Sunday, September 21, 2014

Eternal vs. Everlasting

Acts 13:46
Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

Acts 13:48
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

The terms everlasting and eternal are the same Greek word [aionios, phonetically pronounced: ahee-o’-nee-os].  But, I want you to see God’s wisdom in having one translated one way and the other the next way. 

Both words mean: That which has always been; having no beginning and no end; never to cease.  But, in my study of this, when you look at [read] everlasting life, the context and perspective is from the human side, i.e., the earthly side…particularly Jewish, because Jews are the people of God, on the earth in the bible. Therefore, everlasting is from man’s point of view, from an earthly, Jewish point of view.  On the other hand, the term eternal has a focus from God’s perspective, from the heaven. 

By the way, the bible is full of things like this.  People will say, why does God say the same thing here and there?  Well, in 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings, He gave you the human perspective.  Over in 1 and 2 Chronicles, God will record the same thing (event) in different words, but it is from His view.  One place it will say ‘Satan provoked David’ and in a different place it says ‘God provoked David’ and many will say “How’s that!?”   Well, from God’s view point it’s a matter of David’s own pride.  So, speaking from His perspective, God then says:  ‘Okay, if you want to do something from your own pride then I’ll allow you to do it.’   

1 Chronicles 21:1
And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

2 Samuel 24:1
And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

God uses the viewpoint of eternity because He is the eternal God—granted, he is everlasting—but in the bible everlasting seems to be used when dealing with humans.  And, from this point on, especially the nation of Israel, if they do what God tells them to do, they’ll live forever.  But, with the body of Christ, especially, God uses the term eternal a lot; because, as far as God is concerned, you are in Christ in heaven, already. 

Ephesians 2:6
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Let’s look at John 3:16.  When the Lord is talking to Nicodemus, He says…

John 3:15, 16
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

In verse 15, he uses the term eternal life; but in verse 16, he uses the term everlasting life.  Because the gospel of John portrays the Lord as God, the first time God looks at it, it is eternal life. But, for those Jews and gentiles that will live in the kingdom (that is the focus) He says: ‘I have eternal life which I’m going to give to you.’  …and particularly in prophecy on the earth with humans, it is everlasting life.

Eternal life looks at life from God’s perspective: a quality and value of ‘perpetual and timeless’ as if you have stepped out of time.  Whereas, everlasting life has to do with our human perspective (the Jewish perspective on earth, particularly), where time goes on and on, one day after the other, never to stop.  And, in Israel, as long as they did what God told them, they could live forever…an everlasting life.  Even in the kingdom, God is going to cause them to keep His commands so they can live forever—their life in the kingdom will be everlasting.  But, you and I (believers, in the body of Christ) have eternal life; we did nothing to earn it, as it is based on what the Lord Jesus Christ did.  So, with the body of Christ, Paul uses that issue of eternal. 

Now when Paul uses everlasting, it has to do with our work down here, as in Galatians 6…

Galatians 6:7-8
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

While you are a member of the body of Christ here and now (i.e., justified), you get the benefits of the grace life as you follow the Apostle Paul. And, as you so walk (in your sanctification), you can have that life [of God]—everlasting life—day, by day, by on earth. 

Galatians 2:20 
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.


Transcribed excerpt from a grace message, “51 Eternal-Vs-Everlasting, Part 1” from Bro Ron Knight's studies in “Survey of the book of Acts

Further study on these terms continues in “52 Eternal-Vs-Everlasting, Part 2

Hopefully this helps!

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