Knowing the Times of the Lord
Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry
By: Darrell G. Young
Ever since God created the universe and the dimension of time that flows within it, time itself has been steadfastly and inevitably flowing onward, flowing like water in a mighty rushing stream, ever onward toward a dramatic and climactic event. It seems to us that father time will flow on forever unimpeded, but in fact time itself will dry up someday, just as surely as streams dry up in times of a drought.
Revelation 10:5-7 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
This scripture from The Revelation seems to indicate that the dimension that we know on earth as “linear time” will someday cease to flow. In fact, this prophecy not only pertains to the cessation of the human linear concept of time. It also alludes to the idea that God has set a fixed point when He will determine that there should be no further need for delaying his judgement on our world, and establishing His eternal kingdom!
During the design and construction of the universe God determined that clocks and calendars would be based on the motion of the moon, the earth, the planets and other objects in the heavens.
Genesis 1:14-19 And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs ('oth, markers, indicators) and for seasons (moadhim, "solemn assembly") and for days and years, and let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth." And it was so. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
Linear, or "Dynamical" time is to this day still measured in terms of the rotational period of the earth on its axis, the month is basically a lunar cycle and the year an orbital period of the earth's motion around the sun.
We don’t often think about it, but God actually drew up some contingency plans for our world before he created anything, and set the component of time progression in motion. That idea alone should highlight the fact that God has not only not forgotten us, but that he indeed loves all of his creation, and points to the fact that there is an ending to this present world, just as surely as there was also a beginning to it. Therein lies the great value of studying and understanding Bible Prophecy, and obtaining a spiritual sensitivity to the signs of the times. “Knowing the times” is paramount to an efficient rendering of the Gospel story and understanding God’s interaction from his eternal domain into our finite space-time domain. Scriptures such as Isaiah 41:19-23, 42:9, 44:7, John 13:19, 14:28-29 and Acts 15:18 explicitly state the fact that the Lord declares things before they come to pass. God declares new things (prophecy), so that we may see them, know their importance, consider their meaning, and understand them and have complete confidence in the reality that the Lord God is working all things to good for those that love God and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
The Eternal Existent One
It is interesting to note that on at least ten different occasions in the book of Genesis, God referred to himself by the omnipresent, yet covenant-action term “I am” when talking with the forefathers of Israel. (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) Later when Moses came to Mt. Sinai to meet and talk with the God of Israel, Moses inquired of him as to exactly what his name was. (Exodus 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?) God responded to Moses that his name is, “I AM THAT I AM.” Now I must admit that at first glance that name sounds rather strange, and seems highly unusual. But this name by which God disclosed of himself in the Hebrew language is “Hayah.” The writer of the Psalms in chapter 68:4 (JAH) reveals that God’s derived Hebrew name was “Yahh.” From these derivations comes the term Yahweh, or the four-letter Hebrew word YHWH which was the name by which God revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush. It is the source word for the name Jehovah. Hayah means to exist, (see Hebrews 11:6) and to be the beacon that has brought all of creation into being, and the one to whom all is slated to pass before. (Isaiah 43:10 indicates that there was no god formed before YHWH, and that there will be no god after him, and that outside of him, there is no savior.)
In the ancient world, knowing another's name was a special privilege, and a privilege that offered access into that person's thoughts and life. By choosing Israel, Yahweh chose to reveal Himself unto them, and by doing so God showed his love toward mankind, and has throughout the course of human history used the nation of Israel to reveal himself, his thoughts, his law, and his plans for the world to all the nations.
The Eternal One’s Contingency Plan
As stated earlier, before God ever actually launched his creation project as recorded in the book of beginnings (Genesis) he postulated a design of everything within his mind. In his all-knowing (omniscient) capacity as Creator, God did not need to experiment with any simulated any lab tests, or run through a mock up series of troubleshooting scenarios. But, the Lord knowing the ending of all things, saw the need for a contingency plan. This Divine contingency plan is the revealed Love of God. As stated so eloquently by Peter in the 1first century, the Creator foreordained before He ever laid the first building block of the world, that He would need to sacrifice himself to save the one and only part of His creation that was made in his own image,…… mankind!
I Peter 1:18-20 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
The word foreordained is taken from the Greek word “proginsko” and means, to know beforehand and ordain a contingency plan. Most of the world’s academia and intelligentsia fully acknowledges the fact that the world is headed toward some Big climactic event. The reason that many of the world’s elite scientists urge the exploration of space is so they can explore the universe for clues to the origin of life. The major reason for this scientific fascination is that the majority of scientists know that the world’s end is explicitly tied to its literal beginning. Ironic therefore that God should be described in the Bible as the alpha and the omega, the literal beginning and the ending!
The Psalmist in chapter 33 clearly indicates that God spoke all things into existence, but the Lord did not simply speak everything into existence all at the very same instance. Rather, the Lord took great care to use his Creative Word to bring into existence the components satisfactory for human habitat in a sequential order, thus the reason for the space-time model of days. This special design handiwork of God took six days. Our world is a “hands on” creation. The universe was built in project stages, or modules. The raw materials for the project were brought into being on the first day when God created the heaven and the earth, then during the ensuing five days the raw materials were fashioned, and sculpted into a finished project.
In essence, the mind of God was the architect or design engineer of creation. The Word of God acted as the construction engineer on the project, while the Holy Spirit hovered over the entire project as the chief inspector. After the construction phase of the universe was completed, God finally moved on the last day-module to create man and place him inside the wonderful new living space known as the universe. The word “universe” means a finely tuned, packaged and inter-linked unit, which is designed to operate perfectly and properly, when activated, and in complete harmony with the designer.
At the conclusion of the creation project period, (six module days) God reviewed all that he had made according to his design and pronounced that it was all very good. Thus God activated the universe, and time began to flow. The lights that the Lord fixed in the heavens performed their duties and began to mark day from night, and weeks, and months, and years, and seasons.
The “Times” (season) of our world’s youthful innocence (Edenic Age) flowed unhindered until jealousy entered into the mind of Lucifer, and he instigated an angelic rebellion that ignited a war erupted in Heaven. This cosmic rebellion was expanded and transported down to the earth by Lucifer, when he was able to entice Adam and Eve into breaking the design code of harmony with the Creator. Thus the “times of innocence” ended.
The English usage of the word “times” throughout the Bible comes from the Greek word “kairos,” and refers to a season of time. In the great fore-ordained design of the Creator-designer God, these spans of earth history, known as “seasons of times” were pre-calculated into the run-time of the universe. They exist in panoramic worldly perspective to convey to the world’s inhabitants an instrument by which we can estimate on a progressive time-line the proximity of the alpha and omega, or the beginning and the ending. I AM THAT I AM beacons at both ends of that space-time continuum, with judgment awaiting and eternity looming on the other side.
The mystery of the ages is that God chose to exhibit his love toward a fallen and rebellious mankind and to accord mankind a time of refreshing. That grand manifestation of love has been demonstrated toward mankind through the various dispensations (administrations) of seasons of time. God has used various tools and times in this world to administer his love toward mankind. One of these methods was the “times of the law.” Israel, being the chosen nation was called to give God’s law to mankind, but eventually the “times of the law” demonstrated that they were ineffective in the restitution of mankind. (Hebrews 7:12-28) In reality, the anti-Semitic hatred that the world demonstrates toward Israel is hypocrisy taken to the ultimate extreme because the law serves to show that everyone is guilty of being a lawbreaker.
But, thanks to the grace of God, and in the appropriate dispensation of time, and when the fullness of that season was accomplished, He sent His own Son to offer his gift of redemption to the whole world.
Galations 4:4-5 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Romans 16:24-25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, (see also Ephesians 1:4, 3:9-11, Colossians 1:26, II Timothy 1:9-10, Titus 1:2-3, Rev. 13:8)
Thus, in plain Gospel terms, the failure of the Law perfectly demonstrated in a season of earthly time, that God’s appointed time for the sending of the Christ was necessary, and therefore at hand through a new dispensation. God’s contingency plan for our world can best be easily summed up in the words of John 3:16. (John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.)
The mystery of the Ages is that God purposed (Ephesians 3:9-11) before the foundation of the world that he would send Jesus, the Christ, the anointed one, to become the Savior of the world. This grand mission, designed outside of time, was scheduled by God to be accomplished, on time!
Acts 17:24-26 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined “the times before appointed,” and the bounds of their habitation;
The Creator God, the great I AM THAT I AM determined aforetime (beforehand) that there should be seasons of time during the progression of earthly time that are arranged (prostasso-times before appointed) to bring all things towards a definitive climax. I M appears at the beginning and ending of Jehovah’s name. In essence, the middle name, ”THAT”, which appears in between the Lord’s name is indicative of the fact that all things are of him, by and winding up with him. The name I AM THAT I AM, is a name that encompasses what we mere earthlings see as the past, present, and future. I AM, is existing in eternity, before the beginning of time, and after the ending of time, and His middle name THAT represents the present status of our world, and yet while our world is fallen and subject to the sin-veil of separation, God is still the great eternal I AM, where all things have their terminus.
Colossians 1:16-17 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Have you ever wondered why God created the world, or why he created man? As shown in the above verse from Colossians, the Lord created all things for His pleasure. We came into existence for the purpose of being pleasing to the Lord. Since the Garden, we have lost the capacity to please our Lord, and require the need of repatriation. For this purpose, God sent His Son (the Word, the creative engineer) into the world at the appointed time of visitation to enact the contingency plan. He fulfilled his purpose when he rose from the dead, and pronounced that mission accomplished upon the Cross, when Christ said, “it is finished”.
Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.)
You may notice that the scripture from Revelation 4:11 says, “for thy pleasure they are and were created.” The meaning of this phraseology is taken from the Greek word ktizo, and refers to the idea that the Creator maintains proprietorship over everything. In truth, God has offered mankind a process of regeneration whereby we may choose to have him re-create us. This is the reason that Jesus told Nicodemus that he needs be born again! (II Corinthians 5:17-18 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;)
The Time (Season) of the Lord’s First Visitation
Since God indeed mandated aforetime that a contingency plan for mankind would need to be enacted out on earth, it only makes sense that the Lord God would give careful consideration to the timing (season) of His Visitation. Since God was outside of time, and knowing the ending of all things, it also makes sense that he would share some foreboding insights about that season of visitation with His holy prophets. And that is just what he did. There are dozens upon dozens of prophecies concerning the first coming of Christ, but we shall only highlight a few of them here for our purpose.
· Six hundred years before Christ was born, God informed the prophet Daniel, (Daniel 9:24-27) through his angel Gabriel that 69 weeks (shabuim) of years (483 Jewish years) after the command from Artaxerxes to rebuild and restore the city of Jerusalem that the Messiah would present himself to the children of Israel.
· Zechariah 9:9 conveys that the Messiah, after the appointed elapsed time of 483 years would come riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.
· Seven to eight hundred years before the times of Jesus, Isaiah the prophet declared that the Messiah would bruised for our iniquities, that his stripes would serve to heal us, that he would not defend himself while on trial, that He would be slaughtered as a Lamb and that he would be buried in a rich mans tomb.
· Daniel and Isaiah (although living 200 years apart) agreed that the Messiah would be cut off. (killed) (Isaiah 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.) (Dan 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:)
· Psalms chapter 22 (written 1000 years before the time of Christ) explicitly describes in detail the Lord’s crucifixion even before the Romans had ever invented the method of torture by scourging and execution by crucifixion.
Since there was such a significant amount of information conveyed by God through his prophets about the impending arrival of the Lord’s arrival on Palm Sunday 2000 years ago, you’d think more people would have anticipated his coming. Afterall, the Wise Men from the East were steeped enough in the science of studying the times and season of the Lord sufficiently enough to calculate that the time of his birth was due three decades before the occasion when the Lord entered into Jerusalem on the fateful Passover week.
The wise men cane to Jerusalem searching for the King of the Jews because they had seen his star in the east. This statement indicates that God has designed a message within the heavenly constellation that punctuated the times of the Lord. God himself gave the names to the stars, something he pointedly did not leave to Adam. In Genesis 2:19-20 God allowed Adam to name all the creatures, but the heavenly bodies, God called by number and name, and he did so because he reserved them to be for signs. These signs undoubtedly included a prehistoric gospel message, from which the wise men were able to deduce the first coming of the King of the Jews. (Psalms 147:4 He telleth the number of the stars; he (God) calleth them all by their names.) Whatever the zodiacal message of God contained, it has long since become lost and corrupted. But even this malady of history was foreseen by God, for he purposed that his message to mankind should become contained in written word form, through the Son of God, and that word is the Holy Bible. (Hebrews 1:1-2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;) (*Diverse manners means, various methods, and comes from the Greek word polutropos.)
Apparently the Jewish religious elite ruling in Jerusalem of the 1st century did not retain the prophetic, nor the zodiacal knowledge conveyed by the Holy prophets that the wise men in the East had retained, and gained blessed insights from. The wise men (being from east of Jerusalem) were probably the descendants of scholars that had been well schooled in the prophetic coming of the Lord by Daniel and his contemporaries when they were held captive in Babylon and Persia. It is well said that, “wise men still seek the Lord,” and for those today who have found him and yearn for his return, the wise still seek after the signs of his second coming, just as the wise men of 2000 years ago sought his first coming.
The Bible does record that there was at least two righteous people in Jerusalem who were just as skilled and knowledgeable in discerning the signs of the times as were the wise men from the East. One was a devout man named Simeon, and the other was a woman named Anna.
Luke 2:25-38 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 marveled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. 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.
Apparently, Simeon and Anna were not the only Israelites that anticipated the coming of the Messiah 2000 years ago, for Anna gave conclusive testimony to many other expectant people of the times of redemption, that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Hallelujah! Both Simeon and Anna were well advanced in age, but they retained a keen mind because of their expectancy of the Lord in their day! Hey, did you catch that point? They held a spiritual assurance that they would live to see the first coming of the Lord. Anna was over 100 years old, yet she, like Simeon knew she would not die before seeing the coming of the Lord. Anna was a prophetess (91 years beyond marrying age, about 107 years Old) and yet she refused to leave the Temple, remaining there to fast and pray because she knew the time was at hand. (One can just imagine the excitement within her soul when she caught news of a birth in a stable in Bethlehem) Simeon was also a prophet, (he declared that Mary’s heart would be pierced) and the Holy Ghost empowered him and promised him continued life until the coming of the Lord. Having taken up the baby Jesus in his hands, he was then ready to give up the ghost! These righteous and praying people knew the times in which they lived,…..they knew the Lord was coming soon……they could discern the signs of the seasons of time!
Some 25-30 years later, Biblical records shows that more Jews accepted Jesus as the Messiah, and as he came unto Jerusalem on the appointed occasion of the Passover Feast. They were among the crowds waving palm branches as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on donkey.
The World Says: Show us A Sign
One day after miraculously feeding the multitude of thousands on a mountain overlooking the Sea of Galilee, Jesus was confronted by the Pharisees and Sadducees, who approached him looking for a sign from him that he was sent from Heaven. He responded to them that they should receive no sign except for the sign of Jonah. Even while hanging on the Cross, many tempted him to come down off the Cross as a sign that he was indeed the Messiah. Show us a sign, and then we will believe is the motto of the world.
The irony of the Pharisees and the Sadducees quest for a sign from Jesus stands in contrast to the wisdom of the wise men, and the Jews who knew that signs were already clearly existent that portended the coming of the Messiah. The same should be anticipated in the Last Days as the season of his Second Coming draws ever nearer. The entirety of the prophetic range of scripture, from Old Testament to the New Testament points to the approaching Day of the Lord.
Matthew 16:1-4 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. 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 lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. (an allusion to his own death and resurrection) And he left them, and departed.
There is just as much conjecture, hypocrisy, and attitudes of skepticism today about the discernment of the signs of the times as there was in Jesus day. As a writer and teacher on Biblical eschatology, I am always bombarded everywhere I go about questions regarding the signs of the times. I have never seen a topical area so misunderstood. People always compel upon me to give them a sign that we are indeed in the Last Days. My first reaction is usually one of wondering how it is that they are missing the many thousands of signs of the times that are transpiring right before their eyes.
Jesus used a simple analogy to explain the signs of the times to the Pharisees. He compared it to the ability to discern the signs relating to the weather. He castigated the religious leaders of his day for being able to digest the face of the sky, but lacking the ability (spiritually taught-John 16:13) to discern the signs of the seasons, or times. In giving us the sweeping panoramic look down through two millennia of history between his first and second advents, Jesus highlighted the violent and turbulent course the season of time would take as it progressed into the stormy era of the Last Days. The Olivet Discourse of Jesus, recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and in Luke 21 outlines an overview of the signs of the times. Five times in this dissertation, Jesus told his disciples to "Take heed, and watch." The words “take heed” are taken from the Greek word “blepo,” and means to beware, to be discerning, and to watch out, and to look upon for the purpose of being aware of an impending event.
Within the Lord’s brief guideline concerning the season of the times of the Last Days are a few highpoints that serve as a master template signifying the “face of the sky” times portending his Second Coming. They include the following:
· False Christs & False Prophets & False Christianity
· Wars and Rumors of War (Distress of Nations) (geo-political turmoil)
· Geo-physical and Zodiacal signs (Luke 21:11, 25)
· Re-gathering of a Jewish remnant to a new State of Israel
· Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism (Luke 21:17-21)
· Jerusalem becoming a political burden for the world. (Zech. 12:1-3 & Luke 21:20-24)
· Partitioning the Promised Land (Joel 3)
Jesus concluded his discourse on the season of the Last Days by including an admonition similar to the method in which he chastened the Pharisees for being able to digest the patterns of inclement weather. To us who live in the Latter Days, as we analyze the “signs of the times” and as we begin to see the approaching weather-patterns of time as Jesus described in the Olivet Discourse, we are to take hope just as he encouraged us to do. (Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.)
In Marks record of the Olivet Discourse, he concludes the Last Days signs of the times message by comparing the Christian watch for the Lords coming as a watch in the night. The task before us is to remain awake and alert through the night season lest we be found asleep in when the Lord actually comes. As further added encouragement for Christians throughout the Church Age, Paul exhorts us to hold steadfastly to the things of Christ, and warns us of the dangers of the present time. Also, like Mark, Paul compares the season of the Latter Days trials that the Church will endure before the Lord comes to a night-watch, but also having a full knowledge that the morning is indeed coming. He states in Romans 13:12, “the night is far spent, the day is at hand.”
Today, the signs of the times are all around us. The sky is filled red with flashes that reveal that the time for coming of the Lord is near. The “Times of the Gentiles” which must be accomplished, stand on shaky legs today, and they will sooner of later fall away and surrender to the Times of the Lord. (Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.) Jesus Christ is the stone cut out without (Daniel 2:35-45) hands that shall smite the great Anti-Christ kingdom that shall soon dominate the last world empire of the Gentile Times. The gathering storm clouds that we are viewing today on the world horizon (particularly in the Middle East) do not forbode the destruction of the world, but rather they ominously forecast that the Season of the Lord’s Second Visitation is at hand!
Can you discern the signs of the times? If so, then the following exhortation is all the more applicable. We as Christians should be able to discern the times, just as Simeon and Anna could when the Lord visited this world the 1st time. And in discerning the times, we need to share the news that the time for the Lords 2nd visitation is nigh! Amen
Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry
Knowing the Times of the Lord
Darrell G. Young