TIMES AND SEASONS – WHEN WILL THE KINGDOM COME?
There was a time when “Jesus is coming soon” was a slogan of sorts. Saying something like that these days might be considered “narrow minded,” if not offensive. Nevertheless, the coming of the Lord and the establishment of His kingdom is something that every believer should constantly keep in sight. It is our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). Indeed, I was planning to write about something else this week and only intended to mention the “times and seasons” of His coming in passing. But considering the sensitivity of the subject and how I could be misunderstood, I decided to devote the week to it.
According to the Genesis account, God created Heaven and earth in six days and entered a seventh day Sabbath. Whether these were seven literal days or seven symbolic days of a thousand years each (see II Peter 3:8), is a matter to be debated. There, however, is – or perhaps, used to be – a popular opinion that in as many “days” as it took God to finish that creation, in so many thousand years would He redeem His saints from it and usher in another thousand-year day of ‘rest,’ the Millennium of the promised earthly kingdom of the Lord.
That proposed time for the present world order has expired. It practically ran out with the “20th century.” From Adam to Abraham has been determined to be approximately two thousand years. From Abraham to Christ has been another two thousand years. And from Christ to the turn of the “21st century” has been yet another two thousand years, give or take a few years to allow for the inaccuracies of our present calendar. So it would appear that we are now living in “extra time.” Like a football game with a “sudden death” – or better put, “sudden victory” – rule, the final whistle, or “last trump” (see I Corinthians 15:52), could sound any time. Then comes the great standstill of all time as the heavens brighten and open up to reveal the meteoric approach of the Great Warrior and the host of His armies! (See HERE THEY COME.)
That sounds like I was one of those that fancied that timeline. Like many vibrant students of Bible prophecy, I was. Some of us did not loose our heads in the euphoria, but we had our “lamps trimmed and clear” and kept a close eye on happenings. Even among those who cared little about the return of the Lord, there were those who thought they had a lethal Y2K bug in their hair and worked frantically to avoid global chaos. Talk about a world gone paranoid!
But were we actually paranoid? Were we merely chasing shadows? Maybe not. To begin with, the fact that things did not turn out the way some predicted does not necessarily disprove the above timeline of the divine purpose. The apparent delay seems to be in agreement with the Scriptures. In the Parable of the Ten Virgins where the Lord likens His return to the coming of a bridegroom to receive his bride, there was actually a delay: “While the bridegroom tarried [or delayed], they all slumbered and slept” (Matthew 25:5). Many who were expecting the return of the Lord around the turn of the century seem to have been disappointed, lost interest and gone to sleep. But as the Lord warned just before telling the parable, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44).
No, I am not “date setting.” And we could actually start off a debate on whether those living in the last days would know the season of the Lord’s coming, but that would hardly be beneficial. Suffice to say that an interest in the times and seasons should not be altogether condemned; for it is written of certain godly men that preceded the First Coming of the Lord, “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (I Peter 1:10,11).
Indeed, the Lord warned us about being clearness about these things, saying “When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" (Matthew 16:2,3.) He said elsewhere, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares” (Luke 21:34). The apostle picked it up: “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6). Perhaps in these days of increased enlightenment, the choice of words of the Psalmist might be more appealing: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
That’s what it comes down to: knowing how to wisely handle the variables to our greatest advantage. You might say it won’t happen – what if it does? If it does and you are caught on the right side, it would only imply a “promotion” beyond your wildest dreams! (See THE NEXT WAVE.) As the apostle wrote, “There shall come in the last days scoffers…saying, Where is the promise of his coming? …The Lord is not slack concerning his promise…but is longsuffering…that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come…and…the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up… Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (see 2 Peter 3:3-14).
But, know what? While the present world order did not come to an end at the end of the 20th century as some expected, something providential actually happened that was missed by the world. A remarkable witness about the promised kingdom that was expected to be established around that time was given – by none other than the globally renowned “keepers of time”! That’s what I was going to write about this week, but we would have to wait till next week for it. So keep the faith, and remain posted.
God bless you.
In the King’s Service,
David Olagoke Olawoyin.