Scared Of Eternity? by Michael Furlonger

Half way through Ecclesiastes 3:11, it says, “He (God) has also set eternity in the human heart.” While 2020 isn’t going as planned for so many of us, I want to share an aspect of godliness, and God Himself, that isn’t focused on. That is the eternal nature of God. And since we are made in his image, the eternal destiny of humans.

Things You Need To Know

  • God is eternal and created all things (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1; John 1:14)
  • You have an eternal soul. Whether it’s Heaven or Hell, you will be eternally in one of those places (Matt. 25:46).
  • Jesus Christ died for your sins so that we may partake in the blessings of the eternal God and the eternal life we were made for (John 17:3)
  • God is Holy and calls on us to be holy as He is (Lev. 19:2; Deut. 26:19; 1 Peter 1:15)

Why I’m Scared

You know that scene in Aladdin when the Genie tells Aladdin that he has, “Phenomenal cosmic power.” Then he goes back into the lamp and in a squeaky voice says, “Itty, bitty living space.” That’s why I used to be so scared of eternity. I remember praying, “Lord, I don’t want to go to Hell, but I also don’t want to go to Heaven. Please, just destroy my soul.” A little morbid, I know.

New Jerusalem

In Revelation 21, an angel shows John the new heavens and new earth. Followed by verse 2, John sees the new Jerusalem, the Holy City coming down from Heaven. In verses 15-17, John shares the dimensions of the gates around the new Jerusalem. The walls were 12,000 stadia on each side and 144 cubits thick.

It scared me because in my head, I thought all of eternity would be spent within this measured city. Eternity seemed quite claustrophobic with boundaries. No?

Locked In (Part one)

I felt locked in to this four walled city, each wall measuring 12,000 stadia. That is equal to just shy of twice the size of New York City.

There were three gates on the east, three on the north,
three on the south and three on the west…
On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. (Rev. 21:13+25)

This is quite interesting. There are gates, but the gates are open, not closed. Revelation 21:26 says, “The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.”

New Heavens & New Earth

In Revelation 21:1, John begins by saying that he saw “a new heaven and a new earth”. Then John sees the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven to earth. There is obviously more than the small size measured out above.

Look at what Solomon prays when he is dedicating the temple within Jerusalem:

“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you…” (1 Kings 8:27)

If the infinite God is too grand for the highest heavens now, why would he minimize Himself in the new creation?

No Water?

Revelation 21:1 says that “there was no longer any sea.”

I don’t like that there is no sea. “Where do the fish live?” I thought, “Jesus was a fisherman. Why would he create a new heaven and earth with no fish?”

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life… On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. (Rev. 22:1a+2b)

I realized that not all bodies of water are sea. I remember spending several summers in my teen years at a cottage at a lake in Ontario, Canada. Spending times fishing, cooking fish over a fire and on and on.

(We can also discuss salt water seas/ocean, verses fresh water lakes. If you drink excessive salt water it will kill you, but fresh water won’t.)

Although there is no sea, in John’s revelation, there is a river and thus a body of water. I can only assume that there are many bodies of water.

The River & Locked In (Part 2)

In the section above, I mentioned my fear of being locked in to a closed location, even if it’s the new Jerusalem. I mentioned the entrance and exit through the gates that never close.

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. (Rev. 22:2)

Not only do these gates never close, but Revelation 22 says that there will be other nations. And where this new Garden of Eden is, nations will come into it for healing.

Animals

I remember watching a movie when I was young called All Dogs Go To Heaven. I don’t remember liking that movie, but it is a great segue into the next topic of animals.

Do I believe that your pet gold fish will be in heaven? No, I don’t. But I strongly believe that animals will be in the new creation.

In Isaiah 65:17-25, God is telling Isaiah about the New Heaven and the New Earth. Note that there is some mention of the mortality rate of the young and the old. I personally believe this is to point out the blessings of the new creation, not the mortality itself. But on the topic of animals,

The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
    and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,”
says the LORD. (Isaiah 65:25)

I believe that this points out two things of the new creation. One is that rival enemies, like a wolf and a lamb, will live in peace. In the same way, rival people will live in peace. And, two, there will be animals.

Will we all become vegetarians? I don’t know. But, with the technology with these fake burgers, being a vegetarian doesn’t seem that bad.

Late Homework

Have worked hard on a project, but knew that if you had only a bit more time, it would be better? If this universe is bound by time and space, what do you think God will do when we are no longer bound by time and space?

Two satellites were sent from NASA in 1977 called Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. While they were meant for the study of planets in our solar system, the have gone beyond it. Scientists, I believe, were quite surprised at how far these satellites had gone. As of February 9, 2011, Voyager 2 is 8.6 billion miles from the sun.

What if God says, “If only you gave me more time, I would have shown you what I have created.” In the new creation, I believe that we will see so much more of what God can do. It definitely won’t be boring.

God Loves You

God loves you. He created you as an eternal being. God wants to show you what he has done. That is what waits for us beyond this chaotic world.

God is also infinitely just. God is so just that we could never pay off the debt of our sins. But because of his love, He showed how just he is by having his Son, Jesus Christ, die on the cross.

Please, if God has called you and has set eternity in your heart, call on him. He is infinite in his justice, but also infinite in mercy.

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