Prehistoric Creatures on Display
By Richard Jordan, President,
of the Bible (Reprinted By Permission) Grace School
Because we are creatures of time it is very difficult for us to grasp the "timeless" concept of eternity. This is, no doubt, at least part of the reason that we find it much easier to envision things always going on and on into the future, than to look back into the past and imagine when there was nothing!
As truly impressive and intricate as our minds are, as vast a range of capabilities as they demonstrate, we are still finite creatures and soon come to our limits, thus it is good that we have "the Word of God" to give us some insight into eternity–past and future. In this connection the epistles of Paul prove especially helpful.
Part 1 of 3 - A PREHISTORIC PLAN
"In HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE (for believers), which God, that cannot lie, PROMISED BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN" (Titus 1:2).
Here we learn that far back in eternity past the triune God held, as it were, an "Eternal Life Conference." There, in the absence of any creature, He made a promise to Himself - a promise of eternal life for poor sinners!
In a similar line of thought Paul reminds Timothy that,
"God hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to HIS OWN PURPOSE AND GRACE WHICH WAS GIVEN US IN CHRIST JESUS BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN" (2 Tim. 1:9).
It is clearly "in Christ Jesus" that this promise of life finds its reality, as Paul repeatedly emphasizes. For example:
"That the Gentles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of HIS PROMISE IN CHRIST by the gospel. 11ACCORDING TO THE ETERNAL PURPOSE WHICH HE PURPOSED IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD" (Eph. 3:6, 11).
Thus Paul declares:
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that CHRIST JESUS CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS; of whom I am chief" (1Tim. 1:15).
And Paul leaves no doubt as to when this "eternal purpose" was manifested in "due times." Each of the above passages, when quoted in their entirety, forcefully bear out this point:
"…God, that cannot lie, PROMISED BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN,
"But hath IN DUE TIMES MANIFESTED His WORD THROUGH PREACHING WHICH IS COMMITTED UNTO ME (Paul) ACCORDING TO THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD OUR SAVIOR" (Tit. 1:2-3).
"... which WAS GIVEN US IN CHRIST JESUS BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN, 10But is NOW MADE MANIFEST by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ….11 WHERE UNTO I AM APPOINTED A PREACHER, AND AN APOSTLE, AND A TEACHER OF THE GENTILES" (2 Tim. 1:9-11).
"That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs . . . of His promise in Christ by the gospel: "WHEREOF I (Paul) WAS MADE A MINISTER, ACCORDING TO THE GIFT OF THE GRACE OF GOD…UNTO ME, WHO AM LESS THAN THE LEAST OF ALL SAINTS, IS THIS GRACE GIVEN, THAT I (Paul) SHOULD PREACH AMONG THE GENTILES THE UNSEARCHABLE RICHES OF CHRIST" (Eph.3:6-8).
"Howbeit, FOR THIS CAUSE I (Paul) OBTAINED MERCY, THAT IN ME FIRST JESUS CHRIST MIGHT SHOW FORTH ALL LONGSUFFERING, FOR A PATTERN TO THEM WHICH SHOULD HEREAFTER BELIEVE ON HIM TO LIFE EVERLASTING" (1 Tim.1:15, 16).
All this emphasizes the fact that the "promise" and "purpose," which God established "before the world began," is indeed the great subject of Paul's epistles. In fact he calls this message:
"…THE PREACHING OF JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO THE REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest. . ." (Rom. 16:25).