An eternal perspective

Joel 2:26 “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you.  And my people shall never again be put to shame.”

One of the truly unique things about the Bible is that it is written from an eternal perspective. Its words were breathed out by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who have existed from all eternity.  No one else can claim this.  God alone is before all things, and in him alone all things hold together (Colossians 1:17).  Jesus told us that “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man” (John 3:13).  No one else truly knows how things have been from all eternity past and how things will be into all eternity future.  And this is the perspective that is necessary for all those who would read and truly understand the Scriptures.

While the promises of the Bible sometimes find their fulfillment in this life, ultimately, they will be fulfilled perfectly in the life to come.  Thus, the words of Joel above are to be understood.  It is in eternity that those who know and love God will eat in plenty and be satisfied. Sure, some Christians have plenty to eat now – especially in America and the western world in general.  But many of the most faithful believers are languishing in hunger and deprivation in the prisons of China, Eritrea, North Korea and other nations that are officially antagonistic to Christianity.  Likewise, there will be a time when believers will freely praise God with all their hearts and souls, although they must secretly do this or face death in many of the Islamic countries of the world today.  And there will be a time when believers will never again be put to shame, although now, for a time, we are told to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

This is the way it has always been for the Christian.  Hebrews 11 summarizes this perhaps better than any other place in the Bible. Here we are told that the Old Testament believers “all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. . . And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” 

Thus, we are encouraged as believers to know that “all the promises of God find their Yes in him (i.e., in Christ)” (2 Corinthians 1:20). But we must have the faith to wait on Him for the sure fulfilment of all the wonderful things he has promised. We must have an eternal perspective of the Word of God, for that is the perspective from which it was given to us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: