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As to the Times and Seasons - Part 2 - By Gene Lawley -
The phrase, "times and seasons," is used in connection with prophetic events to come. It is used only three times in the Scriptures, the first, in Daniel 2:21. The second, in Acts 1:7, and the third, in 1 Thessalonians 5:1all having to do with future periods of time when God fulfills His prophetic pronouncements.
In Daniel 2:21, it is in the prayer of Daniel asking God to reveal the king's dream to him. Following is the context in which that phrase is used, in Daniel 2:20-22:
"Daniel answered and said: 'Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.'"
This beginning of Daniel's prayer is like an introduction to the prophecy that was to follow, showing the outline of secular history in the future. Kingdoms were identified in sequential order. These came to be called heads of a seven headed beast that Daniel, then John, revealed in later writings. It tells us that God, who is unchangeable, set up times and seasons in His plan for the ages at different times and for different purposes.
The response Jesus gave in Acts 1:6-7 shows that the era when the nation would be restored to Israel was not yet to be. The ministry of the gospel of His death, burial and resurrection was to be carried out when He would take out of the Gentiles a people for His name. (Romans 11:25 and Acts 15:14)
The times and seasons that Jesus said were in the Father's authority came to fulfillment when Israel was recognized as a sovereign nation on May 14, 1948. It was prophecy fulfilled! The era of grace continues until Jesus comes for all of His believers at the Rapture and the world enters a seven-year period of judgment. That is the 70th week of Daniel's prediction for Israel.
The third and final mention of the phrase, "times and seasons," comes at the end of that era of grace when Jesus returns for His Bride, the church, and the Day of the Lord's judgment begins for seven years. That is spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, just following Paul's pronouncement of the resurrection of the dead in Christ and living believers, who together meet Him in the air.
It appears there are four lengthy periods of time, or eras, in which God is dealing with mankind, and each one ends with the glaring evidence that mankind cannot exist on their own apart from God. The four periods of time follow, with major events named during each era. (Note that the eras are chronological, and as much as I can, the internal events are also chronological, even as time, itself, is chronological.
1. Period from Creation to Abraham:
b. Adam and Eve sinned and mankind was separated from God, and He provided a blood sacrifice to cover their sinfulness;
c. Man became exceedingly sinful and God destroyed all but eight people with a flood;
d. Mankind repopulated the earth and rebelled again to build a tower expressing their independence from God;
e. God's judgment was to confuse their languages and scatter them around the earth.
2. Abraham to Christ' birth:
a. Abraham called out of and away from his relatives;
b. God promises to bless Abraham and his generations as well as those who bless them, and curse those who do not;
c. God promised Abraham a son through whom He would raise up many generations of offspring;
d. Abraham disobediently fathers a son of a slave woman and named him Ishmael, whose offspring became the continual enemies of Israel;
e. God promises the land of Palestine to Abraham and his descendants to be their land forever;
f. Beyond the age of normal reproduction, Sarah bore a son to Abraham, who was the son of promise, and he named him Isaac;
g. Isaac was given a wife from Abraham's relatives named Rebecca, and she bore two sons to him, Esau and Jacob;
h. Jacob took two wives from the relatives of Abraham, Leah and Rachel;
i. Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord and was renamed Israel by the Lord;
j. The two wives bore him twelve sons, who became heads of the twelve tribes of Israel;
k. Throughout the centuries the disobedience of these children of Israel brought repeated judgment upon them from God;
l. They desired a king like the other nations had, a God gave them one like they wanted, but he was not of the tribe of Judah, who was to be the lineage of kings;
m. After the third king, now on the proper lineage, the nation split into two parts, Israel and Judah;
n. Sinfulness ravaged the two sections and their kings, and being overcome by their enemies, captivity resulted-by the Babylonians and finally, the Romans, who ruled over them as a defeated people when Christ was born.
3. Advent of Christ and the age of the Gentiles:
a. Birth of Christ, His life, death, burial and resurrection;
b. The indwelling of believes by the Holy Spirit, at Pentecost;
c. The Great Commission was given and the preaching of the gospel of grace to all nations;
d. The development of the church, the body of Christ;
e. Constantine joins the church (Roman Catholic) into the empire, A.D. 313;
f. Discovery of America, Christopher Columbus, A.D. 1492;
g. Protestant reformation, Martin Luther, A.D. 1517;
h. Colonization of America, A.D. 1620 and its independence, A.D. 1776;
i. The restoration to Israel of their promised land;
j. The falling away from the faith by many;
k. The confirmation of a covenant with many by the Antichrist for seven years;
l. The removal of believers from the earth in the Rapture;
m. Seven years of tribulation upon the inhabitants of the earth;
n. The rise of a New World Order with a one world government, the seventh head of the beast energized by Satan;
o. The Second Coming of Christ, destroying the Antichrist and his false prophet and the satanic opposition to Christ.
4. The reign of Jesus Christ on earth for a thousand years, called the Millennium:
a. Jesus takes up the throne of David at Mount Zion in Jerusalem, a physical presence as King over mortal mankind on the earth;
b. He will rule with a "rod of iron," but with righteous judgment;
c. Satan will have been bound and imprisoned in the bottomless pit at the beginning of this era;
d. Only mortal individuals will have been left from the Great Tribulation to inhabit the earth and to replenish its population, perhaps only the remnant one-third of the Jews who were protected by God from the ravages of Satan and his Antichrist;
e. Under His rule, Christ will maintain peace and no wars will occur;
f. The lamb shall lie down with the lion, and a child will play by the nest of vipers, and people will live much longer lives;
g. Inhabitants will be required to observe the Feast of Tabernacles (God dwells among us), annually;
h. Those who are disobedient will suffer loss of blessings and benefits for their crops and welfare;
i. At the end of the era, Satan will be loosed from his bonds and soon will raise up an army of a multitude who will oppose the Lord, but will be destroyed forever and ever in the lake of fire;
j. Then comes the Great White Throne Judgment in which every one whose name is not found in the book of life is judged on his works and is cast into the lake of fire, also. This is the second death.
Eternity will then open up for the redeemed of the earth, also forever and ever...band ever, and time will be no more!
In a broad sense, these are the times and seasons and their content, as laid out in the chronological progress of the events recorded in the Bible. Perhaps you noticed that each one of the eras ends with judgment upon mankind, those in opposition to the Lord.
Another point becomes obvious as one considers the evident inability of mortals to govern themselves. Back in 1 Samuel 8 the clamor of the Hebrews was for "a king like those of their neighbors," and God gave them one. Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin, but God had designated the tribe of Judah to be the one having the coming lineage of kings (Genesis 49:10). When Saul failed, David, the son of Jesse of the tribe of Judah was ordained king of the Israelite. But as the chronology earlier tells it, that governing mode failed and they were judged and scattered among the nations.
Finally, mankind came to establish an entity that was the best that could be devised-a declaration of independence, God-given rights for liberty and the freedom for the pursuit of happiness, a government of the people, by the people and for the people; a Constitutional Republic designed to prohibit a monarchy or dictatorship to emerge.
Today we see that arrangement-the very best that humanity could ever have for self-governing, failing at the hands of despotic-minded people, and coming under the judgment of God. Denial of such implications can only find its base in a hope not supported by current secular events and predictions of coming catastrophes.
So what is God telling us and the universe?
God tells us this, in Isaiah 43:7:
"Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him."
The mystery of godliness, the mystery of Christ in us, the hope of glory, even all the mysteries of God, may well be summed up in the desire of the God of the universe to have fellowship with redeemed mankind, even you and me.
It is evident, in actuality and in scriptural records, that God has gone so far as to take up residence in the form of a man like us with whom we will spend eternity-our Redeemer! We see this in Acts 7:56, where Stephen, as he was dying, saw Jesus standing by the right side of the throne of God, and in 1 John 3:1-3:
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."
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