ASK Commentary
May 21, 2003 

Some Present Indicators in Prophecy

Commentary for May 21, 2003 — The Question Is “What” Not “When”

For some reason I have been asked often in recent weeks the “when” question. “When” would this event happen? “When” would that event happen? “When” would God do this? “When” would God do that? Of course I did not then, and do not now, know specific answers to that question.

During the recent Coalition war against Iraq, United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the military leaders answered questions about whether the war plan was meeting the “timetable” schedule as originally planned. Of course, the implication was that if the timetable was not met then the plan was flawed or worse, had failed. A charge could then be said that the war was a mistake.

Secretary Rumsfeld’s answer was that the plan for the war was not “time-driven” but was “event-driven.” What this meant in military terms was that there were military objectives to be met without respect to time. Some military operations are time-bound and time related, for example the necessity to complete a certain operation before sunrise so the attack could remain hidden. In general, the Iraq military operations were not time bound.

From our perspective prophecy is not time-bound, but is event driven. Time relates to these events in general because the events will occur first, second, third. When the second event happens, then you can know and have a better and perhaps even a sure expectation for the third event.

“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, ‘When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times [kairos]? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.’ And he left them, and departed.”

Matthew 16:1–4

God’s prophecies are usually not time-bound insofar we are able to discover. God certainly has a timetable, but He has not seen fit to communicate them to us or even to His apostles who asked when the Kingdom, the Davidic Kingdom of Israel, would be restored,
“And he said unto them, it is not for you to know the times [chronos] or the seasons [kairos], which the Father hath put in his own power.”

Acts 1:7

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that, “of the times [chronos] or the seasons [kairos] , brethren you have no need that I write to you” (1 Thessalonians 4:15). In other words he had taught them about those matters previously. We cannot be sure what that teaching was. But the Thessalonians did require teaching about the sequence of events surrounding the return of Christ back to this earth.

Even nations have appointed times,

“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.”

Acts 17:26

God in fact as sovereign changes times and seasons:

“He changes the times and the seasons: he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom into the wise and knowledge to them that know understanding. He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knows what is in the darkness and the light dwells with him.”

Daniel 2:21–22

(By the way, the terms “times” and “seasons” in the Greek Old Testament [the LXX] are translated into Greek as chronos and kairos respectively from the Aramaic in Daniel 2:21.)

An Example from Hosea

Now let me take you to two provocative verses in Hosea that present specific events in a time sequence with regard to Israel, with primary reference to the northern 10 tribes, but in a general sense to all the 12 tribes, including Benjamin, Judah and Levi. First I will present the verses, then I will set out the verses to make them clearer.

“For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.”

Hosea 3:4–5

Next I will set-out the verses to make clear the elements of past, present and future events.

“For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:

Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and [seek] David their king; and [as a result of the seeking] shall fear the Lord and [shall fear] his goodness in the latter days.”

Hosea 3:4–5

Let’s analyze these verses. First Hosea 3:4. The word “king” is the regular Hebrew word for king. “Prince” means a ruler of the people, not necessarily royalty, but a national ruler. An “image” means a pagan image or idol. An “ephod” is the priestly outer garment. A “teraphim” is another Hebrew word for the physical statues of idols. All of the things that Israel does not have, does not possess, and is “without,” all precisely describe the situation of Israel today. However, the next phrase also describes a process that is ongoing today, that of the children of Israel returning to the land. After describing what Israel is “without,” then comes a return. This is in the first part of Hosea 3:5,

“Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and”
After the return, or perhaps during the latter stages some remarkable things will happen. Israel shall,
“seek the Lord their God, and [seek] David their king; and”
The result of all this seeking YHWH their Elohim
[as a result of seeking] “shall fear the Lord and [shall fear] his goodness”
Note when the Israel’s seeking and the fear shall take place,
“in the latter days.”
All of the things that Israel does not have, does not possess, and is “without,” all precisely describe the situation as it exists today.

Significance

What is the meaning of this in terms of the sequence of events? Looking at obvious current events (and without reading “into” the text, technically termed “eisegesis”) of Israel’s return to the land and the things that Israel is “without” at the present time, it seems obvious that the next step is that Israel should “seek the Lord their God, and David their king.” Interesting. Because seeking the Lord their God comes first, I submit that it will occur first. Then Israel will seek David their King.

Israel will be successful in seeking the Lord their God and David their King because their seeking shall result in them fearing the Lord and His goodness. Of course fearing the Lord is important to obedience and God’s acceptance of Israel.

For an interesting study, look at these verses regarding “fear of the Lord” and its significance to wisdom, understanding and receiving the goodness of God. Fear of the Lord means to have awe, respect and honor of and for God. See the many verses that discuss various aspects of fearing God,

Exodus 9:30 Leviticus 19:14, 32, 25:17 Deuteronomy 4:10, 6:10, 13, 24, 8:6, 10:12, 20, 13:4, 14:23, 17:19, 28:58, 31:12–13 Joshua 4:24, 24:14 1 Samuel 11:7, 12:14, 24 1 Kings 18:12 2 Kings 4:1, 17:28, 34–39 2 Chronicles 14:14, 17:10, 19:7–9, 20:29 Nehemiah 1:11 Job 1:9, 28:28 Psalms 2:11, 9:20, 15:4, 19:9, 22:23, 25:14, 33:8, 18, 34:7–11, 36:1, 40:3, 86:11, 96:9, 102:15, 103:13–17, 111:10, 115:11–13, 118:4, 135:20, 147:11 Proverbs 1:7, 1:29, 2:5, 3:7, 8:13, 9:10, 10:27, 14:26–27, 15:16, 15:33, 16:6, 19:22, 22:4, 23:17, 24:21, 29:25 Isaiah 2:6, 2:19–21, 8:13, 11:2–3, 29:13, 33:6, 59:19 Jeremiah 5:22–24, 26:19 Hosea 3:5 Jonah 1:9 Haggai 1:12 Malachi 3:5 Acts 9:31 Revelation 15:4

Conclusion

This analysis of Hosea 3:4–5 presents us with events of the past, present and future. This prophecy in Hosea is event-driven, not time-driven. The events that follow “afterward” may be continuous for many years, as the return of Israel to the land has gone on for many years. And it all shall occur “in the latter days.”

In your own lives your time would be well spent to seek the Lord your God and to study about David, Israel’s king (a man after God’s own heart), warts and all; and honor and respect the Lord and His goodness in the latter days. By so doing you will have a head start on the people of Israel.

God has changed your minds about Himself and Jesus Christ years ago, in many cases decades ago. For most of Israel they will soon begin that process of fearing the Lord and His goodness. God speed that day.

David Sielaff
david@askelm.com

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