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The Times and the Seasons

Peter Shee—Singapore

The Bible uses the “the times and the seasons” to refer to God’s intervention in human history and the rolling out of His plan to establish His righteous reign for eternity (Dan 2:21, cf. 44–45, 4:32) through the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 1:6–7; 1 Thess 5:1–2).

Beginning with this issue, we shall explore the four seasons one after another. Summer is discussed first, in tandem with this time of the year. The hot season has an eschatological ring, since Jesus mentions it as the season that would herald His second coming (Mk 13:28), and when the world heads towards the inevitable, “the elements will melt with fervent heat” (2 Pet 3:10).

Theme article When the Heat Comes, We Shall Not Fear reminds us to expect fiery trials with the assurance that despite intensifying heat before the final doom, children of God need not fear because God has prepared for us protection and salvation. A direct eschatological warning in Prepare, for the Kingdom of Heaven Is at Hand! counters the antinomian stance of popular “saved by grace” gospellers, balanced with biblically correct notions of law-keeping. A third theme article While the Earth Remains gives an overview of God’s grand plan, viewing it chronologically through the seasons—sowing in autumn, with the early rain peaking in winter and then gradually tailing off, while the patient farmer awaits the ripening of crops and prays that the latter rain be not withheld, underscoring both God’s faithfulness and the necessary obedience of His people.

The Bible study article, Rebuild David’s Fallen Tabernacle examines the causes for the destruction of Solomon’s temple and draws teachings from James’ quotation of Amos during the apostolic era—since we are the revived apostolic church, we need to return to the apostolic rebuilding of David’s tabernacle and display the characteristics of a spiritual true church: departure, self-purification, consecration, and the abidance of the Holy Spirit. This study is appropriately placed in the current issue of Manna, as proximity to summer forms the backdrop to Amos’ prophecy (Amos 8:1–2, 9:11–12).

Just as Jesus clarified that His kingdom is not of this world, the other study, Simon the Zealot, biblically aligns our passionate loyalties to the concept of God’s kingdom being that which will prevail forever, unlike the Zealot of old who had an “inviolable attachment to liberty” played out in worldly politics. When we shed our secular ideologies, we will be truly liberated to serve God with fellow citizens of His kingdom.

God’s people living in the world are continually exposed to the tension between this age and the age to come, that is, between the secular and the divine. Against the Tide exhorts us to bravely resist conforming to the majority. When we truly understand that dark forces control its course, and where the tide of the world leads us, we will want to escape the fires of destruction by fleeing to the LORD, our Refuge (Ps 46).