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The Last Time Change

by Tim O'Hearn

In late October much of the United States will change from Daylight Savings Time (also called “Summer Time” in Europe) to Standard Time. This time change is a ritual dreaded by clock collectors the world over. Twice a year a year many people have to change their clocks from one “time” to another, “gaining” or “losing” an hour along the way. In Europe the change is made at the same time (1:00 AM Greenwich Mean Time) across all time zones. In the United States the change is made at 2:00 AM in each time zone. The common explanation for this unusual time is that the bars (pubs) close at that hour, so making the change doesn’t reduce their potential income by an hour. Some states, like Arizona, don’t change from Standard to Daylight Savings Time. They in effect just change time zones. While 7:00 doesn’t change for Phoenicians, they still have to figure out whether it is that time in California or in New Mexico.

Time is a gift of God to man. By it we measure our lives, “by coffee spoons” (in T. S. Eliot’s phrase). We count time by multiple measurements: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, millennia, eras. Our obsession with time has led us to develop more sophisticated timepieces. Try living today by a sundial or a sand-filled hourglass. You will miss your bus, lose out on overtime pay, and have difficulty recording your favorite TV shows.

God measures time differently, even in the context of our lives. Instead of years he uses another time unit, the “vapor.” (Jas 4:14) He even introduced the Theory of Relativity thousands of years BE (before Einstein). (2 Pet 3:8) But even these terms show that God is now measuring time.

The time change is inevitable each year. It happens twice a year, just like clockwork. It is so predictable and unavoidable that personal computers and some VCR’s can even reset themselves. As we change our clocks this year, it might be good to remember one other time change, which is equally unavoidable. The computers can’t predict when it will be, but it is coming just the same. That is the time change between “time” and eternity.

It will happen in “a twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor 15:22)—another measurement of time. Suddenly there will be no more time. How do you divide eternity? After the time change we will still exist. We may still know joy or pain, love or hate. So what does this impending time change mean to us? It means we should consider now where we want to be after time changes. Once the clocks are reset (or unset?) we can no longer change whether we will experience joy or pain. Only the decision we make here can determine whether telling your girlfriend you will love her “till the end of time” will be literal, or whether you will be able to love beyond the end of time.

The good thing is that God lets us choose “this day whom you will serve.” (Josh 24:15) On the one hand, one can choose to ignore God. For this choice one need do nothing. Failure to choose to follow God is to choose to remain in sin. Of Jesus Peter said, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) So simply refusing to rely on his blood for forgiveness of sins is sufficient to keep one from salvation from sin. And that is sufficient to keep one from the presence of God. On the other hand, one can go into the change from time to eternity knowing that they will enjoy the joy and favor of God. One must choose to die to a former life of sin and be reborn through immersion in water and resurrection to a new life. (Romans 6) Even so, there is another passage that deals with time that applies. “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb 3:12-13)

Now is the time to make a decision, and stick with it. There is a time change coming. Make sure you are ready for eternity. There will not be another change again.