3 dimensions of time

white-200269_640Psalm 102:13: You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favor her; the appointed time has come.

There are different concepts of time that we should consider as humans. There is the chronological time, the developmental time, and the appointed time.

The chronological time is natural and can be measured by the clock; the developmental is built on the chronological time, and it has to do with how well we have been able to make use of the chorological time.  You have a measure of control over the developmental time with Paul charging that we should redeem the time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:14-21, Colossians 4:5-6). Developmental time is seed time, we are supposed to use our time in a deliberate way to yield good results in our lives.

But there is the appointed time. That is in the hand of God. In other places in the bible it is called the fullness of time. Jesus was said to have been born in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4). That means God set it up. It is an epoch of time that has God’s fingerprint all over it. Fullness of (appointed) time is when time had been pregnant with the will of God and had to be birthed on the earth.

The coming out of the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt is also the fullness of time.  God had told Abraham that his children will be in the strange land where they will be oppressed but will be released after 400 years. That was the appointed time (Genesis 15:13-17). Nothing can oppose it. The event cannot be reversed, because the stage has been set, and if need be God himself will come down to make sure that what he wants happens (Exodus 3:8).

Daniel, hundreds of years before the coming of Jesus, prophesied of the year the death of Jesus Christ (Daniel 9:26). That was an epoch. And throughout his ministry, Jesus moved with a strong sense of that epoch (Matthew 12:40), he knew the time of his death was near, that it was inevitable, it was a time appointed. His awareness of the appointed time was very strong. He even said that he was going to be raised up on the third day. He was sure. Nothing could change it. It was an absolute. It had to happen.

But because we are weak it might not be in his best interest for him to show us the appointed time like he did for Jesus. Then we might be lazy and lax and not do what it takes to deal with issues that will count towards the appointed time. In that case, ignorance is bliss.

Jesus did things that counted towards his death. He willingly cooperated with God.  Do you know that by drawing back from healing Lazarus but allowing his friend to die and be buried for a few days before he showed up and raised him up from the grave worked to rev up the murdering intent of the Pharisees against him, to his ultimate death (John 11:45-57)?

He knew that will happen and followed the divine script for him to make it happen. God cannot really trust any man with that kind of information (of the appointed time) and they will not mess things up. God therefore hides a lot of the facts from us. That is why we do not know the day or the hour that Jesus will come back. Or else, we would become very lazy.  If we know we would “mess” up the plan of God. God does not work against himself, so he hides some info from us.

When he was about to ascend to heaven, the disciples asked Jesus about the returning of Israel to place of power in the world, he told them that such appointed time is in the hand of God (Acts 1:4-8) and that they should focus on the immediate appointed time which concerns the Holy Spirit coming on them (it happened a few days after) for them to do (in developmental time) great things for his name.  The appointed times are different points on the chronological time, while developmental time is the process of time, which is between two appointed times.

God hid the facts and in ignorance the devil “killed” Jesus, and with that set himself up for spiritual defeat. The bible says that if they (Satan and his cohort demons) had known the result of their killing Jesus (which happened in God’s appointed time), they would not (1Corinthians 2:6-8). It is obvious that the devil will not willingly cooperate with God, so God hid the facts of his appointed time from him, while trusting Jesus that he will cooperate with his plan, he revealed the appointed time to him, so to speak.

We are pawns in the hand of God, towards his pre-determined end; he holds all the aces, he controls all chronological and the appointed time.

But do we control anything? Yes the developmental time. In the midst of the world whirling around us we are still responsible for the use of our time.

We have two appointed times determined divinely, the time of our birth and the time of death, we do not control the two, but we “control” the developmental time between them.

The writer of the book of Hebrews says that the Holy Spirit is saying: today if you hear his (God’s) voice, do not harden your heart. We can determine how we respond to the call of God to say yes to him in the developmental time.

You don’t have the luxury of saying: is He not God, he can do whatever he wants and since he has the final say, and has unchanging appointed times, then there is nothing we can do. That is far from the truth. We will be held accountable. The fact of the appointed time does not remove from our responsibility with the developmental time, the need to redeem the time. We would even be judged for the way we use our time. Redeeming the time is about how best you can make use of the chronological time in a way that yields the best result.

Solomon says that time (chronological) and chance (appointed time) happens to all men (Ecclesiastes 9:11). The appointed time is that chance meeting, that chance placement with that roommate, that connection that became destiny-defining.

Time and chance happens to all men but the developmental time does not happen equally to all men. If you spend your time drinking alcohol and partying while others read their notes, the appointed time of the exam will come, but it will be obvious who has been using his chronological time developmentally in an academic sense or in the art of drinking and nothing else.

In the book of revelation, the bible says that a voice called to John from heaven: come up hither (Revelation 4:1). That was the appointed time. He was isolated, on the island of Patmos. You will think that his chronological time has come to an end, he was an old man, and you will also think that there was nothing for him to be alive for. But the heaven was opened to him and he saw visions of God.

John was supposed to pine away, but he was given an insight about things of heaven, things yet to come to pass. God did not have to ask for the permission from anyone (e.g. those who sent John to the island of Patmos) to cause the appointed time to happen, for the John to receive such amazing revelation for the end of time.

That shows that nothing on earth is strong enough to stop your appointed time. The story of Joseph shows that nothing stops the appointed time. Joseph had a dream of being a notable leader and all the effort to make sure that did not happen, on the long run, only worked towards it (Genesis 50:20). Jesus came to the earth and the devil resisted his mission on earth to the point of killing him on the cross, but that hatred and death only worked for the appointed time of God, making him Lord (Acts 2:36).




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