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Meaning of Time in the Bible

In the Bible, time holds great significance as it reveals God’s divine plan and His control over the course of history. The biblical concept of time emphasizes that God is the ultimate authority over time, transcending its limitations and using it to fulfill His purpose.

From the moment of creation, time became the instrument through which God unveils His saving plan for humanity. Both the Hebrew and Greek terms used in the Bible to describe time highlight God’s work and authority over it. Jesus is also presented as Lord over time, existing before its beginning and remaining unchanging throughout.

Key Takeaways:

  • Time in the Bible emphasizes God’s control and authority over it
  • Jesus is depicted as Lord over time, existing before its beginning
  • Humanity is subject to time’s limitations
  • The biblical concept of time highlights its redemptive nature
  • Time is a call to respond to God’s saving work and live in obedience and faith

God’s Control Over Time

In the Bible, God is portrayed as the One who has complete control over time. He is not bound by its limitations and exists outside of its constraints. God’s control over time is evident from the very beginning, as time began at the moment of creation. In Genesis 1, we read about how God spoke the world into existence, setting in motion the cycle of days, nights, seasons, and years. This highlights God’s intentionality and authority over time.

God’s control over time is further demonstrated through His eternal purposes. He has a divine plan for the course of history and uses time as a means to fulfill His purposes. Every event, every moment, is intricately woven into God’s grand design. Nothing happens by chance or coincidence; it is all part of God’s sovereign plan. This gives us assurance and confidence that even in the complexities and uncertainties of life, God is in control.

“In God’s economy, time is a tool He uses to bring about His eternal purposes.”

Moreover, God imminently expresses concern for the passage of time in His interactions with humanity. Throughout the Bible, we see how God intervenes in human history at strategic moments, precisely according to His own timing. Whether it is the birth of Jesus, the fulfillment of prophecies, or the unfolding of redemptive events, God’s timing is precise and purposeful. He works through time to accomplish His plans and to reveal Himself to humanity.

Jesus as Lord Over Time

Key Points
  • Jesus existed before time and played a crucial role in creation.
  • Jesus is fully divine and unchanging, remaining the same throughout time.
  • He is properly called “the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last, the Beginning and End,” emphasizing His eternal and timeless nature.
  • Jesus’ second coming is a certainty and marks the goal and end-point of redemptive history.

In the New Testament, Jesus is presented as Lord over time, existing before the beginning of time itself. He played a crucial role in the act of creation, showcasing His divine nature and authority. Jesus is fully divine, and His unchanging nature makes Him the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Jesus is properly called “the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last, the Beginning and End.” These titles emphasize His eternal and timeless nature, highlighting His pre-existence and His role in shaping the course of history.

Jesus’ second coming is a significant aspect of His lordship over time. It is a certainty that marks the culmination of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. The second coming of Jesus will herald the end of the present course of history and the establishment of His eternal kingdom.

Jesus as Lord Over Time

Jesus’ lordship over time provides believers with hope and assurance. His eternal nature and unchanging character assure us that He is faithful to His promises and in control of the future. It reminds us that our salvation is secure and that we can trust in Him in every season of our lives.

Humanity’s Relationship with Time

The concept of time in the Bible reveals the limitations of humanity and the brevity of life. Unlike God and Jesus, human beings are subject to the passing of time and the aging process. Each person experiences the marks of time through the cycle of birth, life, and ultimately, death. The brevity of life serves as a reminder that time is fleeting and should be cherished.

The Bible emphasizes that time is in God’s hands, highlighting His sovereignty over the course of human existence. While individuals may feel powerless against the passage of time, God remains in control. He is not bound by time but rather transcends it, orchestrating His divine plan throughout history. This recognition encourages believers to trust in God’s guidance and purpose, even in the face of the limited time they have on earth.

In light of humanity’s relationship with time, the Bible also highlights the eternal separation from God that awaits those who reject His salvation. Spiritual death, brought about by sin, disconnects individuals from the eternal life offered through Jesus. Therefore, the brevity of life and the passage of time should serve as a reminder of the urgency to accept God’s saving grace and seek a relationship with Him.

The Brevity of Life: A Comparison

Human Lifespan Eternity
Measured in decades Timeless
Finite Infinite
Subject to aging process Unchanging
Filled with moments of joy and sorrow Perfect and eternal joy

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Reflecting on the brevity of life and the limitations of time can lead individuals to a greater appreciation of each moment and a desire to make the most of the time they have. It is a reminder to prioritize what is truly valuable and seek a relationship with God, who is eternal. While individuals may be bound by time, they are invited to trust in God’s plan and find comfort in the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Time as Redemptive History

The concept of time in the Bible encompasses more than just the passage of minutes and hours. It is intricately linked to God’s plan for redemption and the unfolding of His divine purpose throughout history. The Bible portrays time as both cyclical and chronological, highlighting the cyclical nature of history while emphasizing the meaningful progression of time through prophetic fulfillment and significant events.

Table: Cyclical and Chronological Aspects of Time in Redemptive History

Aspect Description
Cyclical The cycle of nature, rise and fall of empires, and inclination toward evil contribute to the understanding of history as cyclical.
Chronological God’s redemptive interventions and prophetic fulfillment demonstrate the forward-moving nature of time, progressively unveiling His plan for salvation.

“Time in redemptive history holds great value and purpose, dispelling any notion that it is merely cyclical.”

The cyclical aspect of time is evident in the cycle of nature, the rise and fall of kings and empires, and the tendency of humanity to repeat patterns of ungodliness. These recurring events serve as reminders of the fallen nature of the world and the need for redemption. However, the Bible also emphasizes the chronological aspect of time, tracing God’s redemptive interventions and revealing His plan through the fulfillment of prophecies.

“Time in redemptive history holds great value and purpose, dispelling any notion that it is merely cyclical.”

“The present is the time of salvation, urging both unbelievers and believers to respond to God’s saving work.”

God’s plan for redemption unfolds within the framework of time, and the present is seen as a crucial time for salvation. The Bible calls both unbelievers and believers to respond to God’s saving work. Unbelievers are urged to repent and turn to God, recognizing the appointed time when He will judge the world. Believers are encouraged to make the most of every opportunity and to persevere in faith, knowing that the present time is subject to encroaching apostasy. The urgency of the present time underscores the importance of responding to God’s offer of salvation and growing in faith.

The Present as the Time of Salvation

Now is the time of salvation. This is the resounding message of the Bible, inviting both unbelievers and believers to respond to God’s saving work. In the Old Testament, the redemption of Israel from Egypt serves as a perpetual call for loving obedience to the laws issued by God. The New Testament further emphasizes the urgency of the present time as the “year of the Lord’s favor,” when salvation is made available to all people through Jesus.

For unbelievers, the present time is an opportunity for repentance and turning to God. The Bible warns that there is a set time when God will judge the world, and the time for repentance is growing shorter. This sense of urgency underscores the importance of responding to God’s saving offer without delay. Now is the appointed season to declare this divine mystery hidden from ages past.

Believers, too, are called to make the most of every opportunity in the present time. The Scriptures encourage believers to persevere in faith and to mature in their relationship with God. The present time is subject to encroaching apostasy, making it vital for believers to remain steadfast in their commitment to Christ. It is an opportunity to deepen their faith, serve God wholeheartedly, and be eager to share the hope of salvation with others.

As the Bible affirms, now is the time of salvation. Whether for unbelievers seeking redemption or believers striving for spiritual growth, the present time offers a unique and precious opportunity to respond to God’s saving work with repentance, perseverance, and a sense of urgency.

Image: response to God's saving work

The End-Times

The Bible speaks of the end-times as a period surrounding Jesus’ second coming. It is characterized by various expressions such as the last times, last hour, last days, day of the Lord, and more. These expressions highlight the belief that the present course of history will come to an end with Jesus’ return. The certainty of the first advent guarantees the certainty of the second. The New Testament indicates that the end-times began with Christ’s first coming and that they will encompass both a time of great salvation and a time of mounting evil.

The signs of the end are apparent in the presence of antichrists, false teachers, and forms of ungodliness. However, the exact timing of the end and the events leading up to it are not for humans to know. The end-times point to the fulfillment of prophecies, including the final judgment and the establishment of Christ’s eternal kingdom. It is a time of anticipation and preparation for the consummation of God’s redemptive plan.

“Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” – Matthew 24:42

The end-times are a crucial aspect of biblical teaching, emphasizing the certainty of Jesus’ second coming and the fulfillment of prophecy. While the signs of the end can be observed, the exact timing remains unknown. Believers are called to be vigilant and prepared, living in anticipation of Christ’s return and the culmination of God’s redemptive plan.

Signs of the End-Times Reference
Presence of false teachers and prophets Matthew 24:11
Wars and rumors of wars Matthew 24:6
Persecution of believers Matthew 24:9
Increased lawlessness and wickedness Matthew 24:12
Global evangelization Matthew 24:14
Signs in the heavens Luke 21:25-26
Return of Israel as a nation Matthew 24:32-34

Time and Eternity

The concept of time in the Bible raises profound questions about its origin, nature, and its relation to eternity. While the Bible does not provide explicit details about this relationship, it portrays time as a creation of God, with a specific purpose within His plan. God, being eternal and timeless, stands outside or above time, transcending it and exercising complete control over it. Our human understanding of time is finite, while God’s understanding of time is infinite. It is important for believers to recognize the limits of our understanding and trust in God’s sovereignty over time.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

(Isaiah 55:8-9 )

The relationship between time and eternity remains a mystery to us, as we are bound by the constraints of time. However, the Bible assures us that our times are in God’s hands. As believers, we can find comfort in knowing that God’s purposes transcend time and that He is working out His redemptive plan throughout history. We are called to trust in His divine timing and make the most of the opportunities we have in the present moment.

relation between time and eternity

Symbolic and Actual Times

Symbolic time and actual time periods play significant roles in the Bible, conveying spiritual truths and fulfilling prophetic purposes. Symbolic periods of time, such as days, weeks, months, and years, are used to represent events and seasons within God’s redemptive plan. It is important to note that these symbolic time periods should not be interpreted as codes for specific durations of actual time. Instead, they serve as meaningful symbols that communicate deeper spiritual meanings.

Attempts to correlate symbolic time with actual time periods often lead to confusion and misguided date setting. The Bible emphasizes that the exact dates and durations of future events are known only by God. The symbolic time periods remind us that the timing and fulfillment of these events are within God’s authority and are not for humans to determine.

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36).

In the book of Revelation, we find several instances of symbolic time periods, such as the “thousand years” mentioned in Revelation 20. This symbolic period signifies the reign of Christ and the victory of His Church. It is not a literal thousand years, but rather a representation of a complete and perfect period of time. The symbolism invites us to reflect on the spiritual significance of Christ’s reign and the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Symbolic Time Spiritual Meaning
Days Representative of God’s creative work and rest (Genesis 1)
Weeks Signify completion and fulfillment (Daniel 9:24-27)
Months Reflection of lunar cycles and seasonal changes
Years Indicate significant periods of time and milestones in God’s plan

It is essential to approach symbolic time in the Bible with caution and reverence, avoiding attempts to set specific dates or predict exact time frames for future events. Instead, we are called to focus on understanding the spiritual truths and messages conveyed through these symbolic time periods. By recognizing the limitations of human understanding and placing our trust in God’s sovereignty over time, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the divine mysteries revealed through the concept of symbolic time.

Symbolic and Actual Times

Conclusion

The concept of time in the Bible is deep and multifaceted. It reveals God as the ultimate authority over time, actively guiding the course of history according to His divine plan. Jesus, being Lord over time, existed before its very beginning and remains unchanging throughout. On the other hand, humanity is subject to the limitations of time, experiencing the brevity of life and the aging process. Time is also presented as redemptive history, where God carries out His plan for salvation and reveals Himself through significant events.

The present time is emphasized as the opportune moment for salvation. Both unbelievers and believers are urged to respond to God’s saving work, with a sense of urgency and perseverance. The end-times point to the certainty of Jesus’ second coming and the fulfillment of prophecies. While the exact nature of the relationship between time and eternity remains a mystery beyond human comprehension, the Bible uses symbolic time periods to convey spiritual truths. It cautions against misguided attempts to set specific dates, affirming that only God knows the exact timing of future events.

In conclusion, the concept of time in the Bible invites us to trust in God’s sovereignty over time and to make the most of every opportunity to live in obedience and faith. Understanding the biblical perspective on time provides a profound framework for our lives, reminding us of God’s eternal plan and our finite existence within it.

FAQ

What does the Bible say about time?

The Bible portrays God as the One who is Lord over time. Time began at creation and continues to be the agency through which God reveals His divine purpose.

How does the Bible describe God’s control over time?

The Bible emphasizes that God is not limited by time and has complete control over it. He transcends time and uses it to carry out His eternal plan.

What role does Jesus play in relation to time?

Jesus is presented in the Bible as Lord over time. He existed before the beginning of time, remains unchanging, and His second coming is a certainty.

How does humanity relate to time according to the Bible?

Humanity is subject to time and experiences its limitations, including the aging process and the brevity of life. However, Jesus’ death and resurrection offer the promise of eternal life.

What is the significance of time in redemptive history?

Time in redemptive history highlights God’s plan for redeeming a fallen world. It includes cyclical and chronological elements, with God progressively unveiling His redemptive plan.

Why is the present time emphasized as the time of salvation?

The present time is considered the time of salvation, urging both unbelievers and believers to respond to God’s saving work. It emphasizes the urgency of repentance and perseverance in faith.

What does the Bible say about the end-times?

The Bible speaks of the end-times as a period surrounding Jesus’ second coming. It includes signs of the end and the fulfillment of prophecies, leading to the final judgment and the establishment of Christ’s eternal kingdom.

How does the Bible explain the relationship between time and eternity?

The Bible portrays God as eternal and timeless, standing outside or above time. Humanity’s understanding and experience of time are finite, and the exact nature of the relationship between time and eternity is a mystery.

What is the significance of symbolic and actual times in the Bible?

The Bible uses symbolic periods of time to convey spiritual truths and fulfill prophetic purposes. Attempting to correlate them with actual time periods often leads to confusion. The precision of future events is known only to God.

Can you summarize the main points about time in the Bible?

Time in the Bible is portrayed as under God’s control, with Him being Lord over time. Jesus is presented as Lord over time, existing before it and remaining unchanging. Humanity is subject to time, and time is intricately linked to God’s plan for redemption. The present time is the time of salvation, and the end-times point to Jesus’ second coming. The Bible acknowledges the mystery of the relationship between time and eternity and warns against misinterpreting symbolic and actual times.

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  • Greg Gaines

    Father / Grandfather / Minister / Missionary / Deacon / Elder / Author / Digital Missionary / Foster Parents / Welcome to our Family