|'Be not divided in a time of impending crisis'
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven" (Eccl. 3.1-Niv). It is important to
not read this verse with the pervasive determinism often found in man's attitude toward events beyond his
control ... "God's sure purpose must not be confused with fatalism"(1) Further, "Everything is ordered by God,
without any dependence upon man's approval, at a divinely appointed time, according to God's plan and
providence". (2) Christ clearly spoke to legalists and scribes in Matt. 16:3, regarding their inability to exercise
discernment over 'spiritual things', even though they were able to interpret naturally occurring events: "...O ye
hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" The 'signs of the
times' here refer to their inability to discern the beginning of the fulfillment of the kingdom in the Person of
Christ.(3) Even with all their piousness, religiosity, legalism and man-made ordinances the Pharisee's and
Sadducee's could not discern the 'truth' for the 'Spirit of truth' was not in them ... " Even the Spirit of truth;
whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him ..."(Jhn. 14:17).
The nation of Israel is now precariously divided (politically) following the most recent election for prime
minister. Division of the Israeli electorate also reflects, in part, strong orthodox vs reform religious sanctions.
These convictions are polarized and directed toward influencing populist policy regarding 'peace', governance,
religious dispensations,l and sovereignty and 'land for peace' initiatives'. Christ also spoke to a divided condition
in Matt. 12:25, "... Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided
against itself shall not stand". Certain factions within the Christian church in America are beginning to take hard
line positions on particular ordinance issues, while other segments and pop movements are rushing to meld a
general religious "community of faith" ecumenicalism. The Christian church in America should not be so naive
as to believe it will not also be assailed, beset and greatly troubled by a 'spirit of division' ... for we already see
widening divisions in the secular arena with escalating debate over moral/legal issues, social conduct/law
enforcement, racial equality and political ethics.
Is the Christian church of today truly discerning the 'times' in which we live ... are we seeing scriptural based
prophetic 'signs' leading to the imminent return of Christ ... is the church slumbering while the forces of the
world prepare for lawlessness?(4) Is the church merely gazing upon and admiring herself as the adversary
methodically continues to lay the foundation for a great falling away (apostasy) cited in II Thes. 2:3, and prepares
the way for the revealing of the 'lawless one'? Is the church in such a state of unity and in one accord as to
easily fend off a 'spirit of division' (from entering in) ... are we resting on waters of comfortableness while
prophetic events hasten toward fulfillment? Let us not lull ourselves into a sense of contentment, through
complacency, while the enemy prepares for a time of crisis to come! Scripture tells us that lawlessness and
acts of violence will surely increase in the immediate days ahead, let not the Church doze while the enemy
prepares ... he works a 7/24 shift with no vacation, sick leave, or comp-time! The widely accepted and
heralded dispensationalism of a pre-tribulation 'catching away' (1 Thes. 4:17) may need to be reexamined in light
of unfolding current prophecy ... reexamined in terms of 'timing' and not the occurrence of the event itself!
Various religious enclaves are dividing even today along this dispensational line of contention. This is not a time
to 'divide' ourselves over God's timing or His order of events ... it is a time to enlarge the Kingdom of Heaven
on earth, exalt the Son, magnify the Spirit and remain steadfast against the enemy's plans for 'division'!
Jon D. Hannum, Ph.D.
Amen Ministries of Austin
(1) (Sco.niv. not - Eccl.3:1) (2) (BSB niv. not - Eccl.3:1) (3) (SFLB. not - Matt.16:3) (4) (see 2 Thes. 2:1-4)