Understanding the Times

by Dr. Ken Matto

(1 Chr 12:32 KJV) And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

All throughout history the best defense weapon that a child of God could ever possess was the Word of God and by utilizing the Word of God properly, a true believer is able to discern the signs of the times. In the above verse we read that the men of Issachar had understanding of the times. This passage was written at the time Saul was still King of Israel. These man had went out and joined themselves to David. They apparently knew the situation and had realized that even though Saul was king, David was the anointed of God. It has been stated that these men of Issachar were well versed in the sciences and mathematics. They were sort of the intellectual elite of the twelve tribes. This is why they were able to understand the times because they not only had good understanding of the sciences, they also had good spiritual insight into the surrounding situation.

These men knew that Saul was after David and by following David, they knew they were doing the right thing, even though at the time it may have seemed dangerous since Saul was still officially the King. This brings up a major principle in spiritual life adjustment. If we are following the teachings of someone who at one time was a good spiritual Bible teacher and then this person makes a wrong turn and begins to start teaching something false, then it behooves us to reevaluate those teachings and reject them. As Christians, it behooves us to understand the times. This principle was not only for those of national Israel, but it is more needed now in the body of Christ. Churches are being swept off their feet by movements such as ďThe Purpose Driven ChurchĒ which is solely based in Occultic New Age teachings and Jungian psychology.

This is only one movement which has invaded the church and unfortunately many, if not most church leaders, are not ďunderstanding the times.Ē (2 Cor 2:11 KJV) Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. This verse teaches us plainly that if we are ignorant of Satanís devices, then he will gain advantage but on the other hand, if we are cognizant of the subtle devices of Satan, then we will not become snared. We live in a time when so many Christians are looking for a physical Antichrist to appear on the scene and take over the whole world. The Bible does not teach that a physical Antichrist is coming on the world, instead the Bible teaches that Satan is the Antichrist and he is already well entrenched in deceiving the nations and the church. In the early years of the church and in the Middle Ages, Satan had tried to stamp out the church by using murder and torture. However, this method only increased the level of commitment that believers had.

When we look at how Satan has changed his strategy from murder to spiritual mayhem, you will see the utter successful program in progress. By bringing out a new bible version every year, it makes it impossible to memorize the Scriptures. By making churches program oriented instead of biblically teaching oriented, he will be able to refocus an entire congregation. Once he derails the congregation by sending them down a false path, then he is able to refocus their thinking. What will be the primary focus that he will instill? He will instill that Christians focus on results. Instead of Christians focusing on the person of Christ, he will get them to focus on results oriented programs such as the Purpose Driven Life.

Now what is wrong with focusing on results? It doesnít seem like a departure from what the Scriptures teach, does it? Letís ask the simple question. What does the Bible elevate as the major characteristic in the life of a Christian? Let the Scriptures speak! (1 Cor 4:2 KJV) Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. Here is what the Scriptures teach that a Christian must be. We are to be faithful in all things. When a Christian is faithful in all things which pertain to the Christian walk such as evangelism, discipleship, obedience, etc., then we are leaving the results to God. Moses was called faithful in all his house. (Heb 3:5 KJV) And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; When Moses lead the children of Israel out of Egypt and in the wilderness for forty years, was he not faithful to the Lord and did not God handle the results of his faithfulness? Moses didnít part the Red Sea, God did! Moses didnít destroy the Egyptian army, God did! Moses was faithful in carrying out the mission which God assigned him.

This must be the same attitude the Christian must have. They must be faithful to the calling in which God called them and leave the results to God. The reason that we get into trouble or we begin to derail is because we always try to figure out the results of everything we do. The results of being a faithful Christian is in the hands of the Lord. If God sends you to the street to hand out tracts, donít try to force the results. You may never know the results of your work until you get to glory and that is fine. If you begin to understand the times we live in, then you will realize that what is needed today is faithfulness in a Christian, not a calculated program with anticipated results. When William Tyndale was burned by the Roman Catholic Institution in 1536, his cry from the fagots was, ďLord, open the eyes of the King of England.Ē Tyndale was very faithful in making a translation of the true Bible text so he could give everyone in the English speaking world a copy of the Bible. He wanted the plowboy in the field as well as the scholar to be able to know the true word of God. Well it wasnít until 1604, when King James authorized the creation of the King James Bible. That means Tyndaleís answer to his prayer did not come for 68 years.

Surely one can say that Tyndale was faithful to the calling of God on his life. His desire was that everyone would be able to have a copy of the Word of God in the common language. His translation of the texts was the forerunner of the King James Bible. So one can easily see that being faithful to Godís calling in our life may not give immediate results but eventually will bear fruit in Godís timing. Could God have destroyed from the face of the earth the Roman Catholic institution and preserved all His children alive? Of course He could, but during that time He was meticulously working out His plan of bringing the true word of God down to today when the time would come, right before the end of the world, when the earthís population would multiply tremendously. It was the faithfulness of a small group of believers who brought the true Bible through the worst times of satanic persecution.

These people did not know what the end of their faithful actions would be because they left the results to God. This is how we must live our Christian walk by being as faithful as we can in our walk and leave the results to God. When we do that, there is a liberating effect on our Christian walk. Many of the martyrs sang before they died, they didnít cry because they did not finish their work, instead they knew that when their time had come, their job was done. When your time comes donít look back and wonder if your work was finished, just be faithful in your work and leave the results to God. Then on the day you meet Him, you will hear those words.
(Mat 25:23 KJV) His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  (2/18/05)