by Pete Garcia
“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” ~Sir Winston Churchill
As mortal and finite humans, eternity is a very difficult concept for us to wrap our heads around. We struggle with it so much because we simply have nothing tangible that we can associate with the concept. But as humans, we must realize that the overwhelming bulk of our existence will be spent in eternity-future. It is to this understanding that we recognize we are in the last days, and also at the end of this stage of the story. More importantly, that we are not really at the end, but only at the very beginning of it.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7
Regarding what God has in store for us, the Apostle Paul stated that “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor. 2:9)
Put in another way, we have no conceivable way to understand all that God has in store for those of us who belong to Him. It is simply beyond any human understanding in this realm. They say that time is relative, to which, I would agree. But what if time itself were no longer a constraint we ever needn’t worry about again? Again, it is difficult for us now to comprehend what existence itself would be like without being relegated to time in some form or fashion. But that is a problem for the living. The dead know perfectly well what eternity feels like.
For those who have already died in Christ, the way they are now will always be their future (if I can relate to it that way). Granted, there are a few details that I am glossing over for those who have already died in Christ, having yet received their glorified, immortal bodies which will happen at the Rapture. There may also be campaigns afoot into eternity future which may involve far more grandiose plans than what God has made known to us within our own existence. This world, this life, and all the history associated, may in fact play some integral role for something yet future. Of this, admittedly, I do not know.
But what we do know, is the closeness and existence with the Godhead in Heaven for all eternity. It is the compilation of all things good, righteous, holy, divine, pleasurable, interesting, joyous, and blissful all rolled into some divine, overarching existence we will find ourselves in, forever.
The dead are no longer corrupted by time but have been made immortal, so that we may in some small measure, partake in God’s immortality. This though, is only made possible by receiving the one true and safe passage, which is Christ Jesus. He is the Door that all must pass through to receive eternal life. This is why salvation is not predicated on lineage, social status, heredity, or wisdom. Salvation can only come when a person comes to the end of themselves and realize that they cannot save themselves but must fully trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. (1 Cor. 15:1-5)
Once a person receives eternal life by placing their hope and trust in Christ, they are immediately changed. Their spirit, once dead, is now revived, sealed, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It is here, that a person becomes a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:19-21) and is already placed into the heavenlies. It is in a way, like calling ahead and making a reservation at a fancy restaurant, where a place is already being prepared for you and only awaits your arrival to be filled.
Another interesting thought, is that the future then, what lies beyond the Millennial Kingdom, has not yet been written. Was this done brevity’s sake, or for the fact that we probably wouldn’t be able to wrap our minds around all that lies into eternity future? One thing I am sure of, it will not be us sitting around on clouds strumming harps. No, based on what we know of God now (according to numerous examples within Scripture), is that we will be busy. I do not believe that God does things arbitrarily, but always acts with a sense of purpose to compliment, aid, change, or complete, His will. There will be purpose in our being with Him, and in our glorified bodies beyond the necessity of simply being with Him.
The ancient Gnostics and the modern day Theosophists, Buddhists, Hinduists, and New Agers all liken us to be a part of God or that we are a physical manifestation of it. Their goal was to bring man to the realization that through meditation, secret knowledge, self-realization, and channeling, we could achieve this divine state apart from the God of the Bible.
But the Bible is very clear on this matter; we are not God and can never, ever, ever be Him. We are only created creatures made in the likeness of Him. When one becomes born again we become a new creation in which God infuses part of Himself (the Holy Spirit) into us, much the same way that radiation changes our DNA when we are exposed to it. We are not naturally part of that radioactive material we were exposed too but through exposure it fundamentally changes us all the way down to the molecular level.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Cor. 5:17-21
But what is time? In simple layman’s terms, time is the measurement of moments from one to another. A Femtosecond is one thousandth of one trillionth of a second, or 1/1,000,000,000,000,000th of a second. Even smaller, the Attosecond, is one quintillionth (10-18) of a second, or 1 (0.0000000000000000001). The smallest measurement of time that within the laws of physics, ‘Planck Time’, is equal to 10-43 seconds. That would be a 10, with 43 zeros behind it. Anything beyond that would be indistinguishable to us in any known research methods.
It is unknown yet as to which of these, a `twinkling of an eye’ would occur (1 Cor. 15:52) in our transformation from mortality to immortality as occurs at the Rapture of the Church. I don’t know if it’s that time speeds up to such a degree that we have the Disney version of the transformation (think Beauty and the Beast moment where the prince is lifted up, spinning, while being transformed), or if we are simply doing what we do at any given moment, and we immediately find ourselves in the glorified state.
For instance, I could be sitting here typing this article, and as I type this word, immediately, I’m transformed. Perhaps, from the human perspective, it is immediate. But from the eternal perspective, which does not regard time (a day as a thousand years), as relative to anything; our transformation could be more of the spinning, sparkling change, as if there were some of God’s ceremonial showmanship in our transformation process. Either way, I don’t pretend to know, I only present these as things to consider.
I’ve often wondered what God did in eternity past. I believe that God has always existed, and yet there was the time (I have no better word) immemorial before Adam and the Creation, in which God existed. What did He do then? Was there other histories and civilizations of eons past to which God tended? What I don’t think is that God sat in the darkness or in whatever heavenly abode He surrounds Himself in doing nothing. Whatever it was, I’m am positive we will find out in due time. All we know is that as this age comes to an end. The next one, the eternal one, begins. This is where we will all spend the rest of forever inside of.
Thomas Watson once wrote “Eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset; eternity to the wicked is a night that has no sunrise.” That is both an exhilarating and terrifying thought…depending on where you stand with God now.
When this world comes to a close, the next will open up for us in such a manner, that this current one will dim and fade into obscurity. The Apostle John recorded in Revelation 21:4 for us, that God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Granted, as believers, we are new creations in Christ, but we still live in a fallen world, and in a fallen state of being. In relation to all the former things, these being; pain, sickness, anger, lust, hate, pride, envy, sadness, violence, perverseness, duplicities, wickedness, and all the other things to vile to even list, we understand that God strips that all from us on that Day. Whether we as Christians go in death, or at the Rapture man is irrevocably reconciled to His Creator to co-exist with Him forever.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18