Tag Archives: time

What Is Time?

Revelation 1:3: “… The time is at hand.”

The Biblical view of Time embraces the knowledge that Time is synonymous with Light, and, therefore, is a powerful and beautiful symbol of Christ, for Christ is Light.

When we come to the word time in Revelation 1:3, we should not go further in interpretation until we understand the system of time within the larger framework of the writing of the Book of Revelation and of the culture as a whole.  It will not do to skip over to Revelation 20 and speak of millennialism without first dealing with the underlying concept of time.[1]

The Book of Revelation shows Christ in His full, universal, transcendent exaltation, fulfilling His role of Light.  He is not only The Light of the World, but is also The Light of the Universe.  In fact, He is the very Light that proceeded forth from God, the Father of Lights, in the beginning, (Genesis 1:3), by which all things were created and through which all things consist and are united.  Now He is revealed as the Perfection of that Light, Urim ve Thummim, Light and Time. For a proper view of the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, we must see His relationship to time.

What is time?

Time is the signature of Light.  As God is Light, time is His written Name, but just as a name differs from a signature, so the Name of God is greater than the concept of time.[2]

Time is the impress of light upon the physical world.  Time is marked by the turning of the earth in relation to the heavenly lights, creating days and nights, seasons, months, and years. Through this impress of time, we have a likeness by which to speak of the power of God’s Name in the earth, both spiritual and natural.  As we can only speak of spiritual things through some kind of analogy with natural things, so it is the relationship of time to light that furnishes the analog for relating the Name of God to God Himself.

Time is the silent, invisible factor in every calculation that determines the ultimate outcome.

The final judgment of deeds is their result when multiplied by time.[3]  Every true vision of literal reality takes into account the effects of time.  Woe to the soul who lives only for ephemeral pleasures!  Woe to the generation that lives only for the present!  Woe to the nation that has no long-range policies!  The message of the Bible is that Man is an eternal being – one who must weigh every decision in the light of eternal time. Not only “Is it good for me,?” but “Is it good for the coming generations?”

“So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom,” Psalms 90:12.

[1] L. Hicks, “Time”, Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, (IDB) vol.4, (New York, Abingdon Press 1962), 642-9. “More than any other writings, the apocalyptic writings provide material on the concept of time.”

[2] W. F. Albright says that the high gods of ancient times may all be related through the concept of Light.  He gives the names from many cultures of [idol] gods that may be related to Semitic El.  The root meaning of the Indo-European words connect them with heaven through the concept of Light (From Stone Age to Christianity, Garden City, New York, Doubleday, 3rd edition, 1962).

[3] It is no accident that the term for multiplication is ‘times.’

“Wise Men” From the East

Matthew 2:1-12.

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”

Who were these “Wise Men from the East”? The Greek word here is from magos, defined as “an Oriental scientist; by implication, a magician: – sorcerer, wise man. [1]

In historical context of the times, however, they were not “Oriental scientists,” nor magicians, but rather the ‘sages’ from the Jewish colony in Babylon, about 500 miles east of Jerusalem. There was still a strong colony of Jews in Babylon dating from the captivity when Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem and Judea in 605 BC. Although, after seventy years, a remnant of them had returned to Palestine, the majority of them remained in Babylon and prospered as international merchants, even in the successive empires that ruled this area.

‘Sages’ Were Wise Men

These were not astrologers, enchanters, practicing astrology, magic and witchcraft as did the Babylonian magos. Certainly not. These were astronomers, having the wisdom of the movements of the heavenly bodies for the purpose of telling time and location. When God created the lights of the heavens, Genesis 1:14-15, they were for the purpose of giving light upon the earth, to divide the day from the night and for signs of seasons, and for days, and for years. God gave the knowledge of these movements to Adam and they were passed down through the generations to the priestly class. This was astronomy, the farthest thing from astrology.

In Babylon, the Jews considered their ‘sages’ to be ‘wise men,’ but not astrologers. These ‘sages’ were the Biblical scholars, or intelligentsia, of their colony. They knew the priestly lore of the time-telling heavens, for determining the times by reference to the stars was one of the duties of the Hebrew priesthood. By reference to the stars, they were to announce the Sabbaths, New Moons, (months), the times for the feasts, and the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. They would then have been able to determine which astronomical events would mark the time foretold for the birth of the Messiah. Thus, they would have recognized the “star” that announced this event. They were expecting it.

These particular ‘wise men’ probably were sincere in their desire to worship the new-born Messiah, Matthew 2:2, 11. They were truly guided by their knowledge of the Scriptures and of the stars and had the spiritual insight to hear and obey the warning of God, (vs. 12). They were, therefore, among the first Jewish converts to Christianity and bore a powerful witness to the deity of Jesus Christ. The very heavens had  declared it unto them, (Psalm 19:1-4). When they returned to Babylon, they would have announced the “Good News” that the Messiah had indeed been born in Bethlehem of Judea, as foretold by the Prophets, and announced by the time-telling heavens.

This scenario would have been much more in keeping with the Biblical record than to think that these ‘wise men’ were “Oriental scientists or magicians”. These men were aware of the message from the stars that the time had come and their Messiah had been born. Matthew 2:10: “And when they saw the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.”

[1] Strong’s #3097.

Revelation: Greek ‘Apocalypse’ – The Veils Removed


The Greek title of the Book of Revelation is referred to as “The Apocalypse.” The prefix apo- means “from, away from.” The root of the word Apocalypse is kalu, meaning “a veil or covering.” The suffix -psis denotes action or process. Apocalypse therefore means, “the action or process of taking away the veil.”

This Greek word may also be translated as “the unveiling, uncovering, manifestation, appearing, or coming.” So the “Revelation of Jesus Christ” refers to His unveiling, uncovering, manifestation, appearing, and/or coming.

The Veils of the Old Testament

For the Biblical context we should consider the significant veils described in the Old Testament:

  • (1) the veil of mortality,
  • (2) the veil of separation,
  • (3) the veil of the Law, and
  • (4) the veil of the Heavens.

(1) The veil of mortality is unredeemed Flesh. This veil became necessary when Adam and Eve sinned and became subject to death, separation from God. It was the veil of death. God clothed them; that is, He put a veil between Him and their sinful Flesh, Genesis 3.21.

Christ removed this veil of flesh, Hebrews 10:19-20: “Having therefore boldness, brethren, to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.” See also I Corinthians 15:54.

Isaiah saw this veil as the veil of death, mortality, that kept the whole world from seeing the full Light of God, Isaiah 25.7-8: “And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.”

Isaiah’s prophecy of the removal of the veil of death is referred to in I Corinthians 15:53-57 and also Revelation 21:4.

(2) Another veil of separation was in the Holy of Holies in the Temple where God chose to dwell with His people. Even the Priesthood could only enter this sacred area with the absolute perfection of the requirements of the sacrificial blood, foreshadowing the blood of Christ. Christ accomplished the removal of this veil: Matthew 27.51. Christ provided access through Himself to this most Holy place: Hebrews 9.1-12.

(3) The veil of the Law. The Pharisees pretended a high reverence for the Law, but Christ taught that the Law was only necessary because of disobedience. God’s will was that the Law should be written in the hearts of Mankind by the very Breath/Spirit of God. The external ritual code of the Law often blinded people to the need for the inner obedience from the heart. The story of Moses’ face to face confrontation with God furnishes an example that beholding and partaking of the glory of God is the essence of the Law of God. The original law was for Mankind to be in God’s image, to know Him and to be in His likeness, Exodus 34:33; II Corinthians 3:13-18.

(4) The veil of the Heavens is described in Psalm 104:2 as a curtain that veils the full Light of God. It is God’s garment, Psalm 104:2. The starry heavens, or what we might call ‘the sky’, declares the glory of God and was created for the purpose of orientation in time and space for Mankind, Genesis 1.14-15. The sun, moon, stars and planets were not just randomly sprinkled but formed definite and readable patterns. Moses was instructed to make all things according to the “Pattern,” Exodus 25:40; Numbers 8:4; Hebrews 8:5.

The veil of the heavens was opened to the prophets as in Ezekiel 1.1. In the New Testament the Heavens were opened to John the Baptist, Mark 1:10; Stephen, Acts 7:56; Peter, Acts 10:11; and John the Revelator, Revelation 4:1. The Book of Revelation concerns the visions given to John in which the veil of the Heavens was opened again to prophetic view.

The Book of Revelation shows how all of these veils were removed by Jesus Christ.

For more discussion and referents on the Greek word Apocalypse see my book Revelation in Context, pages 63-70, available at www.Amazon.com or www.XulonPress.com or locally at Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Free downloads are available at www.revelationincontext.sermon.net