Do you know what time it is? I don’t mean the digits on the clock. I mean time in an eternal sense.
What is time? Time is a measure of moments that pass in our lives, but as my son reminded me last night, Einstein taught us that time is relative. We do not really have a concept of time as it passes unless we are looking at a clock. Time spent doing something we enjoy can pass quickly. Time doing something we hate can drag on and on.
The Psalmist understood the connection between time and God’s Word.
Psalm 119:145-152~ Qoph
I call with all my heart; answer me, O LORD, and I will obey your decrees. I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. Hear my voice in accordance with your love; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your laws. Those who devise wicked schemes are near, but they are far from your law. Yet you are near, O LORD, and all your commands are true. Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever (NIV).
This entire Psalm is an acrostic poem of the Hebrew alphabet, with every eight lines devoted to a Hebrew letter. The above verses all begin with the letter qoph, whose ancient pictograph is a line with a half circle on top, representing the sun on the horizon. Unlike our English alphabet, each letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet has a meaning.
Qoph means “divide, time, or circle.” Here is where we get our concept of time:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years” (Genesis 1:14).
The sun has always served as our indicator of the passing of time, for it divides day from night. The movement of the earth on its axis and around the sun is what marks our “seasons, days, and years.” Before clocks, one had to look up at the sky to tell the time.
Likewise, the Son of God divides time (B.C. means “before Christ”; A.D. means anno domini or “in the year of our Lord”). Interestingly, the root word of qoph is the word karev, which means “to come close.” Jesus Christ is Emmanuel–God with us–the Father coming close.
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word (Hebrew 1:3).
Just as the sun “sleeps” every night and “rises” every morning, so the death and resurrection of Jesus marked the rising of hope for each of us and the promise of the resurrection to new life. Every sunrise is the promise of God’s love and faithfulness through Christ.
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22).
So what time is it now?
Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD until he comes and showers righteousness on you (Hosea 10:12).
And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed (Romans 13:11).
For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Friend, if you do not have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, I would urge you that now is the time. Do not delay another second to seek your Creator, the Savior and King. He came near to us to save us from our sins and offer the gift of salvation, both now and forever. One day every knee will bow and acknowledge His Lordship. Won’t you bow now, today?
Because, beloved, He is coming again. The letter qoph has another meaning: “to call or gather.” Jesus will once again divide time for all eternity.
So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him (Hebrews 9:28).
At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory (Mark 13:26).
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
Jesus is coming again, and He will call and gather those who belong to Him. These Hebrew letters and the Words of God have survived thousands of years, because the Word of God is eternal–God exists outside of both time and space. Scientists can’t explain it; philosophers can’t understand it; apologists can’t deny it; humanity cannot prevent it.
Jesus is Lord over time, space, creation, and all eternity. No one knows the day or hour, but we are told to keep watch. Keeping watch implies readiness. Are you ready?
Because at the end of the day, the only time that truly matters is now.