“Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things; the past is gone, the future is not come, and the present becomes the past even while we attempt to define it, and, like the flash of lightning, at once exists and expires.” – Charles Caleb Colton
My obsession with old clocks began in my late teens. Over the years, I’ve amassed a modest collection. It’s all a part of my lifelong fascination with our human perception of time. Have you ever wondered: “What is TIME?”
For the non-scientific, an acceptable answer to that question might be, “Time measures events and their duration from the past through the present and on into the future.” Clocks, calendars, seasons, days, months and years are all “devices” for measuring the passage of time. My inquiries on this subject have led me to one irrefutable conclusion: neither philosopher nor scientist has been able to fully answer the question, “What is time?”
Certainly we all have an inherent grasp on the abstract of time. From our mortal perspective, time measures our life experience. We are born at point A and we die at point B. The “interval” in-between A and B is our life-time.
So, it would appear that the flow of time is central to human experience. But does the flow of time truly exist, is it real or is time just an illusion; a social construct which allows us a degree of comprehension into what might otherwise be unfathomable?
And that brings me to Albert Einstein. He believed that existence is singular. For him it was always “now” with no real separation between the past and the future. In the mind of Albert Einstein, the past, present, and future all exist in parallel and any separation between them was nothing more than a convincing illusion.
“Time has no independent existence apart from the order of events by which we measure it.” – Albert Einstein
Really? Time is just an intricate illusion? Perhaps. We’ll leave the endless debates on that subject for the philosophers, scientists and physicists. But this much I do know to be true; the creative force of the universe, the spark, the bang – Almighty God – exists without beginning or end and every moment we experience – relative or absolute – is forever.
Okay, now let’s come back to where we all live. Here in modern Sodom, NOW is all we have – illusion or not. And, if we are in fact eternal beings (timeless) confined to living in the illusionary world of time, what happens when the dream ends?
For thousands of years people have attempted to predict the end of the world (and thus time as we know it). Aside from numerous past civilizations and their copious chronicles on this subject, the bible alone contains a plethora of inspired writings and prophecies that refer to the end. Should we take them seriously?
Jesus did. When he visited the earth he too spoke of the time of the end. Here is just one example,
21-22 “There is going to be a time of trouble on a scale beyond what the world has ever seen, or will see again. If these days of trouble were left to run their course, nobody would make it. But on account of God’s chosen people, the trouble will be cut short.” – Matthew 24:21-22
This text and dozens of similar biblical declarations warn of increasingly cataclysmic global events that will occur prior to a Divine intervention into our mortal affairs. When will this happen? I don’t know. No human being does. Anyone who claims with certainty to possess the knowledge of when the world (as we know it) will come to an end is either a liar or greatly deceived. Pay them no mind. When the Liberator Jesus was here on earth, he made it crystal clear: no one would ever know the exact time of His return. Here is what he said:
34 Then at last this age will come to its close. 35 “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words remain forever. 36 But no one knows the date and hour when the end will be””not even the angels. No, nor even God’s Son. Only the Father knows. 37-38 “The world will be at ease””banquets and parties and weddings””just as it was in Noah’s time before the sudden coming of the Flood; 39 people wouldn’t believe what was going to happen until the Flood actually arrived and took them all away. So shall my coming (His return) be. Matthew 24:34-38
So, we cannot know with certainty at what moment this illusion called time will end. But we can recognize when that day is drawing near. The ancient scriptures are peppered with clues. For instance, the biblical texts predict an increase in false liberators (people claiming to be our Savior or The One), an intensification of regional conflicts and one eventual final devastating world war. Famines, pandemics, droughts, wildfires and other natural disasters will steadily increase. These are all signs of the approaching end of time. Again, here is what Jesus had to say:
5 For many will come claiming to be the Savior and will lead many astray. 6 When you hear of wars beginning, this does not signal my return; these must come, but the end is not yet. 7 The nations and kingdoms of the earth will rise against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many places. 8 But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come. Matthew 24:5-8
It would be a mistake to interpret every earthquake, tsunami, tornado, and the numerous civil flare-ups as a sign that the end of time is here. These events merely foreshadow the final curtain. They are like the labor pains preceding a child birth.
“What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.” – Saint Augustine
Something else to consider. As we get closer to the end of the world there will be an unmistakable increase in spiritual, moral and social deception and degradation. The Newer Testament writer Paul warned of this nearly two millennia ago:
1-2 The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars. These liars have lied so well and for so long that they’ve lost their capacity for truth. (1 Timothy 4:1-2)
1-5 But you must realize that in the last days the times will be full of danger. Men will become utterly self-centered, greedy for money, full of big words. They will be proud and contemptuous, without any regard for what their parents taught them. They will be utterly lacking in gratitude, purity and normal human affections. They will be men of unscrupulous speech and have no control of themselves. They will be passionate and unprincipled, treacherous, self-willed and conceited, loving all the time what gives them pleasure instead of loving God. They will maintain a facade of “religion”, but their conduct will deny its validity. You must keep clear of people like this. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
So here we are living on spaceship earth, timeless beings restrained by the illusion of time, and witnessing what might possibly be the beginning of the end. That sounds a bit alarming. No worries. I have learned a thing or two about the ways of the Divine Spirit we call God. The Creator of all things specializes in new beginnings. The end of time will bring about the destruction of all that is wrong (evil). With the return of the liberator Jesus to the earth, a new age of righteous leadership over humanity will commence, and everything will be as right as rain.
For now, I would recommend a bit of self-examination. Are you prepared for the end of time and the sudden return of the Liberator Jesus? Even if we die before that day arrives, Jesus made it abundantly clear that only those who have followed the truth which he came to reveal will find their way back home. If you know Jesus, you know the way. Here is what the scripture has to say to all who are sitting on the fence right now,
7 The Holy Spirit says, “If you hear His voice today,” 8 do not let your hearts become hard as your early fathers did when they turned against me.
10 For this reason, I was angry with the people of that day. And I said to them, ‘They always think wrong thoughts. They have never understood what I have tried to do for them.’
12 Beware then of your own hearts, dear brothers, lest you find that they, too, are evil and unbelieving and are leading you away from the living God. 13 Speak to each other about these things every day while there is still time so that none of you will become hardened against God, being blinded by the glamor of sin.
15 But now is the time. Never forget the warning, “Today if you hear God’s voice speaking to you, do not harden your hearts against him …” (Hebrews 3:7-8, 10, 12-13, 15)
Now is the time. Eternity (timelessness if you still need the illusion) is the prize. Jesus is the way. These three things will never change. In the illusion of time, we’re on our way home. In the absence of time, we’re already there. Chew on that one!
God of all creation, before there was time you knew me by my name; you numbered all of my days and considered all of my ways. Before there was time you promised redemption was mine; this was always your plan for mankind and a liberator you sent to find all who were stranded in time. My hope is built on every promise made by my Liberator Jesus. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen.
Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, a popular Bible teacher and a rabbid Coastal Junkie ®
For additional information write to: Coastal Life Ministries, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656