You and I live in a variety of houses – some are old, some are newer; some have basements & some don’t. Some are two storey, some are bungalows, some are modular – the varieties go on an on. But for most of our houses, at the foundation lays a substance called “concrete.” Concrete may make up the slab upon which the rest of the house was erected. There may be a crawl space, but again, it is usually made of concrete. And if there is a basement to your house, it is almost assuredly made of the same material. Concrete is amazing material – some of the concrete buildings of ancient Rome are still standing. As are thousands of skyscrapers, parking lots and dams like the Hoover and Grand Coulee. 60% of American Interstate Highways are made of concrete, as are most home driveways. Concrete is just about everywhere that man wants to build something.
And what is concrete? Basically, it is made up of cement, sand, gravel and water, mixed differently for different purposes. We understand sand and water, but then we have to ask about the composition of cement. There are several varieties, but they are basically made from calcium, silicon and a few other things. My point is this – when we look at a slab of concrete we may see only one thing – a slab of concrete. But actually we are looking at the sum of all its parts. And if that concrete was not correctly blended –if there is too little calcium or too much sand – it will not endure. Bridges, buildings and dams might collapse, risking the lives of thousands of people.
But we aren’t here to consider the Grand Coulee Dam or the Empire State Building. Our subject is Jehovah God – also known as Elohim. And when we consider the Lord, it is important to realize that similar to concrete – Which is the foundation of the construction industry, God has a variety of parts – “attributes” if you like – which together make Him who He is. If one of the divine attributes was somehow removed then God would not be God. If the attribute of holiness was removed from our understanding of God, we would be idolaters. If the Lord was not omnipotent, or omniscient, or sovereign, He would not be Almighty. God cannot sacrifice one attribute – including the seemingly insignificant attribute of ETERNALITY.
Our God – Elohim, Jerhovah – is everlasting in duration – He is eternal by nature.
At first glance someone might not think this important. But again like concrete, if one ingredient is missing or out of proper proportion with the rest, it is not concrete. And in this regard, Moses, in Psalm 90, proved himself to be an elite theologian. His general theme is the relationship between God and man. Every generation of man has dwelt in the Lord – not the other way around as sociologists try to say. And man’s millennia are as yesterday in God’s memory. The Lord turns and returns man, carries them away and brings them back. Man is like grass, compared to Jehovah – and can be burnt by the sun. Sure we may live our threescore and ten, but what is that before the eternal God? “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” “O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” because without your blessing we are nothing.” We are absolutely dependent upon the Almighty God – Elohim. “Let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.”
Verse 2 is particularly significant and important in the light of this morning’s theme. “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” This declares that the world had a beginning, but God did NOT – He existed before any physical matter. “From everlasting to everlasting” suggests that on either side of creation are eternity past and eternity future. But the statement “thou ART God,” tells us that God exists, present tense before & above anything else.
The whole concept of eternality is difficult for humans to grasp, because we are submerged in time. But time had a beginning. There was a time, when there was no time, and there may be a time when time will no longer have any relevance. We understand time, but to understand eternity is difficult because it is contrary to anything we know. Eternity is an infinite, immutable duration – without any bounds.
But sometimes, even in the Bible, the words “eternal” and “everlasting” are used in reference to things other than God, and in doing so their definitions change. For example, we are told that the Jewish servant with his ear pierced was to be a servant “forever” – but obviously his master could not expect his service after either of their deaths. And sometimes, those words are applied to things which had beginnings, but which will have no end. The eternal life which the saint has been given, had a beginning but it will have no end. It’s not my intention to consider these things this morning. God’s eternality is unique to Him – and the ultimate definition applies only to Him.
And how is God eternal?
By definition the answer is simple. God has always been, and He will always be. He is independent of everything. He depends on nothing for His beginning or His ongoing being. In fact, God never had a beginning – rather beginning began with Him. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” Early in creation – perhaps on the first day when God said, “Let there be light” – time was created. And just as God created all things, all things are dependent on Him – including time. But in the midst of all which He began, He didn’t begin Himself – Jehovah has always been.
Elohim, Jehovah God had no beginning and He shall never have an ending. The Psalmist said in his 102nd – “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, & they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.” If there was some sort of weakness in the Lord, then we might not be surprised to learn that He is mortal. But as Paul said, God “who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” Those of God’s creatures who shall exist for ever into the future, will do so only as dependent upon God for their immortality. He could as easily annihilate us as He could create us, but none of us can do God any harm at all. And He would not have to annihilate us to be rid of us; He could simply withdraw life.
How is God eternal? He doesn’t pass through any kind of succession. That verse from Psalm 102 says, “But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.” God not only exists and remains in His being, but He remains the SAME in His being. How entirely different that is from us, who change with every passing day – every minute. When you leave this service you will be older than you were when you came in, but God will not. God is above time, and time has no effect on Him. There is no succession in His being, nor even in His thoughts; He sees everything at once. Jehovah may decree a series of events, & they may take place in time, but He witnesses them all at once.
God is in His own eternity. There is no concept of eternity apart from the Lord. If there was no God, there would be no eternity.
God MUST be eternal – if He wasn’t eternal He wouldn’t be God.
I Timothy 6:15-16 tells us that the attribute of immortality is unique to the Lord. He is “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords (is the only one) Who (only) hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” Your life and mine are precarious, completely dependent upon the Giver of life – both now and for ever. There was a time when we were not, but then by God’s grace, through out parents we came to be. And now we are in a constant state of change, and sadly for most the change is decay not growth. But Elohim is both eternal and immutable – He does not change. If at some point there was no God and then there was God – that would be a huge change. And if he moved from the past into the present or into the future – that too would mean change. But His eternity shields Him from change – growth or decline.
Life is a part of His eternality – it is essential to His being – His essence. He gives life, but He doesn’t receive it and never has. It is just as impossible for Him never to have been as it is for Him to die. His being is distinct from ours – “in him WE live & move & have our being” – but no one gives HIM life. He alone necessarily exists; and what necessarily exists, has existed from eternity.
God’s infinite perfection requires His eternality. How could He be infinitely perfect and yet be of finite duration? To be finite is the greatest imperfection – all we need to do is look at ourselves for proof. But nothing can be added or subtracted from Him who is eternal.
God’s almighty power requires His eternal being. Think about Revelation 1:8 – “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” If God came into existence at some point, then His power was also activated then. If that was true, then there would have been a point at which there was no power in Him. Where there is no being, there is no power. Where there is no power, there is no omnipotence – no God.
Also logic suggests that if God is not eternal, then He couldn’t be the first cause of all things – the Creator. Only that which exists first can have no beginning – it exists of itself. The founder must exist before the foundation. If God is not the eternal Being, there could be no being now in time.
Even the name by which God is known requires His eternity. In Exodus 3:14 in our English Bible the Lord told Moses that His name is “I am that I am.” But Moses heard God say in his language, “My name is Yahweh, Yahweh.” “Yahweh” means “I am.” And “Yahweh” is usually pronounced “Jehovah.” “Jehovah” means “I am.” Almost every name in the Bible (every name?) has meaning of some sort. “Adam” has meaning as does “Eve;” “Jesus” means more than “hey you,” and so does “David.” And “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” indicate that there is neither past or future with that Person. Now, if I named my dog, “Yahweh,” it would only prove that I am an idiot. If I named him “Dog” that would make some sense, because that is what he is. God is Yahweh” – and Who gave Him this name? I didn’t name God, nor did anyone else. It is the name which He took upon himself, because it accurately reflects who He is. And just as He did in Revelation 1 – He reiterated His name and His nature throughout the Bible. “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” The Lord is an unbounded sea of being and infinite life, He is in an eternal present. There was never a point at which He was not what He is right now. And what He is He will always be. His name will never be changed to “I am not” or “I once was.”
With these things as the foundation, we come to the beautiful edifice which is built upon it.
This is where the rubber meets the road and where the eternality of God touches us. Because God is eternal, His covenant and promises are eternal. Paul saw something in Genesis which he shared with us in Hebrews 6. “When God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after (Abraham) had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.”
Before the foundation of the world, God promised eternal life to His elect people. This promise is good because He Himself is eternal in Himself. He holds eternity in His hand, and thus His covenant promises are steadfast and sure. Paul told Titus that he was “in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” The eternality and immutability of God mean that those whom Christ has redeemed cannot be lost. God spoke through two of His prophets blending a single message. “I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” – Malachi 3:6. And “it is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” – Lamentations 3:22.
The plans and pleasures of God for His elect are as durable as God Himself. They will never grow old and feeble because they are not subject to the passing of time. The Lord by His grace and power may increase our delights throughout eternity, but He cannot take them away, because the promises of God are sure. And while we remain on earth, we need to remember that our God is the great “I Am that I Am” to all his people. Isaiah tells us to “trust in the Lord forever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength” – Isaiah 26:4. And the Word of our God shall stand forever, because the God of that word is eternal.
And while we are at it, must not forget that Jesus Christ is God. Don’t separate the Father from the Son, for any reason. Eternity is applied to the Son of God just as it is of the Father. Colossians, 1:17 – “He is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Since eternity belongs only to God, and Christ is said to be intrinsically eternal, then Christ is most certainly God. Christ Himself speaks of the glory He had with the Father before the world was. And in Micah’s prophecy of the coming Christ he said, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
When the Son of God passed through Bethlehem as a child, He was made in the likeness of man. He became the God-man; God in the flesh – the theanthropic person. When He gave His life on the cross, He died in the flesh, but the eternal God did not and could not die. Although Christ is God, when Jesus Christ died, God did not. Then the eternal Son of God took the sacrifice which He made according to the eternal covenant within the God-head, and over time applied it to a few million worthless souls, saving them from their sin. The eternality of God is a part of the foundation of eternal salvation. Deliverance from sin and its penalty are possible only through the eternal promise of the eternal God.
Are you wrapped in the eternal righteousness of the eternal Son of God? Are you trusting the sacrifice which Christ Jesus made on the cross to deliver you eternally from your sin? Or are you facing an eternity in the Lake of Fire, stoked by the eternal wrath of the Almighty God? Listen to the eternal Word of God and the Gospel of Christ – put your faith in the Redeemer, repenting before God.