Today we’re back on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus’ heart is broken for His people because they refuse to see the signs of their visitation from God. Their rejection of the Lamb of God is about to set the New Covenant in motion as the Jews are “cut off” and the Gentiles (non-Jews) are grafted into the Vine. The generation of the disciples will see this come to pass when the Temple is destroyed in 70 AD.
Matthew 24:35 boldly declares the surety of God’s timetable: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” The statement echoes through God’s timetable all the way to the last two chapters of the Bible, where we see the new heavens and new earth that God creates, making all things new again as envisioned in Genesis 1.
So far, so good. Believers can rally around that glorious Day. Which brings us to Jesus’ next point in His end-time teaching. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Ah, there’s the rub. We must interpret this statement in its context. Otherwise, when we remove it from the “text,” we end up with the “con” that we cannot know when Jesus will return.
Here’s our second leading question we can use to reveal the truth of God’s Word. What day and hour is Jesus referring to? If we take Jesus’ words literally, He is talking about the Day when God creates the new heavens (atmosphere) and the new earth. The Scriptures call this special day the Eternal Day and the Perfect Day. As Levelers, we know it’s the Unknown Day.
This makes sense because it jives with Jesus’ teaching of looking for the signs of His coming that mark the end of this age. That brings us to the third leading question we can use to reveal the truth of God’s Word. We’ll look at it in our next “gathering” (blog).
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). In the meantime, check out these nuggets of truth.
Does this sound familiar? You’re sharing what you’ve learned about the times and the seasons of God’s prophetic timetable and somewhere in the midst of your conversation the other person blurts out, “But the Bible says we cannot know when Jesus will return.” As Shakespeare pointed out, “to know or not to know, that is the question.”
How do we respond? First, with respect. Most people are only parroting what they’ve heard others say. Few have examined the Word to see what it actually says. Being dogmatic with our reactions tends to bring out the guard dogs, and their incessant barking typically disrupts any meaningful interchange.
Second, we lead the person on the path of discovery so they see the truth for themselves. The statement is loosely based on a conversation Jesus had with His inner circle that is recorded in Matthew 24. He is introducing the topic of end-time events with them as He has come to Jerusalem for the last time. The disciples have no clue what is about to happen and even if they did, they wouldn’t understand it because of their preconceived ideas of what the Messiah should do.
Jesus’ topic is the signs of the times and the end of the age—the crux of a Leveler’s message. The Lord describes the signs they will see and punctuates His teaching with a word picture of the fig tree and the importance of recognizing the season. The signs or events He discusses and the ones He does not discuss help us put a time stamp on this teaching. It helps us identify where He is at in describing God’s timetable.
Here’s our first leading question we can use to reveal the truth of God’s Word. Why would Jesus take the time to explain the signs and give us a warning to watch the signs if His return cannot be known? If the Bible describes signs, then how can His coming be signless?
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
How have you responded to the “cannot know” rebuttal? What insights can you share with your fellow Levelers?
By grace we are saved through the gift of faith. For centuries this basic truth of our life in Christ was hidden in man-made traditions of works. At the appointed time, this marvelous truth was restored by God’s Spirit to the Church.
We live in a time where another basic truth of our faith as listed in Hebrews 11:1-2 has laid hidden in a man-made tradition that we cannot know the times and the seasons of our Lord’s return. It comes from one of the most misquoted and misunderstood passages in the Gospels when Jesus taught about the end of this age and His literal return.
Standing on the Mount overlooking Jerusalem and the Temple with His disciples for the last time, Jesus answered their most pressing questions: (1) when will they see the events Jesus had just prophesied about the Temple and the people’s rejection of their Messiah, and (2) what will be the signs of the end of this age.
“Take heed that no one deceives you,” He cautioned them, giving them a list of events and signs they would see. From the parallel accounts of Jesus’ end-time teaching in the gospels and the book of Revelation, we can see the big picture:
The obvious question, then, is what did Noah know? Did he not know when the flood was coming? Was he surprised by it? No, he knew the generation in which it would happen, compliments of his grandfather. He knew he had to get the Ark built in a timely fashion. He knew the time was fast approaching when he saw the sign of the animals coming two-by-two. Finally, he learned the specific time when God said the rains would come in one week.
Noah knew. So if our Lord told us we would know like Noah, then He wants us to know. He wants us to see the signs and understand the times recorded in His sure Word of prophecy. Romans 16:25-27 says that God reveals at the appointed times. The Spirit of God is moving once again to restore the understanding of God's end-time sequence, for it is a pivotal principle of our faith.
It’s time to humble ourselves before the Spirit of God, lay aside our man-made traditions, and seek His revelation in His Word. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). We can know and we should know, for the sake of the lost.
The big-picture view from above is captured in the Bible, God’s Word. It is His-story as it reveals His “will, ways, and wants” for all humanity. We can picture it as the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven. Does that sound familiar? It’s the second line of the model prayer Jesus unveiled when one of His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1-4). Prayer is relationship. It is interaction. It is communion.
What we commonly refer to as “The Lord’s Prayer” reads like a prophetic preview of God’s chronos agenda.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
This model is very telling. It names the Author: Our Father in Heaven. It reveals the thesis or purpose statement of the story—Your Kingdom come. It hints at the “how”—by the Bread of Life and the authority that comes through righteousness in the blood of Jesus. It establishes the nature of His interaction with us—for God is Love and God is Just.
With our trail identified, we shall soar above the path to see where each of these God/Mankind interactions originates when next we "come together."
When Moses asked God how to identify Him to the Israelites, the Creator answered, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). It was the ultimate statement of eternal existence and being. Jesus echoed this same statement when He said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).
The Ancient of Days is the eternal One who is not subject to time. He is above time; He is timeless. That’s why He calls things that be not as though they were (Romans 4:17) because there is no difference between past, present, and future tense in His world. It’s all one and the same—it IS.
Yet God chose to step into time to have a relationship with the human race that exists in time, matter, and space. The record of that relationship is divinely recorded in the Bible. It is the history of God interacting personally with humanity. It is His-story, revealing His “will, ways, and wants” for all humanity.
For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will do all My pleasure’ . . . Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it (Isaiah 46:9-11).
God views natural time in a linear fashion. By that I mean there is a definite beginning point, a definite ending point, and definite stages of time in between—each of which have a unique and specific purpose in God’s will. His timing is sure and inevitable. We can count on it!
We’re fortunate to be living in a time where we can touch a screen and have instant access to the big-picture view of where we are physically positioned on this earth at any given moment. You may not realize it, but we have access to a similar system for our spiritual position as well. I call it HPS—the Heavenly Positioning System. It, too, is a triangular interaction that determines our placement: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Spirit of grace in communion with us.
The HPS manual is called the Bible. It reveals His-Story throughout the ages. It enables us to track where we are in God’s linear timetable, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going as members of the human race. Along the way, it provides prophetic markers to confirm the exact trail.
So let’s start our journey of understanding the times with the big-picture view. We’ll tap into our identity as eagles and soar high into the heavenlies before we zoom in on the specific spots along God’s timeline, which we affectionately refer to as the chronos agenda.
After the prophetic call, we see the contradiction among God’s people who cling to the ways of the flesh, in rebellion or unbelief (Is. 40:6-24). No matter. God’s plans do not depend on whether humans believe or not (Verses 25-27). He is God and there are none like Him!
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (verses 28-31)
As Levelers, we must have eagle vision. Eagle vision is soaring above the earth to see how God views the affairs of humanity. It’s seeing the big picture of the Creator’s will on earth as it is in Heaven.
It’s understanding the times so we know what to do. Eagle vision sees ourselves as Father sees us: “. . . [He has] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6).
Why must we see like an eagle? Verses 7-10 complete the thought.
“. . . that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
As Leveler eagles, we confront the variable winds of this age. We function in turbulent times. Psalm 91 beautifully illustrates the lifestyle of an eagle.
Do you see yourself as a soaring eagle carried by the currents of God’s love and power?
By focusing so much on the supposed signs seen in current events, we’ve presented a distorted view of the events surrounding Christ’s return. We’ve been looking through one lens of the biblical binoculars--through the kairos (signs) lens only. That’s why so many people are confused by what they are hearing and seeing. We need both lenses. We need to see the chronos (prophetic times) given in God’s “witness”—His Word.
The chronos (prophetic times) recorded in God’s Word is plain to see. It’s not hidden in a complex numerical code. It’s not buried in figurative language that is open to interpretation. It is found in every book of the Bible in plain sight. All it takes are eyes that see—and an openness to lay aside what we think we know from human teachings and let the Bible interpret itself.
The fact that the Bible records God’s timing was known to the foundational Apostles who continued Jesus’ ministry and established the Body of Christ, also known as the Church. It was lost, just like other crucial principles of the faith, hundreds of years later when humanism and the Enlightenment began watering down the Bible to fit mankind’s view of their world at that time. This “timely message” is the last of the elementary principles of the faith (Hebrews 6:1-2) being restored to the Church at this “pregnant time.” Like Esther, we were born for such a time as this. To make the most of this time, we have to see how it fits into God’s great plan of redemption. We have to know the message and the plan.
The prophet Isaiah has just informed King Hezekiah of the impending Babylonian captivity of the nation. The prophet’s next words: “Comfort, yes, comfort My people, says your God.” How is this possible? It’s the principle found in Isaiah 59:19 – when the enemy comes in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a standard against him.
For those who are earnestly seeking God in this time, He has a timely call. Isaiah declared it over two centuries ago (Isaiah 40:3-5). We have the privilege of fulfilling it.
The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
What does this call mean to you?
Oh, how we long to see our Lord in person! The “can’t wait” longing is like a woman in her last month of expectancy. We can sense that “pregnant moment,” which brings us to a crucial key to understanding the times—binocular vision. Like the two lenses on binoculars, we need two fields of view to see the complete picture of the events surrounding Christ’s return. Not having these two fields of vision is what has caused false “sightings” and false “timings.”
The two fields of vision of our end-times binoculars cover the chronos (CROW-nos) and the kairos (KIE-ros). Those are the Greek words used in the original language of the New Testament. They mean the times and the signs. The “times” is God’s set timetable given in the Bible. The “signs” are the signals we see in the world that say the time is soon approaching.
They are like the times and the signs of a pregnancy. A woman knows the set time of any human pregnancy—nine months. She also knows the signs that show she is indeed pregnant—the swelling belly, food cravings, mood swings, contractions, and her water breaking. The child’s coming can’t happen apart from that set time and those signs.
Much of what we see and hear in the media concerning the end-times is not necessarily tied specifically to the biblical record of the times and the signs. That’s why there is so much speculation about what each event means. Instead, these events generally signal that we are in the last of the last days. They show the cumulative effect of the “falling away” brought about by secular humanism—the idea that we can fix our world with the right progressive ideas. Clearly, it’s not working. These current events show us that the conditions that the Bible says shall exist when Christ returns are “in the works” and right on schedule.