Judging Before the Time
During Paul’s missionary journeys, he ended up waiting for his companions to join him in Athens. Not one to sit around idly, we are told that “his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry” (Acts 17:16).
He meanders into the Areopagus, the seat of the governing council of the city and the local hot spot for the philosophers of Athens. Noticing an altar to The Unknown God, Paul strides in to reveal the God’s identity. “Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.” Paul then summarizes God’s great prophetic Week of redemption.
“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’
Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a Day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:26-31).
In short, Jesus’ first coming announces the end of the “times of ignorance being overlooked.” The good news of the Gospel informs the people that the way to be reconciled to God is now on the earth. It’s time to recognize God’s Anointed One—in Hebrew, the Messiah; in Greek, the Christ. Those who choose to follow Jesus Christ are commissioned to carry on His earthly ministry of making disciples and confirming the Word preached with signs and wonders following for two great Days. At our time now, the 2,000 years we call the Church Age is nearly over.
The Chronos Lesson: As New Covenant believers, born into such a time as this, we shall be eyewitnesses to the rise of the Antichrist, the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, the initial invasion of Israel, and the final sign of celestial darkness that marks the end of the extended nature of the tribulation. Yes, the Church has been living in the great tribulation for all its existence.
There is something in Paul’s bold sermon in the midst of the pagan darkness that is easily overlooked in our own time. God has determined preappointed times and boundaries for the nations, including the United States. No matter what the intentions of the founding fathers were, and no matter the intentions of the man-made political parties are, the Most High God has preappointed this nation’s boundaries, along with all the other nations of the world. To understand the significance of this, the primary indictment against the Antichrist is that he seeks to change the times and seasons, and the law (Daniel 7:25).
Imperfect people cannot make America great again. Even though believers are washed in the blood of Jesus and thereby forgiven and made righteous, we are not yet perfectly conformed to the image of Christ. That comes at the appointed time of the rapture, as the 7th Day dawns. In the meantime, we are instructed to pray for all men first and foremost, and then for the leaders of our respective nations that we may live peaceably. But ultimately, God’s preappointed times—the chronos time—cannot be annulled.
It can only be fulfilled at the appointed time. And that is the purpose of the rapture. It is when we finally experience the hope of our calling and the full redemption of our bodies and soul. We are raptured so that we can step into our next assignment as the immortal government of Heaven before the throne of God to rule over the earth justly and perfectly during the appointed Day, the Day of the Lord.
To attempt to judge the nations and the Deceiver, and pull down his evil angelic entourage before that pre-determined time is foolishness. We must submit to God and His divine timetable, for only then will the counterfeit rebellion be squelched once and for all time.
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