Discerning the times . .
Earlier today I shared another installment of John Piper’s series of studies on 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, a timely subject indeed. I hope everyone will take 10 minutes or so to listen, because we need to discern (understand) the times.
Remember Jesus’ comment in Matthew 16?
“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 16:3)
In Mr. Piper’s exposition of 2 Thessalonians he touches on a grand subject that should give every believer great comfort . . the sovereignty of God, that is, His ability to have it HIS WAY. In the context of 2 Thessalonians God has the ability to so order events in the universe that they take place at the proper time. Here are some examples:
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 - To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Luke 21:25-27 - And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Acts 1:7 - And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 2 Timothy 4:2-4 - Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. Genesis 1:14 - And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
Jeremiah 8:7 - Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.
2 Peter 3:8 - But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. Luke 21:28 - And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. 1 Thessalonians 5:1 - But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
The ability of God to “have it His way” is what makes Him sovereign, or King. He gets the final say about everything. He made the cosmos and all it contains out of His own imagination with no trial runs. He can’t learn anything because He already knows everything. He can’t become better, because He is already perfect. And this God, now our Father thru Jesus’ cross, has a time and purpose to everything He has designed:
“This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.” (Ephesians 1:10 Good News Bible)
So our Father is not merely in charge of the events that are yet future, but of the exact timing of those events. When we make a cake, we not only have to add the right ingredients in the proper sequence, but at the right time. Yes, Christians largely voted for Trump to forestall world government and the antichrist it will produce, because we know and believe the scriptures. We naturally wanted to keep peace and prosperity which the evil of godless socialism destroys. Could we have done otherwise knowing what we know? Hardly.
Yet (as Dr. Piper explains), there will come a time when antichrist shall reign. It is already appointed and cannot be rushed or late. That’s what appointed means. It is not contingent on any act of any man, but is already settled. The antichrist that will appear as we descend further into the world’s postmodern insanity and Lawlessness will not come early or late, but right on time. Satan (though this is his hour just as it was at Jesus’ cross) is not in control . . GOD IS.
We can be filled with fear as we watch the news, but remember our Father is in control of the times and seasons, not only of our lives, but of Satan’s working.
The Apostle Paul said “all things are yours” (1 Corinthians 3:21). He also said this:
“Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” (1 Corinthians 6:2, 3)
What does he mean by “all things are yours”? He means that the “meek shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). He means that God keeps His promises as revealed in scripture because He is in control.
Do you trust in Jesus? Then he means YOU. You and I, along with everyone who trusts in Jesus are a HUGE part of the story. Indeed, we shall “reign on the earth” with Christ (Revelation 5:10). This is inevitable . . and Satan and his slaves know it.
So don’t panic at the news. Whatever comes, your heavenly Daddy will make sure you make it home. You can bank on it . .