Chasing Eternity

Shane Willard observes that in Hebrew culture, the greatest rabbis were not those who had figured out all the answers, but those who could ask the right questions. Having the right answer is more of an obsession in our “Greek” thinking culture. Hebrew thought considers the Word of God to be like a multi-faceted diamond that we can never fully understand. By asking questions, we allow The Lord to speak to us, and reveal the depths of His wisdom.

A few months ago, I was talking about eternity with some friends and a picture came to mind: Imagine a tray or surface, and on it is a plate. The plate represents time and the tray is eternity. Around the edge of the plate are lines that start, go on for a while, and then stop. These represent our lives, with the length of the line being our life span. All the lines and everything else on the plate represent this world in time and space.

From our perspective inside time, we perceive the passing of time and have memory of the past, but cannot see the future – since we are inside of time. God is not constrained by space and time, in fact, he created it. He dwells in eternity (the tray) and can see all of time (the plate). When we die (or are taken by the Lord), we move into the realm of eternity.

Now let’s consider what we might see from the persecutive of eternity. God sees everything, and is the only one that know the days and times that He has appointed. What He has revealed can be seen; what He has not revealed is hidden – both to us on earth, and to those in eternity. Can those in eternity look at all points that have been revealed in time? Do they see with the perspective of God?

The main thought that came to me while I was seeing the tray and plate was that concepts about “how long”, patience, or “how many times” take on different meanings depending on your perspective. From our time-based position, we naturally ascribe to God perception that is based in temporal thinking: How many times will you put up with me doing that?, or how long before there is a breakthrough?

As we grow in the Lord, He reveals to us that He really does not change. His love for us is eternal, and that Jesus really did accomplish everything that needed to be done at the cross. From eternity’s perspective, “how long” is not a question of perceived duration, but a consideration of two states in time – which can both be seen all at once – on the plate. When we plead with God to be patient, the concept doesn’t really apply to Him as it does to us. Being in time, we have to endure periods between two events. In eternity, both the beginning and the end of the time period can be seen simultaneously. This helps us to understand why God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and why 1000 years is as a day and a day is as 1000 years – eternity is not time.

Some other questions: Can we even know how we will perceive time in eternity? Is time outside of eternity, or is it contained within it. Are certain times not known, even in eternity, since they have not come to pass in the realm of time? Is there a different state in eternity that is like time but not time? This would appear to be the case if certain things are known in heaven and then other things are revealed.

A time sequencing of some kind seems to be present in heaven, since we read in the bible about activity that is time based – e.g. the court is seated, the booked are opened, the cases are presented, and judgements are rendered. How does this work? Will we get any clue this side of eternity?

Lots of questions … very few answers.

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4 Responses to Chasing Eternity

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  2. ANITA HEALY says:

    Hi Robin: Thank you for ministering to me on Sat. Was wondering if you could send me the scripture you read over me from the passion bible that would be great. Again thanks. Blessings Anita email is numberonedog@rogers.com .

  3. sandra phillips says:

    thanks Rabbi Robin, these are really good questions! His presence with us always, no matter which side of the line we are on, is unchanging…I wonder how much we can glimpse of Him here in this dimension? Blessings!

  4. Annette Forkun says:

    The Scripture today on 100.3 was that one about 1000 years being as a day and a day being as a 1000 years!! So heard it twice now today!

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