Time is a condition of material existence. Pretty much, time is basically the measurement that we use to mark off the progress of temporal existence and must be understood in order to explain many things in the Bible that are not clarified as to death, judgment, resurrections, the kingdom on earth and the kingdom in heaven and the communion of saints. Understanding time as it relates to eternity may also give us some understanding of the universe as well. Those trying to explain these things many time refer to space and time in the same sentence. The idea of time marching on may aid to the explanation of the theories of an expanding universe. The Bible speaks of the beginning of time and the end of time, this may have to do with the age of this world and the heavens surrounding us and none other. At the end of time, eternity begins from our perspective, even though eternity has always been here.

Death is more of a symbol than an actual occurrence, the body dies but our true personal self lives on. It may be more accurate to say, life after life rather than life after death but the problem is in the word "after." Paul Tillich explains that "The forces of evil and disruption are bound up with spatio-temporal conditions of existence, and there can be no simple projection of these conditions into an 'after life'." In this relationship, the after-life would also be a symbol. It would not be altogether accurate to say that there is literally a life after life unless the previous life ended in which life would be no more, but we say that there is life after death. Both are contradictory. It would be more accurate to say that when our temporal existence in relation to time is over, life in eternity begins. In eternity, time is understood to no longer be relevant to us, we undergo the change that transcends this temporal existence that makes us like God because we are in His realm and able to know Him as He is. So it is not really life that is over at death but rather the temporal condition of time.

If we explain time with the idea that time is temporal and eternity is not, we know that man is limited to time and God is not. When God said to Moses that He was the "I AM," He must have been speaking of His eternal nature, He is pure existence. Because He is, so are we, since we were made in His likeness. We are eternal creatures, or at least we were created with that intent in mind. The act by which the faithful know God is nothing less than to share the life of God's eternal existence with Him. The stream of time can never rob us of that glorious existence, even in the shadow of death.

The immediate translation of the saints can be explained through an understanding of time and eternity. In our spirits, we all believe that our friends and loved ones that died in the Lord are in heaven now, not asleep. This also confirms our understanding (or lack of it) to the communion of saints. To be "in" Jesus is to have passed from death to life already. When our temporal existence in relation to time is over, life in eternity begins. This is the way that the thief on the cross could today be in Paradise. In eternity, time is no longer relevant to us, we undergo the change that transcends this temporal existence that makes us like God because we are in His realm and able to know Him as He is. So it is not really life that is over at death but rather the temporal condition of time. It is the dead in Christ only in our relation to time; as far as eternity is concerned, it is from temporal life to eternal life. Paul speaks of those that sleep but would just be sleeping as regards to our position in time. The eternal realm has no beginning and no end. As far as it relates to heaven, the departed saints are there now and according to our understanding of eternity always have been, even before the foundation of the world. Mysterious, yes. Impossible to understand, maybe for some, but it should be easy to accept this explanation.

Many of us need to re-evaluate our thinking concerning those in the Lord that sleep and those that have already been translated for us to understand the kingdom. Many of them at least seem to be all of the same and it is only in our relationship to time that there is a difference. Now we come to the problem of just who populates the kingdom, assuming there is still a kingdom to come and the pre-millennialists are correct in their understanding. Why would the saints come back down to earth after being in heaven, which is the ultimate reward? What need even of a millennial reign? There may truly be only one judgment, just at different times for the different judgment verdicts. This is still not clear to most of us.

As we are resurrected at the end of time, we are in the same relationship to one that has been resurrected in the twinkling of an eye because in the realm of eternity, there is no relationship to time - whether a person has been resurrected at the point of bodily death or awaits the final resurrection is the same time as regards eternity. This is what it means to have the communion of saints. This is not just the communion with the ones in Christ around us but through time and space, we can have communion with those in the Lord that have departed. God is the God of the living, not of the dead. What it means is that the fellowship of believers in Christ is not limited to time and space, once the eternal is bridged through faith, those that have gone ahead are with us even now. The church learned early in its history to accept the communion of saints and make it a part of genuine fellowship.

Tillich writes of the "Kairos," the "fullness of time" as shown in the New Testament as "the moment in which the eternal breaks into the temporal, and the temporal is prepared to receive it." This is the idea that Greek wisdom and the translation of the Hebrew scriptures into the vernacular, the Pax Romana and the progress of communication and transportation gave history the precise opportunity at the best moment of time to bring the gospel message with the appearance of Christ. "It is the power of the prophetic spirit in all periods of history to pronounce the coming of such a kairos, to discover its meaning, to express the criticism of what is given and the hope for what is to come. All great changes in history are accompanied by a strong consciousness of a kairos at hand... The God of time is the God of history... History has a direction, something new is to be created in it and through it... the coming of the Kingdom of God in history and beyond history, the trans-formation of the form of this world and so on."

It has been said that time is fulfilled in history, and history is fulfilled in the universal kingdom of God, the kingdom of justice and peace. The only real time for us is now. Past and future are not real times for us, but rather conceptual times, past time is but a memory and future time is a vision of what could be. Time and space are the elements of man's own concept of the finite as it relates to the infinite, they are not real, like we would talk of real things around us. To talk about time is if it were a kind of thing is a metaphysical trap. Man creates time and is bound to it, whereas God and the eternal realm transcend it.

In the apocalypse of Enoch, time was described as a week of seven days, each day a thousand years in length. 6000 had passed: a new millennium was coming during which the elect would live in happiness, free from the influence of evil. This was the Sabbath of rest in the cosmic week: after that would follow the eighth day, the beginning of a timeless order. Barnabas taught this very same thing in the first century.

If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be, as Poor Richard says, the greatest Prodigality. "Lost time is never found again; and what we call time enough, always proves little enough."
[92, 95, 96, 109, 151, 194, 275, 286, 401. The issue of time and eternity were issues of the latter rain list.]

The Lord has given Christians the grace to reconcile the children to their Fathers

As One Body

  • We prepare for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
  • Harvest the Fruit of the Latter Rain
  • Follow Him as the Army of the Lord into His Glory

Help To Prepare A Holy Bride!

Issue Oriented Discussion Newsletter

Index | Search This Site | Aristide.Org | The Latter Rain | Babylon the Great | The Kingdom | The Nicolaitans | Jezebel
The Baptism With the Holy Ghost | The Grand Delusion | World Trade Org | Liberation Theology | Jay Atkinson | Alphabetical Index