Recently I’ve talked about our Soverign God, and our Infinite God, and today I’d like to talk about our Eternal God, and His Eternal Rest.
If you look up a definition of eternal, it might say.. “infinite, or unending time”. But really, time has nothing to do with eternity. Here’s a much better definition.. “a state of timelessness. A state to where time has no application”. That’s eternity!
The idea of “unending time” isn’t that hard to understand; It’s where time just keeps going on and on and on. But what about “a state where there is no time; Where time HAS no application”? That’s a bit more difficult I think. A state of existence, or a state of being, in which time has no part; A state where there’s no such thing as time. Now that’s difficult to comprehend. But that is exactly the realm, that our Eternal God dwells in.
Think about that. If there was no such thing as time, would there be any past? Would there be any future. How could there be? The very concept of past and future demands time. But if there is no past, and if there is no future, then what is there? There could only be “right now”, the present.
Think about eternal joy and happiness in heaven. Joy now, and joy always. Nothing will ever change. Of course there’s also a flip side of that. For some, there will be endless sorrow. And that will never change either, because nothing will ever change in eternity. What is, is what will always be.
The bible tells us that God’s existence is in the realm of eternity, where there is no time. No time, no changing, God IS, exactly as He is. God calls Himself “I Am”, in Exodus 3:14. Not “I was”, or “I will be”, but “I Am”. He tells us in Malachi 3, verse 6; “For I am the Lord, I do not change.”
No beginning, and no end, only what is. “I Am, Who I Am”, God says. God exists in eternity. Now tell me that’s not a strange concept to grasp! Eternity is very hard for us to relate to.
What we can relate to though, is time. Our entire life is based on time, and, on a time schedule, because that’s the way all of God’s creation is. Even though God is completely set apart from time, all of His creation depends on time! Things are born, and things die out. Ecclesiastes 3, verse 1 tells us; For everything, there is a season, and a time for every purpose, under heaven.” But there’s no time IN heaven, because heaven, is in eternity. Think about that for a while!
From somewhere outside of time, our eternal God created time, and created all that physically exists, in six definite periods of time, that the bible calls days. There was a first day, and a second day, and a third day, and so on. And on the forth day, time as we know it, was truly “fixed” and established..
Genesis 1, verses 14 says; “Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years.” And verse 19 says; “And there was evening, and there was morning, a fourth day.” God created time as we know it, and time governs us. But it doesn’t govern God. It’s no wonder that one day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is as a day. (2 Peter 3, verse 8)
From a purely spiritual and eternal existence, God has created, physical time and matter. That alone is pretty incredible. We’re told in Hebrews 11, verse 3; “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed (or prepared, or shaped) by the word of God, so that the things which are seen, were not made of things which are visible.” Now there’s another strange concept. God has made all that is seen, out of that which is not seen. And I believe we could phrase it this way; What is physical, was created out of that which is spiritual.
Here’s a verse that pretty much conforms that.. 2 Corinthians 4, verse 18 says; “While we do not fix our sight on the things which are seen, but on the things which are not seen: For, the things which are seen are temporal; (physical things are temporal, we know that) But the things which are not seen are eternal.” (and we know that it is spiritual things, which are eternal). Therefore, the temporal physical creation, was created by that which is spiritual and eternal; And that is God) God created the entire physical creation, out of nothing, but his own Spirit! No that’s pretty hard to fully comprehend!
Psalm 33:9 says; “For he spoke, and it was done! He commanded, and it stood fast!”
God’s Work Ceased
But I’d like to get back to the days of creation. On the fourth day, God truly fixed and established time, with the creation of the sun, and the moon, and the stars in the heavens. And then, on the fifth and sixth days, God created all living flesh. Man, was His crowning creation. But then, after the sixth day, God did not create another thing, ever again! The bible says in Genesis 2, verse 2; “And on the seventh day, God ended his work which he had made; And he rested on the seventh day, from all his work which he had made.” Now the word “rested” doesn’t mean that God was tired, and had to rest, It simply means that God “ceased” from His creating; the word “rest” means “to cease”. So then God ceased from creating, and He has never again created another thing. On the seventh day, God ceased His work, and He entered into His “rest”. And God’s “rest” is very, very important, for us!
Genesis 2, Verse 1 says; “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” In other words, everything that goes along with the physical heavens and earth; “The host of them”. God ceased His creating, and He entered His “rest”. It wasn’t man’s rest, it was God’s rest! The bible says in Genesis 2, verse 3; “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, because in it, He rested (He ceased) from all His work which God had created and made.”
Now notice something here.. Not one word in this verse, was spoken to any man, concerning man resting on God’s seventh day! It wasn’t for another two thousand years, that God gave the command to Israel, concerning THEIR sabbath day rest! In Genesis 2, verse 3, God sanctified HIS seventh day, because on that day, God ceased from all His work of creating.
This is God’s rest, not man’s rest. But.. (and here’s the important part. Remember I said that God’s est is very, very important, for us!) The bible says, that man has the opportunity, to enter God’s rest, at the appropriate time; At man’s appropriate time. We’re told in Hebrews 4, verses 9 & 10; “There remains a sabbath rest, for the people of God. For he that has entered into his rest, has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” Man’s future “rest” is the very same “rest”, as God’s rest! That’s what the bible is telling us there.
Hebrews 4, verse 11 exhorts us, and says; “Therefore, let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” And what example of disobedience is God referring to there? He’s referring to the example of the Israelites in the wilderness.
Here’s the example being spoken of, from Hebrews 3, verses 16 thru 19; “For who provoked Him, when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear, that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? (They would NOT enter His rest, and therefore they would NOT inherit eternal life, because God’s rest, IS eternity!)
And the scripture continues.. “So we see that they could not enter in, because of unbelief.” They missed eternal life, because of their unbelief, which is identical, to their disobedience. And that’s what those verses are telling us. Listen again..
“And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in, because of unbelief.” Unbelief, and disobedience, are one and the same. And they will keep one’s soul, out of the eternal rest, called heaven. Hebrews 3, verse 11 says; “And I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter MY rest!” And when did God enter His rest? It was on HIS seventh day. (Genesis 2, verse 2)
God’s seventh day, is eternity! And God doesn’t want us to miss that eternal rest, like the Israelites did. And so He warns us, in verses 12 thru 14, with these words; “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you, an evil unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God. But encourage one another, day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today’; So that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, IF we hold the beginning of our confidence, steadfast to the end. While it is said, ‘To day’, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” (Like the Israelites in the wilderness)
We can enjoy eternal life, and eternal rest, in Christ, if we remain faithful. It’s sometimes called, the land of eternal day. Revelation 22:5 says; “And there shall be no night there; And they need no candle, neither light of the sun; For the Lord God giveth them light: And they shall reign for ever and ever.” What a thought; Endless day, endless rest, with God.
No Beginning and No End
To imagine something never ending, doesn’t really seem to me, to be so difficult to grasp. It’s kind of like that thought of time, just going on, and on, and on. Haven’t you been in various situations, where you’re doing something that’s so enjoyable, that you say, I wish this would never end. And you can kind of imagine whatever you’re doing, just going on, and on, and on, and never ending. And so I don’t think the idea of having no end, is so hard to imagine. But what about having no beginning? How can something have no beginning? But yet the bible says that the eternal nature of God has no beginning, but that He has always existed. How is that possible? We can’t fathom that, can we? Can you truly say that you completely understand the concept of God has always existing, without having a beginning? I mean, I surely believe it, because that’s what the bible says, but I don’t think I fully understand it.
It’s no wonder that God says in Isaiah 5:9 that “..My ways are higher than your ways.” God simply IS! He HAS no beginning, and He has no ending; As God Himself said; “I am”.
Psalm 90, verse 2 says; “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” From everlasting to everlasting. That’s like saying, From eternity to eternity. No beginning, and no end.
1 Timothy 1, verse 17 says; “Now unto the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.”
The bible says in Romans 11, verse 33; “Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom, and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and unfathomable His ways!” The ways of God, are unfathomable! The word “ways” literally means.. “the path or the journey”. We cannot imagine, or understand the path, or the journey of God. God’s journey doesn’t even have a beginning! It has simply always been! How unfathomable is that!
Considering all that we’re reading and trying to fathom, concerning God, I think we all can identify with the Psalmist, when he wrote in Psalm 8, verse 4; “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that Thou visits him?” Verse 5 says; “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.” And verse 6; “Thou made him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet.” In other words, we have dominion, over God’s creation! What are we, that we should deserve that!
But that’s what Genesis 1, verse 28 says. It says; “And God blessed them, and God said unto them; Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; And have dominion, over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
What is man that God should be so mindful of us? That’s a pretty good question isn’t it? The eternal God, who doesn’t even have a beginning, but has simply always been, and is all powerful, and all knowing, and all encompassing, and everything else that you could say about God, and yet He cares for us!
If you’ve ever thought that you were insignificant, think again! The fact is, you are SO significant, and God loves you SO much, that Jesus was able to say, in John 3:16; “For God SO loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Eternal life. Life with no end.
God has given us a beginning as we sojourn through this life, but He has given us the opportunity to have life without end, through Christ!
Hebrews 5, verse 9 speaks of Jesus, and says; “And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation, unto all them that obey him.”
That’s our calling; To obey Jesus, in hearing His word, and believing that He is indeed the Christ, the Son of God. And to confess that faith always; And to repent of our sins, always; And to be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins; And to remain just as faithful as humanly possible, even unto death.
And then, we shall, enter into HIS rest. Or as Jesus put it, in Mathew 25, verse 23; “..Enter into the joys of thy Lord.”
The invitation is for all of us..