In his book Desire, John Eldredge quoted Pascal as saying, “Our imagination so powerfully magnifies time, by continual reflections upon it, and so diminishes eternity . . . for want of reflection . . . we make a nothing of eternity and an eternity of nothing.” Eldredge then expanded on that sentiment, “We make a nothing of eternity by enlarging the significance of this life and by diminishing the reality of what the next life is all about.”[i] We all fight this tendency. It’s all too easy to think this moment as all we have and ignore eternity or "make a nothing" of our glorious hope.
Scripture, however, continually points the eyes of our hearts to the joy that awaits us in eternity.
Let’s look at some verses from Isaiah 25:
6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
7 And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
9 It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
Does feasting with the best wine and food imaginable match your picture of eternity? Do you envision a time with no more death, sorrow, suffering, pain, or tears? Someday we will be the ones uttering the words of verse 9 above rejoicing because being with the Lord will so far exceed our wildest expectations. With sheer delight in our voices we will cry out, “This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” I see much emotion and excitement here; we will someday express our gladness and celebrate forever with the One who saved us and gave us eternal life.
Our lives in eternity will not disappoint even our most imaginative or fanciful pictures of what it will be like. Jesus has great plans in eternity for me and for everyone who believes and thus hopes in Jesus, our wonderful Savior.
The Isaiah passage dispels our inclinations to dismiss eternity as nothing and solely focus on the joys of this life. We have so much to look forward to in eternity. Our future life will be marked with ever increasing joy and unimaginable blessings. We will rejoice in our great salvation as we realize its full extent. Our waiting will not be in vain.
We will never experience sadness over anything lost from this life. Jesus’ promise to “make all things new” in Revelation 21:5 brings wonderful assurance of the joy ahead for us. We will never mourn the loss of our current life. The newness of eternity will never fade; we will always bask in it joy.
Revelation 21:9-26 describes the new Jerusalem where we will dwell for all eternity. This immense and beautiful city will be our home forevermore. Scripture also speaks of a new earth, one where creation will restored to its intended glory before sin entered into the world. It will be spectacular beyond what we cam imagine!
My eternal focus did not include a restored earth until I read John Eldredge’s book Desire several years ago and began to think about the new earth mentioned in Revelation 21. Eldredge said this about it, “How wondrous this will be! Creation can be so breathtaking now. What shall it be like when it is released to it full glory?”[ii] I love to explore nature and enjoy all the wonderful views of the mountains, lakes, and oceans. I recently drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway enjoying the vast beauty of God’s creation. If this earth now can show forth God's glory with such majesty, what will it be like in eternity? I can only imagine.
Our view of eternity can be so terribly dismal compared to what God has revealed about it in Scripture. The new earth will be amazing beyond anything we can comprehend. Although we do not know everything of what our eternal existence will be like, what we know it is far more than enough for us to cease making “a nothing of eternity and an eternity of nothing.”
The grandeur of what lies ahead will be so much greater than anything we could ever conceive. We will reign with Christ during the millennium and then throughout eternity. We will forever have kingdom responsibilities perfectly tailored for us. We will not feel one second of boredom or frustration in eternity. The newness of eternity will never cease. Its joys and pleasures never end.
[i] Eldredge, John, Desire, p.110-111
[ii] Ibid. p 119