Derek Prince - Do You Live In This World Or In The Next?
We have two remaining doctrines, very exciting ones. The resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. But before I do those, I plan to do them in the next two sessions I want to do this one on a theme that I’ve called ‘At The End of Time.’ Because you have to understand that when we come to these final two doctrines, they take us out of time and into eternity. That is one of their important functions, that we should not focus only on this life. I find so many Christians today only think in terms of what God will do for them in this life. That’s just a tiny fraction of all that God has for us.
I want to read a Scripture from Revelation 10. I have to be very careful because with my background in philosophy I can sometimes get taken over by certain thoughts. This speaks in Revelation 10:5-6 of an angel: who lifted up his hand. And swore by Him who lives forever and ever, that’s God, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, the sea and the things that are in it, there should be time no longer. Now, all your versions will say ‘there will be no more delay' which may be the correct meaning but what the Scripture actually says is: ‘there shall be no more time.’ And we are coming to a point, sooner or later in every one of our lives when there will be no more time. Somebody has said the clock behind all clocks is the human heart and, when the human heart ceases to beat all clocks cease to tick. Each of us individually passes out of time into a new realm, an eternal realm.
Remember, eternity is not just a very long period of time. It’s a total different realm of being, one that we can scarcely understand. I really appreciate the statement ‘the mystery that God has created’ because time is a mystery. This is something that I was deeply involved in as a philosopher more than fifty years ago but it appeals to me because the Bible says it so clearly. Time is a mystery. Physicists tell us that if some scientists could get on board a spaceship that travels maybe at half the speed of light and visit a distant planet or star and come back, by their time they would have been two weeks on the journey but by earth’s time it would have been two generations. When they come back they’d meet their great-grandchildren. That boggles our minds, doesn’t it? You see, time is a mystery.
Let me say something else about the measurement of time. As we understand it, it depends on a human observer. For instance, a scientist might say: Because of the accumulation of a certain deposit on a certain stone or valley, whatever it might be or the accumulation of atomic dust, we believe that one million years have passed. I could say I believe that, too, but I believe it happened one million times faster than you say. So, only one year passed. There would be no difference whatever in the evidence. In other words it’s the input of a personal observer that makes time what it is. I’m content to say it’s a mystery. But bear in mind, one day we’re going to pass out of time into eternity.
Second Corinthians 4:17-18 speak about the difference between the eternal and the temporary. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18. Paul says: For our light affliction which is but for a moment. When you think of all that Paul went through. When he speaks about a light affliction, my dear brother and sister, what are you worrying about? What have you got to compare with that? Don’t tell us about your deep afflictions until you’ve measured yourself by Paul. Don’t let me speak about my afflictions. For our light affliction which is but for a moment is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Always bear that in mind when you’re under pressure. It’s doing something for you. It’s working a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. In Hebrew the word for weight and the word for glory are essentially the same.
So Paul is thinking as a Jew in Hebrew he’s speaking about a weight of glory which God is preparing for us. Then he says: While we do not look at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen. Bear that in mind affliction only works good in your life while you keep your eyes on the eternal. If you take your eyes off the eternal and just focus on your problems and start to feel sorry for yourself your affliction is not doing you any good. It only works for you, for us: While we look not at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporary but the things which are not seen are eternal.
So, Paul puts before us two different realms: the realm of what is visible what is physical and material, and what is temporary the realm of what invisible, what is spiritual and what is eternal. And remember everything that we encounter in this life in the stream of time is temporary. We are headed for something that’s eternal. It’s very important to bear that in mind. I read just recently in a little devotional book that Ruth and I share a very simple statement. It says we live in a fallen world. I said to myself that is true. And if we are objectively honest, in the world as we know it today there’s much more misery than there is happiness, there's much more strife than there is peace, there is much more sickness than there is health.
Don’t let’s be painting a pretty picture of the world because it’s not like that. We live in a fallen world, a world that has been marred through and through corrupted, tainted by sin. And that’s where we are. Thank God our final destiny is not in this world. Paul said something which has really impacted me in 1 Corinthians 15:19. I’ve thought about so many of the Christians I meet. If in this life only we have hope in Christ we are of all men the most to be pitied. Ponder that for a moment. If all you’re expecting from Christ is in this life you are of all the most pitiable. And yet, I meet so many Christians who seem to be totally preoccupied with what happens in this life. Their concept of Christianity is getting something from God in this world that is absolutely alien to the picture of the New Testament. It’s very, very healthy for us to be pressured by the Holy Spirit into considering the end of time and the beginning of eternity in the life of each one of us.
In Hebrews 13:14 the writer says: We have no continuing city here but we look for the one which is to come. Now, is that true of you? Where is your permanent life? Is it in this world or do you realize that this is only temporary? We’re just passing through. Our permanent destination is in eternity. If you only can see the things of time and eternity you will be an unhappy person, you'll be a frustrated person. You will always be complaining, It's not going the way I want. God isn’t answering my prayers. The reason is you have the wrong perspective. You have to look at the point of view of eternity. I’ve come to this conclusion that God will not sacrifice the tiniest portion of eternity for the greatest length of time because time is not permanent, eternity is.
I would ask you, how much are you building in your own life for eternity? Scripture says that God has given us, through wisdom in the book of Proverbs, enduring riches. I’ve spent a lot of time saying to myself what are enduring riches? They’re not money in a bank, they’re not stocks and shares, they’re not the fancy car we drive, the home we live in or the swimming pool. None of those are enduring riches. What are enduring riches? Jesus said: Sell what you have and give it to the poor and you’ll have treasure in heaven. That’s enduring riches. Jesus said: whatever you give to the cause of the gospel, God will give it back a hundredfold in eternity. That’s ten thousand percent.
How many businessmen would turn down the opportunity of ten thousand percent? One more thing which to me is very important. Our gifts will cease when life ends. All our spiritual gifts, our prophecy, our miracles, our words of knowledge, they’ll come to an end. We will not take them with us; they’re only for this world, only for time. But one thing we will take with us, do you know what that is? Our character. Character is permanent. What we are in our character will determine what we will be throughout eternity. That’s lasting, enduring riches, the building of a pure, strong, godly, Christian character.