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Time is very important to us all. When God created the world, he made day-time and night-time. He made the sun, the moon and the seasons - hot and cold, wet and dry. These are all things that help us to measure time. From the very beginning, people needed to know about time – when to plant seeds, when the rains would come, when the crops were ready to pick. It became important also to know the time of the day. So people found ways of telling the time – these were some of the first things that people invented.

Early ways to tell the time

Sundials were one of the first things people used to tell the time, in Egypt and Babylon 3,500 years ago. These measure time passing by the shadow made by the sun. Each day, when the sun is shining, it seems to move across the earth from east to west. If something is in a fixed place, its shadow moves as the sun moves. So a sundial is made with a flat stone (or something else flat) that has marks for each hour of the day. Fixed in the stone is something like a thin stick, pointing up in the air. This makes a shadow that moves around as the sun moves across the sky. But the sundial cannot work if the sun is not shining, so other ways of telling the time had to be found. In many parts of the world such as China, India and Egypt, dripping water was used to measure time. Another way that people measured the hours passing, was to use sand flowing through a small hole.

Time will end

The Christians’ holy book, the Bible, tells us that time will end one day. Jesus Christ, God's son, came to the earth two thousand years ago. He came as a baby and lived for about 30 years, then he was killed as a criminal. Even though he never did anything wrong, he was nailed to a wooden cross – the way criminals were killed at that time. This was God's plan to rescue people from the punishment for all their wrong-doing (sin). We have all done wrong things. God's punishment for sin is death. When Jesus died on the cross, he took the punishment that should have been ours. He died to pay the price for our wrong-doing. Three days later, Jesus came alive again.

Death was not the end. Now Jesus is alive for ever. He is in heaven. But one day, he will come back to the earth. This time he will not come as a baby, but as the king of all the earth. Suddenly, he will take all his followers to live in heaven with him. It will be a wonderful time for everyone who is a follower of Jesus. In heaven there will be no more sadness, or problems, or trouble, or fighting. Time will not be important any more. It is a place where we will be truly happy with Jesus for ever.**

Being ready

We do not know the hour or the day when Jesus will come again to the earth. But he tells us in the Bible, "Yes, I will come soon."

* We do not know when that will be, but soon means it could happen at any time. We need to be ready for that time. If Jesus came back to the earth today, would you be ready? Are you one of Jesus' followers? Has he forgiven you for all your wrong-doing?