What is this concept of time as a condition? It’s not something unfamiliar to us but to truly grasp this rather simple concept, it helps if we view prophecy as history written in advance. So an obvious question would be what and how is time defined? Renowned liberal theologian Karl Barth defines it this way:
Time – all time as humanly experienced – falls into three divisions. The past is the time that has now been. It is time, which has being as bygone, and is now the object of recollection and forgetting. The here and now by contrast, is being in another mode: it is pure present, immediacy and existence. Finally, the future is neither as bygone nor as immediate, but as oncoming and the object of expectation.
As humans, we live our lives through time as it exists within the boundaries of life and death. As such, we exist in time.
Past: We have a history. Birth…we are born in sin, shaped in iniquity.
Present: We are re-born (born-gain) through/in Christ, being conformed to His image OR in need of rebirth.
Future: Eternal life…looking for the Blessed Hope (Titus 2:11-14). ”We shall see Him [Christ] as He is” (1 John 3:2). “We will know as we are known 1 Corinthians 13:12, 8:3; Galatians 4:9, OR eternal condemnation. One thing we must remember, there is one reality with God and two modes of existence within that reality! (Regenerate-Unregenerate, Hot-Cold, Light-Darkness, For-Against, etc.)
So time is the human paradigm as it exists within the larger context of the eternal Alpha and Omega of God and the finite sub-context boundaries of life and death.
I first encountered the idea of time as a condition while listening to a message where the speaker, Art Katz, spoke about the partial hardening of Israel in Romans 11:25: “Until the fullness of the gentiles come in,” and his point was not to think of the fullness of the gentiles chronologically as a point in time (chrono – GK. Khronos = Time), but as a condition which has been established in/by God with Himself.
Once these preordained/predetermined conditions are met, it triggers and discloses an event or judgment. I was overwhelmed with this idea and as I studied Scripture, I was amazed at how this concept reveals itself over and over. At times, the conditions and events are plainly revealed and other times, the condition (the fullness of the gentiles)is only known by God and very often judgment IS the condition.
Here are examples of both from Genesis.
“But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
“Then in thefourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amoriteis not yet complete” (Genesis 15:16).
In Genesis 2:17, we see an example of God plainly revealing the preordained/ predetermined condition that results in His judgment, and in Genesis 15:16 is an example where God doesn’t reveal the level at which point the iniquity is made complete, for the preordained/predetermined condition is only known in Himself. But the environment existed for the condition (iniquity made complete) to be fulfilled and the event (judgment) to be triggered and disclosed.
There are also events, which occur naturally within the laws of nature, physics—cause and effect as a result of mankind’s rebellion against God. For oftentimes, judgment IS the condition and the penalty for this rebellion is built into the moral fiber of this world as seen in Genesis 2:17. The point is, throughout Scripture and prophecy specifically, God reveals the conditions which trigger and disclose preordained/predetermined events and judgments, while also concealing certain preordained/predetermined conditions only known by God Himself such as Genesis 15:16, Matthew 24:36, Romans 11:25 and many others.
Point One: Viewing time as a condition is not an idea to ignore time chronologically.
To ignore time chronologically would be absurd, for through the law of incremental progression these accumulative force of related events, gather and pile up together in small increments (little by little by little) over a specified period of time, increasing in quantity, frequency, and severity. This accumulation of events often creates environments resulting in the manifestation or birth of the culmination/fruit of these events (which are often triggered and disclosed by God’s preordained/predetermined conditions).
Sometimes the culmination/fruit of these events is the result of prophecy and sometimes the result of judgment or nature (cause and effect). This is deftly important for believers, for we are to interpret events as God sees them, by recognizing the signs or conditions in which they take place in/over time and making known these realities to which the world is blinded!
The prophet Daniel wrote, “Behold, I am going tolet you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end” (Daniel 8:19).
The key portion is: “the appointed time of the end which is the condition preordained/predetermined in God Himself and then the event is revealed to Daniel.
Matthew 24 is ripe with the concept of time as a condition. Jesus reveals the environment in which the signs or preordained/predetermined conditions will exist, and in verse 36 He gives an example of a condition (the specific day and hour) known only by the Father Himself. In other words, the Father has established within Himself and chosen not to reveal the specific day and hour in human time that will trigger and disclose the preordained event (Christ’s return).
What’s important is that we KNOW the One who KNOWS the condition (specific day and hour) which triggers and discloses the preordained event (Christ’s return), and that we’re able to spiritually discern and recognize the environment in which the preordained/predetermined condition will exist, that Jesus HAS revealed!
The chronological element of time is not negated, but is emphasized through the law of incremental progression by which the environment is established and the preordained/predetermined condition is reached or created incrementally little by little through the passage of time (Luke 21:20-33).
Point Two: Viewing prophesied events as being far off often blinds us to the reality and truth to which current events are speaking all around us.
So as children of God, we don’t ignore time chronologically, but view it conditionally. When we’re looking forward in time (focusing forward as if these events are far off)toward prophesied events, we’re often deceived into believing we have more time than we do. This is because it takes the focus off conditions presently (here and now), through which the condition or God through the conditionis speaking a message revealing the lateness of the hour; a message quite contrary to many of the mixed messages emanating from the cult of popular church culture (Luke 12:54-56).
The events of the past become part of history. History is then often used to predict future events as we attempt to create/make a future here in the present. Also, consequences of past events often manifest themselves in the present, and we in turn set in motion events, which become the past/history, yet consequential to/in the future. A process that brings this about is the law of incremental progression. Through time, the consequences or fruit of these past events, reach fruition and manifest/create the environment in which certain preordained/predetermined conditions are revealed in the here and now, which very often speak through current events about the future or future events.
Our lives then have:
b.We exist in the present.
c.What we are or should be living AS our future (being who/what we in fact are Titus 2:7, 8, 11-14; 1 John 3:1-10) not striving to become what God never intends…Selah! For the future is never tomorrow, it is always today/right now.
Point Three: Viewing time as a condition helps us recognize current events and rightly interpret their future impact. While ignoring time as a condition often blinds us to the reality of current events which in turn causes us to misinterpret their impact on the future.
Sometimes, through incremental progression we’re blinded to the significant consequences of a change, because those changes seem insignificant to certain unthinkable future events in a given moment of time. For example, the Civil Rights Amendment had significant consequences for black Americans in this nation. And if we took a snapshot from that time, almost everyone at that time would probably agree that it was insignificant to the civil rights cause of the LGBT community (An unthinkable event at that time!).
But little by little by little over time, the law of incremental progression and concerted efforts by the LGBT community to change the public’s opinion and image of homosexuality, created the environment/conditions in America where rights provided through the civil rights amendment has become the thrust of their cause. The possibility was there all the time, but the environment/condition wasn’t yet right/ripe…until now! Unfortunately, they fail to realize their condition is a result of judgment (Romans 1:25-27) and the only event that comes as a result of the gaying of America is judgment!
So today comes on the ripple of events that have been set in motion by the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries and millenniums that have preceded it. The culmination of today’s events will set in motion events that will incrementally reach fruition creating environments in/through, which certain preordained/predetermined conditions in time are met. Not only is it vitally necessary that believers recognize and view/see time conditionally, but we must also recognize that these conditions reach their fullness… incrementally, little by little by little over a given time period.
Today we are witnessing the fruit of seeds sown centuries ago during the establishment/birth of the church. Doctrines of demons that have little by little by little, incrementally become established and acceptable doctrines within our belief systems in the cult of popular church culture, for a lie told often enough becomes the “gospel” truth (1 Timothy 4:1; Matthew 24:10-12).
These ideas and methodologies didn’t just spring up in the church, they were initiated centuries ago and through the law of incremental progression have moved forward with time, until the right environment/conditions were established for the “fruit” to be exposed/manifested. The possibility was there all the time, and if we’re honest, we’ll admit that we’ve noticed certain changes or seen glimpses of the conditions/fruit growing little by little, but the conditions weren’t yet right for full ripeness! Sometimes through, incremental progression we’re blinded to the significant consequences of a seemingly insignificant change (removing prayer from public schools for example), because the changes seem insignificant to certain unthinkable future events (guns and shootings in public schools) at that given moment in time.
So viewing time as a condition works in concert with time chronologically and not against it, via the principal or law of incremental progression. As believers we cannot afford to allow the sometimes “farsightedness” of prophecies blind us to the reality of current conditions through which the Lord often speaks… We just need to learn to adjust our focus to more readily discern the truth, as it’s being revealed through these current conditions surrounding us.
May the Lord through His Spirit give us the ability to discern and accept the truth of reality versus what we believe and desire for that reality to be…Selah!
Acts 1:6-7; 3:21
2 Thessalonians 2:1-10
2 Peter 3:7
2 Timothy 3:1-7
1 Timothy 2:5-6; 4:1
Dana Littlejohn, Sr.: firstname.lastname@example.org