Eternal Journey: the Beginning of the Endless

Eternal Journey ani

Life is a journey, not a destination. Ralph Waldo Emerson

A journey is a common metaphor for life as it reminds us that the destination is not our only goal. Like with any form of a journey, there are times when the roads are straight and times when they are winding. There are ups and downs and potholes along the way.

Israel’s history is an example of a very rough journey:

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A seven-year famine was responsible for God’s chosen people ending up in Egypt. Initially, they flourished under the leadership of Joseph, number two in charge of the country after Pharaoh. “Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt” (Exodus 1:8), and soon, “the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites” (Exodus 1:12). For the next several centuries the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians who “worked them ruthlessly” (Exodus 1:13).

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Eventually, God heard their cries (Exodus 2:23-25) and sent Moses and Aaron to rescue them. After enduring the last of the ten plagues—the death of the firstborn males—Pharaoh finally agreed to release the Israelites.

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Wilderness Wandering

The Lord spoke to Moses: “Send men to scout out the land of Canaan I am giving to the Israelites. Send one man who is a leader among them from each of their ancestral tribes.” (Numbers 13:1-2)

“Wilderness wandering” refers to the plight of the Israelites due to their disobedience and unbelief. Nearly 3,500 years ago, the Lord delivered His people from Egyptian bondage as described in Exodus, chapters 1–12. They were to take possession of the land God had promised their forefathers, a land “flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8). Prior to entry, however, they became convinced they could not oust the current inhabitants of the land, even though God told them they could. Their lack of belief in God’s word and promises brought forth the wrath of God. He cursed them with forty years of wilderness wandering until the unbelieving generation died off, never stepping foot in the Promised Land.

twelve spies to survey the land

Upon their arrival at Kadesh Barnea, which bordered the Promised Land of Canaan, they sent out twelve spies to survey the land and its people (Numbers 13:18-25). They returned after forty days of exploration. Ten of the spies had a bad report: “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are…All the people we saw were of great size…We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes” (Numbers 13:31-33). Only Joshua and Caleb dissented (Numbers 14:6-7). Believing the report of the ten doubters, the people lost heart and rebelled. They “raised their voices and wept aloud,” grumbling against Moses and Aaron, saying, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the LORD bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword” (Numbers 14:1-2, emphasis added).

I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them

Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them” (Numbers 14:11). However, Moses once again interceded for his people and turned away the wrath of God (Numbers 14:13-20). Although God did forgive them, He decided that “not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it” (Numbers 14:23). Rather, they would suffer by wandering in the wilderness for forty years, one year for each of the forty days they explored the land (Numbers 14:34).

israel wandering in the desert

Furthermore, God would give them what they asked for: “I will do the very things I heard you say: In this desert your bodies will fall, every one of you twenty years old or more” (Numbers 14:28-29). Additionally, the ten men who had given the bad report were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord (Numbers 14:37). Only Joshua and Caleb survived, the two faithful spies who believed God’s promise to give the land over to them.

Only Joshua and Caleb survived

God had promised them victory. The land He commanded them to go in and take was already theirs; they simply had to trust and obey, but this they did not do. God will never lead us where His grace cannot provide for us or His power cannot protect us. Indeed, the Israelites had seen the powerful hand of God at work during the plagues and miracles of the Exodus. Yet, like many people, they walked by sight and not by faith, and their unbelief displeased God. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Their failure to believe in God’s word kept them from entering the Promised Land. This truth has never changed.

That entire generation died in the desert, but the Nation of Israel was saved:

Israel has been saved by the Lord
With an everlasting salvation;
You will not be put to shame or humiliated
To all eternity. (Isaiah 45:17)

welcome to Israel

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Eternal Journey

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24)

hand of Jesus

Although few of us are in the nation of Israel’s position today, the stories in Numbers still serve as good examples to us. Paul teaches that the events in Numbers are recorded for our instruction, that we may endure and escape temptation (1 Co 10:11–13).

When the Bible speaks of eternal life, it refers to a gift of God that comes only “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). This gift is in contrast to the death that is the natural result of sin.

Jesus calls

The gift of eternal life comes to those who believe in Jesus Christ, who is Himself “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). The fact that this life is eternal indicates that it is perpetual life—it goes on and on and on, with no end.

eternal life

It is a mistake, however, to view eternal life as simply an unending progression of years. A common New Testament word for “eternal” is aiónios, which carries the idea of quality as well as quantity. In fact, eternal life is not really associated with years at all, as it is independent of time. Eternal life can function outside of and beyond time, as well as within time.

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For this reason, eternal life can be thought of as something that Christians experience now. Believers don’t have to wait for eternal life, because it’s not something that starts when they die. Rather, eternal life begins the moment a person exercises faith in Christ. It is our current possession. John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.” Note that the believer has (present tense) this life (the verb is present tense in the Greek, too). We find similar present-tense constructions in John 5:24 and John 6:47. The focus of eternal life is not on our future, but on our current standing in Christ.

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The Bible inextricably links eternal life with the Person of Jesus Christ. John 17:3 is an important passage in this regard, as Jesus prays, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Here, Jesus equates eternal life with a knowledge of God and of the Son. There is no knowledge of God without the Son, for it is through the Son that the Father reveals Himself to the elect (John 17:6; 14:9).

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This life-giving knowledge of the Father and the Son is a true, personal knowledge, not just an academic awareness. There will be some on Judgment Day who had claimed to be followers of Christ but never really had a relationship with Him. To those false professors, Jesus will say, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:23). The apostle Paul made it his goal to know the Lord, and he linked that knowledge to resurrection from the dead: “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10–11).

tree of life ani

In the New Jerusalem, the apostle John sees a river flowing from “the throne of God and of the Lamb,” and “on each side of the river stood the tree of life. . . . And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:1–2). In Eden, we rebelled against God and were banished from the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). In the end, God graciously restores our access to the tree of life. This access is provided through Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

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The Beginning of the Endless

Right now, every sinner is invited to know Christ and to receive eternal life: “Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).

This awareness of the eternal motivates us to look beyond ourselves (and beyond this time-bound earth) to discover true meaning. We find it only in the eternal One. We can journey joyfully in the acknowledgment of this great eternal God, who gives us genuine meaning in this life and a forever future in the next.

Fight the good fight for the faith;
take hold of eternal life
that you were called to
and have made a good confession about
in the presence of many witnesses.

In the presence of God, who gives life to all, and of Christ Jesus, who gave a good confession before Pontius Pilate, I charge you to keep the command without fault or failure until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. God will bring this about in His own time. 

the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ 2

He is

the blessed and only Sovereign,
the King of kings,
and the Lord of lords,
the only One who has immortality,
dwelling in unapproachable light;
no one has seen or can see Him,
to Him be honor and eternal might.
Amen. (1 Timothy 6:12-16)

Eternal Journey ani 1

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If you are not sure that you are saved, you can accept Christ into your life right now, by praying:

“Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins.  Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life.  I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior.”

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Your contributions will directly help this web-based ministry to reach thousands of individuals around the world – literally the “ends of the earth” – for Jesus Christ.

For this is what the Lord has commanded us:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

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Eagles Arise International Ministries is a Christian, mission-centered enterprise. Through the Rapture and End Times website, we provide eschatology-related information to a global community.

Each day, millions around the world turn to the internet for answers to their spiritual questions. They’re looking for truth, for something to fill the emptiness within. They ask questions like: ‘Am I loved?’ ‘Is there a God?’ ‘What’s my purpose in life?’

is there a god ani

Think about all the money it costs to put on a mass evangelism event like a Billy Graham crusade. You have to rent a stadium, advertise your event, and hire people to help you setup and tear down. Plus, you’ll need to coordinate hundreds of volunteers to help.

But, even people in poverty-stricken countries can now afford a relatively cheap phone or tablet. The thing is that whether they buy an expensive product or a cheap one, all these devices are capable of giving a digital presentation of the gospel.

When Jesus gave the commandment, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation,’ the disciples were on foot. There was no television, no radio, no airplanes, and certainly no internet. What a difference 2,000 years can make! Or for that matter, 10 years. Today, more and more people are coming to faith in Christ by logging onto the World Wide Web.

The internet may be the greatest tool that God has ever given the church to help take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Internet evangelism is strategically using internet, mobile, and social media platforms to meet the needs of others and share the Gospel with the online world. 

With internet evangelism, we share the Good News 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We meet people in their moment of need with the hope of Jesus Christ.

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Through online ministry, our mission field is expanding to reach people we might never reach in person. They need to know that Jesus Christ is the only One who gives us true purpose and fulfills our greatest need.

We are independent and can’t be cancelled. The need for fact-based Biblical analysis with an international perspective on critical events has never been greater. When you support Rapture and End Times, you support Christian freedom of expression at a time when it’s under direct attack.

As you know, time is running out. We have a unique opportunity to preach online now. No one knows how long that access will last. 44,000 people perish each day without hearing the Good News. Help us to reach them now, before it is eternally too late!

Your support will mean so much to us. Every day, we struggle to keep this ministry going. We will be so grateful for your contribution!

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