I have always been intrigued by Revelation 10:6B in the King James Version that says, "there should be time no longer." Other versions translate the word time as "delay," but I prefer the King James translation. There shall be time no longer.
I think that most Christians believe that an eternal God created an artificial environment for his mortal creatures to live in and called it Time—a tube in which we can all live out the allotment of our lifetimes here on Earth along with every other creature that lives. This environment is all we know. We each take up space and move forward in time every second of every day. We watch the things around us deteriorate and age and finally fall apart. We cannot fathom an existence outside of time. If we have any kind of body, it must perform different activities and these must precede one another. Right?
We've all experienced the fluidity of time. If we pay attention to its passing, time drags like bubble-gum under a tire. But if we're preoccupied, the hours can zoom past without our notice.
According to the Old Testament, time stood still and actually went backwards in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Kings 20:11. Like everything else in His creation, God can do what He likes with this slippery notion that stands against eternity. Einstein believed that past, present, and future all exist at the same time and that if we could only travel consistently at the speed of light, time would cease altogether. Most of us can no sooner grasp Einstein's theories than the mind of God who created time in the first place.
The real mystery is what happens after Death. If we are truly outside of time when we die, does this mean that every person who ever lived will actually arrive in eternity at the same time, in that "twinkling of an eye" that is so descriptive? To us on this side of eternity, the procedure toward heaven seems drawn out over all the centuries of humankind. But perhaps on God's side, it is but one heartbeat altogether. Then what about the souls under the altar in Revelation 6:9 and 10 who are told in verse 11 to "rest yet for a little season"? If they are waiting there under the altar, they must still be in what we call time.
One phenomenon I have experienced is how, as we age, time seems to go faster and faster. Where once summer vacations lasted a very satisfying length of time, now my life flashes between summer and Christmas without any seeming gap in between. How can that be? Is it that when we were younger we were more attached to the world and everything in it? As we draw nearer to the end of our earthly existence, is our attachment to this planet less?
Or, is time actually going faster as we approach the End of All Things and the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? I guess we'll all find out when we cross that divide that separates us from the everlasting presence of God.
Alison Winfree Pickrell was a special education teacher for 30 years in North Carolina. She has four books published by OakTara (Unto the Least of These, As Eagles, Den of Lions, The Last Cordate), with two more on the way. www.alisonwinfreepickrell.com