Satan Evicted: Time: God's Concept of Time

Time: God’s Concept of Time


Multi-Step Events Biblical Day Is Incalculable
Extended Time Periods  

Man’s concept of time does not match God’s. In some instances, a day represents one 360 degree rotation of the earth; in other instances, a day can represent a thousand year. Biblical scholars have frequently attempted to make sense of Biblical time; Charles Wesley predicted that the world would end in 1794 and William Miller predicted sometime in 1843 or 1844. We must approach biblical time cautiously, what is a wink of an eye in God’s mind may be a lifetime ours.

John 12:31-33: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” This he said, signifying what death he should die.

now: nun: adverb (a) of time: just now, even now; just at hand, immediately, (b) of logical connection: now then, (c) in commands and appeals: at this instant.1

John 12:31 is an interesting verse because it seems to claim two things took place at the time the verse was spoken:

  1. The world was judged.
  2. Satan was cast out of this world.

Yet, we know from 2 Corinthians 4:4 that Satan has not in fact been cast out and the judgment of this world will not physically take place until the latter days of the current age:

2 Corinthians 4:4: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Do these two scriptures contradict each other? Absolutely not! The problem lies not within the scriptures but within human logic and human perception of time. Let’s take a look at a similar passage:

John 19:30: When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished:” and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Was Jesus Christ’s work finished on the cross? Well, yes because he had completely the sacrificial offering, but no because there was still ample work ahead such as sending the Holy Spirit, advocating the plight of mankind before the throne, and redeeming planet Earth from the clutches of Satan.

Multi-Step Events

We need to understand that a single event may involve two or more steps. The first step occurs when the justification for the act is accomplished; the second step occurs when the act is physically completed. For example, evicting a renter from leased property takes at least three steps – giving notice, obtaining an eviction judgment, and then physically removing the tenet by the law enforcement. The process can take as little as twenty days and may take several months or even years. The giving notice and subsequent removal does not occur at the same moment.

We find similar multi-step events within the Bible. Jesus Christ gave notice to Satan when he resisted Satan’s temptation in the wilderness. He obtained an eviction judgment through his sacrifice on the cross, and he will physically remove Satan as the “god of this world” during his Second Advent. The entire process will take at least 1,985 years, possibly much, much longer.

Let’s take a look at another example of a multi-step event:

Revelation 11:15: And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.”

A plain reading of this verse would seem to indicate that Christ is taking possession of the earth at the very moment the seventh trumpet sounds; however, that is not the case. After the sounding, angels have six bowls of wrath to pour; then at the pouring of the seventh bowl, Jesus Christ will take the physical steps necessary to remove Satan and his crew – the final step of a twenty-one step process:

  1. Steps 1-6: During the breaking of the first six seals, the world will be placed on notice that the end of the age is quickly approaching– this giving notice will be accomplished by the three angels with the three messages (Rev. 14:1-12). Those who heed the warning and place their trust in God will be Raptured at the breaking of the sixth seal. Those who do not heed the warning will remain on earth and endure the plagues of the first six trumpets.
  2. Steps 7-13: The breaking of the seventh seal releases the seven angels with the seven trumpets. During the sounding of the first six trumpets, the world will be placed on notice that God is about to pour his wrath upon the planet – this serving of the eviction judgment will be accomplished by the two witnesses (Rev. 11:1-13). Those who heed the warning might survive God’s wrath and make it into the millennial age. Those who do not heed the warning will suffer the bowls of wrath that will be poured upon the earth.
  3. Steps 14-20: The sounding of the seventh trumpet releases the seven angels with the seven bowls of wrath. The pouring of the first six bowls of wrath warns the inhabitants of the earth that God’s judgment is upon them. Unfortunately, those who have not yet repented from their wickedness will not do so during these final hours (Rev. 16:11).
  4. Step 21: At the pouring of the seventh bowl of wrath, Jesus Christ will come in his glory with his angels and saints and forcibly evict Satan, the Antichrist, the false prophet, and all of their coconspirators.

When examining scripture that involves an event, we need to consider the number of steps involved in completing that event. Is it a single step process? Or, are there two or more steps? Far too often, biblical scholars interpret a multi-step event as a single step process. Failing to grasp the complexities involved, they make assumptions that lead to interpretation errors. This problem, I believe, is just one of the reasons there is such diversity among Christian beliefs.

Extended Time Periods

Some futurists, those who believe that most prophecies have yet to be fulfilled, love 2 Peter 3:8:

2 Peter 3:8: But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

They use this single verse to extrapolate the year of Jesus Christ’s Second Advent, for example:

It took God six days to create the earth.

The seventh day God rested (the Sabbath).

The millennial reign represents the seventh day or the Sabbath for the earth.

According to 2 Peter 3:8, one day equals a thousand years.

Jesus Christ will begin his millennial reign 6,000 years after Adam’s birth.

Adam was born in 4001 BC.

Therefore: the Second Advent of Jesus Christ will occur in the year 2001 AD.

Of course, this calculation is in error; the Second Advent of Jesus Christ did not occur in 2001. There are several variations of this argument with some excluding Jubilee years or using lunar rather than solar calendars. In any event, those who have calculated Christ’s Second Advent have, thus far, been inaccurate, and it tends to show the folly of attempting use human logic to calculate God’s timing.

A good example of how biblical timing does not parallel human logic can be found in Revelation 12:

Revelation 12:1-6: Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth.

Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born.

She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days. (NLT)

If we were to paraphrase the meaning of this passage, it might sound something like:

The woman with the crown of twelve stars on her head represents the nation of Israel. The red dragon, we are told in verse 9, is Satan. The son who was to rule all the nations is Jesus Christ, and he went and sat at the right hand of God after his resurrection. Israel, of course, ceased to exist as a nation after the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD – ethnic Jews were scattered (fled) among the nations (wilderness) where God sheltered a remnant against extinction (a place to care for her) until the end of the age (1,260 days).2

The state of Israel gained independence in 1948, and Israel recaptured Jerusalem during the six-day war in 1967. It would take a great deal of speculation to align the 1,260 days with either of these two dates… or any other dates in the foreseeable future. Yet, many scholars attempt to use numbers such as these to calculate future events.

Interestingly, this passage is a dual occurrence passage. A slightly different description of the event is also given in Revelation 12:13-17 with the 1,260 days converted to time, times, and half a time (3 ½ years). A number frequently used to calculate the seven year transition period between this age and the next.

What then does the 1,260 days represent? My best estimate is that the number represents a very long but specific period of time… Can we calculate when this regathering will occur? No, not really because only God the Father knows (Matthew 24:36) when the harvest of Christian believers is full (Romans 11:25).

A Biblical Day Is Incalculable

Many Bible scholars assert (X) must be true else God is a liar. Unfortunately, statements such as these ignore the nature of biblical scripture and of God’s timing. The exact meaning within biblical passages is difficult, if not impossible, to determine; this is especially true of time:

Zephaniah 1:18: Your silver and gold will not save you on that day of the LORD’s anger. For the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy. He will make a terrifying end of all the people on earth.

Is the “day of the Lord” a literal, twenty-four hour day? Unlikely. A biblical “day” can have various lengths:

Ezekiel 4:6: And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.

Numbers 14:34: After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.

2 Peter 3:8: But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Psalm 90:4: For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

A direct application of the “a biblical day is incalculable” can be found in the following verse:

Genesis 2:17: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Did Adam die the same day as he ate of the tree? Some claim that he died spiritually, that he was separated from God. However, that would be over simplifying the verse. We see from later verses that God continued to interact with mankind – he spoke directly to Cain (Genesis 4:6). Altogether Adam lived 930 years (Genesis 5:5) which is nearly one-thousand years…

Conclusion

Calculating biblical time is complex and speculative at best, impossible at worse. The scriptures give us a glimpse, but only a glimpse and we should be very cautious if any writer asserts that they have found the key or can prove that (X) is true.


1 “nun,” Strong’s Concordance: Biblos.com, ND. <http://concordances.org/greek/3568.htm> Nov. 13, 2011
2 See “THE AGES ON MAN: INTERLUDE: The Woman, Child, and Dragon” for an analysis of this passage.


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Calvin E. Roberts, Jr. — San Augustine, Texas 75972 — mail@satan-evicted.com