Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (KJV)
"For ever" is a long time! When we typically think of for ever as humans, most people (especially kiddos) think about how long it took to wait on something to arrive, how long it took to get somewhere, how long it took to complete a task, or something thereabouts. There are times when we think of how long something will last, but more often than not, it’s generally more of our habit to think back when thinking of for ever, rather than thinking forward; however, you have to think of the fact that this phrase means that there is no end to the subject being referred to. More specifically, I am referring, as you can see, to what the Bible says about for ever. In our finite minds, it is difficult to really think that something can last for ever in terms of an eternity, especially since we cannot live for ever in our present condition.
It is typical that we normally do not fully understand a subject that we have not experienced as clearly as someone who has “been there” (IE, marriage, child-birth, being a father or mother, etc), and since we have not been around for "for ever”, it can be difficult to wrap our minds around its concept or meaning. This is why we must be so careful not to discount a scripture that references for ever, just because we MAY NOT have a full understanding of the concept being discussed. Simply put, just because we have not fully experienced “for ever” does not mean that it doesn’t exist. In my opening sentence, I used the scripture referring to the nature of Jesus Christ. We have a hard time understanding, because as humanity we constantly change our beliefs and opinions and are quite fickle, but in reality, Jesus Christ never changes. We have to remember that He has always been and will always be the same.
Now, before you get sidetracked by stating that because Jesus had a birth and a death, how could he be for ever, let me gently remind you that the flesh had a beginning and an end, but not God’s Spirit, which was the "being" if you will, that was robed in flesh, in the human form of Jesus Christ. I don’t want to get too “off in the weeds” right now, but I do want to encourage you to read Isaiah 9:6 and also John 1:1-14, to remind you of who Jesus really was! I will do another blog sometime dealing more with Jesus’ divinity, but for now, suffice it to say that Hebrews 13:8 is referring to an everlasting God.
Back to our subject, the term “for ever” can be boiled down to this, according to the Hebrew and Greek: ancient, perpetual, always, continual, from the beginning of the world, without end, eternal, etc, etc. (Strong's Concordance) I must admit that often I personally have a hard time remembering this because of my limited humanistic thinking, but the fact remains that when the term “for ever” is used, the subject referred to has no end! Now, while this is great when we speak of living "for ever" with Jesus in eternity, it also is just as “for ever” when we refer to the torments of hell, or eternal punishment. Just as heaven for the saints of God is "for ever", so are the torments of hell. Both Jude 1:11-15 and Revelations 14:11 refers to the torments of hell being "for ever". It behooves each of us to follow the plan of salvation laid out in the New Testament by Jesus Christ himself (Matthew 4:17, John 3:3-5), and ALSO BY the apostles, after Jesus had given them understanding and revelation (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15-17, Luke 24:44-49, Acts 2:1-4, 38-39). We can avoid the “for ever” torments of hell, and enjoy the “for ever” benefits of living together with Jesus Christ in eternity IF we follow his AND their teachings. After all, for ever is a long time…either way you or I go, there is no ending.