Heaven (Part 13) - Will There Be Time in Heaven?


Heaven (Part 13) 20. Will there be time in heaven? A. There is a common misconception that there is no time in heaven. i. Many people think that because God is eternal and outside of time that heaven where He dwells must be likewise. a. It is true that God is eternal (1Ti 1:17; Isa 57:15) and outside of time (Psa 90:2, 4; Mic 5:2). b. But God also often enters time and interacts with people and events on earth (Gen 18:13-14). c. An infinite being Who is outside of time can exist in time. d. But a finite being who is confined by time cannot exist in a timeless state. ii. The fact that we will have eternal life in heaven (1Jo 5:11; Mat 25:46) also leads people to conclude that there is no time there. a. God's eternal nature has no beginning or ending. (i) Eternal adj. - 1. a. Infinite in past and future duration; without beginning or end; that always has existed and always will exist: esp. of the Divine Being. (ii) Since God has no beginning He exists outside of time. b. Our eternal life has a starting point (Joh 10:28). (i) Eternal adj. - 3. a. Infinite in future duration; that always will exist; everlasting, endless. ¶The New Testament expressions eternal life, death, punishment, etc. are here referred to sense 3, this being the sense in which the adj. in such contexts is ordinarily taken. (ii) Even though we will live forever, we are still exist in time because we have a beginning and are therefore finite. (iii) Any place that we exist, being finite, must be a place where time exists. B. There is time in the present heaven. i. The martyrs in heaven cry out to the Lord asking how long it will be until He avenges their blood (Rev 6:10). a. "How long" demands that they exist in time in heaven. b. The Lord tells them to rest for "a little season" (Rev 6:11). (i) Season n. - II. gen. A time, period, occasion. 12. a. A particular time or period during which something happens, or which is defined by some characteristic feature or circumstance. (ii) A season is a period of time which is further proof that the saints live in time in heaven. ii. There was silence in heaven for half an hour (Rev 8:1). a. Even if this is a figurative period of time, it is still a period of time. b. This is further proof that there is time in heaven. iii. The seal, trumpet, and vial judgments happen in succession. a. The sounding of one trumpet follows another trumpet (Rev 8:13). b. One woe was as past and two more were coming hereafter (Rev 9:12). (i) Past adj. - A. ppl. a. I. 1. Predicatively after be: Gone by in time; elapsed; done with; over. (ii) Hereafter adv. - 1. After, in this writing, book, or place; in the sequel; after this in order or position; sometimes = next in order, immediately after. 2. After this in time; at a future time; in time to come. (iii) This verse clearly shows that there is time in heaven. iv. Angels in heaven rejoice at the very moment that a sinner repents on earth (Luk 15:7). a. This shows that in heaven they are following events that happen on earth in time. b. If angels (finite beings) are following events on earth while in heaven, that means there is time in heaven. v. Paul spoke of "ages to come" in heaven which denotes time. (Eph 2:7). a. Age n. – II. A period of time. 8. The period of time contemporary with the lifetime of any one; the generation of men to which any one belongs. 10. A long but indefinite space of time, marked by the succession of men. b. There is not just an age in heaven, but ages. c. This means there is time in heaven as one age passes into another. vi. God's people in heaven "serve him day and night in his temple" (Rev 7:15). a. Days and nights are measures of time. b. Therefore, there is time in heaven. vii. The saints in heaven worship God in a succession of actions such as falling down before God and casting their crowns before the throne (Rev 4:10). a. These things take time to perform and happen in order which requires time. b. Therefore, there is time in heaven. viii. The redeemed in heaven sing to God (Rev 5:9-12). a. There can be no music without time. b. "Music in Heaven requires time. Meter, tempo, and rests are all essential components of music, and each is time-related. Certain notes are held longer than others. Songs have a beginning, middle, and end. That means they take place in time." (Randy Alcorn, Heaven, p. 268) C. What about the verse that says that "there should be time no longer" (Rev 10:6)? i. The time that the angel was referring to is the time of God's judgment of the earth which will culminate with the sounding of the voice of the seventh angel at which time the mystery of God shall be finished (Rev 10:7). ii. At that time the kingdoms of the world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever (Rev 11:15). a. Ever adv. - 1. a. Throughout all time, eternally; throughout all past or all future time; perpetually (often hyperbolically or in relative sense: throughout one's life, etc.). 5. quasi-n. use of 1. †a. In ME. phrase, long is ever b. in phrases, for ever (sometimes, esp. in U.S., written forever, q.v.): for all future time, for eternity, in perpetuity; hence (chiefly in colloq. use), incessantly, interminably. b. Time is not going to end at the last trump at Christ's second coming. c. Jesus Christ will reign for all future time after that. D. There is time in the new earth. i. After the new earth was created John saw the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven (Rev 21:1-2). ii. For something to come down from heaven takes time as it moves from one place to another. iii. Kings of the earth bring their glory into the city which also requires time as they move from one place to another (Rev 21:26). iv. The tree of life yields its fruit every month which is a measurement of time (Rev 22:2). v. On the new earth we are going to have resurrected bodies which by their very nature must function in space and time. vi. Therefore, there will be time on the new earth. E. Randy Alcorn made some salient points about how there must be time in heaven. i. "We are finite physical creatures, and that means we must live in space and time. Where else would we live? Eden was in space and time, and the New Earth will be in space and time. We will be delivered from all evil, but space isn't evil. It's good. God made it." (Randy Alcorn, Heaven, p. 265) ii. "One writer says of Heaven, "It is certainly justifiable to abandon the scheme of time and space and to put in its place a divine simultaneity." This has a high-sounding resonance, but what does it mean? That we can be a thousand places at once, doing ten thousand different things? Those are the Creator's attributes, not the creature's. There's no evidence that we could be several places at once. The promise of heaven is not that we will become infinite—that would be to become inhuman. It's that we'll be far better finite humans than we have ever been. Even if we're able to move rapidly from one place to another or to pass our resurrected molecules through solid objects, as the risen Jesus did, we'll still be finite." (Ibid) iii. "To say that we'll exist outside of time is like saying we'll know everything. It confuses eternity with infinity. We'll live for eternity as finite beings. God can accommodate to us by putting himself into time, but we can't accommodate to him by becoming timeless. It's not in us to do so because we're not God." (Ibid, p. 268) iv. "Time isn't the enemy, death is (1Co 15:26). Time predated sin and the Curse. When the Curse is lifted, time will remain. Without the Curse, time will never work against us. We won't run out of it. Time will bring gain, not loss. The passing of time will no longer threaten us. It will bring new adventures without the sense of loss for what must end." (Ibid, pp. 268-269) v. "For too long we've allowed an unbiblical assumption ("there will be no time in Heaven") to obscure overwhelming biblical revelation to the contrary. This has served Satan's purposes of dehumanizing Heaven and divorcing it from the existence we know. Since we cannot desire what we can't imagine, this misunderstanding has robbed us of desire for Heaven." (Ibid, p. 269)
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