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Can God Tell Time?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by parousia70, May 11, 2002.

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  1. parousia70

    parousia70 Livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

    United States
    In Every scriptural instance that God put a time limit on a prophesys fulfillment, it was given and understood by how time relates to man and not how time relates to God. Every one, without fail, always.

    Even in the face of such unwaivering scriptural precident, there are still those who say that God's time statements are irrelevant, because God tells time different than man.

    Numbers 24:17 "I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.

    Of what value are the time indicators in the above passage of "not now" and "not near" if the value of "now" and "near" is to be streched into thousands of years?

    If "now" and "near" are to be interprated in polar opposite fashion of their literal meaning to mean "far" ie; thousands of years, then should "not near" and "not now" be likewise interprated exactly opposite to mean near, soon, or even immediatly?

    Can we trust God to do what He says He'll do, when He says He'll do it? or is the "when" of a prophesy irrelevant because of Gods timeless nature?

    Look how Jesus himself interprates "near"...
    Luke 21:8
    And He said: "Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time has drawn near.' Therefore do not go after them.

    In this passage, it is clear that Jesus is using the literal meaning of the term "near" when referring to the 2nd coming, and His interpratation is authoritative for me. Is it for you?

    Scripture unanimously supports the conclusion that the timing of the prophecy is just as important as the events of the prophecy.

    Think about that for a moment..........

    What purpose would it serve if God gave a specific prophecy of judgment to a wicked nation, telling them that He would fulfill it within a specific time frame, and warned those people of the coming judgment, if the time passages (and the whole prophecy itself for that matter) were actually for some other generation of people? What purpose would the warnings serve the nation to whom it was originally given? How would that nation interpret the character and nature of God? That is to say, how would those people view God if He swore that He would judge them at a certain time, and then He didn’t follow through with His judgment? What would they think of God? That He can’t be trusted? That He speaks empty words and threats? That He lied?

    If God is dishonest concerning when He would fulfill His word, how do we know He was honest concerning the doctrines of Grace? Or anything else for that matter? It’s simple. We don’t. So, again, this is much more than just a difference of interpretation. Our salvation depends on God keeping every aspect of His word. Including when He was to fulfill it.

    I am most interested in hearing from anyone who believes God's prophetic time statements are allegorical and not literal. Please provide scriptural support for such conclusions.

    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. ZoneChaos

    ZoneChaos Senior Veteran


    Many prophecies do not have a specific time associated with them, but rather just an order of progression.

    The Bible states that a day is as 1000 years, to God.

    This has been taken somewhat literally, since there are specific statement sin scripture that relate to numbers divisible by 1000, how ever, I also think this means that God is above or beyond the contraints of time as we knowit.

    The above verse gives no mention to when the events will ovccur, or how close together.

    The problem eith this reasoning is that "now" has no opposite. There is no reason to assume that "near" i equal to any specific given length of time. IN the ;length of mans own existance (eternal, spiritually) 2000 years is closeer than eternity...

    God can be trusted, albeit, through Faith. There is no reason to doubt prophecy that has not yet come to pass.

    Literal to whos standards? TO me, his literal use of the word "near" is relative.

    Specifically, using prophect in scripture.. that Judgement is for multiple generation.. all of mankind, past anf fututre.

    The same as it serves us today.

    Just because GOd has yet to do so, does not mean He will. MOre things must aoocur befoe judgement is rendered. Until they do, we can expect judgement to happen "soon".

    They would only have resaon to, once everything occured that was supposed to occur and yet, no judgement occured. They would have reason to doubt then.

    I do not beign on the presuppostion that GOd is dis-honest, and in conjuction with my relationship I have with God, I can say that I do know he was honest concerning His doctrine.

    I agree.

    Hmm.. I think they are niether actually. I do not think they are allegorical, but I do not think they can be "literal",becaus they do not state any specific dates.
  3. parousia70

    parousia70 Livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

    United States
    Zone, Lets apply that formula elswhere and see how it works....

    Luke 22:1
    Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover.

    Joh 6:4
    Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.

    Joh 11:55
    And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves.

    Basd on your assertion that "near" can not be literal in scripture because it does not provide specific dates, the above passages describing the event (passover) using the term "near" can not be taken literally. Is this truly your belief? that the passover described as "near" really wasn't?

    Another one is the term “about to be” .

    Matt 17:22
    Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men,

    Luke 9:44
    "Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men."

    Matt 20:22
    But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to Him, "We are able."

    Acts 21:37
    Then as Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the commander, "May I speak to you?" He replied, "Can you speak Greek?

    Acts 23:27
    This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them. Coming with the troops I rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman.

    Can “about to be” or “about to” possibly mean thousands of years in the above passages?
    Remember, as you said, no dates are mentioned.
    If not, then why dosen’t the same rule apply to this one:

    Acts 24:15
    having hope toward God, which they themselves also wait for, [that] there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous;

    Or what about this:
    Luke 22:58
    And after a little while another saw him and said, "You also are of them." But Peter said, "Man, I am not!"

    Acts 5:34
    Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while.

    John 13:33
    Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, 'Where I am going, you cannot come,' so now I say to you.

    John 14:19
    "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.

    Did thousands of years pass during the “little while” time periods described above? Or is the plain meaning of the term used? According to your stated hermeneutic, in none of the above verses can the term "little while" be taken literally because no dates were mentioned.

    But if "little while" above is literal, why isn't it in this?:

    Heb 10:37
    "For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.

    Zone, my guess is that it is your contention that time indicators such as the above examples are only to be taken in their plain, literal human sense when the subject is not the 2nd coming.

    If this is so, where does the Bible tell you to make this distinction?

    My contention is that whenever God uses a time description, it is given and is to be understood, by how time relates to man, not God.
    70 years = 70 human years
    40 years = 40 human years
    40 days & nights = 40 human days & nights
    7 days = 7 human days
    the 3rd day = the 3rd human day
    and soon = human soon, shortly = human shortly, near = human near, about to be = human about to be, etc, etc, etc......

    Scripture entirely supports my assertion, but I would welcome the opportunity to learn of your scriptural basis for ommitting only the "2nd coming" time constraints from a literal interpratation.
  4. Many futurists retreat to this verse when confronted with the time statements of Scripture. But is that what Peter had in mind? No! Peter is defended the promises of God and the timing there of against the scoffers of his day. They taunted Christians saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all thing continue as they were from the beginning (2 Peter 3:4). As long as the temple, priesthood, and animal sacrifices, were still there these scoffers could point to them and mock the first century saints.

    Peter says they (willfully) forgot that God promised to destroy the world of Noah's day, (and He did it!) Then Peter reminds them that God promised to destroy the heavens and earth (Old Covenant and the rulers) by fire in their day. It is at this juncture that Peter used the verses we are considering. See the context. He is defending the truth of God's word, especially the promises, against those who jeer and mock God's faithfulness.

    Peter ministers to the household of faith as he strengthens them. He says, if God promises to do a certain thing in a day, the promise is sure, and it will come on time. If God promises to do a certain thing in a thousand years, the promise is sure, and it will come on time. It makes no difference to God if the time is a day or a thousand years; He will be faithful, and He will be on time.

    The very next verse begins, "God is not slack concerning His promise.......(2 Peter 3:9a). Peters verse strengthens the sureness of the time statements in Scripture, not the opposite.

    God is above time and we all know that. God is timeless. God's years are endless; "from everlasting to everlasting thou art God (Psalms 90:2). Isaiah calls Jehovah "the Father of eternity" 9:6-9. However when God communicates to mankind He uses times frames that are within mans time.

    The time statements in the Bible were spoken to man to encourage or to warn man. For example when God spoke to Abraham and promised him, that he would have a son, "one years" latter Genesis 17:21 18:13-14 that promise was fulfilled by God, right on time 21:1-2.

    Another important example of how God used time words are in Numbers 24:17-18. Balaam the prophet made a prediction of Christ's coming: "I see him but not now, I behold him but not hear." Notice he said Christ's coming was NOT NEAR' IT WAS NOT AT HAND. Why did he say this? Because Christ's coming was over 1400 years ways and 1400 years is a long time! Here is a concrete example were God referred to a long time as just that.

    If God did not mean Time when he used time words what in the world did he mean? :scratch: Since man thinks in time God uses time statements. Do you see the problem with todays traditional teaching of men?

    The problem is real and has troubled honest Bible students for centuries. By the way please note the verse in (2 Peter 38) does not say one day (IS) a thousand years with the Lord. In verse 9 we find a "forgotten statement:" The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some count slowness, {NASV) The word translated "slow" (Greek "braduno") means just that.

    Peter's point is that if God sets a time for fulfillment he fulfills on time! He is not slow. God can tell time and know how to keep his promises on time! The writer of Proverbs correctly noted mankind's attitude toward waiting for fulfillment of promises. "Hope that is deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is the tree of life 13:12.
  5. davo

    davo Member

    P70, a good question, especially when one considers the following:

    Jonah 3:1-10 1Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2"Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you." 3So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. 4And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day's walk. Then he cried out and said, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" 5So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. 6Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. 7And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. 8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? 10Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

    Not only did they believe 40 days meant 40 days [and remember, this was THE word from God], they acted upon it. According to futurists logic -40 days could be 40,000 years :( , and seriously -who's going to hang around for that.

    Fortunately for the Ninevites they believed the "word" was for them and so responded to it. You see how futurists saying "Jesus is coming 'soon'" has become a means for scorn from non believers -and in fact keeps some from responding positively to God's "word" to them.

    Zone, do you believe God rested for 1000 years after spending 6000 years on creation?

  6. unworthyone

    unworthyone Yes this is me! Like my glasses?

    Oh geesh not another one. The bible is both literal and not literal. The differences are the ones between a "car" and an "automobile".
  7. davo

    davo Member

    Correct, and Biblical context and theme determine this :wave:

  8. Well not according to Jesus. In the events of judgement, and the great tribulation which Jesus predicted it would be summed up and fullifilled on the Jewish people in AD70. In Luke 21: Jesus said, "For these be the days of vengeance that all thing which are written may be fulfilled." Notice that He said "ALL"-not some. Everything concerning judgement which had been prophesied and not yet been fulfilled, would be fulfilled in those closing days of history on their Jewish nation.

    Out of twenty-nine different translations of the New Testament in my library, I am taking just several of the versions for this one verse from Luke 12:22, to indicate exacly what this verse does mean, as viewed by more than just one translator or group of translators.

    Gree Interlinear: "For days of avenging these are, that may be accomplished all things that have been written."

    Today's English Version: "For these are 'The Days of Punishment; to make come true all that the Scriptures say."

    Jesusalem Bible "For this is the time of vengeance when all that scripture says must be fulfilled."

    Pillips Modern English "For these are the days of vengeance, when all that the scripture have said will come true."

    New English Bible "because this is the time of retribution, when all that stands written is to be fulfilled."

    Revised Standart Version: "For these are days of vengenace, to fulfill all that is written."

    I could go on and on, but you can see the plain evident meaning of this verse. The Judgement of which Jesus spoke would happen upon the Jewish people and "ALL"that the Scriptures had ever foretold would happen to them.
  9. ZoneChaos

    ZoneChaos Senior Veteran

    Heh.. no, based on my "belief" it can be taken either way.

    Another one is the term “about to be” .

    It possibly could... which way makes more common-sense?

    I didn;t say they "couldn't". I didn;t limit the definition, I simply stated that it may be.

    A bit more than that... it isn;t to be taken literaly, when the subject is one that doe snot poermit the text ot be taken literally. All of that, of coarse is subjective, as dependant upon the readers interpretation, as well as context of scripture.

    Run with it then! ;) Just makes sure your interpretations do not contradict scripture..

    Scripture doe snot support or hinder any of our views.

    You can;t show me a scripture that states: percieve all used of the term "soon" to mean "human soon", any more than I can show you a verse to the contrary.
  10. GW

    GW Veteran

    Did I read ZoneChaos say "near" and "soon" can mean 1000 years? LOL.

    Please correct me if I got my wires crossed. The bible uses time statments in a literal, human sense.

    ZoneChaos has to ignore or allegorize all time statements in the bible to maintain his futurist presuppositions instead of letting the scriptures inform his views.

    Scriptures show no pattern using near and soon and at hand to mean extended hundreds or thousands of years. Never.

    Jesus and the apostles all cleary taught the second coming and the events leading up to it were for the apostles' generation. If Jesus did not return to them as he promised them then He is a verifiable false prophet.

  11. davo

    davo Member

    Hey GW, go figure :scratch:. Here are 2 scriptures that use the words "drawn near or at hand" -depending on your translation.

    1Pt 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.

    Jm 5:8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

    And for those who see "at hand" meaning thousands of years, here's one more scripture with exactly the same greek word and same grammatic tense.

    Mt 3:2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

    Seems like some folk are still waiting for the Kingdom???? And yet why would John preach this [and him being a prophet -and hopefully not false] if it meant nothing to his audience -strange logic hey. :p

  12. parousia70

    parousia70 Livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

    United States
    Great Point davo!

    it's like no one ever heard of 'audience relevance'

    well, I guess understand, for even though I knew the Bible had to have meaning and relevance to the original recievers of the letters, I was, for a long time, actually vain enough to believe the NT wasn't written to the original 1st century audience, but was written to me, 2000 years later! I know, ridiculous isn't it? But that is what I was taught to believe. Only when I began to set aside the teachings of men, step out of my 21st century Reeboks, and attempt to receive the scriptures as I were in 1st century sandals, did the truth of past fulfillment come alive!!

    God tells time correctly! I know, what a revelation that is!

    How amazing is it that when God say something is near, we can trust, with 100% confidence, that it really is "near", and when God says something is "far" we can take that to the bank as well!

    What an awesome savior we worship!
  13. davo

    davo Member

    G'day P70! you're right -we serve an awesomes Saviour :clap:

    What you said about audience relevance is so true. The trouble is some mistakenly then assume we're saying the bible therefore does not apply to us today -NOT SO!

    The same principle Paul applied to the Corithinians works for us today: the things written TO THEM work for OUR admonition 1Cor 10:11. We just go beyond the scriptures when we ignore the fulfilment of eschatology. Because Jesus fulfilled ALL the scriptures we have life in its fullness now. :clap:

  14. GW

    GW Veteran

    Great post Davo.

    We can continue to cite countless "at hand" "near" and "soon" statements from the N.T. and list them all out -- they always speak of reliable shortness of human time. But will futurists bow to the testimony of scripture?

    Futurists have to ignore these many statements in God's Holy Word just to maintain their own fabrication of the doctrine of end things. They do not teach what Jesus taught on end things. It's sad to see people who don't let the Bible inform their views but prefer their own myths to scripture.

    And not only does the bible say the events were at hand, it says they would ALL take place in their generation (Matt 24:33-34) and by the time of the fall of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20-22). Christ was to return before the apostles had all died (John 21:21-22; Matthew 16:27-28). The Thessalonians and Philipians would even be preserved in their human bodies unto that time (1 Thess 5:23; Phil 1:6,10).

    Well, never trust a man who is not willing to bow to God's Holy Word.

  15. Great post davo. Its good to know we have a God who cannot lie. The Bible is meant to change us we are not meant to changs the Bible to fit our traditional views. :(

  16. O no! What about these verses of scrriptre that state "at hand" to mean "human soon."?

    And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Son of Man, what is this proverb that you people have about the land of Israel, which says, 'The days are prolonged, and every vision fails"? "Tell them therefore, 'Thus says the Lord God; "I will lay this proverd to rest, and thay shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel."

    But say to them, "The days are at hand and the fulfillment of every vision. "For no more shall there be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. "For I am the Lord. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass it will no more be postponed; for your days, O rebellious house, I will say the word and perform it." says the Lord God.

    Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Son of man, look, the house of Israel is saying, 'The vision that he sees is for many days from now and he prophesies of times far off.' "Therefore say to them. 'Thus says the Lord God; "None of My words will be postponed any more, but the word which I speak will be done," Say the Lord God (Exekiel 12:22-28).

    Again God does not seem to agree with you here brother. And the inspired Apostle John speaking to the house of Israel does not agree with you either. (Rev. 22:10)
  17. unworthyone

    unworthyone Yes this is me! Like my glasses?

    You guys have been saying the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

    Look...We disagree!! Why don't you just type "bump" under the original threads?
  18. davo

    davo Member

    Hey unworthyone, she's kool mate :) -as long as people are asking questions it's polite to answer. Feel free to jump in any time with bibical answers to our unanswered questions.

  19. unworthyone

    unworthyone Yes this is me! Like my glasses?

    Nah...The preterists have already mentioned they aren't open minded.
  20. NumberOneSon

    NumberOneSon The poster formerly known as Acts6:5

    Heh, heh...having an "open mind" is required in order to believe preterist doctrine. Remember, all preterists were once futurists. If we weren't able to critique our own beliefs we would STILL be futurists. :)

    In Christ,

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