Discerning the Times and Seasons

“Do you think Jesus will come back during your lifetime?” It is a question I have heard extending back as far as I can remember. Others phrase it as a statement of conviction, of surety, “I know Jesus will come back during my lifetime!”

I tend to smile and chuckle at the way so many obsess over such predictions. Similarly, many become engrossed in microscopic minutiae regarding what is commonly referred to as “the great tribulation,” specifically when and how that will occur, and how it relates to Jesus’ return. The events of the past year, continuing into 2021, have fired the imaginations of many who relish analyzing and predicting Christ’s return.

I get it!

As a theological tinkerer, I understand the excitement of digging into the scriptures while trying to determine the signs of Jesus’ coming. But before even jumping into something like that, I recognize it is a fruitless pursuit because Jesus himself does not know when that return will occur. Still, he encouraged us to “keep alert … keep awake” (Mark 13:33-37).

But about that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. – Matthew 24:36, NASB

And similarly …

So, when they had come together, they began asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time that You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” But He said to them, “It is not for you to know periods of time or appointed times which the Father has set by His own authority;” – Acts 1:6-7, NASB

Jesus dodged the question and even used the occasion of the question (as he so often did) to seize a teachable moment. In doing so, Jesus let the disciples know that there are some things that are intended for God alone, saying, “It is not for you to know.”

In our finite condition, there are numerous realities that are beyond our knowing. The “times and seasons” constitute just one of those realities. This past Sunday, I preached a sermon calling out “the love of Christ that is beyond our ability to comprehend” and “the unfathomable riches of God’s grace.” If we were able to succeed in wrapping our minds around either or both of those, our heads would probably explode!

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. – Psalm 139:6, NIV – 1978

To be blunt, everything God has revealed to us is a grace. He has shown us enough to confirm to us that he has a plan, but the specifics of that plan are for him alone to know.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” 
– Psalm 139:6, NIV – 1978

God knows our future. Better than that, he holds it in his hand (Psalm 31:15).

Who better to know time, to understand time, to control time than the one who created it in the first place? He is the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13). He is the only one who can exercise authority over time.

He controls the destinies of entire nations.

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases. – Psalm 139:6, NIV – 1978

We have access to everything we need to know.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. – 2 Peter 1:3, ESV

So learn what you can learn. Know what you can know. Be content with that, and stay on the narrow path.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. – Jude 24-25, ESV

Blessings upon you my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

– damon

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Damon J. Gray

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  1. Peggy on January 13, 2021 at 6:15 PM

    Back in the early 80’s, there was much talk of Jesus’ return. One prediction was that He would return April 1, 1981, because, as the thought went, “we are fools for Christ”.

    Someone said he was Jesus. Someone else said, “Show me your wounds.” End of topic.

    As you point out, we do not know the time of Jesus’ Return. I am glad to leave such things to God. He alone has the capabilities to deal with those things. He has set boundaries on what we can know to protect us. Frankly, I get a bit irritated by people who make predictions about Jesus’ Return or the Tribulation Period or any of that. Jesus already said even He doesn’t know, so why are these people even bothering? Why not go do something more productive–like work with people who abuse drugs, collect food or clothes for people less well off, or something like that?

    • Damon Gray on January 14, 2021 at 7:04 AM

      I suspect people make these attempts to appear enlightened – “I know something you don’t know,” or “Look how smart I am. I figured this out.” We love the praise and approval of humanity more than the approval of God.

      • Peggy on January 15, 2021 at 7:29 PM

        Yes, Damon, I agree. That makes me think of the tabloids by the supermarket cash registers, screaming out headlines about this or that. They want to make the customers think, “What did I miss?” and buy the magazines to find out. I am trying to find a way to write either a devotional or a blog piece about people who seem to know all about something that someone else doesn’t know about, and contrasting that with God, Who wants everyone to know the Good News, and no one to be left out. I know I’ll have to write it more tactfully than the comments I’ve made here.

        • Damon Gray on January 15, 2021 at 7:34 PM

          Why?? Sometimes being blunt is more effective than being tactful.

          Fear of missing out is a more potent sensation than we recognize. Even my CAT suffers from it.

          Write that blog article, and let me know!

  2. Peggy on January 16, 2021 at 7:28 PM


    You made me smile. Your CAT is probably afraid of missing out on hearing the cat food can opener. 🙂

    When I get that article down, I’ll let you know.

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