In Revelation 1:3 John writes that his readers need to hear the words of this prophecy and to keep (G5083) or observe the things contained therein, because the time (G2540) was in John’s day at hand. I’ve already developed in previous studies that the Apocalypse was written very early in the first century AD. In this study I hope to show the importance of the word the Apocalypse uses for time, showing beyond doubt that it must point to what occurred to the Jews cir. AD 70. In fact, as we shall see in this study, this prophecy had to have been written early in the first century AD, because there simply isn’t any other event in history that was at hand that could have occurred later in that century into which we could neatly fit the Apocalypse. Moreover, to claim that nearly 2000 years (and counting) translates from the Greek word kairos (G2540) is very unscholarly to say the least, and betrays a bias to honor men instead of God to be more blunt.
According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, kairos (G2540) refers to “a measure of time, a larger or smaller portion of time,” but whether a longer block of time or a single day or hour, it refers to “a fixed and definite time, the time when things are brought to crisis, the decisive epoch waited for.” For example, for football teams and fans the Super Bowl is the defining moment for that year’s football season. In other words, it represents judgment day for that football season, and the winner of that game is pronounced the best for that year. The appointed time in this case was only a few hours. Winston Churchill sought to encourage his distraught Britain countrymen and the defeated French forces of World War II in a speech he gave on June 18, 1940, saying: “if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.” Churchill spoke of a time of patience and endurance, and it lasted until Britain was able to retaliate on D-Day, June 6, 1944. The appointed time for that season was four years. So, whether kairos (G2540) concerns a “larger or a smaller portion of time,” it is still “a fixed and definite time…” It is a time of judgment when the character of the matter can be defined.
Less than two years before his death, Jesus said his kairos (his appointed time) was not then present (John 7:6). However, about a year and a half later he announced to his disciples that his kairos (G2540) had arrived (Matthew 26:18; cf. John 13:1), but he earlier stated that Jerusalem and her Temple would be destroyed, because the Jewish authorities didn’t know the time (kairos – G2540) of their visitation (Luke 19:44).The word is also used in the Gospel narratives to show that no one knew the time of Jesus’ Second Coming (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:32), but Jesus was able to prophesy cir. 40 years beforehand, that the appointed time would occur in his disciples’ generation (Matthew 24:34, Mark 13:30).
An interesting observation might make this point even clearer, if we take the Old Covenant book of Daniel into consideration, and compare what he was told with what John was told in the Apocalypse. Daniel prophesied of the last days of Israel, or the end of the (Old Covenant) age. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Covenant, was the favorite Bible for the New Covenant writers. In Daniel 12:4 Daniel is told to “shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end. The word for time of the end is kairos in the Septuagint. However, if we compare this scriptural statement with what John is told in the Apocalypse, we are able to see an astonishing thing. John was told, not only that the time (kairos – G2540) was at hand in Revelation 1:3, but he was told not to put a seal on the book (Revelation 22:10), because the time (kairos – G2540) was at hand!
At this point we need to be asking ourselves, if God, who knew the time and hour of Jesus’ coming (Matthew 24:35), wanted to say that Jesus’ appointed time was in the first century AD, during the expected lifetimes of Jesus’ disciples (i.e. this generation – Matthew 23:36), how should he have said it? If Jesus’ Second Coming was to occur cir. 70 AD, how should God have phrased it throughout the New Covenant record in order to convey such a thought (Matthew 24:33; James 5:9; Romans 13:11; Hebrews 10:37; 1Peter 4:7; Revelation 1:3; 22:6-7,10, 12, 20)? I think it is high time we begin to test what men tell us about what God says, and trust what God clearly says in his word. If Sola Scriptura means anything at all to us in these, our days, I think this is the very least we should do.