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Seasons of life

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Appropriate or appointed periods of time which are part of the variety and development of human life and experience and which influence human affairs. The times and seasons for individuals and nations are set by God, who works all things together towards the final fulfilment of his purposes.

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The seasons of life are appointed by God

The seasons of individual lives

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Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 ESV
1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Psalm 31:15 ESV
15 My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
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Job 14:5 ESV
5 Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,
Psalm 139:16 ESV
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
Romans 8:28 ESV
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
James 4:13–15 ESV
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

The seasons of nations and the world

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Daniel 2:21 ESV
21 He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;
Acts 17:26 ESV
26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,
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Daniel 4:17 ESV
17 The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’
Daniel 7:25 ESV
25 He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.
Acts 1:7 ESV
7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.

A time to die

The transience of human life

Psalm 103:15–16 ESV
15 As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.
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Job 7:6–8 ESV
6 My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle and come to their end without hope. 7 “Remember that my life is a breath; my eye will never again see good. 8 The eye of him who sees me will behold me no more; while your eyes are on me, I shall be gone.
Job 14:1–2 ESV
1 “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. 2 He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.
Psalm 37:2 ESV
2 For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.
Psalm 102:11 ESV
11 My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.
Ecclesiastes 6:12 ESV
12 For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?

Death comes at its appointed time

Job 5:26 ESV
26 You shall come to your grave in ripe old age, like a sheaf gathered up in its season.
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Genesis 47:29 ESV
29 And when the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If now I have found favor in your sight, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal kindly and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt,
1 Kings 2:1 ESV
1 When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying,
Luke 12:20 ESV
20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’

Times of sadness and joy

A time to mourn

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Genesis 27:41 ESV
41 Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”
Genesis 37:34 ESV
34 Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days.
Genesis 50:3–4 ESV
3 Forty days were required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days. 4 And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,
Deuteronomy 34:8 ESV
8 And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.
Jeremiah 4:28 ESV
28 “For this the earth shall mourn, and the heavens above be dark; for I have spoken; I have purposed; I have not relented, nor will I turn back.”

A time to rejoice

John 16:21–22 ESV
21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
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Deuteronomy 28:47 ESV
47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things,
Esther 9:22 ESV
22 as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor.
Isaiah 61:2–3 ESV
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

A time to speak

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Proverbs 15:23 ESV
23 To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!
Proverbs 25:11 ESV
11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
Christians are to be always ready to share the gospel.
2 Timothy 4:2 ESV
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

Times appointed for the world

The rise and fall of nations

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Daniel 2:37–45 ESV
37 You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, 38 and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold. 39 Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40 And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. 41 And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, 45 just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”
Daniel 8:19–25 ESV
19 He said, “Behold, I will make known to you what shall be at the latter end of the indignation, for it refers to the appointed time of the end. 20 As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the goat is the king of Greece. And the great horn between his eyes is the first king. 22 As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power. 23 And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise. 24 His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. 25 By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand.
Daniel 11:2–4 ESV
2 “And now I will show you the truth. Behold, three more kings shall arise in Persia, and a fourth shall be far richer than all of them. And when he has become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece. 3 Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and do as he wills. 4 And as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the authority with which he ruled, for his kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these.
Daniel 11:24–27 ESV
24 Without warning he shall come into the richest parts of the province, and he shall do what neither his fathers nor his fathers’ fathers have done, scattering among them plunder, spoil, and goods. He shall devise plans against strongholds, but only for a time. 25 And he shall stir up his power and his heart against the king of the south with a great army. And the king of the south shall wage war with an exceedingly great and mighty army, but he shall not stand, for plots shall be devised against him. 26 Even those who eat his food shall break him. His army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain. 27 And as for the two kings, their hearts shall be bent on doing evil. They shall speak lies at the same table, but to no avail, for the end is yet to be at the time appointed.
Luke 21:24 ESV
24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

The time to receive God’s salvation

2 Corinthians 6:2 ESV
2 For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
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Isaiah 49:8 ESV
8 Thus says the Lord: “In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages,
Isaiah 55:6 ESV
6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;
Hebrews 4:7 ESV
7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

The time of God’s judgment

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Deuteronomy 32:35 ESV
35 Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.’
Ezekiel 30:3 ESV
3 For the day is near, the day of the Lord is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations.
Zephaniah 2:2 ESV
2 before the decree takes effect —before the day passes away like chaff— before there comes upon you the burning anger of the Lord, before there comes upon you the day of the anger of the Lord.
Acts 17:31 ESV
31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Times appointed for God’s people

Times for worship

Leviticus 23:4 ESV
4 “These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them.
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Exodus 34:18 ESV
18 “You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt.
Numbers 9:2–3 ESV
2 “Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. 3 On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.”
Numbers 10:10 ESV
10 On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am the Lord your God.”

Times of blessing

Psalm 102:13 ESV
13 You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favor her; the appointed time has come.
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Ezekiel 34:26 ESV
26 And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.
Acts 3:19 ESV
19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,
Acts 7:17 ESV
17 “But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt

A time of vindication

Daniel 7:21–22 ESV
21 As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.
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Acts 1:6 ESV
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
Romans 8:18 ESV
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
1 Peter 5:6 ESV
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,

Times of testing

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Psalm 66:10 ESV
10 For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.
Ezekiel 21:3 ESV
3 and say to the land of Israel, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am against you and will draw my sword from its sheath and will cut off from you both righteous and wicked.
Matthew 13:21 ESV
21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
1 Peter 1:6–7 ESV
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 2:10 ESV
10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Times for withdrawal or solitude

Mark 1:35 ESV
35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
See also ; ;
1 Kings 17:2–6 ESV
2 And the word of the Lord came to him: 3 “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
Mark 6:30–32 ESV
30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.
Galatians 1:17 ESV
17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

Waiting for God’s appointed time

Habakkuk 2:3 ESV
3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
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Romans 8:23–25 ESV
23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Hebrews 9:28 ESV
28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Hebrews 11:13 ESV
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

Times appointed for Jesus Christ

The appointed time of his birth

Galatians 4:4 ESV
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,

The appointed time of his death

John 12:23 ESV
23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
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Matthew 26:18 ESV
18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’ ”
Mark 14:41 ESV
41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Luke 9:51 ESV
51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
John 2:4 ESV
4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
John 7:6–8 ESV
6 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. 8 You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.”
John 12:27 ESV
27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.
John 13:1 ESV
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The appointed time of his return

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Luke 21:8 ESV
8 And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them.
Acts 3:20–21 ESV
20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
Acts 17:31 ESV
31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
1 Corinthians 4:5 ESV
5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
Revelation 1:3 ESV
3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
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