Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Eternity In Their Hearts

That’s the name of a great book by missionary Don Richardson.[1] (See link below)

The two oldest books of the Bible are thought to be Genesis and Job. Genesis is the story of creation and the beginning of God’s covenant relationship with mankind through Israel. Job is the story of a man who endures great tragedy, questions God, is accused by “friends,” but who holds onto God and is ultimately blessed.

The point I want to make is that in the earliest books of the Bible the concept of eternity appears.

“Everlasting” is from the Hebrew word “olam” meaning “time out of mind.” The idea is from God.

The first book of the Bible says that “In the beginning God…”(Gen 1:1) So God alone existed at one point. How far back does that go? The Bible tells us “Thou art from everlasting…” (Ps 93:2) We can’t grasp “everlasting.” We can’t see all the way around the world. We can only see to the horizon. Thus everlasting truly is “time out of mind.”

So God is portrayed as eternal. But it doesn’t stop there.

“Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…” (Gen 3:22-23)

God talks about living forever.

In Job, the other early book, we find this profound reference.

"For I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and at last he will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    then from my flesh I shall see God,"
 (Job 19:25-26)

A few days ago at breakfast in Hershey, Pa, I saw an old photograph from 1910. A crowd of hundreds was gathered around an old electric trolley car. It was an anniversary gathering of Hershey Company. I looked at individual people in the crowd. One man was turned around looking at the people behind him. He was smiling as if something funny had been said. A woman in a bonnet dismounted from the trolley. A young boy, maybe 10, looked on. I thought, if that boy was alive today he’d be 113 years old now. No chance. Those hundreds of people in the picture are now dead and gone. All their work is forgotten. Their names are forgotten. Whatever they lived for is long past.

Is there anything beyond death?

Thousands of years before Christ spoke of eternal life, the Hebrew writers of old talked of eternity. Life does not end at the grave. That is not God’s intention. Don Richardson is right, God placed eternity in our hearts.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) It’s been God’s idea from the very beginning.

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Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

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I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

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