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Times and Seasons
— Part 1
The Biblical Evidence about
God's Many Clocks
Written and Illustrated by M. J. Beattie
Copyright © 2002, 2005, 2008 M. J. Beattie
Permission is granted only for the unedited reproduction and free distribution of this paper. All rights reserved.
(Comments or questions may be addressed to email@example.com.)
All children who are learning to walk fall down a few times. Similarly, those who eagerly look to know when the end of the age will come should be expected to make a few mistakes in “setting dates”. It is not in the power of any human being to set the date of Christ’s return. But the Scriptures make some very plain statements about the timing of latter day events and claim that, in the time of the end when the Messiah’s coming is imminent, those who are wise will understand the numbers of the days!
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34‑36).
“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief” (1 Thessalonians 5:1‑4).
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” ’ ” (Revelation 3:1‑3).
“And he said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand’ ” (Daniel 12:9‑10).
So what did Jesus mean when He said to His disciples, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons [times or dates, NIV], which the Father hath put in his own power.” (Acts 1:7, KJV)?
In telling the disciples that they were not given to understand the times or seasons, Christ used words with meanings which are somewhat lost in the translation. The word for “times” (Greek chronos: Strong’s #5550) refers to the general time frame of events in God’s plan, whereas the word for “seasons” (Greek kairos: Strong’s #2540) carries the meaning of fixed or special occasions (as in its usage in the phrase “a time, times and half a time”, Revelation 12:14). Christ’s disciples seem to have thought He would return in their lifetimes. They were given to understand neither where they fit in the 7000‑year plan of God nor the details of when specific events would occur at the end.
But that did not mean that God’s servants living at the very end would not be given such information. Indeed, the basic overview that the first century disciples were not allowed to understand — the knowledge of approximately where we are in the 7000‑year plan — has been common knowledge in the Church of God for decades. And there is every indication that those who are wise will be given to understand the finer details of the timing of prophesied events at the appropriate time shortly before they occur.
“If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the LORD have done it? Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:6‑8).
So who are the wise who will understand the times? The above quote from Amos shows that those to whom God reveals His secrets are “His servants the prophets”. But Matthew 24:10‑11 warns that, at a time when “many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another”, then “many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” Yes, even within the Church of God, Jesus long ago predicted that many would rise up to hate one another and to prophesy falsely! For those who do not love their own brethren cannot serve God, as John wrote, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20). The thought is continued in Matthew 24:12‑13: “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
Whatever talents a person may have to offer in the service of God, be it gospel‑preaching, prophecy, alms‑giving or whatever else, the words of Matthew 5:23‑24 apply: “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
We are instructed to endure in the way of love toward God and love toward fellow man in spite of all the evils around us. As Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). And Peter later added: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22).
In Daniel 12, the wise are contrasted with the wicked. This is comparable to the contrast implied in Matthew 24 and elsewhere between the righteous (those who love God and their brethren) and the lawless (those who fall into hating and betraying one another).
Jesus admonished, “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know [implying you do not know very far in advance] when the time [kairos — the specific time] is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming; in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning; lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:33‑37). In this parable, anybody who was watching would see the master approaching some time before he arrived.
It will be as it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:36‑42). Noah was apparently told that the flood was coming 120 years before it occurred (Genesis 6:3). Then, when the ark was finished he was given only seven days advance notice that it was time to enter into his place of safety (Genesis 7:4). Meanwhile, the rest of the world was oblivious of the need to take shelter.
Similarly, faithful servants of God facing an end‑time “flood” of war and terrors will receive a very short advance notice of when (and where and how) to seek refuge. But God’s promise of protection applies only to those who are really watching — to those who are staying spiritually sober and alert, enduring in the way of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, etc., and truly serving God in building up (rather than tearing down) relationships within His Church, the modern‑day “ark” that must be built (Malachi 3:16‑18; Ezekiel 14:12‑20).
The information on the pages that follow may be helpful in understanding the times and seasons of Biblical prophecies. But it can be no substitute for the right behavior (based upon the right spirit and approach) that will be required of individuals to be brought under God’s forgiveness and thus “counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). None of us has it made. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). And our “worthiness” will in part be decided based upon our willingness to forgive our brethren from the heart and overcome any differences we may have with them. The law plainly says, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:17‑18).
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14‑15).
“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17:3‑4).
The Scriptures include a few words of caution here: Correction should be given in a kind way (cf. Proverbs 26:4‑5; Galatians 6:1). And older people who may step out of line must be approached with respect (cf. 1 Timothy 5:1).
The principles of Matthew 18 go far beyond the oft‑quoted statements in verses 15‑17. We do well to go back and read those words in the context of the entire chapter. For the Father in heaven will hand over to the torturers each one of us who fails, from the heart, to forgive his brother his trespasses (vv. 34‑35).
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants [bearing grudges against and belittling or betraying fellow Church members — God’s true servants], and to eat and drink with the drunkards [turning instead for camaraderie with those who are drunken on the wine of Babylon the Great’s idolatrous teachings or on the cares of this world], the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:45‑51).
Clearly, the people who will be kept from the hour of trial — those who will understand the times and be prepared to take refuge when necessary (Isaiah 26:20) — will be those who steer clear of idolatry and maintain brotherly love. The condition for receiving God’s protection during the tribulation, and for entering into His kingdom, will not be church affiliation or structure (“government”), nor prophesying (preaching the gospel), casting out demons or working wonders (cf. Matthew 7:22‑23), but rather individual character, whether one’s deeds (his way of living) be righteous or wicked. In the message to the seven churches God speaks to individual church members, saying, “…I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works” (Revelation 2:23).
The church era in which we live lends itself easily to a “judgmental” spirit. After coming face‑to‑face with blatant apostasy and a great falling away from the truths of God, it is easy to begin to mistrust one another. But the skittishness of war (in these battles that we wage against wicked spirits, Ephesians 6:12) with its potential for bringing on “friendly fire” must be overcome. So must the proclivity to unjustly condemn others be conquered. We must turn away from the tendency of the era to trust in self‑righteousness while despising others and seeing little if any need for personal overcoming or growth.
Those with the spirit of brotherly love will recognize their own shortcomings. They will be humble and forgiving and practice the way of love as described in the writings of John — and in 1 Corinthians 13 and many other Scriptures. Although they most certainly will be uncompromising in their dedication to the true God and “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24) amongst themselves, they will not be quick to condemn. Rather, since “love thinks no evil,” (1 Corinthians 13:5) God’s faithful servants will give others the benefit of the doubt and extend mercy, seeking as much as possible to work things out and live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18).
The wise then, are “God’s servants the prophets” who hold fast to their love and service for the true God and for fellow man, both in and out of the Church. These will understand both the general time frame and the specific days of end‑time events when the right time comes.
In Scripture, times and seasons
are defined by the movements
of the master clock in the sky.
“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night;
and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years’ ” (Genesis 1:14 KJV).
The first information
about time in the Bible is
found in Genesis 1. How “day” and other words
denoting elements of time are used throughout the
Scriptures will be explored in the pages that follow.
the light Day, and the
darkness he called Night. And there
was evening and there was morning, one day” (Genesis 1:5 RSV).
By the time of the writing of the
New Testament, the day and
night had come to be divided into hours, but the numbering
of them was sometimes different than what we are used to:
“Then He came to the disciples and
found them asleep, and said to
Peter, ‘What, could you not watch with Me one hour?’ ” (Matthew 26:40)
“And he called for two centurions,
saying, ‘Prepare two hundred
soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to
Caesarea at the third hour of the night’ ” (around 9 p.m.) (Acts 23:23).
“Jesus answered, ‘Are there
not twelve hours in the
day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble,
because he sees the light of this world’ ” (John 11:9*).
The creation account shows that
a full 24‑hour period (inclusive
of both night and day) was also called a “day”. For “...there was
evening and there was morning, one day” (Genesis 1:5 RSV).
New King James Version is used
throughout except as otherwise noted.
In ancient times the nights were
divided into guard watches.
In the Old Testament only three night watches are mentioned:
In the New Testament period
there were clearly four night
watches. They were referred to by number and also by name:
“Watch therefore, for you do
not know when the master of the house is coming; in the
evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning” (Mark 13:35).
While the need for a night watchman
may seem obvious, it was
also important to be on guard against attack during the day:
“Nevertheless we made our prayer
to our God, and because of
them we set a watch against them day and night” (Nehemiah 4:9).
“I have set watchmen on your walls,
O Jerusalem, who shall never
hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the
LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes
and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isaiah 62:6‑7).
The daytime watches may have followed the
pattern of those during the night. Because
of the activities at the temple, the day at Jerusalem naturally fell into four time periods:
“According to the number of the days in which you spied
out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear
your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection” (Numbers 14:34; cf. Ezekiel 4:4‑6).
Like the 24‑hour day, each year has
a dark part (autumn and winter)
and a period of increased light (spring and summer). Thus the year
(from the perspective of the Northern Hemisphere and Jerusalem)
can be viewed as having the parts of a normal day as shown below:
The terms for “evening” and
“morning” are illustrated
here according to several of their Scriptural
uses (in reference to general periods of time, the night watches and the daily sacrifices).
For additional information about how these and other time expressions are used in the
Bible, please see: Resolving the Passover Controversy ‑ Part 1, at cgsf.org.
“Because you have kept My
command to persevere, I also will
keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole
world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10).
By comparing the above verse
with the ones quoted below,
we discern that the “hour of trial” is forty‑two months in duration,
the corresponding “day” of which would last about eighty years:
“Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea... And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty‑two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. And it was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:1‑8).
“And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast” (Revelation 17:12).
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit
says, ‘Today, when you hear
his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on
the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test and saw My works
for forty years’ ” (Hebrews 3:7‑9 RSV, from Psalm 95:8).
In the above text, the forty‑year period of Israelite wandering in the wilderness after their departure from Egypt is specifically referred to as a “day” of testing. Dwelling in booths during the feast of tabernacles illustrates the direct parallel between that wilderness day of trial and the 1000‑year day of rest in the seventh millennium (Leviticus 23:39‑23).
The account in Hebrews also says, “For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: ‘So I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest,’ although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works’ ” (Hebrews 4:3‑4).
The ancient Israelites did not enter God’s rest in the Promised Land until the eighth forty‑year time period after Jacob went down into Egypt. Likewise, the nation of Israel will continue as a physical entity during the seventh millennium, not entering into the rest of eternal life until the “eighth day”, the “great white throne” judgment day (cf. Ezekiel 37; Revelation 20:11‑13).
“But, beloved, do not forget
thing, that with the Lord one day is
as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).
The creation of the Sabbath as the seventh day of the week shows that God’s rest (Christ’s soon‑coming 1000‑year reign on earth) will be in the seventh millennium of mankind’s existence. Likewise, the work of God in the first six days of creation week was an exact type of the work that God has been doing in the six millennial days since Adam’s creation. Some of the details regarding this aspect of God’s creative handiwork may be found at cgsf.org in the continuation of this series: .
Only half of Peter’s
comment is illustrated here.
Conversely: “…with the Lord one day is as a
thousand years…” Thus, one twelve‑hour day,
as we know it, is as 500 years to God. An hour is
like forty years, and three hours are like 120 years.
“For a thousand years in thy sight are…
as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4 KJV).
When Adam sinned, the world as a whole was plunged into spiritual darkness. Since a thousand years are likened to a night watch, the time between Adam and Christ may be seen as one four‑watch night (with about three hours per watch).
If the first 4000 years of human history are viewed as a 12‑hour period beginning at 6 p.m., then the birth of Jesus Christ came at about 5:45 a.m., and the light of His public ministry began around 5:50 a.m. These are not unusual times for sunrise in the latitude of Jerusalem near the time of the equinox. When Christ came, “The people who sat in darkness saw a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light... dawned” (Matthew 4:16, quoting from Isaiah 9:2). Christ was “a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of [God’s] people Israel” (Luke 2:32 KJV; cf. Isaiah 42:6; 49:6; 1 Samuel 4:22). “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light [shone] in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it... John [the Baptist]... came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world” (John 1:4‑9). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life... As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5).
After Christ’s death, His disciples continued in His light (1 Thessalonians 5:4‑5), while the world was plunged back into spiritual darkness. Then the disciples went out to “proclaim the praises of Him who called [them] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). In so doing, they collectively provided “lamp light” for the world (comparable to the “lesser light” of the moon), reflecting in their writings the light that Christ gave to them (Matthew 5:14‑16). Individual servants of God rose up as “stars” (Revelation 1:20; cf. Daniel 12:3).
In the study of times and seasons it should be pointed out that there are many, many time elements imbedded in the Bible prophecies and in the words of Jesus Christ. And every word God speaks is true (cf. Numbers 23:19; Psalm 119:160; Proverbs 30:5; John 17:17). When Jesus said, “The cry went out at midnight; go out to meet the bridegroom,” the time element in His words was not without prophetic significance. As noted earlier, although Jesus told the original twelve disciples that (like Daniel) it was not given for them to understand the times and the seasons (Acts 1:7), it is also written that, at the time of the end, the wise will understand the times (Daniel 12:5‑13). They will seek to view the times and seasons from God's perspective, and they will understand!
The prayer of Moses (Psalm 90) immediately preceding a psalm about God’s protection in tribulation (Psalm 91) and another one “for the Sabbath day” (i.e. regarding the millennial rest, Psalm 92), has great meaning for our day. We, with Moses, can pray from the heart, “So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom. Return, O LORD! How long? And have compassion on Your servants. Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days! Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, And the years in which we have seen evil. Let Your work appear to Your servants, And Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:12‑17).
Under Moses, the people put their hands into the work of building the tabernacle and all its furnishings. The parallel “work of our hands” today is the building up of the Church of God into a holy temple in the Lord (Ephesians 2:21).
It is not the words of any human
writer that are important.
Unless the reader actually looks up and studies the Scriptural
references herein, the most important part of the message will
be missed. For the part that really matters is what God has to say.
Those at the time of the end who serve in that work in a way that is pleasing to God can expect to understand the answer to the question of the holy men of old. “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” (Daniel 12:6 KJV). The end is upon us now. The words are no longer closed and sealed (Revelation 22:10). It is our responsibility to seek God while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6). The door to the kingdom of God will soon be shut to those who take off their shoes, lie down on the job of preaching the gospel, and foolishly just wait around for the master to come knocking (cf. Ephesians 6:11,15; Mark 6:7‑9, Song of Solomon 5:2‑6). It behooves all God's people instead to “get to work!” — in the great work of rebuilding the temple of God, the temple prophesied in the book of Haggai which must be completed (with all the living stones put back together, 1 Peter 2:5; cf. Lamentations 4:1) before Christ will return in His glory (Haggai 2:7). God give us the sense to wake up and get on with His Work! For the time is very, very short. And there is much work yet to be done!
First those who are to build God’s temple must “go up to the mountain and bring wood” (Haggai 1:8, KJV), that is, bring God’s people, to be “fitly framed together” as “a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21, KJV). Then the builders must cleanse themselves from contact with those who are called brethren but whose fruits prove that they are spiritually dead (cf. Haggai 2:10‑14; 1 Corinthians 5:9‑13; 6:9‑11; Jude 3‑23; Ephesians 2:1‑5; Matthew 18:12‑17,21‑35; Numbers 5:2‑3; 19:11‑22; Hebrews 9:11‑14; 10:22; Ephesians 5:25‑27; Titus 3:4‑7). The builders must also be cleansed from the influence of spiritually dead religious leaders (Matthew 23:27‑28; Luke 11:44). And the right foundation, the pure Word of God, must be fully restored (cf. Ephesians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Luke 6:46‑49). This is the very same foundation on which Herbert Armstrong sought to build when he said, “Don't believe me, believe what you find written in your own Bible!” (The tendency these days is to slip into the trap of thinking ourselves “rich… and in need of nothing” doctrinally (Revelation 3:17). It is so much easier to build on the foundation of Herbert Armstrong — assuming everything we were taught was completely accurate. But in so doing we reject any right and proper growth in understanding of the Word of God in favor of 20th century church traditions. And we also reject Mr. Armstrong's own words in the last days of his life when he told us that there is more in the Bible than any man can learn in a lifetime.)
The Word of God, the foundation of God's temple and throne is a foundation of love, as expressed in righteousness (personal integrity) and justice (proper dealings with other people). (See Psalm 89:14; 97:2; 1 Timothy 6:17‑19; and 2 Timothy 2:19.) Once the right foundation is securely back in place — as the basis of both how the builders live and what they teach, God will bless their efforts to build up His family through the gospel work — through sowing of the seed for the kingdom of God (Haggai 2:18‑19; Isaiah 28:16‑17; Zechariah 4:9‑10). While the people do say, “The time has not yet come for the Lord's house to be built” (Haggai 1:2), God's own instruction in the first chapter of Haggai (for a time when His house lies in ruins) is that His people should be busy building. The rest of the book tells how to build — in purity and on the right foundation, as just explained. And the message includes the following encouraging thoughts:
Who is left among you who saw the Church of God in its former glory, when it stood 150,000 people strong? And how do you see the Church now? In comparison, is it not in your eyes as nothing? “Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,” says the LORD; “and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of spiritual Israel,” says the LORD, “and work; for I am with you,” says the LORD of hosts. “According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of the world, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!” For thus says the LORD of hosts: “Once more (in a little while) I will shake heaven (the spirit realm including both spirit beings and spirit‑begotten sons of God whose names are written in heaven) and the earth (the unconverted world), the sea (the Gentile countries) and the dry land (Israelite countries); and I will make all nations tremble and come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,” says the LORD of hosts. “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,” says the LORD of hosts. “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,” says the LORD of hosts. “And in this place I will give peace,” says the LORD of hosts (paraphrasing Haggai 2:3‑9).
God speed the day when Christ will fill His temple with glory! For now, those who desire to build must gather “wood”, cleanse themselves (James 4:8‑17; Numbers 19:11‑22), and restore the foundation of truth and love laid by apostles and prophets (1 Corinthians 3:10‑11; John 14:6; 1 Peter 2:5‑9; Ephesians 2:19‑22; 4:11‑16). Then God will bless their efforts in building up the Church of God into a holy temple far more splendid than what was seen in the past. There is a great work yet to be done. And for those who please God, for those who wisely build upon the Rock (Matthew 7:24), who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (1 Peter 1:18‑19), who stay sober and watch unto prayer, loving one another (1 Peter 4:7‑8), their loins girded with truth, shoes on their feet as messengers of the gospel of peace, and shepherd staff in hand (Exodus 12:11‑12) — for them, there is a promise. They will understand the times and be delivered from the difficult trials that lie ahead (cf. Daniel 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:1‑11; Ephesians 6:10‑20; Revelation 12:11; Daniel 3:17‑18).