And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, 1st Chronicles 12:32.
God divides bible time into segments that he calls "times". When God speaks of the antichrist, he says; And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time, Daniel 7:25. And in speaking of a change of the times said; Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways, acts 14:16.
God's references to times are so numerous that it would waste time and space to enumerate them all. Nevertheless, here are a few:
The Emims dwelt therein in times past, Deuteronomy 2:10.
The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself, Judges 16:20.
And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, 2nd Chronicles 15:5.
Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times, Esther 1:13.
My times are in thy hand, Psalm 31:15.
the years of ancient times, Psalm 77:5.
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times, Ephesians 1:10.
I hope to write some posts on some theological implications of how God divides times from other times, but for now I want to make some practical applications to applying a King James Bible to our day.
I started this post with a reference to the wisdom of the children of Issachar who had understanding of the times. Those of you familiar with my writing and my ministry know that I am critical of my brethren in Fundamentalism because they show little understanding of the times other than to hate the times in which we live.
Growing up in the 1960s and 70s, I often observed with great amusement the occasional guy who was stuck in the 1950s. He could be seen wearing penny loafers with white socks, kept his hair greased down in a ducktail while wearing black slacks. He was usually trolling for some woman who suffered from morbid obesity who thought him divine.
My generation is often caught in a time warp wherein I see old men with long white hair held back in a ponytail, wearing jeans and driving pick up trucks. The Hippies mourned the passing of their movement in 1968, but in the 1970s rednecks quickly swept up their garb and proudly wear it to this day.
Modern Fundamentalism is caught in a time warp in which Jack Hyles is still alive, Ronald Reagan smiles upon them, and neighborhoods still have front porches from which friendly home owners greet church door knockers. In large urban or suburban areas they are somewhat successful at keeping a church going in that there is always a certain percentage of people who are nostalgic for that era and will attend a church which pretends to live in that era. If you follow the people home you will find that the pretense is mostly kept up in church.
A nearby pastor made the sage observation that front porch America has become back porch America and doesn't want you knocking on their door. The average, joe-shmoe American has a "live-and-let-live" attitude towards the cultural degeneration of our times. When, and if he visits a Fundamental Church of whatever stripe, and the speaker lambasts the people he saw out in public with purple hair, tattoos, weird piercings, and same-sex partners, our joe-shmoe visitor will probably not come back.
The members of that church will heartily "Amen" the speaker because the speaker has vindicated their outrage over the change of times. Don't think that I am happy with the cultural changes or that I am endorsing churches which wholesale accept such changes. I don't. I have a church chock full of people who have been converted out of such. I love such people and recognize their need for repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.
God has been gracious enough to have converted a few. Their lives are in utter contrast to the sins from which they were saved. Their homes are a reflection of church. They are a reflection of grace. Regardless of how straight our current batch of fundamentalists claim to be, the vast lot of them bear no such fruit. They are utterly powerless with God and with man. They remind me of the 1975 song by the rock group Ambrosia, I Keep Holding on To Yesterday.
Hey, if you're near enough to a large population center to attract and hold a fairly large congregation of people nostalgic for your brand of fundamentalism, have at it! I am in a small rural area in which the nearest city is 20 miles away and has less than 14,000 inhabitants. If I want to build a church I have to convert people. If I did not understand the times I could not do it.
One of my first wake up calls was when my Jewish landlady (one of about 6 Jews who live in Allegany County, NY) and her husband began to be interested in the bible. After some time in which they began to regularly attend church and became active in a local Reformers Unanimous Group, I sent them to Resaca, Georgia back when Sammy Allen still hosted a Jewish Meeting in February.
They came back offended at what they perceived as hypocrisy. I was puzzled at first until I understood the times in which we live and the misconceptions of people who graduated from public schools since 1990. A speaker had mocked the Clintons, and then in the next service the whole auditorium sang the national anthem. My Jewish landlady and her husband, one with a Masters Degree from a major college, the other a hard working High School Graduate didn't know the difference between a former president, his first lady, and the government of the United States of America.
They saw them as co-equal. When I sat down and explained to them the difference between political parties, the people who make them up and the government, they got it. They had never heard the distinctions before. I had had that explained to me somewhere between kindergarten and the first grade. I can assure you that the vast majority of people between 18 and 55 years old, don't understand it. You get into the pulpit and run your jaws to a delighted few caught in a time warp of the 1970s and 80s (what you call Old Time Religion) and wonder why new people never stick.
Another quirk of the last 40 years which has greatly infiltrated those who graduated from high school in the last 30 years is their attitude toward God. The God of the New Age is accepted. Well, did Gail Riplinger name her book, The New Age Bibles. She documented over and over how that the changes in the new bibles are not so much easier to read, or more clear to understand. The changes promote an ecumenical God who is just wishy-washy enough that New Age adherents can feel comfortable waving their hands over their heads and praising the ersatz Jesus of those new bibles.
The common attitude amongst such a generation when they read a King James Bible and when they feel the force and authority behind the pronouncements of God, is "who is God to tell me what to do?". I am not making this up or assuming that they think that. I have heard them say it over and over. I heard them say it because I get involved in their lives. I spend large amounts of time in their homes, eating with them, laughing with them, crying with them, loving them and presenting the authority of the King James Bible to them until such a time as they begin to haltingly apply its precepts to their lives and feel and see the superiority of such a life.
Some may say, "Well, not where I live, maybe up north, but not here." Quit deluding yourself. Perhaps in your selective group of reenactors, trying to reenact church as you once knew it is free from such thinking. (Don't be too sure.) If I spent 6 months in your area and fell in love with the broken homes and drug sotted lives of your area, I would hear the same things. I spent 20 years in Rural South Carolina. I know.
Unless men of God learn how to take their allegiance and respect for the King James Bible and make it real to today's generation, you will never be those of Issachar who had understanding of the times. Those of Issachar realized that even though Saul had led Israel to victory after victory, and even though he was the anointed of God, it was time to leave the old ways and to go out to David in the wilderness. Some men can never make that change. Jeremiah taught the people to abandon the temple, to abandon their king and to abandon the holy city and to surrender to a foreign king. Those who measured everything by "how things used to be" died grisly deaths and for the most part burn in hell.