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Author: Ron Graham

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Facts About Time
—A simple list

God and Time

  • It is often said that “God exists outside of time”. That is not a Bible statement, however we do know that the Lord is not subject to the “passage of time” as we are. "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day" (2Peter 3:8).
  • Elihu said to Job, "Behold God is great, and we do not know him, nor can the number of his years be discovered" (Job 36:26). Nobody can tell how old God is, because he ever is, ever was, and ever will be.

Eternity and Time

  • Some say eternity is “timeless” —meaning time doesn't exist there. Others say that eternity is “infinite time” —meaning time without beginning, end, or passage. Scripture says, "From everlasting to everlasting, you are God". (Psalm 90:2). But that quote does not necessarily say that God and eternity exist in time.

History and Time

  • In the Bible, time is seen as a succession of “Ages”. Paul speaks of "The ages to come" (Ephesians 2:7), and "ages past" (Ephesians 3:9).
  • There have been three grand ages in earthly history: The Patriarchal age from Adam to Moses; the Mosaic age from Moses to Christ, and the Christian age between Christ’s first and second comings. But these ages can be subdivided, and one can use other schemas. For example, Matthew uses, "Abraham to David... David to the captivity in Babylon... Captivity in Babylon until Christ" (Matthew 1:17).
  • Upon today’s world, "the end of the ages has come" (1Corinthians 10:11), and "at the end (or consummation) of the ages Christ has appeared to get rid of sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Hebrews 8:26).
  • Now is the age of the cross; next is the age of the crown — that is to say, all eternity with God. Jesus said that we can have "eternal life in the age to come" (Luke 18:30 cf Luke 20:35).
  • Scripture calls the Christian age "these last days" (Hebrews 1:1-2), or "these last times" (1 Peter 1:20).

Symbolic Time

  • Occasionally in Bible prophecy, there's a nice neat calendar of 360 days, or twelve 30 day months to a year. This is most suitable for symbolic purposes. However it would not work in practice, unless a number of extra days were allowed between each year to keep the calendar synchronised with the seasons.
  • As an example of the prophetic calendar, the 1260 days of Revelation 12:6 is the same as the 42 months of Revelation 13:5. Divide 1260 days by 30 days and you get 42 months.
  • One important time element in prophecy is the three‑and‑a‑half symbol. For example, 42 months is three‑and‑a‑half years. The three‑and‑a‑half symbol includes the expression "a time, times, and half a time" (Daniel 7:25, Daniel 12:7, Revelation 12:14
  • It is important to understand that you cannot calculate with symbolic time to get actual historic time. In any calculation using symbolic or prophetic time, the answer will also be symbolic time, not literal time.

Science and Time

  • Scientists don't have any real answers to the puzzles of time. Some of them even say that time is an illusion concocted by our brain to help us make sense of reality. The Bible does not support this notion.
  • Sir Isaac Newton believed in absolute time. He thought that time exists independently of any observer and progresses at the same pace throughout the universe. The Bible does not say this, but neither does it gainsay it
  • Albert Einstein believed in relative time or time dilation —a clock on the moon, for example, registers more elapsed time than an identical clock on earth. The Bible does not say this, yet neither does the idea contradict God’s word.

Personal Time

  • We can consider time and history in a personal way. There is firstly the time before our birth, secondly our lifetime of "seventy years", and thirdly the time beyond our death. (Psalm 90:10).
  • Your lifetime is the time in which you have the opportunity to seek God and find him (Acts 17:27). Of course you do this with a view to human history, and with a view to eternity, but you do it now. You do it in this life while you have both life and opportunity (James 4:13-17).
  • In our short lifetime, the day that we call “now” is highly important. "'In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.' Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2Corinthians 6:2 ESV).
  • Our time on earth is valuable and should not be misspent, rather we should be "redeeming the time because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16).
  • "And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed." (Romans 13:11).

A Poem About Time

To everything
there is a season,
A time for every purpose
under heaven:
A time to be born
and a time to die,
A time to plant
and a time to uproot,
A time to kill
and a time to heal,
A time to break down
and a time to build,
A time to weep
and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn
and a time to dance,
A time to cast away stones
and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace
and a time to refrain
from embracing,
A time to search
and a time to count as lost,
A time to keep
and a time to discard,
A time to rend
and a time to mend,
A time to be silent
and a time to speak,
A time to love
and a time to hate,
A time for war
and a time for peace.
 
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

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