Idiot Test Revisited

In February this year I posted Idiot Test #1, to prompt people to think about how shallow and useless complaining proves to be. People tend to think that making a verbal complaint to someone of no authority actually accounts for something, when it is quite ineffective. I was piqued by seeing this in action and so I created the Idiot Test.

If you missed the test you can go back and try it at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/idiot-test-1

The following comments were written in response to questions about why I created the test. They will prompt you to think again about the issues involved. The Idiocy that I am illuminating in the Idiot Test is that of our defeatist mindset.

The test was a throw-together job, so I don’t expect it to stand up to the highest scrutiny from Research Companies or social philosophers. It is a tease, to cause people to at least recognise that if they feel upset about things but are locked in ‘inactivity’ they are not in a good place.

There are many places to go from that starting point, but I am afraid many people will never get onto the starting block. Along the way I will come across some people who are being proactive and finding God’s wisdom about what to do and how to change things, and who will have the personal preparation to be able to be God’s man on the job.

One chap became concerned that a major department store was selling pornographic magazines and so he took action. He went into a store and had his young daughter take a copy of one of the magazines to the counter and pay for it. The chap photographed the exchange and kept the receipt.

He then wrote to the company, which had a policy that these restricted items would only be sold to people over 18 years, and pointed out that the very fact that they stocked these items meant the event which he had photographed could easily be repeated multiple times.

The national company immediately withdrew all their pornography from their stores.

What made that man stand apart from others was that he did not see himself as powerless. He was concerned and prayerfully considered what he might be able to do. Then he went ahead and did it.

He did not need a placard-waving mob to picket the stores. His actions were private and non-sensational, but wonderfully effective.

It has been said that we are responsible for our own ignorance. We achieve our ignorance mostly by blind acceptance of the messages which we are fed on a daily basis.

The devil finds ways to tell us that Christianity and faith are meaningless and irrelevant in the real world. He doesn’t want us standing on God’s Word and being effective.

Those who control our society find ways to tell us that we must comply with every directive or we will be hit with the full force of the law and publicly shamed on the media. They don’t want us exercising our God-given authority and right to question them.

Banks tell us that a few percent is the best return we can get for our money. They want to keep up their record-breaking profits.

Marketers tell us their product is the best on the market. They want us to buy whatever they have, whether it is what we need or not.

Governments tell us there is nothing they can do but go down their chosen path. They want us to lie down and let them do whatever their political agenda directs.

Experts tell us all manner of things. They want us to depend on them and not question the validity of their opinions.

Then the popular media tells us what morals we should have, what goods we should own, what lifestyle we should aspire to and so on.

These are the voices I refer to in my posts about the “Right To Speak” – Check those posts out on my blog:

http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/the-right-to-speak

http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/logophile-on-jurisdiction

http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/no-jurisdiction

The questions you need to settle are: Who are you, really? Who has the right to tell you who you are? What are you doing on planet earth? What has God put you here for? If God has a plan for you then how does who you are fit in with what God wants you to do? If God is your authority then what are the bounds of your personal influence and effectiveness? What are the lies which you have been indoctrinated with since birth which blind you to who you are, the power you have and the destiny which God has called you to fulfil?

In what ways are you abandoning your divine destiny by living for self, loving the world, being conformed to the messages which the world (including the religious world) sends you, and not bothering to do anything about it?

If you are actually living under some delusions and enslavements that stop you being who God created you to be, does that bother you? Are you prepared to live for God if your culture and church friends object? Do you belong to God, yourself or your culture?

Oh, and Where does your truth come from? Do you stand wholeheartedly on what the Bible actually says? Or do you filter everything through human reasoning, on the basis of what seems to make best sense to you? Or do you let experts, unbelievers and ungodly people influence your perception of what is true? Remember Psalm 1:1 refers to “the counsel of the ungodly”. James 3:15 describes human wisdom as devilish.

Now, somewhere in those questions is a journey. But most of us don’t want a journey, we want a comfortable destination. So we settle, like Christian climbing the mount of Difficulty, on some shady spot where we feel pretty good.

Interestingly, Jacob described his life as a journey, a “pilgrimage”, meaning that he never actually “arrived”.

“And Jacob said to Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” Genesis 47:9

That’s why the writer to the Hebrews could speak of the Patriarchs as being ‘pilgrims’.

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:13-16

Life is a ‘pilgrimage’, as we travel on assignment from God.

But most of us want to settle down, into some comfortable niche where we can serve ourselves, find a church that suits us, a job that suits us, a reality that suits us, a calling that suits us, and so on.

And then people settle back to complaining about the things that don’t suit them, but being powerless to do anything about it, because they have lost contact with the God who called them to a powerful life.

Our effectiveness comes from finding ourselves in God’s plan, with His power and wisdom at our disposal, because we have determined to be a person who fulfils divine destiny, despite how much that upsets our comfort zone.

If we have not come to that place then we will fit in with the demands of others. We may wave placards, get on our soap box at work, write letters of complaint and so on, with some effect. But we will be missing the true and more powerful impact we can have.

However, being more powerful than the general community means we need to go a little further than the local community, in our study of God’s Word, our education about what is really going on, our understanding of who God created us to be, and so on.

Myths and Gods

Suggestion that the Bible book of Genesis is simply a reworking of pre-existing Assyrian myths is latched onto by those who wish to reject the claims of the true and living God. Babylonian mythology creates an effective smoke-screen for those who wish to hide from reality.

So it is valuable to review the ideas presented in the ancient Assyrian stories which supposedly led to the Bible history.

Rejecting God and Embracing Myths

It should be noted at the outset that once a person has rejected the revelation of our creator God they have no alternative but to discredit all historical evidence for His existence. The physical creation has to be explained in naturalistic terms, as science asserts it has done through evolution. And the historical accounts of God’s actions in the earth, such as creation and judgement (including the global flood), must be explained away as mere man-made stories.

When people reject God they must retreat into the woodlands of mythology. They have to create a mythology about how the world came to be. And they must turn historical evidence into mythological writings. When people reject God they become enmeshed in mythology.

A popular academic and philosophical myth is that religion has evolved, in the same way people believe biology and society have evolved. Thus we can find such statements as the following assertion. “Man’s earliest prereligious fear of the forces of nature gradually became religious as nature became personalized, spiritized, and eventually deified in human consciousness. Religion of a primitive type was therefore a natural biologic consequence of the psychologic inertia of evolving animal minds after such minds had once entertained concepts of the supernatural.”

Where such ideas fall apart is that the religious evolutionary path is nowhere to be found. Polytheistic ideas have existed alongside monotheism from earliest records. Rather than religion evolving it is divided. The true revelation of the Living God on one hand, and deception on the other, lead to different streams of religious thought.

Polytheism

Polytheism is evident in the ancient Assyrian culture. The myths which are supposed to have informed the Bible writers are riddled with inglorious deities fighting, taking revenge, competing and killing each other.

The Gilgamesh Epic, Epic of Atrahasis and Enuma Elish are stories about capricious and evil gods who kill their own family members, indulge in gratuitous violence, display intolerance, know nothing of forgiveness, gain prominence by domination and despise humanity.

Yet, for all the Assyrians apparent reverence for the gods, they treated those gods with contempt. Different cities repackaged their versions of these stories, identifying their own favourite deity as the hero. For example, Babylon changed the hero to Marduk, since he was the deity who supposedly established their city. By so doing, the Babylonians reveal that the previously honoured deity had no real worth, since he or she could be so easily displaced.

The stories, then, become nothing more than PR material, with nothing more than human value, to validate one people over another. This is a very shallow form of pantheism, where gods are multiplied and their reality is demeaned by the whim of man.

Note that Greek mythology displays this same callow polytheism, where temples are multiplied to multiple deities, but no-one expects the gods to have any real part in the affairs of men. Those gods are blighted with human foibles and demeaned as having no moral superiority to man.

Hindu polytheism similarly allows devotees to accommodate a multiplicity of values, since there is a deity for just about all the good and evil of the human heart.

There is no moral substance to the gods in such cases. There is no divine imperative. There is no fear of God.

Morality

The Assyrian gods of their creation and flood myths have no moral standard. Hatred, murder, violence, revenge, despisement, dominance and the like are their displayed characteristics.

A striking contrast between the ancient Assyrian concept of deity and the Bible’s revelation of the one true God is the issue of morality. Almighty God is an exquisitely moral being. He is described as being “holy”, which carries with it the idea of being so perfect that He will never veer off course by the slightest degree. Thus, in four thousand years of Biblical history and two thousand subsequent years of the Church Age our Creator God has not changed, nor violated His character. He is supremely and uniquely consistent.

God not only displays personal morality, but He holds all of humanity accountable against His own moral being.

The Assyrians were led to see themselves as a despised and menial creation, subject to the vagaries of unstable heavens, where deities may make war on one another and have modelled the most shameless evils. There is no moral accountability in such a world. There is no reason for any human to act above the basest instincts which were demonstrated by the gods.

The Place of Man

Another striking contrast between the Assyrian polytheistic myths and the revelation of creation given to us in the Bible is the place of mankind. According to the ancient creation myths mankind was made to serve the gods. The gods wanted worship and food. Mankind was to have the menial task of placating the appetite of the gods.

Various notions of how man was created are seen, involving the blood of a murdered god, or, alternatively, the spittle of many gods, mixed with clay.

We also find that the gods objected to the noise made by the human population, and so it was decided to wipe them all out. This capricious act was foiled when one of the gods warned someone to make a boat and escape destruction.

The Bible account not only gives noble place to God, but grants high and holy place to mankind as well. Man is made in God’s image, to receive blessings from God. God makes multiple gifts to mankind, to give him every advantage.

The decline of humankind is not in any way brought upon them by God, but by their own failure to be moral beings. The global flood of judgement is precipitated by the fact that mankind had become excessively evil in deed and in their imaginations.

Here again the distinctions between the Book of Genesis and the Assyrian myths is startling.

Expert Opinions

Dr Clifford Wilson quotes from experts who have reviewed the ideas of links between Genesis and the Assyrian myths. I take the following from Dr Wilson’s notes.

English Professor Alan Millard was one of two scholars who re-discovered the Babylonian Epic of Atrahasis.  He stated in his survey in The Tyndale Biblical Archaeology Lecture for 1966: “All who suspect or suggest borrowing by the Hebrews are compelled to admit large-scale revision, alteration, and re-interpretation in a fashion which cannot be substantiated for any other composition from the ancient Near East or in any other Hebrew writing … Careful comparison of ancient texts and literary methods is the only way to the understanding of the early chapters of Genesis ….. so the Epic of Atrahasis adds to knowledge of parallel Babylonian traditions, and of their literary form.  All speculation apart, it underlines the uniqueness of the Hebrew primeval history in the form in which it now exists.”

Professor Kenneth Kitchen is also quoted by Dr Wilson: “The common assumption that the Hebrew account is simply a purged and simplified version of the Babylonian legend (applied also to the Flood stories) is fallacious on methodological grounds.  In the Ancient Near East, the rule is that simple accounts or traditions may give rise (by accretion and embellishment) to elaborate legends, but not vice versa.”

No Need For Myths

Those who reject the Almighty Creator God of the Bible must engage in mythology, by making up their own ideas and by turning truth into myth in their own opinion. Those who believe in the one true God do not need myths or multiple gods.

In these modern times we have some of the world’s finest minds making up stories about punctuated equilibrium, life from outer space, naturalistic miracles and many other mythological notions. So mythology is not an ancient process which we have evolved past, but a necessary mindset when one has rejected the one true God.

I am thankful to Dr Clifford Wilson and his wife Dr Barbara Wilson for their inspiration and guidance in my own exploration of Biblical archaeology. As friend, academic supervisor and mentor, Dr Clifford has keenly encouraged my interest in archaeology, as he has for many others in decades past.
In honour of his on-going work and his world-wide impact I am compiling various posts on archaeology, based on the excellent work of Drs Clifford and Barbara, while adding my own personal style and insights. Drs Clifford and Barbara Wilson are building a website to present their work. You can visit the website at http://www.drcliffordwilson.com

Basis of Human Law Part 4

In the past three posts on this topic I pointed out various observations from the early chapters of the Holy Bible which have import to the subject of human law. The principles found there provide an important basis for human law.

I have grazed through a number of observations, en route to a picture of our modern legal system and the process of human law. I can’t guarantee we’ll get there, but the journey has been valuable so far.

Review

Before pressing on with more things to observe, it is fitting to take some time to review what we have observed so far. To help harvest some of the insights and their significance for future application I am not only revisiting the content, but grouping it into several sub-headings.

All of these points come from a source that is identified as divine revelation. That is, they were not worked out by human thinking or made up by human inventiveness, but were revealed to mankind by God, Himself. God inspired holy men to write what was impressed to them. At the same time historical records were kept of the events of people’s lives. As centuries passed the collection of holy writings became increasingly potent, because things that seemed of little note when recorded in antiquity became powerfully relevant and significant in later times. Thus a book which was actually written by God was passed to us, and, despite the many contributors over many centuries, we have a book that conveys a unified message from one creative author, God.

So here are the points we have covered so far, from the Biblical text.

Existence

The essence of life is our very existence. But we humans are not the only identities which have significant existence.

God is our pre-existent, sovereign creator. All existence springs from God’s existence from eternity.

Natural law is a product of what has been created by God. It is thus a by-product of God’s existence. To appeal to natural law as the foundational legal reality, without regard for God, is a nonsensical idea. Nature is not the place from which we spring, but a product of God’s creativity, just as we are. It was not made in God’s image, but we are.

Man is a created being, morally accountable to the holy Almighty God.

Man’s existence is a consequence of God’s existence. God exists because He is God. Man exists by the will of God.

Life is impacted by three types of being: God; Man; and the Devil. The devil actively influences people to rebel against God, especially by getting them to reject God’s Words.

Note that the devil is a created being. He was at first an angel created to serve God, but he rebelled against God’s authority and thus awaits his eternal doom. Meanwhile, God allows him to tempt mankind as a means of testing he hearts of men, to find those who will truly submit to God.

Supremacy and Jurisdiction

Law requires courts, judges, rulers and the like. These people have some level of authority over others and some realm of jurisdiction in which their word holds sway.

God is the supreme being and has jurisdiction over the entire universe and all that is known and unknown.

Jurisdiction allows a being to speak over a certain realm with authority. God’s jurisdiction is eternal and unbounded. Everywhere that light can go is within the bounds of God’s jurisdiction.

Because man is under God’s jurisdiction, man is a moral being. Therefore there are moral consequences to man’s moral choices and actions. Man is accountable, not a law unto himself.

Natural Law is not the highest and final realm of law. Divine Law, based on the pre-existence of God, as revealed to us in the Holy Bible, has much greater authority and conveys much more powerful truth than natural law could ever imagine.

God gives assigned roles to people, just as He did in the creation, giving man dominion over the rest of creation.

Man is under direct command from God and must obey God’s instructions.

Man is under moral law, so man is accountable for moral actions, not just natural consequences of his actions.

Superiors have authority over their subordinates, and can command them.

Authority and Accountability

Rules are unavoidable. All of life is governed by limitations. There is no such thing as being a law to ourselves or being outside law.

Those with authority have the right to summons and interrogate those accountable to them.

Those with authority have the right to pass sentence on those accountable to them.

Divine law speaks morality into the world, causing everyone to be accountable, not based on natural endowment, but on moral principle.

Mankind has been created with equality before God and has been given equality of purpose on the earth.

Words

Because ‘jurisdiction’ is the right to speak over a realm, words are very important legal elements. Words control the realm over which they have right to apply. Word usage, definitions and the terms of agreements are very important.

Words are elements for which we are accountable.

Consequences

Actions lead to consequences, both natural and moral. We cannot control the consequences or stop them from happening.

Sin has moral power, causing moral consequences which can be profound and far reaching.

Moral consequences can be experienced at a completely internal level, yet be more real and devastating than actions upon our external body.

Human delusion does not create reality. Man cannot become free from divine morality, no matter what man chooses to believe.

It All Starts with Law

From what we have seen so far, the universe is a law based environment. It is logical that people operate under law, since the very shape of life as it was created is a legal context. A superior Being created people who are accountable to Him.

That Being, God Almighty, determines the roles of man, the standards by which man must live and the consequences for his actions. Thus we have the formula for all legal contexts, where people with authority and position enforce standards that others are to live by, even determining the punishment to be meted out when requirements are not met.

Legal Study

I’d like to suggest that you study law, since we live under law in every aspect of our lives. But that might send you off studying some law course or other that is designed to bring you to a wrong place under man’s impositions. Just because something is called law doesn’t make it true law, as we may see in future posts.

Rather, we need to study the Biblical basis for human law, as I am splashing through it with you, so we see the right responsibilities and accountabilities that God has place upon us.

Enuma Elish Creation Story

In 1876, just four years after publication of the Epic of Gilgamesh, George Smith completed and published his translation of Enuma Elish. This ancient Assyrian document was immediately acclaimed as an equivalent creation story to that given in the Bible.

Part of the Barrage

This new document came as yet another wave of challenge to the authenticity of the Book of Genesis. Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species”, published in 1859 compounded the growing scientific assault on Genesis, propelled forward by Charles Lyell’s geological uniformity concepts.

The 1872 publication of the Gilgamesh Epic brought criticism of Genesis from a new quarter. Archaeology seemed to bring solid evidence that the supposedly divine revelations in Genesis were mere re-workings of ancient stories. The pile of discarded clay tablets, with their “bird track” markings proved to be more valuable than the initial treasure hunters expected. While the ruins of ancient Assyrian palaces from the Nineveh site were scoured for gold and priceless artefacts, the tens of thousands of small clay tablets were simply shovelled out of the way. But when George Smith put his unique self-taught talents to work on deciphering the cuneiform script new evidence against Genesis seemed to leap from the rubble.

Evidence of the exaltation of Enuma Elish as a direct challenge to the authority of Genesis is testified by George Smith’s title for publication of his translation, under the auspices of the British Museum, “The Chaldean Genesis“.

The Link Asserted

In 1895 German author Herrmann Gunkel HeHerrr

published an influential book, proclaiming that the Genesis account is merely an expansion of the pre-existing Enuma Elish story. Since that book scholars have taken it for granted that the two accounts are directly linked.

Gunkel contended that the ancient Near Eastern myth of creation, especially as formulated in the Enuma Elish, was the underlying document upon which the Genesis account was formulated. He claimed that the myth was modified by Bible writers to bring it into agreement with the Israelite religion.

Seven Clay Tablets

Enuma Elish is an ancient story about warfare and barbarism among a group of gods. Seven clay tablets from the ancient library of the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal told the story as it existed in Babylon. Variations of the story have been found, reducing the status of Enuma Elish as a “creation” narrative, since the battle story is presented in some cases, without any reference to creation.

King Ashurbanipal ordered his servants to collect written works from around the realm, from Egypt to India. 100,000 clay tablets filled his famous library, which housed the first such collection in history. From the excavations of his library some 26,000 tablets survived, with many being destroyed or damaged in the hunt for more valuable antiquities.

The seven clay tablets were not without damage and some parts of the story have been untranslatable. George Smith translated what was still readable. The fifth tablet speaks of creation of the earth and sky from the carcase of a murdered god. The sixth of seven tablets mentions the plan by the victorious warring gods to create mankind. Note, then, that creation is a small part of the overall story, and is not recorded in other telling of the same war among the gods.

Rebellion in Heaven

Enuma Elish is a grotesque and barbaric story about bloodshed among the gods. These gods, rather than being divine in nature, are very human in their relationships and actions. They marry, give birth to other gods, are able to be killed and so on.

When the family of gods makes too much disturbance for the principal male god, Apsu, from whom the others sprang in several generations, he decides to destroy them all. One of the younger gods, Ea, great-grandson to Apsu, kills the patriarch god. The widow and great-grandmother, Tiamat, is enraged and seeks vengeance against Ea. She creates eleven monsters, marries Kingu, and goes to war.

Tiamat’s vengeful rampage at first seems unstoppable. However, a great-great grandson god, Marduk, who is supposed to have founded Babylon, successfully destroys Tiamat, by bludgeoning her to death and cutting her body in pieces from which various creations are made. Marduk then appoints the various gods their own places, which researchers have noted correspond to Babylonian astrology.

Marduk decides to create mankind to serve the gods by maintaining temples for their worship, and to perform menial tasks for the gods. Marduk murders Kingu, using his blood and bones as the substance to form humanity.

The Creation Account

Since Enuma Elish is cited today as proof that the Genesis creation record is somehow taken from earlier creation accounts, it is important to see the account from which Moses is supposed to have gained his inspiration.

There are approx 1,160 lines of text in the whole Enuma Elish story. Of that complete text the account of earth’s creation occupies no more than 30 lines and the account of the man’s creation occupies 8 lines. Here I quote text related the creation, from LW Kings 1902 translation, published as The Seven Tablets of Creation.

“He split her up like a flat fish into two halves;
One half of her he stablished as a covering for heaven.
He fixed a bolt, he stationed a watchman,
And bade them not to let her waters come forth.
He passed through the heavens, he surveyed the regions thereof,
And over against the Deep he set the dwelling of Nudimmud.
And the lord measured the structure of the Deep,
And he founded E-sara, a mansion like unto it.
The mansion E-sara which he created as heaven,
He caused Anu, Bel, and Ea in their districts to inhabit.”

Another 24 lines speak of the moon and sun in their orbits, as dividing the year into twelve months.

Thus less than four percent of the whole document relates to creation, and that account, as you can see by what is quoted here, has no meaningful relationship with the account of Genesis 1.

The Creation of Man

Of the more than one thousand lines on seven tablets there are but a few scant words about the creation of man. Here I again quote from LW Kings The Seven Tablets of Creation.

“My blood will I take and bone will I fashion
I will make man, that man may ….
I will create man who shall inhabit the earth,
That the service of the gods may be established, and that their shrines may be built.”

A more complete translation of the Enuma Elish document, compiled from other sources as well, adds to these four lines just a few more.

“Out of his blood they fashioned mankind.
He imposed on him the service and let free the gods.
After Ea, the wise, had created mankind,
Had imposed upon them the service of the gods-”

What Comparison?

Enuma Elish has nothing to do with the Genesis account. The fact that the reality of creation is reflected in an ancient myth only goes to prove the human consciousness of that event, not the creation of a lie which Moses inherited.

The one true God, acting in a fashion consistent with His actions through the whole of recorded history, created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, as described in the Book of Genesis. He acted as a holy, loving creator, who made man in His own image, to enjoy the delight of inclusion into His eternal existence. God does not need man, nor does God act with the vain impulses we see in man.

God created out of nothing (ex nihilo) not from the remains of some other deity whom He butchered. God created life as a gift to those He made. He did not create as a self-serving exercise to indulge His needs or have menials at His disposal.

There is next to nothing that links the Enuma Elish to the Genesis record, except that it speaks of creation. Yet thousands of ignorant people were beguiled into believing that the authority of scripture had been decimated by the sunburnt clay tablets.

I am thankful to Dr Clifford Wilson and his wife Dr Barbara Wilson for their inspiration and guidance in my own exploration of Biblical archaeology. As friend, academic supervisor and mentor, Dr Clifford has keenly encouraged my interest in archaeology, as he has for many others in decades past.
In honour of his on-going work and his world-wide impact I am compiling various posts on archaeology, based on the excellent work of Drs Clifford and Barbara, while adding my own personal style and insights. Drs Clifford and Barbara Wilson are building a website to present their work. You can visit the website at http://www.drcliffordwilson.com

Time and Eternity

God dwells in eternity. God is eternal. And that is an interesting truth to come to terms with. Eternity is something that we, as finite beings, find hard to grasp.

Eternity is not just unending time, but existence outside of time itself.

Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) and God calls Himself by the unique title “I Am” (Exodus 3:14), meaning the one who is always in the present.

The Time-Space Continuum

Our existence is trapped in the bounds of time and space. We occupy a certain space at a certain time, but at a later time we have moved to a different space. We can measure time by changes in space and we can measure changes in space by use of time.

We are trapped in one place at a time. And we are trapped in the present moment. We cannot go back in time and we cannot go forward in time, except as time progresses as its own fixed rate.

We cannot move to another place without using up some time.

All of this is what is referred to as the ‘time-space continuum’, which is our natural, temporal reality.

Outside of Time

God lives outside of measured time. We cannot go back to yesterday but God is already there! God is every place at the same time and every time at the same time. He is the eternal “now”! He is permanently in the ‘present tense’. That is why He could call Himself “I Am”. God is not, “I Was”, or “I will be”, but He is the “I Am” of every moment – present, past and future.

This accounts for God’s ‘foreknowledge’ (knowing things in advance), as described in such verses as Acts 2:23, 1Peter 1:2, and Romans 8:29.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29

God did not assign people a destiny in hell simply by a random process, but He knew in advance those who would reject Him and those who would believe. So, according to His foreknowledge He then assigned people their destiny.

What is Time?

Before the world began there was no time. God created time at the creation of the universe.

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:3-5

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” Genesis 1:14

There will also come a time when ‘time’ will end. It will exist no longer.

“And swore by him that lives for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that are therein, and the earth, and the things that are therein, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that time should exist no longer” Revelation 10:6

Time is understood differently depending on where you are looking from. For us, as temporal, finite creations, time is a slavery which we are trapped in.

God, however, sees time quite differently. We are wise to look at time from God’s perspective, rather than our own. Our ideas will limit us, while God’s ideas will expand us and set us free.

Opportunity

Man sees time differently to God. To man time is the passing of hours, or measured time. To God time is a season of “opportunity”.

Man lives under the delusion that time is something like a possession or an asset in his hands. “Use your time wisely”, we say. We think, “My time is my own, so I’ll do what I want with it”. “It’s your time, Ralph, so make up your own mind what you will do with it.”

But time does not belong to us. Instead, time belongs to God. He Created It!

And what did God create? God created “seasons of opportunity”.

Seasons

‘Seasons’ is a significant subject in the Bible, beyond just the agricultural impact and fashion trends of changing seasons during the year.

Genesis 8:22 tells us that seasons will never cease while the earth remains.

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22

In the 1980’s I heard Millionaire Maker, James Rohn, advises top notch executives that “What will be is what has always been. Winter followed by spring, etc.” In the cold of Winter be assured Spring is coming!

Rohn was simply stating what the Bible documented thousands of years ago.

Another famous Bible passage about seasons was popularized by Peter, Paul and Mary in their song, “Turn, Turn, Turn”. The song quotes King Solomon’s insight from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, that there is a time (or season) for everything.

Various Seasons

The Bible speaks of past seasons, the last days, fullness of time and appointed time. There is a time of trouble, harvest, visitation, evil, love, latter rain, and much more.

Hosea 10:12 says “it is time to seek the Lord”.

It is vain to imagine ourselves independent of God’s seasons. We must see and respond to the time which God has set for us, and for the world.

Jesus rebuked the people of His day who could determine the natural season, but could not see the spiritual one (Luke 12:56). In the Old Testament the children of Issachar were acknowledged for their understanding of the times and seasons of the Lord.

“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.” 1Chronicles 12:32

Know Your Season

We must recognise the season that God has set for us at this time.

We must then pay whatever price is required for us to get the fullest out of that season. This is called “redeeming the time”, which means to “exploit the season”.

“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” Colossians 4:5

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16

Today’s Season

What season are we in today? We are in the ‘Age of Grace’. Now is the time of salvation.

The Bible calls this an “accepted time” and a “day of salvation”.

“behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2Corinthians 6:2

There will come a day when God will close this door of opportunity. This is the season for getting right with God. Remember that “it is appointed unto me once to die, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Death is End of Choice

Someone once defined death as the “cessation of all change”. You cannot change your mind once you are dead. Your season of opportunity has come to an end. Death is the closing of the door of opportunity for you.

Eternity is far more important that the minutes of our day. God has given us a lifespan of time as a door of opportunity for us to walk into eternity. If we don’t take the opportunity God has given us then it doesn’t matter what else we do with the time.

Your Time Has Come

Your time has come. Your opportunity is “now”! Walk into eternity while there is “time” – while there is opportunity.

Once you have done that, tune into God’s current Season for your life, and exploit the opportunity that is uniquely yours.