For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, King James version)
Holding up the John 3:16 sign behind homeplate on televised games used to be a time honored tradition, as American as apple pie. The picture above shows the 2012 world Series, game 4, last at bat for Detroit, and the John 3:16 sign was seen live by millions and replayed across the world. Lately, in a pregame, broadcast by ESPN on July 27, 2014, Gino Emmerich arrived at Willie Mays Plaza carrying a sign broadcasting “John 3:16”.
While Emmerich was holding up his sign, a police officer grabbed him from behind by his shirt and neck and moved him out of the view of the camera. Once Emmerich was clear of the cameras, he was surrounded by four police officers and warned, “If you go over there and hold that sign again, we will arrest you and the sergeant will come over here and decide where we are going to take you.” Emmerich then left the plaza to avoid being arrested.
This is how far we have come. It is now offensive to proclaim God’s love in a public forum. How can the promise of everlasting love be offensive?
The New international Bible uses the word eternal instead of everlasting. Is there any difference, and why so?
It is my firm belief that the term everlasting is the correct translation. The universe, and we have a beginning, therefore we are not eternal but everlasting. From Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God” the Bible declared that God was there, pre-existing before the beginning.
From the book of Hebrews (13:20-21 KJV) states: Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Again NIV states the eternal covenant. Am I splitting hairs?
There is a very interesting verse in Revelation (13:8, KJV) telling of the time of the time of the great tribulation: And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. This verse tells that the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. Imagine that! Jesus Christ, the Lamb was slain before the universe was formed! The only way I can wrap myself around this thought is that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit pre-existed as one, yet three, and exist independent of time and space.
This is true eternity: Only God exists both in and out of time and space, without beginning and without end. Everything else is less than eternal, but maybe everlasting, with a beginning but without an end.