What is Eternity?
by Pastor George D. Cutler
Grace Gospel Ministry
The Scriptural Meaning of Eternity
There is much confusion among those that attempt to explicate what ETERNITY is. The chief problem engenders the usage of pre-grace covenant doctrinal sections in the Scriptures that are referencing different definitions for the word “Eternal.” In the Old Testament, the definition for Eternal is the Hebrew word qedem (keh’-dem) or qedmah (kayd’-maw), which variously means: anciently, of old (when used as an adverb) of ancient time, aforetime, ancient, from of old, earliest time or east, front, from the front or east, in front. The first definition of the word Eternal occurs in a plethora of instances, e.g., “The Eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them” (Deuteronomy 33:27). The second definition for Eternal refers to the Hebrew word owlam (o-lawm’) or ‘olam (o-lawm’), which denotes: long duration, antiquity, futurity, for ever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old , ancient, world, ancient time, long time(past), always, continuous existence, perpetual, indefinite or unending future. There are also a plethora of instances in the Scriptures wherein these conveyances are evident, e.g., “Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated With no one passing through, I will make you an everlasting (eternal) pride, A joy from generation to generation” (Isaiah 60:15). Some translations use the rendering “everlasting” in lieu of “eternal,” as they are interchangeable.
In the so-called New Testament section of the Bible, the base Greek word aivw,nioj (eh·o·nee·os) is diversely rendered, “without beginning or end, that which always has been and always will be, without beginning and end, never to cease and everlasting.” Therein are a plethora of instances, in the Scriptures wherein these conveyances are evident, e.g., “And behold one came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16). In the Kingdom Gospel, the definition regarding Eternity is centered on what is manifestly revealed in testimony to the prophesied works of Christ in effectuation of the New Covenant conveyed in Jeremiah chapter 31, in fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. In this view, it is the perpetuation of the Commonwealth of Israel’s relations with God everlastingly on the Earth. As the basis for this blessed existence in God’s favor, Christ was the exclusive merit of eradicating their sinful nature. Hence, Eternity is the endless sphere in which all creatures are accorded endless existence of which all are possessors in some form; whether elect or non-elect. John 10:10 actually states concerning Israel and her subjects, “I came that they might have (having had) life, and might have (having had) it abundantly.”
In the Grace Gospel (relation of the Mystery) the essence of Eternity is nothing less than “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). It is conveyed in the knowledge of the actualization of the elect’s placement in the Body of Christ in eternity. The faithfulness of Christ’s work in eternity is the exclusive determinant in the effectuation of ones salvation, as such is completely independent of human functions in the sphere of time; whether they are active (confessing and believing) or passive (consentience to confessing and believing). The sphere of Eternity must not ever be confused with any semblances of the sphere of time and creation, with its manifested subjection to death and human depravity. Time and creation has both a beginning and ending, wherein Eternity has neither a beginning nor ending. The difference between the two spheres are evident in the scriptures, as depicted by the status of mankind possessing mere natural life in the encapsulated realm of the presently manifested creation, separated from the actual presence of God. In stark contrast, the realm of Eternity engenders unlimited and immeasurable phenomenal wherein God has always existed and wherein He has actualized the placement of His elect in the Body of Christ in the Heavenlies (Ephesians 1:3). In eternity, the elect of the present Grace Dispensation, possessing Eternal Life will manifestly be in God’s presence forever (eternally) and separation from God is the state of the non-elect in an endless gulf of attenuated existence termed Eternal death; which is indicative of the reverse spectrum of union with God in Christ, termed Eternal Life.
The so-called Conventional (Secular) Conception of Eternity
As they pertain to the conceptions of Eternity in circles of humanism, the terms “secular” and “conventional are routinely interchanged in expressing its definition. Conventionally, it is sometimes referred to as, "the way things have always been," no questions asked. In this sense there is no differentiation of Eternity as a separate sphere, as the present functionality of this world is strictly viewed as a continuum. Hence, their conception of all existence is routinely referenced generally as nature, i.e., the independent and indiscriminant forming and shaping of the environment and society as a whole, so they exclaim “why rock the boat?” So-called conventionality or normality has radically endowed these perceptions and blindly leaves no room for any flexibility in their un-scriptural view of such. Such spiritual blindness stifles all forms of relief from their intellectual bondage that continues to be deep in the “forces of nature.”
Outside of the source of God’s Word there is no plausible data to chart the course of existence and certainly aside from it, there are no directions to explicate the rare, unique and unusual functionality of life. What is now manifested has no long termed order or purpose as to how and why as well as how long? Things in and of themselves rarely operate concisely in their true form except for what the Scriptures uniquely indicates as differentiable of nature’s life characteristics. Any reliable sequencing of such should automatically serve as notice that sooner or later, it will all be dissolved by consumable influences. The survival of existence demands some structure of perpetual order, which is facilitated exclusively where God’s design and purpose is accommodated ………….ETERNITY