Understanding the times of the Scriptures
Throughout the course of church history, there have been many predictions about the end of the age that have proven to be false and misleading. Concerning His second coming, Jesus said that, ‘of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.’ For this reason it is pointless to speculate on an exact date. Yet, we note that God has outlined a prophetic timetable for the fulfilment of His covenant purpose. The Scriptures identify specific waypoints and time periods in His covenant timetable. These are called ‘appointed times’. It is important that we recognise and understand these appointed times so that we are found ready when Christ appears.
Concerning the end of the age, the Scriptures refer to three distinct time periods – the ‘fullness of times’; the ‘time of the end’; and ‘the end’. These are not the same periods of times. The ‘fullness of times’ is the period leading up to the commencement of the time of the end. We are in this period, now. The ‘time of the end’ is a period of 42 years when the Father activates an administration to put all the enemies under the feet of Christ. Jesus called this the ‘hour of trial which shall come upon the whole earth’. ‘The end’ is when the ungodly are judged and this present heavens and earth are destroyed by fire.
Morning and evening incense
In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul identified the minimum number of persons needed for a prayer meeting. He firstly writes about the Holy Spirit helping our weakness because we do not know how to pray as we ought. Secondly, he writes about the Son searching our hearts and making intercession for us according to the will of God. And thirdly, he writes about the Father answering the intercessory prayer of the Son, and ‘working all things together for good’ by equipping us with mercy and grace.
The Father gives mercy and grace through Christ, by the Holy Spirit. This gives us the capacity to accomplish the works of our name which are revealed in the ark of the testimony. This interplay of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the fellowship of prayer that we seek to participate in daily. When we join this fellowship as a son of God, there is a functional prayer meeting of four. Our personal contribution to this fellowship is twofold. Firstly, it is our decision to persevere in hope, believing that we will receive the fullness of our sonship glory. And secondly, it is our humble confession that ‘we do not know how to pray as we ought’.