nature. The concept of eternity becomes more understandable when we think in terms of an eternal Divine Being, a supernatural Being who possesses an eternal existence. This is precisely what the Bible affirms of


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Jehovah God, the one true and living God, who spoke the universe into existence. Intelligent design, clearly revealed in the universe, totally rules out the belief that the origin of life, heaven and earth were all accidents of nature. People who believe that are carrying a lie in their pockets. How shall we explain the origin of matter itself?. Did it too accidentally originate itself? Creation demands a Creator. Every house is built by someone, and He who built all things is God. That simple argument is unanswerable. . If every house demands a builder, how shall we explain the presence of the earth, the wonderful completely furnished house of mankind? The Bible puts it all in the right perspective when it says, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” The moment an atheist dies, he will learn how foolish he was. . God existed before the material universe came into existence, and He will continue to exist after the material universe passes away and ends in a fiery destruction. The existence which God had before He made the universe for us is what we call eternity.

Truly, such an endless mode of life is unknown to our time-scheme on earth. How then can man intelligently believe in a mode of existence that is endless? We accept it by faith. Bible faith is simply belief that is based on something God said. We believe there is life that is eternal and unending because God said so. That settles the matter. To believe something God said is the most exact form of knowledge in existence, because God is all-knowing and cannot lie. Many of the greatest thinkers and minds who have ever lived, after intense investigation, have concluded the Bible contains communications from the Creator of the universe. That fact alone makes it worthy of man's careful investigation. The Bible is God's word to mankind, and it reveals there is an eternity. All who doubt this revealed truth will learn of their mistake the moment they die. All who doubt the existence of God must take a blind leap into the dark when they die, and that will be a fatal leap. At the moment of death, man is removed from the time-scheme of earth into eternity, but God has always inhabited eternity.

.. The idea of eternity can best be developed as we grow in knowledge of the nature of the one true and living God, as revealed in the Christian religion. The Bible reveals that God made a visit to this planet. The one true God appeared to mankind in the person of His incarnate Son, Jesus Christ. The Jewish religion did not reveal the true nature of God because of the ignorance of the time. The Jews mistakenly believed there was but one person in the Godhead, called Jehovah. However, no Hebrew or Jew ever saw God, so they do not know what He was like. It is the discovery of the Christian religion that there are actually three persons in the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ who came from heaven revealed 3

this marvelous fact to mankind. This amazing truth was declared by the Apostle John when he said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” He also said that the Word became flesh and dwelled among us(John 1:1-14). All religions and nations who reject the Christian religion will never know the truth about the one true and living God and the creation of the universe.

Next, let's consider the eternity of God, the Triune God. When the Bible says that God inhabits eternity it means He lives eternally, and eternity is one of His attributes. The concept of eternity becomes more understandable when we think in terms of an eternal Deity, a divine Being who possesses an endless existence. God in the Bible is called the eternal God and the everlasting God. Psalm 90:2 says, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” The apostle Peter made this statement about the eternal nature of God, “With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”( 2 Peter 3:8). That
statement shows the difference between time and eternity. God's time is not our time, and God's days are not our days. We think under laws of time; it is an essential element in our thought, and we cannot think without recognizing it. But it is not so with God. The thought of God is not subject to our law of time. God has revealed Himself and communicated with mankind over a period of four thousand years. However, He has not communicated with the human race for the past two thousand years because He has revealed all that He wants us to know in the New Testament revelation. He is eternal, and past, present and future are all within the sphere of His immediate knowledge. Thus a thousand years to us is but as one day to Him. If a thousand years is as one day to God, the universe He made is to Him less that a week old. God inhabits eternity, and the longest that human thought can conceive is but as a speck of time to Him. Let this inspire us with very high and honorable thoughts of the God with whom we have to do.

Furthermore, the Bible teaches that the eternal God has placed the concept of eternity in the mind of finite human beings. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “God has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” God put the concept of eternity in man; therefore, man did not invent or imagine this belief. It is not a mythological or superstitious concept. Most likely the idea was communicated to Adam and Eve and was passed down to their descendants by oral tradition. In 1500 B.C. this idea was committed to writing when Moses and those who followed gave us the written word of God. This is the most logical

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is the most logical and reasonable explanation for the almost universal belief of mankind in eternity or eternal life beyond the grave. The Bible says that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, predicted the coming of Christ with ten thousands of His angels, and the judgment to follow(Jude 14).. The New Testament proves the doctrine of eternal life beyond all dispute.

Finally, the Bible declares that men and women must prepare themselves to enter eternity. Eternity can be good or bad for us. Existence in eternity may be desirable or undesirable. I Timothy 6:12 says to Christians, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” Eternal life which is discussed in the religion of Christ is more than an endless existence; it is a quality existence of life in the presence of God. It is a life lived under God's protection and care in the Christian's heaven. Please notice that the precept, “Lay hold on eternal life,” is preceded by another, “Fight the good fight of faith.” Those who lay hold on eternal life will have to fight for it. A spiritual life of goodness, righteousness and holiness is no easy one in a world that surrounds us with evil

The only way to lay hold on eternal life is to become a Christian by faith in Christ, a change of mind about your old life and future life, and immersion in water for the forgiveness of all sin from your childhood.. The change of mind is a determination to stop sinful living and live the Christian life. In this way you can glorify the eternal God, and He will put your name in the book of life, a register of people who will live in heaven. There is a higher and better life than is known to the most of mankind. There is an animal life which we all alike possess. Then there is a mental life which lifts us up above the beasts. In addition, there is another life which lifts us as much above the mental life as the mental life is above the life that the lower animals enjoy. Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” However, the greater part of humankind are not aware of this abundant life, and when they are told of it they don't believe it. But there is one thing certain. The eternal life promised to faithful Christians in eternity is an extension of the Christian life in the here and now. Eternal life is closely related to eternal life. Let us not dream that we will ever obtain eternal life hereafter, unless we receive the abundant life of Christ in this present life. Where death finds us, eternity will leave us. Thus I read the word of God; let others read it as they may. The only laying hold of eternal life that can be practiced by us must be commenced now, and then hold on to it at all hazards. When you once lay hold on it, never let it loose. Hold on to it for dear life.

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