Can God Tell Time?
Tradition or Truth?
By Rick Jamieson
Many say God’s time, and our time, are somehow different. They forget that it is God who made our time. Gen 1:14 Because God is eternal, time has no power over him. If a work of God takes a day or a thousand years, it is the same to him. Psalms 90:4, 2Pet 3:8
We humans consider time to be important, and God is careful to use meaningful and understandable terms when he speaks of time. For example, God told Daniel he was going to destroy the “Holy people,” Dan 8:24, but it would not happen for “many days to come,” verse 26. This act of God took place about 490 years later. He used the Roman armies to accomplish his word. Rome destroyed the Jewish nation in the first century.
Jesus said he would come in the glory of the Father in their lifetime, with his angels and in his kingdom.
Mt 16:27-28 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
Since Jesus, the Christ, promised that some of their number would see him come, we must ask, Did they see him come?
Tradition says he did not return then and we are still looking for Jesus to return sometime in our future. If our traditions are true, then Jesus did not keep his promise to those people. Which is the truth, his promise or our traditions?
Both John the Baptist and Jesus preached “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt 3:21, 4:17 The apostle Paul taught that he was in the kingdom 1 Cor 14:33 Most Christians have no difficulty understanding that “at hand” means near. However, in 1 Peter 4:7 where it states “the end of all things is at hand,” and in James 5:8 where it states “the coming of the Lord is at hand,” and in Revelation 1:3 22:10 where it states the fulfillment of prophecy in Revelation is “at hand,” many try to change the meaning of “at hand” to say it cannot mean what it says! They try to place fulfillment in our future.
There are two Greek words translated as, at hand:
ἐγγίζω engizō (G1448) from (eggus); to make near, i.e. (reflexive) approach :- approach, be at hand, come (draw) near, be (come, draw) nigh. English Words used in KJV: draw nigh 12, be at hand 9, come nigh 8, come near 5, draw near 4, miscellaneous translations 5, [Total Count: 43]
ἐγγύς engys (G1451) from a primary verb agcho (to squeeze or throttle; akin to the base of (agkale)); near (literal or figurative, of place or time) :- from, at hand, near, nigh (at hand, unto), ready. English Words used in KJV: nigh 13, at hand 6, nigh at hand 4, near 4, from 1, nigh unto 1, ready 1, [Total Count: 30]
God is not the author of confusion. He did not give us words that change in definition.
Our tradition teaches Jesus’ second coming and the fulfillment of Revelation is still in our future. God said it was near to them in the first century. Which is true?