Blog : What if?
Understanding the times
There is an obscure but intriguing little verse in a book hardly any reads that has always intrigued me
1 Chronicles 12:32 the…men of Issachar… understood the times and knew what Israel should do
A tribe of Israel who understood the times and knew what to do.
The context of this verse. David is uniting the nation of Israel under his reign and so the armies of the eleven other tribes of Israel were coming and registering themselves under King David’s authority. And as each tribe came and registered, someone wrote down (Chronicled) how many fighting men each tribe contributed to David’s army. For example
1 Chronicles 12:24-31 …men of Judah, carrying shield and spear 6,800 armed for battle
… men of Simeon, warriors ready for battle 7,100
… men of Levi 4,600
… men of Benjamin, Saul’s kinsmen 3,000
… men of Ephraim 20,800
… men of Manasseh 18,000
But when it came to the tribe of Issachar, the size of their army is not mentioned at all, instead they are complimented for their understanding of the times. What is mentioned is their understanding of the historical significance of the age in which they lived. It appears they had a supernatural bent for being able to see the bigger picture and in adverse circumstances they knew how to respond accordingly. Which makes them invaluable, because it does not matter how big your army is if there is no wisdom, leadership, understanding or strategic plan.
I wonder if one of the most important assignments that we as the body of Christ can fulfil is to also be people who understand the times in which we live in, correctly discerning global events, national crisis and monitoring current trends. While this is subjective and there will likely be a diversity of opinion especially in terms of our eschatology (belief about end times events), it becomes even more imperative that there is a prophetic voice correctly discerning the times.
So here is an objective attempt to understand the times in which we live: We have His-story, we have the indwelling Spirit of the most high God, we have been entrusted with the keys of the Kingdom of God, we have been given the authority over creation, we have the assignment of contending for the redemption of the planet, so we of all people should be the prophetic voice that understands the times in which we live
In the past I have been heavily influenced by pessimistic view of global affairs and events, having come to faith in Christ through reading that Jesus was going to return by 1983 at the latest. This influence my decision making and risk taking during the 1980’s at a time when I was best positioned to maximise risk taking in terms of growing a business and increasing revenue, but I chose to do so because I considered it unlikely to success due to the proposed decline in global standards and the end times perspectives I was immersed in. However in the past 10 years my perspectives have, what I would call ‘grown’ due to becoming a student of Covenant and a teacher of grace.
The following would be a brief run synopsis of the two main types of eschatology – what we believe our future is as a planet
Doom or gloom, where the world is going to get progressively more evil and turn into a quagmire of violence and depravity. And where it is generally believed that followers of Jesus will be rescued by the return of Christ and raptured to heaven before our living standards decline to far. There have been a wealth of books and films since the 1960’s that promote this perspective.
Zoom and boom, where the Kingdom of God will ultimately conquer, the body of Christ will rise up (not without contention – there will be trouble) and overcome, because truth will prevail, righteousness will win and the darkness of evil will slowly but surely be overcome by the ever increasing light. Then Jesus will return and there will be a rebirth of planet earth. This is the less popular perspective in 2014 but prior to the 1830’s (JN Darby’s teachings) this was the more popular perspective.
I’m am extremely optimistic about the times we live in, I used to be doom and gloom, but now I choose to be zoom and boom, and my reasons for choosing the optimistic path is that it makes me more effective, it gives a better hope and it gives a better future for my children and grandchildren. For me personally it puts lead in my pencil and gas in my tank, and gets me out of bed to fight another day and make a difference in this place. However I also think it is more biblical, therefore this shapes the way I communicate and preach and teach, it influences the way we do church and how I will lead into the future
And I am blogging about this why? You’ve probably noticed that in the last few weeks global events have taken a turn for the worst. There are wars, pestilences and atrocities, and other scary things happening across our globe, from:
- NZ (burning crosses and effigies and chanting messages of hate)
- Australia (radical Islamic Australians training their children to hate and kill)
- The United States with its huge socio-economic problems
- The middle east where there are huge injustices, lies and atrocities happening
Even I admit things look pretty bad at their face value. And of course there are all sorts of internet and social media communications happening and among Christians most are negative responses (the gloom and doom camp) and frightened reactions to the state of the globe with all of us quoting scriptures and trying to connect eschatological dots
I have to admit that things do not look rosy, and people with an optimistic eschatology like myself…? Well our eschatology does not look to carry much weight… does it?
But what if its not?
What if we are misreading global events?
What if things are heating up because the Kingdom of God is advancing?
What if all this stuff is simply the darkest period before the dawn, the coldest point before the sunrise?
What if instead of instead of just considering the mud that we are surrounded by and wading through? We could climb a little higher and see a bigger picture, a completely different scenario?
What if we could see the city of the King coming down on the earth… What if?