To start off, yes, eternality is an actual word. Now to address the idea. I read something recently in a book by Dennis Peacocke about how God has a future plan for nations. This got me thinking, so I will share where my thinking led me. There is a pattern in scripture of unity in diversity. That was the original point of universities, a mini ‘universe.’ Here people from different backgrounds came to learn a core diverse curriculum so they ended up with a shared body of knowledge, a unity in diversity. The early European universities focused on the liberal arts and theology.
Now before I go further with this idea of unity in diversity in the body of Christ let me quote what some of you may be thinking.
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26–29 (NKJV)
On the surface Galatians seems to teach that our differences disappear in Jesus. Yet here, through the Spirit, Paul is highlighting Jesus as the source of our unity in the context of our diversity. He wrote Galatians to address the issue of the Jewish believers trying to make the Gentile believers into Jews.
Each of us will step from time into eternity and our focus and identify will be on our relationship with Jesus not our ethnic or culture background. I am quite confident that He won’t be handing me a Canadian flag! That said, we need to consider what things will look like as we know from scripture that the boundaries and identities of nations are set by God.
26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, Acts 17:26 (NKJV)
Nations and national identities were God’s idea and not only did He create them, they will continue from time into eternity. The context below is the New Jerusalem having descended from heaven to the new renewed earth at the culmination of this age.
22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. Revelation 21:22-26 (NKJV)
While I cannot tell you what we will do as nations in the future it is clear that the nations that are saved will walk in the light of the heavenly city, the new Jerusalem (verse 24). It is also clear that these nations will carry glory and honour (verse 26).
How does this affect you and me? We will still be part of a nation in eternity. When we step from time into eternity, we will receive a glorified body like the one Jesus lives in. Yet we are not going to all be homogenous. We will retain our diversity, including our nationality. The testimony of scripture and creation is the Father’s love for diversity. Paul also informs us in 1 Corinthians 15:40-43 that just as the stars differ in glory so also will our resurrections bodies. Based on this and what we can see from Revelation I believe that whatever we are now we will be in eternity. Asian people will still look Asian, Black people Black, Indigenous people Indigenous and so on. I believe that whatever is flawed in our physical makeup will be removed and whatever will glorify Him will be accentuated. Sort of like a you 2.0. Every aspect of our bodies will glorify Him!
This means that in the context of preaching and living in His kingdom we need to honour and pray for the nation we are currently part of and seek to glorify Jesus in our nation. Let’s appreciate and celebrate our uniqueness and diversity while finding out how we fit into His corporate body to fulfill His eternal purpose.