Saturday, October 17, 2015

1 Chron 12:32 report, 118: On balance, blood moons and other signs of the times, the end of days and the Second Coming

One of the striking patterns in many Christian circles is a commonplace focus on end of days prophecies and linked signs and portents of our times.

 For instance, currently there has been quite the stir about four "blood moons" (more prosaically, lunar eclipses) in which the moon changes to a dull reddish colour similar to drying blood), such as happened on September 28th:

This is what such a "blood Moon" looks like before it hits full totality:

Let me u/d by adding, on how eclipses happen:

Eclipses are due to shadows. A Solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's shadow falls on the earth, and a Lunar one when the Moon passes through Earth's shadow . . . which at that point is about 2.5 times the size of the Moon. (This was historically important c 300 BC, in deducing how far away the Moon is from Earth.)

Of course, there is some scriptural support, e.g. we may see Peter in the very first Christian sermon on Pentecost Sunday c 30 AD, responding to the crowd's puzzlement at a mysterious rushing wind and the phenomenon of the 120 Spirit-filled believers speaking in other tongues:
Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.[b] 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants[c] and female servants
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
    before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus,[d] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it . . . . 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
35     until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 

38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 

40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 

41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. [ESV]
The balance struck by Peter is noteworthy, beginning with seeing "The Last Days" as already in progress c 30 AD. Rightly so, as the coming of Messiah to Israel and the Nations is itself an eschatological -- last days -- event, in fact the pivotal one. Indeed, in the epistle he circulated even as he was under the shadow of unjust execution by Nero on the false accusation of treasonous arson against Rome, we see:
2 Peter 1: 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body,[h] to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 

17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,[i] with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 

19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.  

21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. [ESV]
It is amazing to see how the two messages are so closely connected in themes: Messiah has come in fulfillment of the prophetic word of Scripture, and our main focus is to respond to him.

The Spirit inspires and empowers the prophets of old, and being poured out on all flesh in our day, he fills and empowers us to speak in witness to the gospel and the ongoing work of God. Where, the gospel message -- pace the rhetoric of ever so many skeptics in our day -- is not "cleverly devised myths." Indeed, it is eyewitness truth that the 500 paid with blood and tears to hand down to us, with Peter himself the lead eyewitness.

So, we need to strike the balance brought out by Jesus even as he prophesied in warning to his disciples, sitting on Mt Olives opposite the Temple in Jerusalem on Temple Mount, which is again in the headlines as yet more murderous, blasphemous fanaticism is unleashed under the abuse of the name of God:
Matt 24:As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 

And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 

 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then many will fall away[a] and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. [ESV]
Again and again, we see that the principal sign of the last days is that Messiah has come, and that having been betrayed he willingly offered himself as a sinless substitute and Saviour on the cross, rising from the dead in triumphant vindication, with 500 unstoppable witnesses. In this context, having been exalted to glory (whence He shall come "in like manner" to that same Mt Olives, to judge the quick and the dead) he has poured out his Spirit who empowers us in witness and in prophetic insight in our own times.

Where, the principal ongoing visible sign of the end of days is that the gospel goes forth in power, with prophetic insight and linked manifestations, throughout the whole world, calling men to discipleship, with seasons of refreshing as times of revival are poured out. So also, we must emphasise the fullness of Christ through the kingdom of God that struck the Earth's ever-warring kingdoms of man as a stone cut out without human hands and grows into a mountain that fills the earth:

Just so, Wallnau's representation of that growing fullness as targetting seven mountains of culture and filling the world with Christ's grace and glory through discipleship is a powerful prophetic insight and challenge:

In short, we do not have to fall under a fatalistic, things must get worse and worse attitude, no, from Jeremiah we know that prophecy, even when it warns of impending judgement is an invitation to repentance and blessing. At minimum (as in the days of Noah), it is a call to a remnant to save themselves from an untoward generation by giving heed to the gospel and its call to transformational discipleship through the four Rs as we just saw:
Jeremiah 18:If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. 

And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. 

11 Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’ [ESV]
Yes, judgement is ever mixed with grace and the call to repentance.

It is our stubborn impenitence which is to blame when disaster comes on us because we insist on pursuing a "business as usual" (BAU), sin as usual, march of folly in the teeth of the call to turn back and the signs of impending disaster:

To hammer home the point:

That sets a context for our further thoughts.

Back to the Blood Moons issue, with a bit of help from Pastor John Hagee. As CBN reports:
In his latest book, Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change, Hagee lays out what he calls celestial signals. He describes how a series of blood moons in 2014 and 2015 will have great significance for Israel. 

Although single blood moons happen fairly regularly, four appearing so closely together is extremely rare. There have only been a series of blood moons a handful of times over the past 500 years.
So what exactly is a blood moon and what is the biblical significance?

"A blood moon is when the Earth comes between the sun and the moon," Hagee explained. "And the sun is shining through the atmosphere of the Earth and casts up on the moon a red shadow. And so the moon appears to be red."

Such moons appear several times in scripture.

In the book of Joel, God says there will be "wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire…the sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord."

In Acts, the Apostle Peter repeats that verse from Joel. And the book of Revelation says that during the Great Tribulation, "the moon will become like blood."

Blood moons are set to appear in April 2014, on Passover, and then again in October 2014 during the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot.

The timing is the same for 2015 -- a total of four blood moons, all appearing on Jewish feast days.
"The sun and the moon and the Earth are controlled by God almighty," Hagee said. "He is the one that is getting them in a direct alignment on a certain day at a certain time -- but each time, it's a Passover or Sukkot.
The article goes on to give cases where similar clusters have happened at significant times in the history of the Jewish people, and he therefore suggests this is likely to continue, pointing out that the times in fact are momentous for the Jewish people.

I would suggest that so long as there is not an over-emphasis, and there is a due balance with the main emphasis of scripture on the gospel and our response to it, little harm would be done by discussing this phenomenon in light of Joel 2 and Acts 2.

However, if things get out of hand into date setting and overly enthusiastic predictions, that is when things go off track, for in Acts 1 we read:
Acts 1:So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 

 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 

10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” [ESV]
First: it is not for us to fully know the times, indeed, date-setting is sinful folly. 

Second, our business is to be concerned with the main sign of the end times, the Spirit-empowered witness to all nations through the gospel, carrying forward the discipleship mission of the church.

Third, the angels here informed the apostles of a breakthrough insight: the Second Coming of Messiah, alluding subtly to an amazing prophecy in Zechariah:
Zech 12: 1 The oracle of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah.

  On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. On that day, declares the Lord, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the Lord of hosts, their God.’
“On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves. And they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem.

“And the Lord will give salvation to the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not surpass that of Judah. On that day the Lord will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the Lord, going before them.

  And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

  11 On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo . . . .

14:1 Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 

 Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 

 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward . . . [ESV]
In the Revelation, John takes up this very theme and text:
Rev 1:John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail[c] on account of him. Even so. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” [ESV]
Paul speaks to the Second Coming:
1 Thess 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 

 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 

15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[d] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 

18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

5:1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers,[e] you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 

While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 

 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 

 For you are all children[f] of light, children of the day. 

We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 

 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 

 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.  

11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. [ESV]
In the midst of the arrogance of men pretending to have mastered the world and to have built their own peace and security -- shades of "peace"negotiations and "security councils" -- the birth pangs come. And with that, the culmination, at the Second Advent, heralded by the Trumpet-blast of God.

But in this, there is a warning that echoes Jesus in Matt 24:
2 Thess 2: Let no one deceive you in any way.

 For that day [the Day of the Lord] will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c] who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 

Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 

 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 

 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 

11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits[d] to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.  

14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. [ESV]
So, we see him whom Nero (whose name 666 codes for) prefigures, the Man of Sin or Lawlessness, the Antichrist who exalts himself to demand the loyalty and homage due only to God. He has power over those who love not the truth that saves -- the gospel, but instead love unrighteousness. (Those currently perverting the gospel to be "inclusive" of sinful, perverse "lifestyles," take due note.)

These scriptures bring up also, the issues of prophetic foreshortening/mountain peaks and the timeline of Messiah's coming. 

the Last Days are the global era of salvation, healing, deliverance and transformation by the poured out Spirit, inaugurated by the messiah promised aforetime in the prophetic scriptures of the Old Testament. And so, eschatology properly starts from the prophetic scriptures and moves forward through the coming of Messiah and the sending out of the church into the world, leading up to the culmination of that mission of witness and completion of the establishment of the eternal Kingdom of Messiah, the Son of Man as is envisioned in Daniel 7:13 - 14.
Indeed, one may argue that when the prophetic "seventy weeks clock" is set in Daniel 9:24 - 27, in a sense the Last Days are already at least in gestation.

In this context the Christian synthesis of the prophetic scriptures of the OT as the context for the Messiah, the sacrifice of redemption, the gospel, the poured out Spirit, the witness to the nations and the culmination, pivots on a principle of prophetic foreshortening (or, seeing the main peaks) as an interpretive key to properly understanding this.
This brings me back to perhaps the very first eschatological sermons I ever heard.

For, Elder Smith of my home church (which is a former red brick Synagogue, with windows in the shape of the tablets of the law) was fond of explaining prophecy by figuratively pointing to Jamaica's Blue Mountains looming above us in Kingston.

Kingston with the Blue Mountains, from Palisadoes Road, Jamaica. The city of just under 1 mn people -- the largest Anglophone city south of Miami -- is visible across Kingston Harbour, behind the port of Kingston. To the left of the picture are the Norman Manley International airport, Port Royal and the 1/4 million strong satellite city of Portmore. To the right beyond the picture lie Harbour Head, and Harbour View. The lower elongated peak with a line of housing running along its crest is Long Mountain, which juts into Kingston. Behind this mountain lies the University of the West Indies Mona Campus, as well as the Liguanea- Mona- Hope Pastures area, invisible to the onlooker from the tombolo along which the Palisadoes Road runs. (The tombolo seems to have largely formed from longshore drift from the Yallahs River to the east of this image, with doubtless a contribution from the Hope River also.) Also, behind Long Mountain lies the Hope River which provides a good fraction of Kingston's water, which reaches the sea at Harbour View as (sadly) a now dry watercourse. The mountain on the other side of that river, Dallas Mountain, is named after the same family that gave a Vice President to the USA, and also gave its name to the city of Dallas in Texas. It is from Papine in this hidden area, that the road and trail that one hikes to reach the Blue Mountain Peak at 7,402 ft, begins, with the Gordon Town Road. It has been said that this road takes its name from the town in the mountains where the Gordon Highlanders were once billetted, early in C19.
(SOURCE:Doug Price, fair (academic) use; pardon defects and colour sharpening)

Elder Smith would say that we see the main peaks all together, and so also see past the valleys and maybe even lesser peaks between. Eschatological Prophecy, on this view, is foreshortened like that: we are seeing the main peaks, not  all the details of the timeline along which those peaks sit.

 Dispensationalist, Clarence Larkin used this principle thusly, in his Dispensational Truth, Ch 3:

And so, on the foreshortening principle, starting with Jesus and the apostles:

1 -->  Christians have seen Messiah as indeed the Son of David and Anointed King, but
2 --> he is also the Spirit-empowered liberator and healer of the oppressed and hurting, and the redemptive suffering servant who brings good news to all men. Where,

3 --> these "peaks" are distributed along a timeline, of incarnation, humble walk of service, rejection by many, betrayal and crucifixion that

4 --> simultaneously is the act that has purchased salvation, healing and deliverance, with

5 --> vindication of Divine Sonship through resurrection and exaltation. Further,

6 --> this leads to the last days era of the gospel message, Spirit-empowered -- anointed! -- witness and call to discipleship going forth to lead people from across the world to repentance and grace-driven transformation of life. Then,

7 --> all of this culminates in the Second Coming that fully establishes the Kingdom, envisioned as that described in Daniel 7:

      Dan 7: 9 “As I looked,     
                    thrones were placed,
        and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
        his clothing was white as snow,
        and the hair of his head like pure wool;
        his throne was fiery flames;
        its wheels were burning fire.

      10 ​​​​​​​​A stream of fire issued
        and came out from before him;
        a thousand thousands served him,
        and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
        the court sat in judgment,
        and the books were opened . . . .

       13 “I saw in the night visions,     

        and behold, with the clouds of heaven
        there came one like a son of man,
        and he came to the Ancient of Days
        and was presented before him.

      14 ​​​​​​​​And to him was given dominion
        and glory and a kingdom,
        that all peoples, nations, and languages
        should serve him;

        his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
        which shall not pass away,
        and his kingdom one
        that shall not be destroyed. [ESV]
8 --> From this view of the OT prophetic scriptures, too, Israel is not forgotten or displaced, as  we may see in Zechariah.
 As to timeline, unsurprisingly -- this is something veiled -- there are various major views. Here, I adapt Grudem in his Systematic Theology:

We should be aware of diverse views, and that none is without difficulties. (If you want more details, I suggest here on.)

 Of greater moment is what we could term the principle of multiple fulfillment.

For, first, prophecy was delivered to a live audience and had to be relevant to their circumstances with a degree of fulfillment in their day that led the people of God at that time to recognise that an authentic voice was speaking from God, in accord with the light of Scripture and the history of the covenant people. This is already a partial fulfillment, one that speaks powerfully to how for instance we should look at the words of Matt 24 and the events of AD 66 - 70 in Israel, which led to the destruction of the Temple and the third exile of the Jewish people. (The exile to Egypt due to Famine in the days of Joseph and that of the Babylonian captivity after centuries of repeated idolatrous apostasy must be borne in mind.)

Likewise, if a prophetic word speaks to the end of days, it will have an ultimate eschatological fulfillment.

But between the two, down in the valleys, there may be many partial fulfillments that become a legitimate way to understand the signs of our times and discern in our day like the Men of Issachar in David's day, what the people of God should do.

For, after seven years of civil war (and in light of Samuel's prophetic anointing), we see:
1 Chron 12:23 These are the numbers of the divisions of the armed troops who came to David in Hebron [ --> yes, the same Hebron] to turn the kingdom of Saul over to him, according to the word of the Lord. 

24 The men of Judah bearing shield and spear were 6,800 armed troops. 25 Of the Simeonites, mighty men of valor for war, 7,100. 26 Of the Levites 4,600. 27 The prince Jehoiada, of the house of Aaron, and with him 3,700. 28 Zadok, a young man mighty in valor, and twenty-two commanders from his own fathers' house. 29 Of the Benjaminites, the kinsmen of Saul, 3,000, of whom the majority had to that point kept their allegiance to the house of Saul. 30 Of the Ephraimites 20,800, mighty men of valor, famous men in their fathers' houses. 31 Of the half-tribe of Manasseh 18,000, who were expressly named to come and make David king.  

32 Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 200 chiefs, and all their kinsmen under their command . . . [ESV]
And here, we see the chief men of Issachar understanding the times to know what Israel should do in light of the word from God.

Just so, we should heed Paul, again, as he speaks to the prophetic significance of baptism and the Communion meal, in light of Old Testament record and teaching:

1 Cor 10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers,[a] that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown[b] in the wilderness.

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 

 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 

We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ[c] to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 

11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 

 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 
15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry . . . [ESV]
In short, we need not over-commit ourselves to our particular day being the end of days, to draw upon the rich power of prophetic examples in the scripture and even in our own experience of baptism and communion understood in that light.

In effect, the same factors and forces are at work, and for instance we can see men of lawlessness manifesting the spirit of antichrist, and know that we are not to allow them to enmesh us in their schemes. Likewise, as we see the example of prophecy and scripture, we  can apply the patterns and signs to our own circumstances as a guide. That way, we will be like the chiefs of Issachar 3,000 years ago in David's day. Similarly, we know better than to turn on the Jewish people in hatred and enmity for we know that one day, One shall come to their rescue from their enemies who seek their lives, and they will see him whom they have pierced and weep in penitent joy as they turn to Messiah.

And, there are many, many similar applications of the prophecies and examples of scripture, down in the valley of the church age in which the gospel goes forth to the nations in witness.

Where, happy shall we be should Our Lord find us as he comes (with the awesome blast of the Trumpet of God), busy in his vineyard . . . carrying the gospel of the kingdom to all the nations, thus calling them by the truth in love, purity and power to repentance and discipleship under Christ as guided by the whole counsel of Scripture and in the power of the Spirit.

Let us therefore occupy ourselves with that task, until he comes.

Maranatha! END