So this week, God gave me a very interesting message. I opened my journal to the front page, where I write down the verses that mean the most to me, for memorization and encouragement every time I sit down to delve into Gods's Word. But on this day, I found the following message, written along the spine: "where is God in time". This was in my handwriting, and yet I do not remember writing it at all, and as such was absolutely clueless as to what it meant. But after I pushed God aside and tried to find out what it meant on my own, I gave up, defeated. And then God opened me mind to understand.
What God was telling me was to think about where He and his Word exist in the fabric of time itself, which corresponded directly to an incredible discussion I had with my Lifegroup last Thursday evening. "Where is God in time"? Unfortunately, I am writing this as God has given me inspiration to right now, and so I have not prepared any verses on the topic, but nevertheless, I know the answer given by the Lord's divine wisdom and from the Lifegroup discussion.
I want to start with how this topic came up in Lifegroup. During a discussion on John chapter 10, a girl asked the off-topic question that I am sure many of you have wondered yourself: What happened to the Jews of the Old Testament, before Jesus Christ? And it is a very prudent question, as we are taught that faith alone in Jesus Christ is the only thing that could save us from eternal damnation, and before Jesus died and rose again, no man could enter Heaven because of the sin that separates us from God. The Jews of the OT were faithful to God and they kept is commands as best they could, but if that wasn't enough, were they all sent to Hell because God did not send Jesus early enough to save them as well?
So a few weeks back I researched this myself, and presented my findings to the Lifegroup. The general consensus is that the Jews believed not that they would go to Heaven immediately, but that if they were faithful to God, then would go to a place they called the Bosom of Abraham, under the earth but above Hell, where they would wait to be rescued by the Messiah. It is believed that when Jesus died and defeated Hell, he took those faithful Jews back to Heaven with him. It is worth noting that the OT is consistent with NT beliefs that it is our faith, not actions or deeds, that is our saving grace. If those Jews truly believed in their heart that a Messiah was coming to defeat sin and death to rescue all men from eternal suffering, then they would be saved. It is no different than us Christians, who know that Jesus did all that the OT prophesied; the only difference is that we know the name of our Savior and the Jews did not yet.
So this brings me back to the message "where is God in time". God created all things, including the very notion of time and he created our place in time, which puts God outside the realm of time. This is going to be a little philosophical, but bear with me. God exists in all times at once, and is able to spend an infinite amount of time anywhere he wishes. To God, everything that has happened on this earth, everything that is happening now, and everything that will happen, all exist simultaneously and no time is before another. This is how God was able to reveal to the Prophets the coming of Jesus hundreds of years before it happened, and how he showed the apostle John the last days of the earth and God's final victory over Satan. In Revelation, we hear the Living Creatures sing:
"Holy, holy holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come."
~ Revelation 4:8
It is simply incredible! He WAS, He IS, and He IS TO COME, there was nothing before God, He is the last thing that will ever be. The Prophets of the OT were gifted with the very knowledge that we now have in the NT; they do not lack anything that we have now, except for the name of the Messiah. This means that the Jews were saved by the very same grace that us Christians now are, and that their faith alone has rescued them as well as us. While they lived under the Old Covenant, God did not treat them any different, and they were taken from the Bosom of Abraham to Heaven under the New Covenant, and they will be judged at the end of days under the New Covenant. This also gives the OT the very same validity that the NT now has, and it is no less correct than the NT is. It is filled with the very same words of God, and since He exists out of time, time is not a factor in the pages of the Bible; all Scripture tells of the sin that separates us from God, the Messiah that would be the final sacrifice for our sins, and that it is by our faith in the Messiah alone that we are saved.
To close, just remember the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: "ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."