Contributor: Okwudili Prince-Isaac
Eternity to Eternity is the study of God’s plan for man through the ages from eternity past, through eternity present, to eternity future. I believe that this study of God’s plan for man from eternity past to eternity future is the most important subject of human existence. The study of God’s plan for man through the ages may be called the backbone of the Bible because it takes in all the ages and dispensations and all the important subjects of the Bible from eternity past to eternity future.
Text: John 14:3
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”.
Reference Scriptures: Ephesians 1:1-10, Ecclesiastes 3:9-11, Ephesians 3:10-11, 2 Timothy 1:9-10, I Timothy 6:6-7, Matt: 6:19-24, James 5:1-3, Rev 22: 1-5
To have a clear understanding of what God's Purpose is for us would certainly change our whole outlook on life (and eternity) and our commitment to God's service. Our life would take on a whole new dimension!
Ecclesiastes 3:11: “He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.” -AMP Version
1. Predestined Adoption - Ephesians 1:1-6 (NIV)
Paul, in writing to the Ephesians, starts, not with the fall of man, but with the “Eternal Father.” And, he states that God's purpose began “before the foundation of the world.” Paul goes on to teach that God’s purpose for the entire universe is to be realized through, and centering in, His Son, Jesus Christ! To get a grasp of God’s eternal purpose, spoken of by Paul, we must realize that it was determined in God's “Father-heart” – not because man sinned, but before the world was made. In Ephesians 1:1-6 (NIV) we read:
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Chris! For He [God, the Father] chose us in Him [Jesus Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will - to the praise of His glorious grace, which He [Father] has freely given us in the One He loves” (verses1-6).
2. Conform to Image of His Son - Ephesians 1:7-10 (NIV)
Let’s consider this purpose that was in the Father's heart before the foundation of the world! The fellowship between God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, in the eternities past was so prized, so amazing, that God desired to have many sons conformed to the image of His Son. With great anticipation, God planned that His “eternal Son” would become the incarnate Son, robed in flesh, and share His vital life with the human family, yet to be created! God planned to visit planet Earth, by the incarnation of His Son, not because man sinned, but that Jesus became the very life of man. Paul does points out in verse 7 that, because man would sin, he needed redemption and this provision was also in Christ Jesus. He writes, “In Him [in Christ Jesus] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.” Verses 8-10 continue,
“He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ."
Don’t miss this all-important fact, God, the Father, determined that His Son should become mankind incarnate as the means of bringing a vast family of sons into the glorious measure of full stature.
3. Display His wisdom for All Eternity - Ephesians 3:10-11
Apostle Paul sees the eternal Father yearning for a vast family of sons conformed to the image of the eternal Son, in whom He found such delight. Just think of it, from very beginning, “before the foundation of the world,” the Father planned to share His life, through His Son, and express Himself throughout the universe during all ages to come! Ephesians 3:10-11 states that, “His intent [God’s intent] was that now [in this day and age] through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus or Lord.” God's eternal purpose and intent is to display to the entire universe, for all of eternity, His matchless wisdom by conforming “many sons” into the image of His Own dear Son, Jesus Christ. This is addition to the obvious: displaying man as the master-piece of His creative power as earlier seem in creation (garden of Eden) and redemption (garden of Gethsemane).
“What difference does it make?” The ‘problem’ is that we have placed the emphasis on the “crisis act” of believing that, “Christ died for our sins,” and have neglected to understand the continuous work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. “Salvation” is a crisis act and necessary because of man’s sin. However, a “process of growth,” is God's eternal purpose! God's plan and eternal purpose was to share His life with man and to bring him to perfection, spiritual maturity. It was not man's sin (or, defection) that determined this purpose of God sharing His life, but rather, it was in the Father's original (eternal) planning. “Before man was ever created, before he ever sinned,” God determined to share His life through His Son. When man “turned to his own way,” God did not suddenly change His plan. He still would share Himself through His Son, only now He would provide “redemption” by way of the Cross (in pursuit of His eternal plan for man). When God redeems man out of his predicament, it is a crisis act. Here man “believes” in the finished work of the Cross, and receives the divine life God intended for man! Interesting, that is not the end of the story. God designed a continuous work of the Holy Spirit, making possible a daily, receiving, or “sharing,” of God's life – having a continuous and present participation of God’s life! Growth.
Redemption is only the initial step in realizing God's ultimate intention for mankind. 2 Timothy 1:9-10 teaches, the [God, the Father] has;
(1) Saved us, and
(2) Called us to a holy life
None of the above (salvation, and call to holy living) could be attributed to anything we have done but “because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, [vs10] but it has “now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” When God created man, He had an ultimate purpose in mind, which did not necessitate man’s fall into sin. However, man did sin and, therefore, must be lifted from “fallen condition”
and brought back to the position Adam lost. 2 Timothy 1:9-10 tells us that God's called is twofold:
(1) The first issue; God dealt with the gateway to bring man back to God’s original holy calling. God must deal with man’s fallen condition!
(2) The second issue; God's original desire for a family, “before the world began,” to impart the life of His Son, and conform man into His image.
Rev 22: 1-5 – “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever”.
Think about this, “When God created man and placed him in Garden of Eden, was Adam, freshly created, all God intended for man? Was Adam the Full Stature” that God wanted man to become?” i.e. complete without God? His design for man, was that Adam become a son in full stature, through inner spiritual development. Like a flower bud moving to full blossom, God designed Adam for development. This, in no way, necessitated sin for its accomplishment. Man was given the choice between two trees in Garden of Eden, representing two ways. He could choose God's way or he could go his own way. Opportunity for development was along two mutually exclusive lines. He could go his own way (soulishly - refers to man living only by the powers of his soul – his mind, will and emotions); by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, choosing the development of his soul powers, independent of God or (spiritually), he could choose God's way by being in union with the tree of life, and thus, develop spiritually.
May God help us to see His eternal purpose is to develop us into Full Stature. Hence our walk of perfection with the Father should be an eternal endeavour.
Closing Scripture: Matt: 6:19-24 “Lay up for yourselves”, “Lay not up for yourselves” – Contradiction or contrast? With the consciousness and awareness of greater prospects in eternity;
1. Where are our resources being invested? Matthew 6:19-20
2. How do we use some of our resources for living life? I Timothy 6:6-7
3. What is our attitude toward our resources here on earth? - James 5:1-3
4. Do we hoard all income for our own temporal existence or invest much of it in eternity & eternal things for God’s glory?
5. Where are our desires being invested, bearing in mind that what we desire in life we will make room for, and this will ultimately be the focus of our lives? - Matthew 6:21-23
6. The desire of our hearts is what all of life are made of? - Proverbs 4:23-27
7. Where are our lives being invested in, bearing in mind that serving, worrying and seeking all requires about the same energy and time? Matthew 6:24-34
As it were, we were placed here (earth) to train for eternity. Our bodies were (each) only intended to be a house for our immortal spirit. It’s ignorant to think we are physical beings headed for a spiritual place. But the reality is, we are spiritual beings living temporarily in a physical place. Are we busy preparing for our rewarding experience in eternity (heaven)?
Jesus stated “….. prepare a place……,come again…….receive you to Myself; .. where I am, there you may be also”