The ancient mariners’ rhyme, “Red sky at night, sailors' delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning,” reflects established Jewish wisdom during the time of Jesus (Mt 16:2–3). But many among the Jewish community had to be reprimanded by Christ for not knowing how to discern the time (Lk 12:54–56).
God’s people in Haggai’s era said, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built” (Hag 1:2). This is reflected in Lessons from Jesus about Discerning the Time, an interesting study into the context of Jesus’ reprimand. The Jews who did not discern the time during Jesus’ first advent did not recognize Him as the Messiah, the true temple. When the physical temple was destroyed according to Christ’s prophecy, it became apparent that the Jews had nothing that could connect them to God. The need for discerning the time is even more urgent for Christians today; heresies and unrest will precede the second advent, and if we are not careful, we will individually be destroyed while the church as a whole will be saved.
Knowing the Time offers practical advice for Christians to discern the time, recognize the perils, stand firm in the truth and be prepared to face the enemies when they surround the beloved city of Jerusalem, the church. Discerning the time also means knowing right from wrong.
Each successive generation represents a step closer to the end. Helping the Youth Cultivate a Love for the Truth recommends that young people must be trained to fight not with vigor alone but with wisdom to know the time, a feature not lacking in David’s army.
Gainsayers in the last days existed from the time of Peter and Paul. Our world, once destroyed by water, is reserved for destruction by fire. Where do we find refuge but the one and only ark of salvation (2 Pet 3:1–13; cf. 1 Pet 3:20–22)? Knowing the time leads to recognizing the restored apostolic church—True Jesus Church is the Ark of Salvation.
The end of all things is at hand, and the time of judgment has come (1 Pet 4:7, 17). Is there a cloud in the west? Is a shower coming (Lk 12:54)? If in the time of the latter rain, God’s people neglect to ask the Lord for rain (Zech 10:1), it will be too late when summer arrives at the door (Mt 24:32).