Things begin to fall apart when we don’t take words seriously in the Bible.
Including when we don’t believe God tells time accurately in the scriptures.
I have had numerous conversations with End Time Speculators that go something like this:
End-Timer: “Jesus is coming soon!”
Me: “What do you mean by soon?”
End-Timer: “I mean the same thing Jesus meant. He said He is coming soon, so I believe Him!”
Me: “But He said that 1950 years ago, in Revelation 1:1. How is that soon?”
End-Timer: “Time is different to God than to us. When Jesus says ‘soon’ He can mean 2000 years.”
Me: “Then how do you know Jesus won’t be delaying another 2000 years from now?”
Usually it ends there if it even gets that far.
God is outside of time altogether. Time does not merely flow by at a different rate in heaven. Every event that God sees is happening at the same time. Billions of years ago, and billions of years from now.
Dispensationalists with a futurist view certainly think the time-frame terms “nigh” and “near” mean just what they sound like when Christ said them here:
Mat 24:32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is NIGH:
Mat 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is NEAR, even at the doors.
What do you think? Did Jesus possibly mean “near” in this portion to be several thousand years?
How about the word “immediately”, as in “Immediately after the tribulation of those days”? When God says “immediately” does He really mean “immediately” the way we think? In God’s view, immediately after He created the world, Jesus arrived on the scene.
Here are some more verses that prove, Biblically, that when Jesus or God says something is going to happen “soon”, or the time is “near” or “at hand”, that we can be sure that is meant LITERALLY…exactly like it sounds. Comparing scripture with scripture, we can understand these definitions as GOD uses them:
Mat 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mat 26:18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.
Mat 26:45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Here’s one that uses the inverse of the phrase to prove a point: 2Th 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Paul used the phrase “at hand” here to tell the Thessalonians that the day was NOT near. But if God doesn’t use the same view of time as we do when He speaks to us, I guess neither Paul nor the Thessalonians really got much meaning out of this. After all, the reasoning goes, EVERYTHING to God is “at hand” since 2000 years is like 2 days.
But heaven is not on a different time standard, like Narnia. Time is meaningless to God. God is outside of time altogether. A trillion years and one second are both the same to God. If I can put it this way, “soon” and “near” are not concepts that God lives under, because God sees all time at the same moment. There is no “soon” in God’s view because there is no “later” in God’s view.
God wrote the Bible to people so that we would get His message. If we start claiming that certain descriptive words are from “His point of view,” we have problems and go down a dangerous rabbit hole. None of us understands the mind of God or His point of view (Isa 55:8).