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times and seasons

 
 

Jesus says,

 
 
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:”

Mark 13:28

And,

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 to day: 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?”

Mathew 16:2,3

 

The end of the Gentile Church Age

 

There is a lot of interest in Bible prophecy these days and many believe that we are fast approaching the end of time.  Many expect Christ to return, literally, at any moment.  I remember, as a young Christian, I was very scared that Jesus would return and I would be left behind.  Watching such movies as “A Thief In The Night” scared me plenty.  At the end of the movie, there was a dramatic plea to dedicate all to Christ.  A minster said, “if those present did not give their lives to Christ that they, they might be left behind to face the Antichrist”.  Needless to say, many came forward and gave their lives to Christ that night.   NO ONE wanted to be left behind.  However, many accepted Christ out of abject fear for their personal safety rather than heartfelt conviction of sin.

I personally believe very strongly in the rapture, however, I do not believe in scaring people into the kingdom of God.  There is no telling how many conversions, made because or abject fear, lasted.  I know personally, once the threat of imminent death passed, my commitment waned.

 

Why are so many wrong about Bible prophecy?

 

That story happened nearly 30 years ago and there has been no rapture.  Many people predicted many Bible prophecies would soon come to pass because Israel became a nation in 1948. Jesus said that generation would not pass away until all had been fulfilled.  Those who interpreted scripture predicted, in great detail, the end would take place by the 1980’s.  In retrospect, almost nothing those self-proclaimed prophets came to pass.  Such books as “The Late, Great Planet Earth” written by Hal Lindsey, have since fallen in to disrepute for lack of accuracy.

Although the Bible does contain a large amount of prophetic writings , people almost always get the interpretation wrong.  It seems that, in every generation, some take up a sort of pseudo mantle of old testament authority.  They declare “follow me!”, to safety.  These are sorcerers who seek to divine the future through peering into scriptures like a crystal ball.  By getting people to believe they know the future, false prophets gain sway over many, leading them astray.

 

Prophecy is not intended to be a crystal ball

 

Prophecy is not intended to allow people to know the specifics of the future.  Prophetic scripture is designed to allow people to realize that “this is that” when events foretold by God come to pass.  The fulfillment of prophecy is a witness that what God foretells is accurate and trustworthy.  The main benefit of biblical prophecy is  for people to accept what God is doing “at that time” and act accordingly.  Here is a truth,

 

“Prophecy is mainly good for confirmation.”

 

God foretells the future through His prophets and His word it is always 100% accurate.  Yet, those who try to know the future through Bible prophecy are almost 100% inaccurate.  Even when people experience the events foretold in scripture, they still don’t get it.  Why is this so?  What is the disconnect that makes people so wrong when it comes to knowing the times and seasons of God?  The answer to this question is,

 

“Though the fulfillment of prophecy is exact, many do not receive it (even when it happens to them).  People do not recognize the seasons, because they’re hearts are darkened.  Therefore they cannot receive nor understand what they read or even witness.”

 

God says,

 

I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.”

John 10:30-33

Even though the Son of God stood before them, they could not recognize their times and seasons.  Even though Christ did many good works, the Jews still wanted to stone Him.  Though Jesus fulfilled literally hundreds of prophecies, the religious leaders could not discern the times and seasons.  The reason their eyes did not perceive their Messiah is this,

 

“Understanding the times and seasons of God is not dependent upon intellectual ability but upon the condition of your heart before Him.”

 

God says,

 

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 

And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.”

Luke 2: 25-33

And,

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”

Luke 2:36-38

 

Recognizing the times and seasons

 

Simon and Anna knew the Christ even as a baby.  At only eight days old, those who waited on God, recognized the Christ.  On the other hand, natural minded chief priests, scribes, and pharisees could not know Him as a fully grown man.  Simon and Anna knew the Christ because God revealed who he was by His Spirit.  likewise,  we cannot know the times and the seasons of God through our natural minds either.

The things of God are spiritually discerned.  More than any other part of scripture this is true about Bible prophecy.  Unless we become close to God in prayer, we cannot begin to know the deep things of God.  Those who approach the interpretation of future events without walking in the Spirit can never correctly interpret prophecy.

Much of what passes eschatology is simply prideful people speaking vain words about things they do not understand.  They are pretenders who parade ignorance around like the emperor who had no clothes.  Gathering followers, like some pied piper, false prophets lead many to destruction.  Instilling fear in those who follow them, they promise safety in the coming apocalypse.

 

God has not given us a spirit of fear

 

God has not given us a spirit of fear.  If others inspire fear in you through their words, know that what they say is most likely not the Holy Spirit.  God tells us about the times and seasons to encourage us.  When foreseen events come to pass we can rest assured that God has planned accordingly.  Realize, that even though God determined to cause a flood, He spoke to Noah well before tha time.  Noah hear God’s voice and through building the Ark spoke plainly to a generation.  The message was there for all to see, it was is just that no one, except 8 individuals, had ears to hear it.

In conclusion, if you wish to know what Bible prophecy really means, be in prayer and draw close to the heart of God.  Just as God spoke of what He was about to do to His friend Abraham, He will also speak to you.  However, if you do come to understand the true meaning of prophecy, you may not find others eager to embrace that revelation.  Do not assume that because you understand they will understand.

 

Being alone with God

 

Revelation tends to separate us and, like John the Baptist, it sometimes drives us into the wilderness.  Being alone with God and free from the distractions of normative Christianity is not bad, but very few will understand why.  With great revelation comes great responsibility. We must see ourselves as you really are; poor, blind, and naked except for the covering of the Most High.
 
 

 

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