He answered and said unto them, when it is evening, ye say It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? (Matthew 6:1-3)
WHAT IS THIS TOPIC OF “UNDERSTANDING THE TIMES” ALL ABOUT?
“Understanding the times”, is all about living with a working consciousness and understanding of God’s prophetic move in our contemporary time and how it relates with His move in the past and in future. All through the scriptures, we have seen men who functioned with this understanding.
Asides the daily revelations the Spirit dishes us from God’s Word, the bible serves also as a complete guide comprising the past, the present and the future! All the way from the creation story before man existed, through our own age and up until the end of time, giving us a glimpse into eternity (timeless existence).
And God did not reveal all these for nothing but basically for our own advantage and that we might come to know Him – The Only true God. All through scriptures, we see God reveal His plans per season to anyone who cared to walk close enough with Him. He said concerning Abraham, “shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” (Genesis 18:18). He even revealed to Abraham, the future ordeal of Israel in Egypt many years before the nation Israel was born. (Genesis 15:13-15). He revealed to Noah, His plans to destroy the earth. He revealed to Moses, His plans to deliver Israel from Egypt and establish them a wealthy and formidable nation even when freedom was far from their imagination. He revealed His mind to Daniel, Nehemiah, Ezra, even David. He equally appointed prophets at every point in time, to give His people Israel, a hint into His immediate and future plans for them as a nation. And now, for us – His church, He has left us with more than enough hints within the pages of the scriptures, of His plans and purpose for us in these times and seasons.
1. Christ declared and validated “Understanding of The Times” as God’s will for His people in John 16:4
Now these things have I told you, that when the time come, ye may remember that I told you of them… (John 16:4)
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near. So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things came to pass, know that it is nigh even at the doors (Mark 13:28-29)
2. In our intro text, Matthew 6:1-3, Jesus Christ rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees for having the wisdom to interpret the physical climate and yet lacking an understanding of the spiritual climate of their times. This was how Israel missed her season of visitation by the Messiah.
Jesus Christ likened that attitude to hypocrisy. These were religious leaders who were familiar with the books of the prophets. They knew about the coming Messiah yet the Messiah was here and they knew not or probably just ignored the possibility that He was the Messiah. So it is hypocrisy in God’s sight to have the scriptures as a guide and yet pretend not to realize; or to just bluntly ignore the signs in scriptures when we see them today.
Christ called that hypocrisy. It is not enough for the church today to be so occupied with the manifestations of the Spirit – for this is a means to an end, or being occupied with the pursuit of personal goals and yet ignore completely the significance of the times we are in. And when I say “the Church”, I mean every believer wherever we are, and not just the gathering of saints in local assemblies and worship places. However, so many believers do just this, ignoring the very signs they read about in scripture.
3. Christ declared in Mark 13:28-29 (paraphrased); “…just like you interpret the summer season looking at the fig tree; also interpret the end times looking at the signs I gave you”. It’s a big error to live as though the end time signs have no significance! He said “know that it is near, even at the door”.
Know that it is near, even at the door. When someone is at the door, we prepare for his entry, if we hadn’t been wise to do so earlier. If the house is not orderly, we set it in order to receive the visitor, especially when He has given us some preconditions about the state of house He wants to meet. And here, Christ is not just a visitor but ‘The Master of The House’.
The implication of ignoring the signs is that we don’t prepare. We get so busy with every other thing but that which He wants from us at His return. When we ignore the signs, we become foolish – like the five foolish virgins. They all qualified as virgins quite alright, like the other five but their foolishness ‘disqualified’ them despite their virginity. This very same parable was told with respect to Christ’s return. Paul referred to Understanding of times as Wisdom (Ephesians 5:15). And truly, many believers (virgins – as figuratively described in the parable) would have foolishness cost them their qualification. Please, be wise to understand this! Jesus couldn’t have been a liar. God forbid! The fool who ignores the times will disqualify himself of his virginity when the master returns. Due to His foolishness (ignoring the signs), He will most likely misuse the little time left instead of redeeming it for His purpose and call.
See then that ye walk circumspectly not as fools but as wise, redeeming the times because the days are evil… Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:15,17)
4. Noteworthy also is the fact that, it takes a believer who is sensitive to the signs, to discern God’s will and purpose for themselves per time per season. A true understanding of purpose and relevance in this end time is a function of our sensitivity to the signs of the season. Paul in the verse above, made us understand that ignoring the signs makes one a fool and unwise, his solution? “…rather, understand what the will of the Lord is”
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (Ephesians 5:17)
5. Lastly, verse 18 says,
And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess but be filled with the Holy Spirit.
So there is even a correlation between our spiritual health and our understanding of the times. Infact, it is in itself a sign of laziness in the things of the spirit to just shy away from the very watching and praying that the master commanded.
Like God revealed to Abraham and to every other human friend of His all through scriptures, God is still in the business of revealing His will and plans to friends of His on earth. To resign from an understanding of the times is a blunt resolution to never qualify for that level of friendship with God. No true purpose that is of relevance to the kingdom assignment is birthed without an understanding of times and seasons. In our next volume on this series, of “Word Study”, we shall be looking at some more specific reasons why Understanding the times and seasons is an issue so dear to God’s heart.
When next you read the news headlines on CNN, it’s not enough to join the rest of the world lamenting and wondering ignorantly at the headlines; neither should you shy away from the news altogether. But know for sure, God has provided us not just with an understanding but also with the answers that the world seeks. As believers expecting the return of the Messiah, may we interpret the signs, find our placement and calling in these seasons and Occupy till the Master returns. God bless you.
Make up your mind to live this way. See you in the next Issue.