Eternity defies man’s imagination and comprehension. It is not an object, nor a place, it is not a period of time. It has no beginning and it has no end. All men from Adam to the last one born will be in it.
The word eternity is used in Isaiah 57:15 where it states that God inhabits eternity. He is eternal with no beginning and no end. This can be said only of God, for man has beginning but his soul has no end. The dictionary agrees with the Bible that eternity is a duration without end; the state into which the soul passes at death and in which it remains forever and ever.
The opening statement of the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heaven and earth” (Genesis 1:1), has reference to the creation of the heaven and the earth and all things therein (Colossians 1:16-17). God has decreed that all things shall cease to exist: “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).
Man is a creature of time-he takes time, uses time, and depends on time. His life is controlled by time. Time, however, as important as it is, has no relation to eternity. Eternity is unique and incomparable. It has no measureable length, breadth, depth nor height. It offers no opportunity to change the eternal destiny that was chosen in life. It is everlastingly the same.
In all of creation, only man, clothed with a changed and immortal body, will make the transition from time into eternity. Man is the only creature who has the “breath of life” (Genesis 2:7), which lasts forever as God does.
With the end of time, eternity will reveal many wonders and miracles that cannot be understood in our day. When the Lord returns all eyes shall see him (Revelation 1:7). He will sit on a throne and “all nations” shall be gathered before Him in judgment (Matthew 25:31-32; 2 Corinthians 5:10). There God will judge according to His record of every man’s works (Revelation 20:12-13) the skeptic finds these matters impossible. “All eyes” means multiplied billions, those of every land and sea, the resurrected dead as well as the living. It boggles the mind to think of all nations gathered in one before the judgment throne. Those who think it incredible must note that time has fled and eternity has no limitations. The restrictions of distance and time found in earth life are absent in eternity.
Eternity, as the Bible reveals it, has three aspects-the judgment, the dividing of the righteous from the unrighteous, and the everlasting. This judgment will be final, with neither appeals nor reviews. During man’s lifetime God places before him the choice between right and wrong, endeavoring to bring him into a right relationship with his Creator. Those who will not give heed will, in the final judgment, receive their sentence and then be sent to an eternal punishment. Those who yielded to God in life will have their sins judged before, while those who did not yield will have their sins follow them into the final judgment (1 Timothy 5:24).
After the judgment every man shall be rewarded according to the record in the books, including those whose names are in the book of life (Revelation 20:12). The term reward as used here, is a recompense for acts performed, good or evil.
Eternity will know only two classes of people-the saved and the lost. God will classify them as such by their acceptance or rejection of His great saving plan for mankind while in their earth life. There are only two destinations in eternity for all people-Heaven for the saved and hell for the lost.
To those whose names are found written in the book of life, the eternal Judge will say, “Come, ye blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34); and to those whose names are not in the Book, the Judge will say, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).
To some these words will be shocking, and again others will expect them. There are those who pass from time into eternity through death who have prepared to meet God; they died with an assurance in their hearts that they will be with the Lord in eternity. They expect those welcome words, “Come, ye blessed.”
There are also those who in life are already condemned and pass over not prepared to meet God. They have a fearful looking for of judgment (Hebrews 10:27). At that great day they will call upon the mountains and rocks, “Fall upon us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:16).
This immense throng will also include the disappointed-“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).
What all eternity holds for the immortal beings is not detailed in the Bible. Jesus did, however, say that those who overcame shall sit with Him in His throne (Revelation 3:21); they will be robed in white, and will have no need whatever (Revelation 7:14-17). They will enjoy every blessing prepared for immortal souls.
Those to whom the Judge will say, “Depart from me” shall go into outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12), into hell fire that shall never be quenched (Mark 9:43); they shall have part in a lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 20:15; 21:8). These souls will be mentally alert, knowing people (Luke 16:23); they will feel the torment of hell fire (v.24); they will understand (v.26), and they will remember earth life (v.28), but for the lost there will be no benefits in eternity.
Eternity will see Satan, the old dragon, totally and eternally defeated, and an everlasting punishment meted out which will become his gross wickedness. For this purpose hell was primarily prepared (Matthew 25:41). What a gruesome lot to share an eternal place of torment with that most hideous and wicked being, and with all his damnable, evil spirits!
The third aspect of eternity, which is the state of finality, is beyond human grasp. Man’s mind is limited to beginnings and endings. Because of this, man must rely on the truthfulness of God’s Word. God is the author of all things and also of eternity.
If a bird would pick up one grain of sand and carry it to the moon, and in that fashion would eventually carry all of earth away, eternity would still have just begun, but would be no nearer the end. For the wicked this is the most distressing thought possible. However for the righteous, who will be in eternal bliss in Heaven with God and all the holy angels, it will always be welcome.
Now in life, while there is yet time, our eternal destiny can be decided.
Are you ready for eternity? This question demands your answer in this life. Today is the time to prepare for eternity.
One prepares for this great meeting by accepting Jesus Christ as the Savior of man, who died on Calvary’s cross for man’s sins and was raised for his justification (Romans 4:25). This acceptance must be more than a mental resolve; it must be a heart matter, a total surrender to God. This also makes one a follower of Jesus-one who walks with Him, obeys His teachings, and is led by His Spirit.
Failing to so receive Christ will result in eternal banishment from God. Life is too uncertain, death is too sure, and eternity is too long to further risk delay. God’s Word is to be accepted now.
Where Will You Spend Eternity?
“Eternity!-Where? It floats in the air:
Amid clamor, or silence, it ever is there,
The question so solemn: “Eternity!-Where?”
“Eternity!-where?” oh, “Eternity!-where?”
With redeemed ones in glory or fiends in despair?
With one or the other: “Eternity-where?”
“Eternity!-where?” oh, “Eternity!-where?”
Friend, sleep not, nor take this world any share,
Till you answer the question: