Monday, October 1, 2012

The Times and Seasons

1Thessalonians 5:1-11 - But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say,“Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

A reminder to all of us who might forget and become complacent. God is God. He does as He wills. He has shown us all throughout the Bible what happens to people in general or those He calls His children when He is put aside for our own pleasures.

He has written about His history and the history of His Son, Jesus. He has shown us what His purpose is. He shows us what sort of lives we are to live...humbly with Him, not thinking ourselves greater than another, what right morals are to matter what society wants to dictate. He shows us what we must do to be saved. And more importantly, why. He shows how our lives are to depend on Jesus for success and eternal existence.

If we heed these things, we understand the scriptures above. They are telling us what we need to be looking for. If God is God and His will rules, He can suddenly appear out of nowhere to bring an end to what we know life to be. We cannot be complacent believing life goes on and we always bounce back and where is this God Who has claimed for thousands of year's He will return?

God's time is not like ours. A day to Him can be a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. I wish I could go into more depth about this and the fact that it's been about 6,000 years since God created the world. (What? You mean it's not millions of years old? Some scientists are beginning to tell a different story...)

I wish I could go into a lot of detail about what are considered dispensations or a general state or ordering of things; specifically: a system of revealed commands and promises regulating human affairs (Webster). These specifically are ordered by God. We have been through nearly all of six of seven dispensations since the beginning of God's creation. So far they have been: innocence, conscience, government, promise and law. We are now in the sixth dispensation of grace. There is one more to come: kingdom. In each dispensation, man failed his responsibility. He turned from God and judgment was brought upon him.

If we are in the sixth and it's been about 6,000 years and there is only one dispensation to go, we must be nearing the end of time. Grace is the time of Christ, a time of apostasy, another time of failure and turning from God. It is a time, however, when He is available for our salvation. All this happens before the last dispensation, kingdom...when He returns to rule and reign on earth in perfect peace. The number seven in spiritual terms is perfection (see my last blog!). God created the world in six days but on the seventh, when all was good, He rested. He had completed His perfect creation. His kingdom to come will be perfection, the seventh dispensation.

But enough of that! Jesus can come soon, at any time. If we are not watching for His return we might miss out on it. What does that mean? Those who have received Christ and know He will return and are actively watching will be part of the grand return, with Christ (because we are not appointed to wrath). Those who are not watching, complacently living day by day, believing the words of the day of "peace and safety," will not be part of it...shall not escape what will happen next.

My brother-in-law, David, shared this the other day on Facebook: Just finished doing the dishes and all of a sudden every hair stood up on my body. In the Spirit I heard the Lord say, "I am coming soon, watch for me to descend on the Mount of Olivet; Har HaZeitim." Taking a deep breath. I'm both excited and confident that I am not watching for naught. (By the way, Har HaZeitim means Mount of Olivet in Hebrew.)

For the past few blogs I have been bringing up what we see happening in the world through physical attacks and politics (also attacks) and how it so looks like what the last days of the time of Noah looked like and what other prophets have said we will see. We cannot bury our heads in the sand. It is time to be watching. It's time to see the signs being played out before our eyes. More importantly, it's time we "get right with God," as Billy Graham would say. It's time to ask, "what must I do to be saved," if we are in any way concerned about the events of the day.

We do not know the day or hour Jesus will return. That's only for God to know. It could happen any time and we must be vigilant. If we are in the sixth dispensation with one to go, time is getting short. What say you? Will you receive Jesus? Or will you believe that your good works, your baby baptism or your church will save you? Only Jesus Himself can do that. He offered Himself 2,000 years ago for you. The offer still stands. What must you do to be saved?

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. ...if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." (Acts 16:31, Romans 10:9-11)

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