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Time and Eternity: Chapter 3 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joseph R. Holder   

Chapter 3

                                                     God: Eternity's Inhabitant

 

                For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.  Isaiah 57:15.

 

A person's home, where he dwells, tells you much about that person.  Often a home emits the feel, the personality of its owner.  Dominant colors, style of furniture, the content of pictures and wall decorations, all send a message about the owner of the house.  In this verse Isaiah quoted God and described his dwelling place.  A New Testament lesson builds around a question posed to Christ by two disciples, John 1:38, "Master, where dwellest thou?"  One could think of few questions as profound as this.

 

In I Kings 8:27 Solomon reasoned as he prepared to dedicate the temple to God, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth?  Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?"  Although God told Israel that he would dwell between the cherubims of the mercy seat, he certainly could not limit himself to that one location.  Upon Solomon's completion of the temple, God promised to dwell with his people there, too, in a special manner.  Yet Solomon had no false impressions that this temple could literally contain God.

 

In the New Testament the Holy Spirit further revealed this same truth.  "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"  I Corinthians 3:17.  This verse simply describes one of the foundation truths of the New Testament, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  God dwells within us in some mysterious sense.  Does that mean that he does not exist or cannot function outside of us?  Such a thought borders on blasphemy!  Whether we compare the eternity of God with the mortality of the child of God in his earthly state, or whether we compare the nature of God with the nature of the person who experiences this Divine indwelling, this thought soars beyond our grasp.  How can the God who inhabits eternity dwell within the finite being of one of his creatures?  We might answer the question with another question, "How can mortal man, one of God's creatures, though corrupted by sin, dwell with God in eternity?"  Perhaps both questions may claim the same answer.  Neither situation may exist without the miraculous intervention of God.  Such an accomplishment cannot be achieved through any power within man.  Herein lies the utter folly of man thinking that he can do something to gain or earn his eternal relationship with God. 

 

Can we imagine what it means, this Bible truth that God inhabits eternity?  He has never discovered anything, for he has always known all.  Nothing which occurs in time can surprise him.  He knows no yesterdays or tomorrows.  In the beginning of all things he was the Ancient of Days, and in the end of time he will yet be as powerful and in control as when he created the universe.  Man may displease God, but he will never reduce his essential Godhood.  A God who inhabits eternity cannot permit himself to be dependent upon the finite response of a mere mortal.  God formed this truth into his formal name when he revealed himself to Moses.

 

                And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?  And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.  Exodus 3:13, 14.

 

What does this strange name mean?  I AM THAT I AM, or simply stated, I AM.  Such a profound name can only apply to the God who inhabits eternity.  A lesser god must evolve in the imagination of his worshippers.  Today, he is not the same as he was a century ago.  Even the worshippers of false gods defend their god's ability and need to change.  Our God knows no such need.  This attribute raises him above these fickle notions.  He does not wish himself to be anything different than he is.  He does not yearn to do what he cannot do.  He need not say, "I would like to be _______," or "Would you let me be _______?"  Whatever God wants to be or to do, he does!  I AM THAT I AM!  Wherever the name of God appears in the Old Testament in all capital letters, the King James translators told us by this unique printing that the Hebrew word for God which Moses learned in Exodus 3 appeared in the Hebrew manuscript.  This word carries the notion of all-sufficiency, all power, sovereignty, of the eternal God.  These words are fitting of a God who inhabits eternity.

 

As you study the dwelling place of God throughout scripture, you will find many references to God's dwelling with his people in several particular forms and manners.  Most often, he appears as a helper and sustainer in their times of special need.  What a supreme comfort this truth is.  When we find ourselves in trouble with no earthly helper, God steps in to deliver us.  In times of difficulty do you pray and wonder if God will help?  Do doubts creep into your mind as to his willingness or his ability to assist in your hour of need?  Do not forget the cry of the Hebrew captives in Babylon, "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."  Daniel 3:17, 18.  So often we want to negotiate with God.  These men had no interest in negotiating.  They stood before the pagan king under threat of imminent death.  Without doubt of God's ability, they told the king that their God was able to deliver them from the furnace and from his hand.  Rather than make God their personal slave, they boldly told the king that even if God chose not to deliver them, serving false Babylonian gods was wrong, and he could not force them to bow down.  We can no more predict God's absolute response in providence than we can pretend to be God, but we can face the greatest threat of life with the sweet conviction these old servants exemplified.  Whether our God delivers us from this danger of the moment or not, he is able to do so.  Whether he intervenes in this situation or not, he has revealed what is right and wrong.  Regardless of his wise action, we will not bow to error.  We will stand by our God who inhabits eternity, and our God who inhabits eternity will stand by us!

Last Updated ( Monday, 09 April 2007 )
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