Monday, March 14, 2011 9:09 AM

Eternal Life

Monday, March 14, 2011 9:09 AM
Monday, March 14, 2011 9:09 AM

While much of God’s plan is in the Old Testament as recorded history and prophecy, there is further revelation in the New Testament. One of the things revealed is the information on eternity. In the Old Testament the word for eternity was “for an age”, the Jewish people did not believe in forever and did not refer to forever.

The phrase eternal life comes from a Hebrew phrase, literally “life in the (coming) age.” For the Hebrews “the coming age” was the age in which God would destroy the power of sin and evil in the world and set up his own rule of love and peace. In the earliest notions of this coming age, it was probably not looked upon as something that would never end; it was not “eternal” in our sense of the word. However, there is no doubt that by New Testament times “life in the age” was looked upon by many Jews as an everlasting experience. In the New Testament it definitely has this meaning, even though the main emphasis is always on the quality of life one experiences when God rules his life. That is, in the Gospel of John eternal life is basically qualitative, but it is also conceived of as life that never ends, because it comes from God.[1]

While the Messianic Kingdom is the high point of Old Testament prophecy, the Eternal Order is the high point of New Testament prophecy. Whereas much of the information in the first twenty chapters of the Book of Revelation can also be found in the Old Testament, the last two chapters of Revelation contain brand-new material not revealed to the prophets of the Old Testament.

The Millennium itself is only one thousand years long. However, according to the promises of the Davidic Covenant, there was to be an eternal Dynasty, an eternal Kingdom, and an eternal Throne. The eternal existence of the Dynasty is assured because it culminates in an eternal Person: Jesus the Messiah. But the eternal existence of the Throne and Kingdom must also be assured. The millennial form of the Kingdom of God will end after one thousand years. But the Kingdom of God in the sense of God’s rule will continue into the Eternal Order. Jesus will continue His position of authority on the Davidic Throne into the Eternal Order.

All that is known about the Eternal Order is to be found in Revelation 21:1–22:5, and that entire passage of Scripture is the concern of this chapter.[2]

[1] Newman, B. M., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on the Gospel of John. Helps for translators; UBS handbook series (88). New York: United Bible Societies.

[2] Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (2003). The footsteps of the Messiah : A study of the sequence of prophetic events (Rev. ed.) (522–523). Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries.

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