Alyson concludes our Word Nerd Wednesday series on The Lord’s Prayer with this in-depth look at the word forever!
Legacy of Forever
I don’t want to leave a legacy.
Do you want people to remember you? Or only Jesus?
That’s what the chorus begs you to ponder.
Most of us have thought about leaving some sort of legacy. I know I have. I even own a shelf full of scrapbooks to prove it. But could it be that when we get to heaven, we’ll realize we should have wanted something better than a legacy for ourselves?
What if our lives had the same conclusion as the Lord’s Prayer: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever?
Do we want our lives to give glory to God forever?
Now that would be a legacy to be proud of!
Forever in The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer is found in both Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. But did you realize the doxology in the conclusion is not in most Bibles? I own several Bibles and most of them don’t mention the last line, but my newest Bible has the doxology in brackets with this footnote: “Other manuscripts omit bracketed text.”
I did some research on the reason why and came to the conclusion that I personally don’t mind adding the doxology to the prayer when I pray. Why? Because it is most definitely biblical. The doxology may not be in Matthew 6 or Luke 11, but you will find it in over 18 similar verses. I counted.
Here are a few to give you an idea (Note: the first verse is where most scholars believe the Lord’s Prayer doxology was derived.) …
1 Chronicles 29:11 (ESV): Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.
Exodus 15:18 (ESV): The LORD will reign forever and ever.”
1 Timothy 1:17 (ESV): To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Romans 11:36 (ESV): For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Revelation 5:13 (ESV): And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
Now let’s take a closer look at the word forever.
There are 9 different Greek words that have been translated “forever“ (or a phrase including forever) in our English Bibles, and 10 Hebrew.
But our context today is in giving God glory forever. So we are going to look at Strong’s #5769 in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Strong’s #165 and #166 in Greek (New Testament).
Strong’s #5769 (1) means: long duration, antiquity, futurity, for ever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, always, continuous existence, everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity.
Strong’s #165 (2) (in today’s context) means: for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity, as long as time shall be.
Merriam-Webster (3) defines forever as “for a limitless time; at all times: continually.”
Do you see a common thread?
“Continuous“ stands out to me. Unending. As long as time shall be.
That makes me wonder: Do I live my everyday life with forever in mind? After all, this life will only be a teeny percentage of eternity.
When I hunted further about “continuous,” I found a surprise: that three verses in the book of John contain the present tense of having eternal life.
John 3:36 (ESV): Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
John 5:24 (ESV): Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
John 6:47 (ESV): Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
Forever Begins Today
As in now – for those who believe.
The “forever” in these verses is Strong’s #166 which has been translated “has eternal life.” This Greek word (#166) doesn’t necessarily focus on the future, but on the quality of the age (#165) it relates to. So believers are experiencing this quality of God’s life now as a present possession.
We should be experiencing this quality of life right now! Do we have eternity continually in the back of our mind? Would our lives look different if we did?
I think this proves that Casting Crowns is on the right track with their new song.
May we live each day with forever in mind. And may the legacy we leave be a doxology to … only Jesus.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)
Alyson at WriteThemOnMyHeart.com
is an ordinary wife, mom, and Nonna on a mission to help you surround your heart and home with God’s Word. She is a Bible digger and hand-letterer who shares ton
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