“That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him” (Eph. 1: 10).
This is when all the saved from all ages will be gathered into the Lord and into the “eternal state”, where the Father has dwelt throughout eternity:
“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with Him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit” (Isa. 57: 15).
Sir Robert Anderson writes: “ ‘IN THE BEGINNING’ the Word was alone with God; and on through the ages of ages to ‘THE END’, when, time having running its course, in the midst of His creation, God shall be all in all: and in adoration he exclaims, ’From everlasting to everlasting Thou art God !’ ” (Anderson, The Gospel and Its Ministry, p. 152).
The following vision recorded by the Apostle John describes the beginning of the “eternal state”.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21: 1-3).
John then recounts his vision of “the bride, the Lamb’s wife”:
“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no lamp, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 22: 3-5).
In the eternal state not one of the saved people of God will boast of his own righteousness or worthiness. From the very beginning the Lord revealed His estimation of mankind:
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 1: 5).
Sir Robert Anderson says, “At the very outset, His judgments of the matter were declared in no uncertain terms (Gen. 5: 1-7). But, in His infinite wisdom, He decreed that the creature should prove it himself. Now, He has done so” (Anderson, Ibid., pp.106-107).
The different dispensations given by the Lord to man and man’s subsequent failure under each dispensation is proof to man that without the Lord he is a failed and miserable creature.
“Behold, God is my salvation; will trust and not be afraid: for the Lord is my strength and my song; He is also become my salvation.”