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What the Bible says about Discerning the Times
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Luke 12:54

People are able to forecast the weather by the signs that they see; they know that certain kinds of weather will follow. Jesus is using that as an illustration. In verse 54, Luke says He spoke this to the people, which means to the people in general, and not to His disciples specifically. He called these people hypocrites because they were able to forecast the weather, but they could not discern what they were going through prophetically at the very time it was happening!

If he called these people "hypocrites" who were not part of His group and expected them to understand the times that they were living in, what does He expect of us? Surely He expects more. In His walk with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, He calls them "fools" (Luke 24:25). These were His disciples, which shows that He expected more of them. He then opened their minds to the Scriptures, going through the Old Testament, as we call it today, explaining that the Son of Man had to go through this. He seems to be saying, "With all this proof, why did you not understand it?" So how much does He expect of us?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part One)

2 Peter 3:3-4

Things are not continuing as they were, and the reason we know this is because God has given us discernment of the times and seasons in which we are living. Life is not going to continue the way it is: It will get worse before it gets better. So Peter is reminding us.

By the time Peter wrote this (scholars date II Peter in 64 AD), the world is in real turmoil. The world seems to be falling apart. Jerusalem, especially, is a powderkeg. Christians are being blamed for the trouble being incited in Rome.

However, the New Testament writers reveal to us that they saw the church going to sleep. We can imagine such a thing because many of us have experienced this in our own time. At the most critical juncture of history for the church, the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25 shows the church asleep—all ten were asleep, not just five of them. The parable specifically spotlights the virgins slumbering and sleeping at the time of the end, and it happened in the first century too, just before the destruction of the Temple, which was "an end."

It is an incongruity that seems almost impossible to believe. With all this excitement going on, instead of being stirred up to press on toward the Kingdom of God, the church instead—much of it, anyway—was doing what the Thessalonians were doing, just waiting it out. Not everybody did that, and it is a good thing or Christianity would have died out.

The apostles were certainly stirred up. There is no doubt about it because they wrote about it. These people were doing exactly what the apostles were warning them of: They were walking after their own lusts or desires.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Don't Be a Prudent Agnostic


 




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