Understanding The Times

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Understanding The Times

Understanding The Times

I Chronicles 12:32  And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

John 11:9  Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.

The Bible makes it clear that man is a finite being. We have limited understanding of what is going on. We cannot tell what is going on in the future. We cannot even tell how this particular day will end.
In the Old Testament and during the completion of the New Testament, God sent many prophets who were given details of future events. They were able to speak with accuracy on what was coming and on what people needed to do. The book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ has much prophecy that has not been fulfilled yet. The book of Daniel and Ezekiel and others also have prophecy that has still not been fulfilled.
Our opening verse tells us that some of the men from the tribe of Issachar had understanding of the times. They knew what Israel ought to do. These men lived during the time of king David. It was not long after that the nation of Israel lost its way. King Solomon was granted great wisdom by God, but he squandered that. He married many strange wives and the Bible tells us that they turned his heart away from God. After his death, God divided the nation of Israel into the North – Israel, and the South – Judah. The Northern tribes never had a godly king. God sent them some godly prophets, but the kings of the North never knew the fear of the LORD. The North was sent into exile by the LORD at the hands of the Assyrians.
The South – Judah, lasted a while longer. They had some good kings and some wicked kings. God sent them many prophets. Some were listened to and others, like Jeremiah, were despised. Eventually God sent Judah into exile at the hands of the Babylonians. They spent seventy years in exile as a punishment from God. Daniel lived during the time of the exile of Judah. He spent his adult years as a captive in Babylon. God was able to use him to influence several ungodly kings. He, along with his three friend, Mishael, Hananiah, and Azariah, gave wise counsel to the nation of Babylon and Daniel also gave wise counsel to the nation of the Medes and the Persians.
God gave Nebuchadnezzar a dream in which He laid out the four world empires that would dominate world history. The king was so terrified by the dream that he could not remember it, nor did he understand what it meant. He called upon his ungodly counsellors and they could not give him the dream and thus they could not interpret it either. The king wanted them all killed, but Daniel intervened and asked for some time to know the dream and to interpret it. Daniel and his three friends, all of whom were given pagan names by the king, had a prayer meeting and God gave Daniel the dream and the interpretation of it. Even though the king gave them pagan names, through which he hoped to corrupt them and make them more “suitable” for his kingdom, God intervened and protected those young men from the paganism that was dominant in the land of Babylon. He protected them because they already had their faith in Him.
Daniel gave Nebuchadnezzar the dream and also the interpretation of it. Babylon was the current and first empire in the dream. It was represented by the head of gold. Gold is the superior metal and Babylon would be the superior kingdom of the four. The next would be the Medo/Persian kingdom followed by the Greek Empire and lastly the Roman Empire. God also revealed to Nebuchadnezzar that there was a fifth kingdom that was from heaven. That kingdom would destroy all the other kingdoms.
We know that the Babylonian Empire fell during the time of Daniel. The Medo/Persian Empire conquered it. Persia became the dominant one in that Empire. When the Medo/Persian Empire came to power they swallowed up the Babylonian Empire and expanded their territory. They did not destroy the philosophy of the Babylonians but integrated that into their own ideas. When the Medo/Persian Empire fell, the Greeks adopted the Babylonian and the Medo/Persian philosophy into their Empire. They also expanded their territory. The Romans did the same. The Babylonian religion and philosophy is still around to this day. That philosophy will become more and more prominent and will be the dominant religion and philosophy of the Tribulation time.
We noted that the paganism of Easter was developed from the Babylonian worship of the sun. The Catholics and the Muslims both are influenced by the Babylonian false religious system. Sadly, many Evangelicals of different stripes are also still influenced by that pagan system.
It is important for us to pay attention to what is happening at home as well as on the world scene. Jesus told His disciples that there are twelve hours in a day and that we need to walk in the daylight so that we do not stumble. The night is coming. We know that every day has its nighttime. However, Jesus was speaking in a spiritual manner in that passage. The end of this present age is upon us. The apostles expected Jesus Christ to come back in their time and true Christians live with that expectation in mind at all times.
True Christians do not set dates. God warns against that. True Christians also know there are no signs that need to be fulfilled prior to Jesus’ return for the New Testament saints. We are not looking for signs. The Bible does give us indicators of future events that can help us to understand what is happening.
God gave some of the men of Issachar understanding of the times. These men were able to give direction to the nation of Israel during the reign of king David. God sent prophets to give direction to the nation of Israel all the way through the Old Testament. Jesus Christ prophesied of many things while He was on earth. God also gave prophecies to some of the apostles regarding the future. Prophecy came to an end with the completion of the written Word of God. It is still possible to find men and women today who claim they have a prophetic word from the Lord. There are people who claim to have dreams that have prophetic meaning to them. Those people are either willingly ignorant or they are deceived. Those who follow those people are also either willingly ignorant or deceived. We can know this because we have God’s Word. Many people are still looking for something new. They seem to admire someone who can give them a new prophecy. There is a false teacher I check into once in a while because we have people we know who follow this man. He got caught in an obvious false teaching recently, but he managed to wiggle himself out of it and the crowd kept clapping at what he was saying. He is a fraud, and those who are following him are gullible and willfully ignorant.
I just received notice of another organization that is seeking to draw people to its conferences and retreats. They claim to be a Biblically based organization, but they begin with using the perversions, and their theology is all messed up. They will probably attract a following because they have money backing them up so they have access to some very nice facilities that the flesh loves. The Bible warns of these types of things. All of this is in preparation for the coming of the anti-christ, whom the Bible describes as “the man of sin”. God will send those who enter the Tribulation lying signs and wonders because they did not love the truth. Sadly, there are many who like lying signs and wonders today as well.
We have the Word of God. The Word of God is complete. God is not adding to His Word. He gave us all we need and ended that with Revelation 22:21. Rather than letting the devil deceive and distract, God calls His children to become part of a true local church where they can be taught the truth. God expects His children to be students of His Word. He calls certain men to be “under shepherds” whom He guides to help others to know the truth. God never tells us to follow any man blindly. God tells us to be like the Bereans who:

Acts 17:11  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

The true local church cannot be ignored. That is God’s design for this age. God will protect true churches as long as they remain true to Him. He will not force a church to remain true. There are many “churches” that take the name, but were never true churches. God has preserved His Word so that those who attend a true church can take their Bibles and examine what is being said by the pastor. In today’s world with different recording devices it is not difficult to examine what the pastor says. In our church as in many others, every service is recorded. Ours are uploaded to our website so that a person can go there and replay a sermon as often as they want to examine what is said. The faithful child of God will hunger for God’s truth and will not be content with anything else. God in His wisdom and mercy has provided true local churches in these last days. I trust that each person reading these devotionals is a born again member of a true local church where you can grow and then help others to know the truth as well.
Pastor Bartel

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