IS YOUR WATCH SET TO
GOD'S TIME - Part One
By John Aldworth
Published Aug. 30, 2014
Eccl. 8:5: … a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgement.
Ps. 69:13: But as for me, my prayer is unto Thee o Lord, in an acceptable time.
Luke 19:42: If thou hast know, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes.
Rom. 16:25-26: Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began. But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.
Can’t you tell the right time? Essentially, that was the question Jesus asked in Matt. 16:1-4 when the Pharisees and Sadducees tempted Him to “shew them a sign from heaven”. Instead of granting their request He bluntly asked why they couldn’t ‘discern the times’ and, especially that of ‘this time’, i.e. his time, in particular. He also called them “a wicked and adulterous generation” for seeking a sign, saying they would only be given the sign of the prophet Jonah (i.e. that He would be three days and three nights buried in the earth just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale).
But why did the Lord see telling the right time as so important? Because, then, as now, unless your watch is set to God’s time not only will you not be singing from the same song sheet as the Lord, you won’t even be on the same page in the Bible. What’s more you won’t have a clue about what God is really doing and saying in your time, in your day. Tragically, just such a state of chronological blindness afflicts almost all of Christendom today.
Back in Matt. 16:1-4 Jesus’ question to the Jewish religious leaders was: “… can ye not discern the signs of the times?” And, more succinctly, in Luke 12:56:
Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is that ye do not discern this time?
‘This time’ then was, of course, ‘Messiah time’, and for three and a half years that’s exactly what the hands on God’s clock pointed to. In ‘Messiah time’, as the gospels record, hundreds of Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled as the Son of God came as Saviour to Israel to save God’s covenant people from their sins and to give them peace.
But the water clocks and sun dials of the Pharisees and Sadducees did not point to this new time. Rather they recorded this period as though it was as continuation of ‘Law and Prophets’ time’. For them Messiah’s coming wasn’t happening and changed nothing. You see, in their view this was not the time for Messiah to come; indeed it would be both religiously and politically inconvenient for Him to do so. Jesus therefore had to be made out to be an imposter.
It was because they believed it wasn’t the right time for Him to come, and instead followed their own selfish, earthly agenda that they rejected Him. ‘Crucify Him”, cried the mob, egged on by the very Pharisees and Sadducees who earlier had asked Jesus for a sign. Thus the nation as a whole sinned. Only the 120 who after his death and resurrection waited in the upper room for his Ghost to be poured out upon them were deemed by God innocent of the crime of his slaying. Later, of course, thousands repented at Peter’s preaching in Acts and received remission of sins.
To understand why Israel so tragically rejected her Messiah, it is important to see that not discerning the times, and this time in particular, was a key factor. Thus failing to read aright God’s prophetic and dispensational clock was singled out by the Lord as the major reason for Israel’s demise. (As you know, Jerusalem was sacked and destroyed, a third of nation killed or crucified and most of the rest sold into slavery in 70AD in fulfilment of the Lord’s prophecy that this would happen [Luke 19:43-44]).
Thus we see that turning a blind eye to God’s time led to their spurning the very Lord they pretended to worship when He was sent to save them. It was because of their chronological blindness they didn’t recognise Him when He showed Himself to them.
No wonder then that Jesus wept over Jerusalem when He came to the temple on his way to the cross (Luke 19: 41ff). Hear what He had to say to the doomed city:
If thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes.
This was Israel’s “day”, but by refusing to seek to know the time on God’s clock, not that of their own religious and selfish desires, she missed it.
Now the nation’s leaders were not stupid. They could foresee approaching storms, they could read the face of the sky. But what Jesus wanted to know was why they couldn’t similarly read the signs of what God was doing at that time in sending his Son to save “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24).
You may well think ‘hypocrites’ a harsh word for the Lord to use, yet He knew that these religious rulers didn’t really want a miraculous ‘sign’ proving that He was their Messiah; his miracles to date had already demonstrated that. Rather they sought to discredit Him. Indeed later they would conspire to kill Him and even when He had supplied the requested sign by rising from the grave after “three days and nights in the earth”, thus proving that He was indeed the Son of God, they still rejected Him.
And all this because they couldn’t tell the time, God’s time, that is. You see, their hatred from Him apart, Jesus called them ‘hypocrites” for failing to synchronise their time with that on God’s clock. By definition a hypocrite is a pretender and the Jewish leaders were pretending that their time was other than what God said it was. Listen again to Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem, which in Old Testament prophecy had been called ‘the city of the great King’ precisely to one day welcome Him. He warned them:
For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in one very side. And shall lay thee even with the ground and, and thy children within thee, and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another: because thou knew not the TIME of thy visitation (Luke 19:43-44).
Tragically most of Christendom has the same problem today. They don’t know their time of visitation; they don’t know that this is their ‘day’. In fact many think they are still saved by contriving to be back in Israel’s ‘day’. This is because their watches are set to ‘time past’ (Eph. 2:12) instead of to the ‘but now’ (Eph. 2:13) programme of grace God is rolling out today. By thus failing to ‘discern the times’ they are actually missing out on the Gentile ‘but now’ day of visitation’.
Proof of that is found in the indifferent reception ‘churchdom’ has to all mention of the grace dispensation of the mystery ushered in by the Apostle Paul in Eph. 3:1-4. Mention that, according the commandment of God the Father, Jesus Christ must now, in this ‘day’, be preached “according to the revelation of the mystery” (Rom. 16:25-26) and pastors and Christians alike hurriedly change the conversation.
Today then the hands on God’s clock point firmly to the time of this mystery revelation and to no other. Found in Rom. 16:25-26 and quoted below, the ‘preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery’ is the supreme commandment God now wants all ministers and believers to obey. It’s far more important than the Ten Commandments, for example, since they, along with the rest of the Mosaic law, were long ago abolished by Christ when He nailed them to his cross (Eph. 2:15, Col. 2:14). It has also superseded the ‘repent and be baptised’ commandment in Acts 2:38:
Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began. But now is made manifest … according to the commandment of the everlasting God made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.
Consequently, it is sheer hypocrisy for churches and followers who proclaim themselves ‘Christian’ to claim to be obeying God when they wilfully ignore this commandment. And ignore it they do. Have you ever heard a series of messages on the revelation of the mystery preached in any major denominational church? Go on, be honest, you never have.
To be continued
© John Aldworth August 2014