Recall the time dimension can be expressed as either a point on the linear time span, or a period on the span determined by a beginning or ending point.
If a ‘when’ is involved the Greek base is kairos which means an ‘appointed, set, fixed, or definite’ point on the linear time span.
However, if the time in question is ‘how long,’ the Greek is chronos which means an ‘interval, or period’ of time.
When John was sent to prison shortly after baptizing Jesus he announced:
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand…” Mark 1:15
‘Time’ in this verse means the ‘pre-appointed, set point, or event’ on the time span of history had arrived. ‘Fulfilled’ means ‘completed.’ In other words, the time period leading up to the arrival of the Messiah was completed.
Paul likewise spoke of a point on the time span as he described the redemption made possible by Christ.
“…which He…having made known to us the mystery of His will…that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ…” Ephesians 1:8-10
Paul explained that the mystery of redemption was revealed at the exact predetermined time in history. Again, ‘fullness’ means ‘complete.’
In another teaching Paul used the analogy of a new Christian being similar to a child. A child, even though being an heir, was likened to a slave until a certain level of maturity was reached.
“…but (a child) is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son…” Galatians 4:1-4
In this case ‘time’ is a ‘how long,’ or a period of time, while ‘fullness’ as we’ve learned means ‘end’ or ‘accomplishment.’ And again, the time was appointed by the Father.
In his letter to Titus, similar to his letter to Timothy, Paul acknowledged that God’s plan was devised before time began, but was revealed at the exact (proper) time as history unfolded.
“…in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word…” Titus 1:2-3
When Paul addressed the crowd at Athens he also spoke of God’s sovereignty relative to the time dimension.
“And He (God) has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings…” Acts 17:26
‘Determined’ and ‘pre-appointed’ are also synonyms for ‘ordained.’ Paul shortly thereafter spoke of a future appointed event, or ‘when’ on the time span.
“…but now (God) commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness…” Acts 17:30b-31
The time of the future judgment of the world was ordained before the dimension of time existed.
A millennium prior to Paul’s speech at Athens, Solomon spoke of God’s sovereignty relative to time – present and future.
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
‘Season’ in this verse likewise means an ‘appointed or determined time.’ The word ‘time’ in the present context means the ‘right’ time.
And then Solomon spoke of the same judgment as did Paul 1000 years earlier.
“God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” Ecclesiastes 3:17
The Bible tells succinctly what the Christian should be doing during the time period preceding the return of Christ.
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15
The Greek basis for ‘time’ in this verse is very revealing. It not only means ‘season,’ but it has the rich meaning of a ‘period of opportunity.’ The Greek for ‘redeeming’ means not to allow the moment to pass by unheeded, but to make the best use of the time knowing Christ will return at a specific, pre-appointed, ordained time to judge the earth.