Q: What do we need to see in order to understand the times?
A: We need the full binocular view. A pair of binoculars, like our eyes, has two lenses. Each lens provides a separate field of vision. Our brain merges to two views so that we get a complete picture of the scene before us.
Not having this binocular view of the end-times is what has caused premature announcements of Christ’s return. So our next question is what view does each lens reveal?
The Bible answers that question for us. Two Greek words are used to describe two aspects of the end-time doctrine contained in God’s Word. The first, chronos, is where we get our English word chronology. It describes a specific set time period in terms of its length. The other word, kairos, describes the features or characteristics that distinguish the set time from other periods. The chronos gives us the quantity (the amount of time) while the kairos gives us the quality (the corresponding signs).
We can see these two views by picturing the birth of a child. A pregnant woman knows that there are generally nine months or 40 weeks between conception and birth. This is the chronos. The mother-to-be is also aware of the signs of her pregnancy, which include her swelling belly, food cravings, bouts of morning sickness, and eventually the contractions that begin when the child is about to be birthed. These are the kairos signs of being pregnant.
Even though she cannot predict with absolute certainty the exact date on the calendar for the birth, the chronos and the kairos together ensure that there is no surprise on the mother’s part when the baby is about to be born.
Previous announcements of Christ’s return have focused primarily on the signs, without the related chronos timing. Others have included a time element based on our human calendar, but that man-made speculation did not have the corresponding biblical kairos signs. No wonder the prescribed dates came and went without Christ’s appearance.
The Spirit-inspired biblical writers went to great lengths to record the details we would need to know to see the sacred chronology in God’s Word. And they gave us the one thing we need to know concerning God’s prophetic timetable for His plan of redemption—one Day in God’s sight is equal to 1,000 years in human time.
Since both the chronos timing and the kairos signs are given in the Bible, then we have to conclude that God expects us to consider both views. Together, they give us the complete view to understanding the times and what we are to do as believers.