From the Pastor’s heart Understanding the Times
Mat 16:1The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. Mat 16:2He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. Mat 16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? Mat 16:4A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
Bill the Electrician, Carol the Housewife, Mark the young man, Jennifer the pretty young thing, Dad the old man, Robert the Politician and Peter the baby all had something in common. They were trying to live life to the fullest. So, they went about their business trying to achieve life to its fullest by what worked for them. Did they understand the times they lived in? Maybe; they did speak about it often and probably even discussed it on a daily basis with everyone they came into contact with. They watched their media outlets and gauged what they needed to know and assimilate about preparedness for what lay ahead of them. They attempted to build lives that could sustain them into their old age and that was probably what they wanted to know how best to do. While matters were getting out of hand around the world and they could see it in wars, famines and devastating natural disasters, terrorism and every conceivable disease on earth affecting people, they felt, as long as it did not come visiting their door step, they were fine. They felt, the best way to avoid such things was not to think about it or minimize the effect of such news by speaking positively. In the back of their minds, they knew that something was wrong. They could discern many things about life in the natural but could not discern the times. They knew how to do life as long as it was going smoothly and the few ups and downs they had experienced was not as bad as one would make it out to be. Even when disaster struck them with divorce, financial collapse and ill health, they had decided, that it was just part of life. A desensitisation had taken place, even crept up on them. It did not matter anymore. All they had to do was live life out and do their best and it will all end as it is supposed to. They did not care about the times or signs of the times.
The Pharisees and the other religious guys all wanted Jesus to give them a sign because they were sure of what they knew. They were provoking Jesus because their world was being challenged by Jesus who came doing miracles and displaying other signs of the times and speaking of things they had never heard of. Jesus could have given them a sign easily but He decided that they should remain ignorant because they were wicked in their ways in spite of knowing what was coming and spoken of in the scriptures. What they did not realise was, Jesus who was with them, was the sign of the times. The end had begun with His coming to earth. Salvation had skipped to the Gentiles as well; no more exclusivity for the Jews. All this was written and spoken of by the prophets but people would not listen even when the sign that is Jesus was standing before them. They could not see because they were not meant to see.
Jesus said; the sign given in Jonas was the only sign they would get. What sign was that? Jon 1:17Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Jon 2:2And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.Jon 2:3For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Jon 2:4Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. Jon 2:5The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. Jon 2:6I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. This is speaking of the death and
resurrection of Jesus. Jonah the Prophet was disobedient to God because he did not want a wicked generation to receive forgiveness. God wanted them to come to that place of repentance, to show them mercy, even though they were wicked. However, it was recorded that Nineveh was judged later, even though in the first instance, they had repented. The prophet Nahum predicted the destruction of Nineveh in the book that bears his name. The following signs were to be a part of the destruction of that great city:
1. An "overflowing flood" would "make an utter end of its place" (Nah. 1:8)
2. Nineveh would be destroyed while her inhabitants were "drunken like drunkards" (Nah. 1:10)
3. Nineveh would be unprotected because "fire shall devour the bars of your gates" (Nah. 3:13)
4. Nineveh would never recover, for their "injury has no healing" (Nah. 3:19)
5. The downfall of Nineveh would come with remarkable ease, like figs falling when the tree is shaken (Nah. 3:12)
The lesson to learn from this is, understanding the times we live in. I believe that many such attitudes, such as was similar to Nineveh, will mark the signs in the Church and in the world.
1. They were a sinful people
2. They were a proud people
3. They were a violent people who had a disregard for the lives of others
4. They had no concept of God and His requirements
5. They were deceived into thinking they were invincible
Apostle Paul also reasons of the end time character flaws in people that will be a sign. 2Ti 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2Ti 3:2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 2Ti 3:3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 2Ti 3:4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 2Ti 3:5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2Ti 3:6For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 2Ti 3:7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Jesus also speaks of the times. Mat 24:4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. Mat 24:5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. Mat 24:6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Mat 24:7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. Mat 24:8All these are the beginning of sorrows. Mat 24:9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. Mat 24:10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. Mat 24:11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. Mat 24:12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Mat 24:13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Mat 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Mat 24:15When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
All that Jesus and the Apostle Paul have written are happening now. Added to this, is the apostasy of the Church worldwide. The reason I have given you these scriptures is, to make you understand, that the signs of the times need understanding. It can only be had through illuminated scriptures as revealed by the Holy Spirit. You must come to that place of understanding, so that, you are not deceived yourself into believing a lie. If we can understand the times and seasons in a natural sense, we can understand the spiritual seasons through the Holy Spirit. That is why we need to seek His face about the times and act and prepare our hearts accordingly. Too many have waited for the last minute (like the foolish virgins) to try and fix up their lives in the spiritual. Amongst them are so called Christians, people who believe they are walking with God. One must never assume their walk.
Let the God of all who is able to keep us, also help us understand the times and how to be ready in season and out of season. There is more to come in the way of revival but then, the end must come. If the end is not in going to be in our generation, then, leaving behind a legacy that other generations after us can take hold off, is imperative. Let us be bold through understanding the times.
Lots of love
Names used in this article, other than Biblical names are fictitious and have no reference to any living person.