The keepers of the “Doomsday Clock” met virtually this year due to the pandemic. Not so the Lord of time and history and His team when they literally met at the Mount of Olives (“Olivet”) two thousand years ago. There and then, Jesus gave them, not an estimate of coming events, but a factual report of their position in time and where history was headed.
This account came from the mouth of the Lord of history for Whom and by Whom time, the crucible of history, exists.
The “Doomsday Clock” is the imaginary timepiece envisaged in 1947 by a group of atomic physicists that included Albert Einstein. The experts who produce The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS) wanted to find ways to assess everything from global environment and population to nuclear arms and global war threats.
“Midnight” meant the arrival of “Doomsday” when worldwide trends would mount up to an explosive point — perhaps even nuclear war. On September 27, their calculations showed that in 2021 the crises are not pulling back. Rather, the “clock” is stuck at “100 seconds” to midnight — where it was last year.
But on that day twenty centuries ago the Carpenter from Nazareth did not view finite time as a runaway train. John, one of Jesus’s followers present that day at the Mount of Olives, decades later will hear a heavenly voice inviting him to “come up here” to be shown the future. (Revelation 4:1)
The Nazarene Carpenter already has that lofty perspective. The higher one goes in space the more comprehensive the view will be. The same is true of the temporal perspective.
In His Olivet discourse Jesus shows the biblical view of time. First, there are two categories. Kairos is the time-quality of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is non-linear (meaning it can pop up anywhere) and is packed with destiny. Kairos is also non-tensed. It manifests all along the line of finite time when a pleroma-point has been reached, according to God’s will.
“Pleroma” is “fullness,” as in a cup filled to its brim. The Pleroma marks the arrival of kairos, the “opportune time” for God’s purposeto be manifested in kronos, the finite, tensed time of the material world. (See Galatians 4:4) The reality already exists in eternity. This is why Jesus is “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8)
Therefore, on that kairotic day on the Mount of Olives recorded in Matthew 24 Jesus reveals that time is neither strictly cyclical nor linear but is linear-cyclical. Think of a train on a track. The content of the freight and passenger cars is the “stuff” of history. the whole of the train is moving toward its “T-point” in which “T” represents, not “termination,” but telos, purpose.
The BAS may be concerned about “doomsday” and the termination of nations and civilizations, but Jesus sees telos — the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven — into the world.
True history flows from Paradise Lost (Genesis 1:1-2) to Paradise Restored (Revelation 21-22). In between is the journey through kronos. This is the point of Acts 3:20-21, where Simon Peter preaches that “times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah... For he must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through his holy prophets...”
“Restoration” is a Greek word meaning to put things back into their original, mint condition —the paradise the world was before humanity’s plunge into sin.
The cyclical aspect of time means that ...