Modern nation states employ intelligence services to gather signal information from their own citizens and foreign governments in an effort to maintain security and attempt to forecast the future. Ancient kings dreamed.
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, dreamed himself awake. Distressed, he called his spirit-realm wisdom officers and requested an analysis of the vision. “Give us the intel,” they said, “and we’ll figure out what it all means.” Neb would have none of it. Every good king knows that you have to vet your intelligence sources. “I lost the communiqué,” he told them. “I need you to tell me what the message was and what it means. Do this or die.”
Daniel missed the memo. Bad news seldom arrives at a good time, but some times are better than others. Standing in court and hearing your death sentence handed down is bad. Answering a knock on the door only to find your executioner is worse. Considering the circumstances, the conversation between Daniel and Arioch, the king’s captain, seems surreally polite. Daniel opens his door, revealing the blood-splattered Arioch. “Hello there, can I help you?”
“Here to kill you, sir, if you please.”
“Kill me? Now? What’s the rush?”
“King had a bad dream. Your department can’t explain it, so everyone is being terminated.”
“Mind if I have a chat with the boss first?” And chat with the boss he did. Nebuchadnezzar gave Daniel an extension so he could pray things out with his friends. God revealed the dream and its interpretation to Daniel during the night, giving him a view of all the kingdoms that would rise from his days on through eternity.
19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His.
21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.
22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.
23 “I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, And have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king’s demand.” NKJV
Mankind can only dream of traveling through time, God can actually change it. He is time’s Master, filling and bending it as He sees fit. Mastery of time is what He offers as proof of Godhood and presents as the ultimate challenge to all that dares to claim the title.
20 “Assemble yourselves and come; Draw near together, You who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, And pray to a god that cannot save.
21 Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me.
22 “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. NKJV
No one besides God can call the end from the beginning because no one but God has the power to bring about the ending He has declared.
3 “I have declared the former things from the beginning; They went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it. Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
4 Because I knew that you were obstinate, And your neck was an iron sinew, And your brow bronze,
5 Even from the beginning I have declared it to you; Before it came to pass I proclaimed it to you, Lest you should say, ‘My idol has done them, And my carved image and my molded image Have commanded them.’ NKJV
Time is not the enemy, it’s God’s proof text. A greater understanding time grants us greater glimpses into His glory. No wonder, then, that He has filled His Word with time signatures. Within its covers we encounter sundry times, times past, time of reformation, last time, manner of time, due time, time in the flesh, old time, and the time of the dead to name a few. Even from this short list one can see the multiple nuances of the character of time.
We interact with different aspects of time in regular life. “Practical time” is clock time, the thing we mean when we talk about meeting for lunch at noon or being home at 6 p.m. “Subjective time” refers to how time’s flow feels. It is the aspect of time we have in mind when we say things like “the day just dragged on” or “time flies when you’re having fun.” Astronomical clocks keep track of ephemeris time, which is the time told through the referential system of celestial body motion. It formed the basis of our practical time until we began building quantum clocks.
Scientifically speaking, time is a physical property. We encounter this view of time on our speedometers. “Dad, the speed limit is 55 and you’re going 65 mph,” warns the back-seat-driving police. Miles measure the distance we cover in space, per hour the specified period we covered the distance in. These two measurements define our speed. This simple measuring system is adequate for most travel functions, but falls short of fully describing the reality of the situation.
Albert Einstein pressed his mind against a problem that Newtonian physics couldn’t solve. Isaac Newton thought of time as flowing evenly throughout the universe. Regardless of where one might be in space, an hour moved at the same pace. Einstein refined this view in his theories of Special Relativity and General Relativity and demonstrated that the measured flow of time depended on one’s frame of reference. In other words, your time and my time are different just as your space and my space are different. But we will both agree on a four dimensional aggregate called space-time.
Space-time, practical time, biblical time—all time—are God’s time. He is the One who placed us in the space-time continuum to reveal His multifaceted wisdom to the principalities and powers in heavenly places according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.