“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place…” (Isaiah 57:15a).
God inhabits eternity, but does God forsake the time He has created? In other words, God is infinite and eternal and, as the Scripture above states, inhabits eternity. Nevertheless, being as God created time, does He do His work of creation, salvation, redemption, and consummation inside or outside of time?
Note how the verse above ends:
“… I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15b).
God, being omnipresent, is “with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” God obviously loves His people! And because God is omniscient – knowing all things – He does not need to be outside of the time He has created to know and see what He already knows and has seen happen before it actually occurs.
I believe that what we are going to find out in this study is that God – even though He is eternal and inhabits eternity – is very comfortable with His creation of time, to the extent that time is now a part of Who He is, what He is doing, and what He will do, going forward in time.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
Time. When did time begin? Well, as our text above says, time began in the beginning. The beginning of what? The creative acts of God.
But God is independent of time, as God is the creator of time. Yet we see God “from the beginning” also being somewhat subject to His created time, in that He is partaking of time in the affairs of men. This doesn’t mean that He is bound by time, just that He is a partaker of time. Whether this is ongoing for Him is up to speculation. But we should remember that He already knows everything that will occur from “the beginning” until, well, whenever He deems it to end – if, in fact, He does intend it to end.
As far as the universe goes – in relation to time – Einstein’s theory of relativity assigns the passage of time as clocks ticking at different speeds throughout the entirety of the universe due to many competing variables. While this is theory and subject to debate, we must acknowledge that Time is the Essence when it comes to God’s created triune universe of space, time, and matter.
“In the beginning [time] God created the heaven [space] and the earth [matter]” (Genesis 1:1).
The question we are ultimately seeking to answer in this article is whether time will always be with us, or is eternity’s human concept of “time standing still” or eternity “being in the now continually” our future. Essentially, will time cease to exist, or will time continue on through what we commonly identify as the Eternal Kingdom outlined in Revelation 21 and 22?
“In the beginning…”
When exactly was this? Was it when He began creating the earth and the universe we live in or was it in a time previous when He may have begun creating His heavenly throne? And when were the angels created?
While these questions are interesting, they are not in the scope of this article. As far as what is in the scope of this article, we will be defining and limiting “the beginning” to the created universe, the earth and sea, and all that is in them approximately 6,000 years ago.
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10).
Man, of course, was created on Day 6 of Creation Week, along with the animals of the earth (Genesis 1:25-27 and Genesis 2:7, 21-25).
Since then, man has only known the “time” that God had created for him. Even though the Bible indicates that the spirit and soul of men and women are eternal (Daniel 12:2-3, Matthew 25:46, etc.), we realize that from the day of our births up until our deaths, we will experience created time.
But will the experience of time end for humankind at the consummation of God’s glorious plans for His redeemed creation?
While we are not speculating to exactly when angels were created, we should be able to safely say that the heavenly host were created no later than the event God was alluding to when He was questioning Job:
“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7).
The angels were present when God “laid the cornerstone” of the earth. This does not, obviously, preclude them from being created at an earlier point in time but does negate any inference that they were created at any point after the laying of the cornerstone of the earth.
Note also that “all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Therefore, Satan’s rebellion must have happened later, as all that God created was “very good” on the Sixth Day (Genesis 1:31).
Job was believed to have been a contemporary of Abraham and would have lived some 4,000 plus years ago.
We get a glimpse into the heavenly abode of God when we read:
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them” (Job 1:6). (emphasis mine)
We see that in heaven, during the days of Job, there was a specific day “when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord.” This event happened on a particular day, showing created time within the heavenly abode.
Another day is recorded to have happened in the same way later on:
“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord” (Job 2:1). (emphasis mine)
The Prophet Daniel also gives us an indication that the heavenly abode of God and His angels are intrinsically linked to time:
“And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia” (Daniel 10:10-13). (emphasis mine)
Daniel was assured that “from the first day that [Daniel] didst set [his] heart to understand, and to chasten [himself] before [his] God, [that Daniel’s] words were heard” by God in heaven. There is most certainly an aspect to God’s dwelling place in heaven being in perfect alignment with time on earth. We see this theme of synchronized time between heaven and earth throughout Scripture.
Even though God is independent of the time He created, God, in heaven – in the presence of the angelic realm that He also created – prefers to carry out the plan of salvation for mankind within the bounds of His created time. This must be the case, as there needs to be a sequential order of events to fulfill all prophecy within His prophetic Word.
This is substantiated by Peter’s revelation of the holy angels as they too are very much enthralled with the plan of salvation, and this would necessarily have to be seen through the lens of passing time.
“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into“ (1 Peter 1:10-12). (emphasis mine)
When Satan is expelled from heaven, time will be his enemy:
“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him… Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time“ (Revelation 12:9, 12). (emphasis mine)
We see time – time and time again – in the sequential order of events in heaven during the Tribulation in the book of Revelation. From the order of the seal, trumpet, and vial judgments to “another angel… there followed another angel… and the third angel” (Revelation 14:6-9 and many other passages), we see time being displayed in “real time” and playing out in heaven and upon the earth simultaneously.
“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” (Revelation 8:1).
During the Tribulation, as we would expect due to the pouring out of God’s wrath on the earth in sequential order, we see time manifested as John sensed that the silence in heaven lasted about half an hour.
The ‘Eternal’ Kingdom
We often think of the Eternal Kingdom as a timeless eternity – a constant now, if you will. But is this really the case? What can we glean concerning time, or lack of it, during this final, everlasting Kingdom?
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away” (Revelation 21:1).
Notice that the Lord will create a “new heaven.” We should consider what the first heaven was for:
“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Genesis 1:14).
The New Jerusalem
“And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:23).
Even though the “city” – Holy Jerusalem – won’t have “need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it,” one can reasonably assume that a new sun and new moon will be present in the Eternal Kingdom. Our focus for coming to this conclusion is on the word “need” – for if the Holy Jerusalem has no “need” of the light from the sun and the moon, this would certainly merit the existence of a sun and a moon within the new heavens!
The Hebrew word for “need” is 5532 χρεία “chreia” which is a business-related term and means need, want, or necessity. [Definitions Biblehub.com]
Therefore, even though the sun and moon will exist in the new creation, for the Lord will “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5), their light will not be needed within the city of the New Jerusalem.
Additionally, the new earth will certainly have need of the new heavens in relation to the passing of time, just as the old heavens did:
“And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it [New Jerusalem]: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it” (Revelation 21:24-26).
“The kings of the earth [will] bring their glory and honour into [the city].” And even though the city will have no need of the sun and the moon, we can be sure the nations living outside of the city on the new earth will not only have need of the day/night cycle but will be exceedingly blessed by this perfectly balanced ecosystem in purity, holiness, and righteousness!
Note also the phrase, “the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.” This verse makes it abundantly clear that if the gates of the city will not be shut at all by day, then there must be a night on the new earth for everyone and every place outside of the city. It’s only the city that won’t see night because of the light of Christ.
Additionally, if the earth were to only be lighted by the light of day perpetually, then there wouldn’t be any reason to stress that the city will have no night.
This passing of time is made obvious to us when we read about the Tree of Life in the midst of the city:
“In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2). (emphasis mine)
Interestingly enough, we see the precursor of the Tree of Life in the Millennial Kingdom (Ezekiel 47:12). These trees, growing on the banks of the river emanating from the Millennial Temple, will produce fruit in their month, and their leaves are for medicine, just as the Tree of Life will be for the Eternal Kingdom.
Obviously, when it comes to the passing of time, days are calculated by one rotation of the earth upon her axis, and a month is calculated by the moon’s rotation around the earth. Since the Tree of Life will “bare twelve manner of fruits and yield her fruit every month,” we should be thoroughly convinced that a new moon and sun will be created when the Lord creates a new heaven and a new earth! After all, God’s creation in the beginning was perfect, just as His new creation will be at the end.
For confirmation of the passing of time in the original language, regarding the Tree of Life producing her fruit every month, the Greek word for “month” is 3376 μήν “mén” and means a month, a lunar month.
For more on this incredibly interesting topic concerning the Eternal Kingdom, those who will be living there, and what it may look like, please see my article, The Mystery of the Last Sheep.
The Hebrew word for “eternity” in our opening verse is 5703 עַד “ad” and means eternity, everlasting, old, perpetually, world without end.
The Greek word for “eternity” is 166 αἰώνιος “aiónios” and means eternal, forever, perpetual, everlasting.
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). (emphasis mine)
The Hebrew word translated “world” is 5769 עוֹלָם “olam” and means always, ancient time, any more, continuance, eternal, everlasting, long time.
Though God has put eternity into the heart of man (Ecclesiastes 3:11), I believe it is because mankind lives such a brief life in a corrupt world and in a fallen state that we have a difficult time understanding the relationship of time to eternity and the Eternal Kingdom. Because of this, I think we have generally missed what the Lord has prepared for us.
As we complete our study, I suppose that we can honestly and confidently affirm that created time will always be present in God’s creation – past, present, and future.
Just as mankind was created eternal, yet subject to created time, we will experience the passing of time in our glorious, eternal bodies the Lord has prepared for us in His magnificent Eternal Kingdom.
I don’t think that this should come as a surprise to us, as, again, when He finished His creation week approximately 6,000 years ago, our God and Savior’s Word proclaimed:
“… God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31a).
And, it will be “very good” again!
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).
What Eden was will be restored. What was “very good” will be even better!
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
“And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:1-5).
When I think of our time together with Christ in the Eternal Kingdom – as we conclude this article on time – I just want to shout: “I can’t wait!” But I have to wait because the time isn’t yet. But one day, when it is time, it will finally be here – and it will be glorious!!!
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
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