I recently came across a list that enumerated all the times the word “everlasting” appears in the Bible. In the New International Translation the word appears 61 times. Compared to the word “forever” this is just a drop in the bucket. “Forever” appears 289 times in the NIV. Have you ever thought about the difference between these two words?
I generally use the two words interchangeably. They can both be used as nouns, but one is also an adjective and one is also an adverb. “The sermon lasted forever” vs “the sermon was everlasting.” Other than that, there isn’t much difference between them.
Both words are used in the Bible to describe God and God’s actions. Here are just a few examples:
I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. Ezekiel 37:26
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. Psalm 145:13
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. Isaiah 30:8
They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 35:10
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27
Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. Nehemiah 9:5
The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3
Everlasting covenant, kingdom, Father, witness, joy, arms, love. What an amazing God we have who promises all this not just for today but forever. And speaking of forever, here are a few instances of that:
Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. Psalm 119:11
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1
And he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end. Luke 1:33
After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:17
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:17
Everything in this life is temporary. The most extraordinary buildings, the biggest things we do, statues and monuments to greatness – they will eventually crumble to dust. But God and God’s love endure. Jesus Christ is the same forever. And when we believe in him and do what he wants, we live with him eternally.
Thanks be to God.