When does eternity begin? In the beginning? In the middle? At the end? There is no time in eternity; therefore, there is no beginning and no end. Time is a circle that turns in eternal rotation. The starting point of eternity, which is outside of time, can be placed in any period of time of this circle. At the end, in the beginning, or in the middle.
Now, time, in history, is divided in two parts. Before and after Christ; therefore, eternity begins in Christ (Heb.7:3). In Rev.13:8 and Heb.1:10, we have the revelation of this mystery. John reveals three things, here:
- Everything began at the cross: the creation of the world, of men and of time.
- If Christ originated the world on the cross, it is the beginning of eternity.
- The world has been originated in Christ outside of time; therefore eternity does not begin in time, but outside of time (Rev.1:8, 2; Pet.3:8). “The day” is the day of Christ (John 8:56). The day of Christ is in Gen.2:4. The first creation was made in seven days and the second, in one day. The first creation began in heaven, and the second began on the earth (Is.65:17 and Rev.21:1).
Paul calls “fullness of times” the beginning of eternity (Gal.4:4; Eph.1:10). In Eph.1:10, things of heaven are eternal, whereas things of the earth are temporal. In 1 Pet.1:20 we read that the foundation of the world was accomplished after time, as it is registered in Rev.13:8; therefore Christ is the beginning of eternity, for the world was founded in relation to the eternity of Christ, and not in relation to time (Prov.8:22-26; Job 38:4-6; Heb.1:2; John 1:1-3).
The kingdom of the Lord Jesus was prepared since the foundation of the world, as it is registered in Rev.13:8; therefore Jesus is the beginning of eternity (Matt.25:34).
In Phil.2:10 we have the eternity in Christ. The future is in the heavens. The present is on earth. The past is in the ones that died and are under the ground.
Christ is the beginning of eternity because in Him were created all things (Col.1:16). He created all things (John 1:3; Col.1:17). All things were created for him (Heb.1:2-3). The word TODAY designates Christ’s eternity (Heb.3:13; 4:7). Today was at the Exodus. Today was with the robber on the cross.Today is the time of the Church. Today will be until the end of the world (Heb.13:8).
LET US LOOK AT IT IN EXPERIENCE
Eph.1:4 - We enter eternity with Christ, through faith and the baptism.
1 Thess.4:16-17 - Paul states that in the return of Christ, the ones who are alive will precede the ones who are dead, but in Col.3:1-3 and Eph.2:5-6 he states the opposite. The answer is that the resurrection will be between 100 and 1,000 years, but whoever is in Christ has entered eternity before that, by the spiritual resurrection, that is, a future fact is brought to the present, in Christ. Therefore, Christ is the beginning of eternity (John 5:24; 3:36; 1 John 5:9-12).
To have eternal life is to exit time and enter eternity. So, the servants of God enter eternity in order to know and to reveal the things of time, such as in Is.7:14; Dan.9:24; 12:1-4; 2 Cor.12:3,4; Rev.4:1-3; 7:9-17. The believer is lord of time (Josh.10:2-14; 1 Pet.1:10).
The final judgment will happen at the end of times (Rev.20:11-15), when everybody will be judged, and also the redeemed found in the book of life (Rev.20:15). Those that belong to Jesus were already judged in the baptism and were buried with Christ (Rom.8:1). Now, the judgment, which will take place at the end, will be brought to the cross of Christ; therefore, Jesus is the beginning of eternity, for the saved ones are given possession of life, even though their names are mentioned, at the final judgment, in the book of life. Dimas, the good robber, will be judged there at the end, but has entered the glory in the beginning (Rev.1:8; Phil.4:3).
While in time, no Christian will reach the stature of Christ, but only in eternity (Phil.3:20-21; 1 John 3:1). Nevertheless, Paul says that we can come to the full stature of Christ (Eph.4:13). How can this be? Those who exit time and enter eternity with Christ through faith, become like Jesus beforehand (Rom.4:17).
What does time hold? Ambitions, greed, changes, passions, flesh, sins, struggles, wars, sensations, lusts, movement, darkness, etc. Outside time there are none of these things (Eccl.9:5-6). Whatever time may give to us, time will also take it away from us. Where is Babel? Egypt? Pharaoh? Assyria, Greece, Rome, etc? Where is Plato, Aristotle, Herod, Cesar, Napoleon, Hittler, etc? Time has swallowed them up.
Those who have exited time through faith are eternal (Luke 13:28; 9:28-31; Ps.90:1-8).
Unbelievers are tied up in time, and the saved are freed from time. So, Jesus, the Church and the saints determine the times (Gen.1:14-16; 2 Kings 20:9-11). The times can be changed for the saints (Matt.24:12). If the lost men are submitted to time, and those that belong to Jesus have dominium over time, the king mentioned in Dan.7:25 is a religious power (Rev.13:6-8).
Whoever is condemned, is eternally subjected to time (Jude 6), because he is in eternity and suffers the damage that time inflicts. The devil was sent out of heaven and thrown into time with his angels (Rev.12:12; Matt.8:28-29). The demons, subjected to time, fear the future. Those outside time do not fear anything (Matt.6:25; 1 John 4:18).
Salvation is eternity outside the time frame, for all past afflictions were forgotten (Is.65:16-17).
Carnal Christians are between time and eternity. They will suffer the harms inflicted by time (Eccl.3:15; Matt.7:16-20). They are neither in time nor in eternity.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira