Author: A. Marie Miles
Often we hear the remark made to men who have lived to be 90, 95, or 98 years old that “you have lived a long time.” Those who are not Bible scholars are often amazed and find it almost unbelievable that Adam lived to be 930 years old and Methuselah, who was the oldest man to ever live, was 969 years old when he died. People today do not often live to be 90 years old or even 85. The Bible tells us that “the days of our years are threescore years and ten: [70 years] and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years [80 years] yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” Psa. 90:10.
If it were possible today for you to live to be 969 years old and then die, just how would that many years compare with eternity? Or can we even use the word “compare”? What is eternity ? It is where we will live after death. It is where the soul of man goes after death. The Webster’s dictionary says that eternity means “an infinite time; continuance without end; endless time after death; time without beginning or ending.” Our finite minds are too small to be able to comprehend just what eternity is. It is not counted by months, years, or even centuries. Eternity is just not counted. There is no time in eternity. It cannot be spent or lived up. Eternity is that vast, limitless, infinite place that is without ending.
May the Lord help us to realize the greatness of eternity and then realize how small, little, and short our life here is. The Apostle James asked the question, “What is your life?” When we think of eternity we too wonder, just what is our life? What does it amount to? What is time here? The Apostle answers his question and says, “It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14. We notice the vapor that appears above the kettle on the stove and how it is there and then gone. The Bible says, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” Job 7:6. How fast the shuttle moves back and forth. Our life is swifter than that. We are here a little while and then we are gone.
“Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away.” I have wanted to give the postman a letter. I would go out and look down the street. I would see the postman coming. I would think that I could go back in the house and do a few things and come out and he would be there at my house. In just a little while I would come back but he had passed my house and was on up the street. Oh, how fast our life flees away!
The Bible says our life passes away “as the swift ships” Job 9:26. You stand on the pier near the ocean and watch the ships sail out to sea. In just a little while they drop below the horizon and are out of sight. All around us we see those who are dropping away from the scene of action in death and they are seen no more here. Sometimes the infant is taken out of the arms of its grieving mother and her arms are empty. Sometimes the child that is active and playing about its mother’s knees is taken. Sometimes the teenager who has had big plans for his future is taken. They were here today and active but now they are gone. Those who are in their twenties leave us and also the middle-aged person. “They flee away.” The Bible compares this life with “the eagle that hasteth to the prey.” Job 9:26. The eagle has a good eyesight. It is a hundred times greater than man’s. It is also the swiftest bird that flies in the air. Oh, dear ones, we are here today and then we are gone! Our life swiftly passes away.
“Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.” Psa. 39:4-5. “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is that I may know how frail I am.”
“There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.” Eccl 8:8. God is the One who holds our spirit in His hand and is the One who calls for it to separate from the body. “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow and continueth not. Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass” Job 14:1-2, 5. God appoints our bounds and when that time comes we cannot pass over it. We read of a time when God added 15 years to the life of Hezekiah. (II Kings 20:6.) God is the one to whom we have to give account.
Looking at our life and eternity, just what kind of thoughts do we have? What should be our thoughts? Should we not realize that it is the wisest thing to make sure we live in eternity with God? The Bible says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” Heb. 9:27. We know that we will keep the first appointment. There isn’t one doubt about that. Just as sure as we keep the first one, we will keep the second. As death finds us, just so will the judgment find us. There is no time to get right after we close our eyes in death. The prayers of those here on this earth will not do us any good then. This is a personal salvation and we must prepare here to live with God in eternity. In Rev. 20:11-15 we read where God let John have a vision of what will take place at the judgment. He saw the dead, small and great stand before God. The New Testament and the Old Testament were opened and everyone was judged out of the things that were written in those books, according to their works. “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” We want to be one of those who had their souls cleansed by the blood of Jesus; one of those who were ready to meet God in peace when they closed their eyes in death. In that great Judgment Day they will hear those words, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matt. 25:34. I want to live with God in eternity, don’t you? You can if you will.