On Observing the Times

by Terry James, courtesy Terry James Prophesy Line

Jesus looked directly and deeply into the eyes of the pious religionists and elitist-legalists (the Pharisees and Sadducees). His omniscient, penetrating, piercing, eyes saw into their very souls. These religious zealots and lawyers sought to disprove the claims by His followers that He was sent from God. They wanted Him to immediately perform a private miracle for them, thinking, no doubt, that He would fail, giving them fodder for their attacks against Him.

Jesus, in answer to their probing demands that He show them a sign to prove His commission from Heaven, said:

Jesus replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’  and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.  (Matthew 16: 2-3 NIV)

The Pharisees, in particular, were supposed to know, in-depth, God’s Word to Jews. Yet, these not only didn’t recognize the fact that the Messiah was among them, but they also mocked Him and wanted to–and eventually did—kill Him.

Jesus had performed miracle after miracle. The signals were in every direction that He was who He was–the very Messiah for whom all of believing Israel longed.

Rather than embracing their future King, they mocked, harassed, and ultimately murdered Him, with the help of the Roman government.

They wanted a “sign” from Him, yet He had done wonders that everyone in Israel knew about except, seemingly, these Pharisees and Sadducees who confronted Him.

This man of Galilee represented a threat to their authority of being religionists and legalists who ran things. They couldn’t have their controlling apple cart turned upside down. Theirs was a very lucrative business, and they wanted no Messiah ruining their money-making enterprises.

Saul of Tarsus, of course, was, before his Damascus Road experience, one of the chief prosecutors/persecutors who sought to end the lives of those who followed Jesus–the one whom religionists and legalists considered an imposter, but whom His followers believed and claimed to be Israel’s Messiah.

We must wonder today about those, particularly among the so-called clergy—who cannot or will not discern the times. These totally ignore, or refuse to accept, God’s Word on things to come. They spiritualize or allegorize prophecy yet future concerning Christ’s soon return to put an end to this rebellious world system.

Would Jesus say the same to these today as he said of the religionists of that day?

“O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”

The Bible consists of–as my friend, the late Chuck Missler, used to inform—about 27 percent prophecy. Of that, approximately 14 percent is yet to be fulfilled. Yet only a very few pastors in the pulpits will touch on the prophetic portions. If they do, they spiritualize it or allegorize it to such an extent that they give their congregations little indication that these are things to come, in a literal sense. They certainly don’t examine the prophetic portions about prophecies yet to be fulfilled, checking on and including issues and events of the times that are unfolding–times that even a modicum of examination and exploration would divulge are absolutely ripe with prophesied things on the very cusp of taking place.

Such things to come are bulging at the proverbial seams, trying to burst forth.

Looking at the political situation in America today, as well as at the moral comportment of so many, what discerner from a believer’s perspective can deny that evil men and seducers are growing worse and worse?

Seeing the battles, with the nation divided almost down the middle, who with a discerning spirit can deny that rebellion against the God of Heaven is raging, or that that same God, the Holy Spirit, is acting as never before as Restrainer against the evil that is ramping up moment by moment?

Who that has been given discernment by that same Holy Spirit can but recognize that worldwide hatred for Israel is coming to a head, just as the prophet Zechariah foretold?

All prophetic signs are in process of converging at this very moment during these strange and troubling, although exciting, times; they are exciting because it all means the Lord Jesus Christ must be about to call all believers into the clouds of glory to be with Himself.

The believer that Jesus Christ is who God’s Word says He is must be dedicated to observing these matters unfolding so near the time of His return to establish His righteous kingdom on this rebellious earth. It’s time for Christians to be discerners.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  (Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV)