An Appointed Time
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV)
We used to have an elderly friend who relished end-time prophecy. He would take a long intake of breath, say with gusto, ‘wait for it,’ a reference to the end-time; and then he would smile almost ominously and exclaim ‘you ain’t seen nuthin yet!’ We could understand where he was coming from—he saw a rapid decline in standards and morality since he had been a young man, and took refuge in the end-time prophecies. The problem was that there was almost fervour for the apocalyptic events. Sadly, he has since died—he did not live to see the events he constantly foretold.
His excitement in the ‘disasters and catastrophes’ unnerved us and we would plead with him to tell us about the renewal of all things when man would finally surrender to Jesus Christ but no, he was deep into the bloodshed and plagues.
Is this what Jesus wants us to do? To attempt at calculation of the end-time prophecies and relish in them? The disciples also yearned to know when the end-time would be. We read in Matthew 24:3, “As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’” Jesus had described some of the earth-shattering events that would take place, but he also told the disciples in no uncertain terms that the timing for these events were God’s alone: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36)
Having established that the ‘appointed time’ given in Habakkuk is in God’s hands and not ours, what ought we to be doing in the meantime? “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.” says James 1:22, “Do what it says.” We are to follow Christ’s example. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21) Let us be active Christians, remembering that Jesus often said to his disciples, “Come let us go…” So let’s ‘follow in his steps’ until the ‘appointed time’ arrives.
Holy and wonderful God, we thank you for the plans you have in store for all of humanity. Thank you that we can trust you implicitly without need for anxiety in the future. We can rejoice in your love for us.
Study by Bill & Irene Wilson
Worldwide Church of God Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
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