When God created the world, He not only gave it a spatial and material reality, He gave it a temporal one, as well. We live in and with the reality of time. Exactly what time is has been the subject of great debate since, well, the beginning of time! We cannot even talk about our existence unless we speak in terms of time because we exist in time. But while it may be impossible to speak exactly as to the nature of time, we do know that on the fourth day of creation God gave us a way to measure it (Gen. 1:14-17). And measuring time has taught us this: time for us passes far too quickly (Job 7:6).
Therefore, time is so very precious. We must learn to redeem it (Col. 4:5; Eph. 5:16). We should pass our time here in fear because we know we are going to face the judgement (I Pet. 1:17). Jacob considered the days of his life “few and evil” when he told Pharaoh that he was one hundred and thirty years old (Gen 47:9). When compared to the years of his fathers that was certainly true (cf. Gen. 5). Even now our days on earth are as a shadow (I Chron. 29:15) or as a vapor that appears for a little time then vanishes away (James 4:14). They are as a tale that is told (Psalm 90:9).
Time is a gift of God. It is God that gives us these days in which we spend our time (Eccl. 5:18; 8:15). The ancient patriarchs were given much time on earth. However, man’s days and years are now limited on average to threescore and ten or at most fourscore (Psalm 90:10). This limitation is the result of sin (Rom. 5:12). Therefore, it is wise to learn to number our days and use our time wisely (Psalm 90:12). Even the Lord observed we must work the works of Him that sent us while it is day for the night comes when no man can work (John 9:4).
David recognized that his times were in the hands of God (Psalm 31:15). That is why we should not be so arrogant as to say I will do this or that but rather say and believe if the Lord will, I will do this or that (James 4:). If we think we have time to do something God may say to us “Thou fool, this night is thy soul required of thee” (Luke 12:16-20). Not only are individual’s times in the hand of the Almighty, but the times of the nations are in His hand, as well. God has determined before the times appointed and the bounds of their habitation (Acts 17:26).
The truth is there is a time and a season to every purpose under heaven (Eccl. 3:1-8). Everything in its time. And yet, there is an element of uncertainty from man’s perspective (Eccl. 9:11). God certainly knows when all things will happen, though He does not ordain all events. It must be clearly understood that while God has all things under His control, He does not violate any one person’s free will which He gave them (e.g., Josh. 24:15; Matt. 28:18-20). We all choose what we will do and when we will do it. But God uses our actions to bring about His own will (cf. Gen. 50:19,20).
We know that in the fulness of time, God sent forth His Son made of a woman under the law to redeem that were under the law (Gal. 4:4). Therefore, He has “made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness 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:” (Ephesians 1:9,10). So God, Who in the past spoke to man in sundry times and divers manners, has now, in these last days, spoken to us by His Son (Heb. 1:1,2). This was not made known in other ages but is now revealed by His apostles through the Spirit and made known by the church (Eph. 3:1-13).
But for the Christian who knows these things, he will use his time wisely. He will spend his time, for instance, in the worship of God and encourage others to do so as the day approaches (Heb. 10:25). We should exhort one another daily, lest we be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13). In times past we walked according to the course of this world, but now, we are made nigh by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:1-13). We ought to adhere to the word because there will come times when many will not endure sound doctrine (II Tim. 4:1-5). Understanding God’s plan, then, we will pass the time of our sojourning here in fear (I Pet. 1:17).
If we really knew what time it is we would wake out of sleep for the night is far spent and the day at hand; we would cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light (Rom. 13:11,12). “Little children,” John said, “it is the last time” (I John 2:18). That ought to both thrill us and scare us because there is an inheritance incorruptible ready to revealed in the last time at the judgement (I Pet. 1:4,5). So “when the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more and the morning breaks eternal bright and fair, and the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore and the roll is called up yonder” will you be there?
Eric L. Padgett