Picture it: Heaven! There you are, sitting on the banks of the River of Life. Jesus has already returned in true warrior fashion as described in Revelation 19, and it appears He has hit the reset button. The world has gone back to Eden-like settings. Pure perfection is before you.
As you sit by the River of Life, you see an old friend. You begin to talk about just how wonderful everything is. Joy bubbles up in you both as you rejoice over the fact that you’ve already been there, in Heaven, for 1,000 years. Suddenly, the realization hits — you are 1,000 years into eternity, yet eternity has only just begun.
If we are honest, scenarios like the one above do not carry as pleasant a connotation as we might assume they would. Giving real attention to eternity is absolutely overwhelming. Personally, I can only imagine being blissfully happy for maybe a day at a time. In my world, no matter how good a week is, at some point, someone or something will steal my joy. Existing in an eternal state of satisfaction just does not compute in my finite brain.
Is eternal bliss really the inheritance for the believer in Jesus? Before we dive into that topic, let’s lay some groundwork by defining eternity. Most of us think eternity means an unending stretch of time. And it does, but there’s more. So much more.
A quick study of the original Greek shows us the word used in the New Testament for eternity is “aeon.” It literally means “the fullness of time.”
We humans live our lives based on the 12 numbers on the face of the clock. However, this isn’t so with God. He exists in eternity, in the fullness of time. Maybe that’s why Peter wrote in his second letter that 1,000 years is like a day with God. We simply do not comprehend time as He does; eternity is anything but overwhelming to Him.
In Heaven, once our physical bodies are fit for the transition, God will move us into the fullness of time. In that moment, the past and the future will no longer be relevant to us. There will only be present — where our good Father dwells and where our minds can finally cease regretting what is behind us, no longer worrying over what is before us.
For this fallen human who is a bit prone to worry, eternity is sounding better and better.
Let’s next tackle the topic of eternal bliss and our inheritance. Because Heaven is about more than living forever.