The subject of time is vast and is worthy of many books. Too many books bogs most readers down so they may miss the basics. Time as we know it is a created entity, brought into being by God along with the rest of the created universe. God existed as a "timeless" or "timeful" entity before Genesis 1:1 but time was "undefined" in the scientific sense. Furthermore, the entrance of evil into the otherwise pristine universe altered the nature of time as we perceive it. To get started, see The Uniqueness of Creation Week.
Suppose 5% of Americans now living possess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? This fraction equals approximately 1.5 million individuals will go home to live forever with Jesus when they die. Suppose the average American following Jesus lives 100 years, then 150,000 American Christians will go home today. The present total world population numbers about 7.5 billion. Assuming 1% are “saved” this equates to 750 million persons. If the average lived 100 years 7.5 million Christian individuals leave earth every day and time travel to the first phase of the Second Advent of Jesus, the event called “the Rapture.” The number of people being born daily, and the death rate can be seen in two clocks found at
We are so accustomed to thinking only in terms of linear (historical) time, we are stretched when we stop to contemplate eternity. A summary of the nature of Time and Eternity is a good place to gain an overview of time. The subjective quality of Time is important to us as well. History itself, while seeming to flow from past, to present, to future, is marked by kairos and chronos, times and seasons.
The familiar material world we live in now is embedded in a much greater multidimensional cosmos not easily studied by science. But God is able to teach inquiring minds much about the unseen realm which is consistent with the observable universe--because God is both rational and orderly. The prophet Isaiah records this.
“I am the Lord, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me,
That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
That there is none besides Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity;
I, the Lord, do all these things.’
“Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together.
I, the Lord, have created it.
“Woe to him who strives with his Maker!
Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth!
Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’?
Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What are you begetting?’
Or to the woman, ‘What have you brought forth?’ ”
Thus says the Lord,
The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:
“Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons;
And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.
I have made the earth,
And created man on it.
I—My hands—stretched out the heavens,
And all their host I have commanded...”
“Eternity” is not the absence of time, a kind of suspended animation of being “frozen” forever. Only God enjoys unending time whether past, present, and future are all panoramic “now.”
“For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
‘I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’” (Isaiah 57:15)
Time Flow in Physics
When any person “dies” physically the person (soul and spirit) exits earth time and “instantly” time travels to the next scheduled event in the unseen realm. In thinking about this, forget for a moment our usual understanding of time. Events in the spiritual realm are not simultaneous with events in history for a time traveler. In linear time as understood by an observer trapped on earth, the Rapture and The Judgment Seat of Christ are understand as ~1007 years apart. A non believer, upon dying, does not enter limbo, a waiting room and stay there for the interval in history between his physical death and the Last Judgment. The physical body is what locks us into earth time. At death we (soul and spirit) shed the body and time travel to our next appointment. The destination we time travel to is different, of course, depending on whether we know Jesus or not. New bodies of one kind or another are already waiting us at our final destination. Concepts such as limbo, purgatory, an intermediate-state body, soul-sleep, waiting rooms, holding pens, or long delays in transit come about because we don't avail ourselves of revelation from God concerning the unseen realm.
Jesus said to the thief on the Cross “this day you will be with me in Paradise.” The forgiven thief was immediately there at the destination, along with Jesus, as soon as he died.
In the account of the rich man and Lazarus we see the two communicating back and forth across a great barrier between them. Both are conscious and aware of where they are.
“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
“Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ” (Luke 16:19-31)
John the Apostle was given the entire book of Revelation in a vision on a Sunday, while he was a prisoner on the isle of Patmos. How long was he in prison? How many days, months did it take for John to write it all down, some 800+ verses? His imprisonment under Nero happened about 95 AD, apparently. He is thought to have died at Ephesus about 100 AD when he was perhaps 94 years old. He was the youngest disciple of Jesus and the only one to die a natural death.
It is believed he wrote the Gospel of John and three epistles (also late in life) in addition to authoring the Book of the Revelation.
Revelation Chapter One is a vision from God to Jesus to John for distribution to existing churches in Asia Minor (and to us). This vision is outside of our time frame (which is ordinary linear, historical, calendar time).
Chapters 2 and 3 are letters to seven churches extant in John’s day and yet highly relevant for the past 2000 years till now. There is no need to take this book as merely symbolic or allegorical! A major time discontinuity occurs at Chapter 4:1 signaled by the Greek words meta tauta (“after these things.”)
When did the transfer of the title deed to earth actually get transferred from the throne of the Father to Jesus the “lamb that was slain”? John was probably not in earth-time when he was invited into the throne room of God. Therefore the throne room activities John observed may not have yet been mirrored into earth time. If this event is yet future, a logical guess might be to align Revelation 4-5 as synchronous with the Rapture. But are these momentous happenings in the unseen realm reflected in an actual earth-time ripple, such as gap between the Rapture event and the commencement of the Seventieth Week of Daniel?
Is there a measured earth-time interval during which the sequence of events in heaven as depicted in the book unfolds? How is time on earth impacted by events taking place in “eternity” outside of earth time?
Revelation 6-22 is episodic—with internal time warps. Observers on earth will experience cascades of judgments that are time-compounded rather than strictly sequential. Others may see a different sequence of event in time and in eternity. My notes are tentative and by no means the last word. I hope to be provocative here. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Central Vision (Chapter 1)
The Seven Churches (Chapters 2, 3)
Supreme Headquarters (Chapter 4)
Title Deed of Earth transferred to Jesus (Chapter 5)
The Six Seals (Chapter 6)
(Cascades In Fourths)
The Four Horsemen (Seals 1-4)
Many Martyrs (Seal 5)
A Great Earthquake (Seal 6)
Pause (Chapter 7)
144,000 Jewish Evangelists called into action.
Many converts! All martyred.
Judgments Restrained for a Season
The Seventh Seal (Chapter 8)
A Great Silence in Heaven
A Flood of Answered Prayer
Move back in time at the Seventh Seal to the First Trumpet
The First Trumpet (8:6)
A Falling star
The Six Trumpets (Chapter 9)
(Cascades in Thirds)
First Trumpet: vegetation on earth struck.
Second Trumpet: Seas turned to blood.
Third Trumpet: Water pollution by Wormwood.
Fourth Trumpet: Sun, Moon and Stars struck.
Fifth Trumpet: Demonic Invasion from the Abyss.
Sixth Trumpet: Great army from the East unloosed.
Pause (Chapters 10, 11, 12)
Pillar of Fire Angel visits (Chapter 10)
The Seven Thunders (10) (not disclosed)
The “Little Scroll” is given to John (Chapter 10)
The Altar in the Temple is Measured (Chapter 11)
Two Witnesses (Moses and Elijah?) appear in the Temple In Jerusalem (Chapter 11)
The Seventh Trumpet (11:15)
Coming Kingdom of Jesus is announced and heralded.
Israel: The Woman Clothed with the Sun (Chapter 12)
The Two Beasts Rise to Prominence (Chapter 13)
The Beast from the Sea of Nations (Chapter 13:1-10)
The Beast from the Land, (Chapter 13:11-18)
Rendezvous of the Evangelists on Mt. Zion, Jerusalem, with Jesus (Chapter 14)
Proclamations by Three Angels (Chapter 14:6-13)
Reaping of Earth’s Harvests (Chapter 14:14-20)
Seven Last Plagues (Chapter 15:1-8)
Move back in time at the Seventh trumpet to the First Bowl of Wrath
Seven Bowls of Wrath (15-16)
The First Bowl: Loathsome Sores.
The Second Bowl: Sea turned to blood.
The Third Bowl: Fresh waters turned to blood.
The Fourth Bowl: Sun flares up, scorching men.
The Fifth Bowl: Thick darkness falls.
The Sixth Bowl: The River Euphrates dries up, armies liberated.
The Seventh Bowl: Another devastating earthquake.
(No pause between Bowls 6 and 7)
The Great Harlot. All False Religion Judged. All Corrupt Commerce Judged.
The Social infrastructure of Society Judged. (Chapters 17-18)
The Second Advent of Jesus Christ with his saints. (Chapter 19)
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16)
The Millennium with Satan bound (Chapter 20)
The Great White Throne Judgment (Chapter 20:11-15)
New Jerusalem descends (Chapter 21)
The New Heavens and New Earth (Chapters 21, 22)
For an observer on earth who is living in an unredeemed body, the time frame he perceives will be linear, historic time. Those living on earth will be greatly discomfited because Jesus will be using all possible attention-getting interventions in their lives! Most of the huge number (many millions probably) who do turn to Jesus during these short 7 years will be hunted down and killed by the evil one-world government.
For the redeemed living in New Jerusalem, time will be multidimensional with an overall sense of direction flowing from past to present to future. We all experience life as happening in time with sequential events taking place.
“With the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.”
Observers on earth will record the following events:
1. The Rapture of the Church
2. A Gap of unknown duration before the 70th week of Daniel commences
3. Disasters on Earth for 3.5 years
4. Rise of world dictator
5. Two prophets of God broadcast from the Temple Mount
6. Escalation of violence world wide
7. Rise of a one-world tyrannical leader
8. Final fake messiah appears and final fake religion deceive many.
9. Autocratic economic and political controls set in.
7. Final world war and second advent of Jesus.
8. Millennium rule of Jesus over the nations from Jerusalem.
9. Apparent new universe brought into existence. Some will be excluded.
There are separate time threads for earth dwellers (whose perspective remains naturalistic), spanning 1007 years of history from the Rapture to the end of the Millennium. Contrast the multiple time lines transpiring in heaven for followers of Jesus.
Most commentators fail to realize that experiential time in heaven is many-faceted and not strictly delineated with the more rigid flow of time on earth as experienced by outsiders to the family of Jesus. Christians are enabled to commence living in the eternal, heavenly sphere of reality here and when they become followers of Christ--not merely when they die. To see this, pay attention to verb tenses in the New Testament! The full experience of heaven is delayed until one get his or her final new body.
The Bible depicts salvation as complete and instantaneous when one first believes even thought experiential salvation often takes years to realize and to experience. Jesus said, “The thief came only to kill and to destroy. I came that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Many more details about the end of the age we live in are found in the Old Testament. The time of the end for us gentile-world nations will be marked by God turning His attention to the tiny nation of Israel. He will fulfill all His promises to them as a new age dawns on earth. Jesus Himself will reign over all the nations (as King of kings)—from Israel.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31)
Prophecy Teaching by Ray Stedman
Connecting the Dots, by Ron Graf and Lambert Dolphin
Themes of Prophecy by Lambert Dolphin
Charts by Bryce Self (firstname.lastname@example.org) November 2006
February 2, 2019
Other Prophecy Links
The Book of Ezekiel, http://ldolphin.org/ezekiel/index.html
Daniel, Ezra, Haggai, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Esther, Malachi, the 400 silent years: http://ldolphin.org/daniel/
A current series in 2005: http://ldolphin.org/cleanpages/index.html
1. Thy Kingdom Come by Ron Graff and LD, Introduction to Bible Prophecy, http://www.ldolphin.org/kingdom/index.html
2. Themes of Bible Prophecy, Ray Stedman, http://ldolphin.org/rayprophecy.html
3. The Olivet Discourse, by Ray Stedman,"What on Earth is Happening" http://raystedman.org/olivet/
4. The Thessalonian Letters, by Ray Stedman, "Waiting for the Second Coming" http://raystedman.org/thessalonians/.
5. The Book of the Revelation, by Ray Stedman, "God's Final Word, http://raystedman.org/revelation/
Time in Heaven
Visiting the Past
Time During the Time of the End
Time and Eternity
Time's Arrow in Physics
Patterns in Time
The Quality of Time
Atomic Time and Dynamic Time
Seasons of Time
How Old is the Universe?
The Uniqueness of Creation Week
Times of Stress
February 2, 2019