Knowing the Time

"Knowing the Time" 

March 1, 2022 | Justin Ringstaff | Secretariat


How important is it to know the time? From ancient sundials to the recent atomic clock, knowing the time has been one of the most important essentials to everyday life. There is another clock, however, that should draw our utmost attention. It is the great prophetic clock of Bible prophecy. 

In Matthew 16:3, Jesus reproves those who pride themselves in being able to “discern the face of the sky” but fail to discern “the signs of the times.” As Seventh-day Adventists, we have had the profound blessing of knowing the time more clearly than any other people on the face of the earth. By the Lord’s own providential hand, our gaze has been firmly fixed on the prophetic clock to discern the signs of the times. Let us not take such a gift for granted. 

I often think of the great sacrifice by our early pioneers as they were drawn out after God to understand the grand truths of Scripture. Days of fasting and prayer; hours pleading with God to send the Holy Spirit for understanding; the precious rays of light carefully gathered and fit together. They counted “knowing the time” as a priceless treasure. It was to them “a light that shines in a dark place.”[1] It was Jesus, the Morning Star rising in their hearts. 

How I pray for that to be my renewed experience and yours!

How important is it to know the time? It could be the difference between eternal life and eternal loss. The movements of prophecy are like the chimes of the clock hour. With each sounding we carefully discern its weight in light of eternity. 

In fact, Jesus forewarns us to be vigilant, so we don’t miss the time. He says, “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.”[2] If we are not careful, even we who know the time can lose track of it, and find ourselves caught unaware. 

This is a compelling reason to keep the sacred movements of Bible prophecy fresh in our minds. We cannot afford to let their significance fade from our memories. One of the most effective ways to do this is to study them personally and then share them with others. 

This is a time for us to be building our confidence in the word of God and the prophetic message He has entrusted to us. We cannot afford to give heavenly things second place in our lives.

The enemy of souls certainly has not forgotten the time, and knows its importance. Revelation reveals that the devil has come with great wrath, “because he knows that he has a short time.”[3] The devil is a diligent student of Bible prophecy and knows that there is too little time left to take his ease or slumber. He has work to do before it’s too late.

This is especially significant for us as we have been given our work, too. The Lord has raised us up as a prophetic movement to bring to the world a certain and definite message to prepare a people for the second coming of Jesus. 

In this final hour, we are to proclaim the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14. We must never lose sight of that purpose. This sacred charge calls for the best and most earnest use of our time. And as the prophet of the Lord reminds us: “There is no other work of so great importance. [We] are to allow nothing else to absorb [our] attention”[4](emphasis supplied).

The devil is seeking to break down our faith in the advent movement. He is trying to break our confidence in the sure word of prophecy. And while the enemy of every soul is marshalling his troops, he is, at the same time, seeking to lull the remnant forces to sleep at their post. The Commander of the heavenly hosts is calling for His remnant army to awake out of sleep and stand steadfast for the last great struggle. 

Let us be like the sons of Issachar from David’s men of war “who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”[5] They not only knew the time, but they also knew what to do in light of it.  

Dear saints, called by the Lord Himself, it is time for us “to arise and shine for the glory of the Lord is risen upon us.”[6] Darkness covers this world and deep darkness those who dwell in it. But as the Lord shines His glory upon us, let us awake and rise to our work that others may also come to the light.[7]

In 1 Corinthians 15:4, we are called to “awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” This is the heart of the matter. Our continuing to sleep does not only hurt us. There are still those in the prison house of Babylon who do not know the time nor the truth. The servant of the Lord reminds us that, “the love of Christ, revealed to us, makes us debtors to all who know him not. God has given us light, not for ourselves alone, but to shed upon them.”[8]

As we understand the awesome revelations of Jesus Christ, and His love demonstrated toward us, we cannot but sense our responsibility to share Him and His final message with the world.

The Lord knew that we might be prone to drift off to sleep. He knows that though our spirit is often willing our flesh is weak.[9] “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [10] For “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”[11] In His great love for us, He has made every provision for us to find victory in Him. He has promised that as He overcame, we too can overcome in Him. He sends the Holy Spirit and His ministering angels to shake us and give us that moment of clarity to realize it is high time to wake from our slumber. 

It truly is time, and the prophetic clock is about to strike for the last time for “the night is far spent, the day is at hand.”[12] So let us rise up, O church of God, for surely our salvation is nearer than when we first believed!

[1] 2 Peter 1:19

[2] Luke 21:34

[3] Revelation 12:10

[4] Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church, vol 9, p. 19

[5] 1 Chronicles 12:32

[6] Isaiah 60:1

[7] Isaiah 60:2, 3

[8] Ellen White, Steps to Christ, p. 81

[9] Matthew 26:41

[10] 1 Corinthians 15:57

[11] Romans 8:37

[12] Romans 13:12