In Esther 1:13, we read of a kingdom whose wise men and advisers “knew the times.” In 1 Chronicles 12:32, however, the Bible tells of another kingdom whose wise men and advisers “had understanding of the times.” One set “knew the times,” the other understood “the times.” Any difference? One set comprised secular or natural advisers, the others were spiritual in their operation; one set worked with their learned heads, the other set had much more, working from their inspired spirit. Each of them was crucial to their kingdom in their own way. We need both now.
The Hebrew word translated “knew” in Esther 1:13 is yada. Among other things, according to Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, it means, “to know (properly, to ascertain by seeing), acquaintance(-ted with), comprehend, familiar friend, famous, +be learned, skilful, understand, have (understanding).” The word translated “understanding” in 1 Chronicles 12:32 is biynah combined with yada. According to the same Hebrew dictionary, biynah means knowledge, perfectly, understanding, wisdom. The root word is biyn, which means, “to separate mentally (or distinguish), be cunning, discern, have intelligence, know, perceive, skill(-full).” This, then, is a fuller picture of that passage:
And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding [biynah; yada] of the times, to know [yada] what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment (1 Chronicles 12:32).
The kingdom of Persia had men that knew [yada] THE TIMES; Israel had men that understood [biynah - yada] THE TIMES, knowing [yada] what everyone else should do. In their different ways, each category was interacting with “the times.” Every nation needs both kinds of men, no less now.
What the sons of Issachar understood by discernment they analysed by knowledge and advised accordingly for action; what they knew in their hearts they processed with their heads to be implemented by ready hands. The ready hands waited on the understanding hearts for proper guidance – like our days; “… the times…”
Times and Seasons
The Bibles speaks in the Old and New Testaments about times and seasons. They don’t mean the same thing, and we need know both. It says in Daniel 2:21that God changes “the times and the seasons” and “removeth kings, and setteth up kings,” and that He not only gives “wisdom unto the wise” but also “knowledgeto them that know understanding.” The verse distinguishes between times and seasons; it also distinguishes between wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. So much more to be said; for example, why would God give more wisdom to one that is already wise, who is called The Wise, or give knowledge to a person that already knows understanding? Could it be because He trusts that they will improve with ‘more’ of what they already have and are managing successfully? Is it a Matthew 13:12 principle? Wouldn’t He have given them that ‘more’ if they didn’t have that little, or had wasted what they had had? Well, we leave that for another day.
According to Jesus in Acts 1:7, there are certain times [chronos - Grk] and seasons [kairos - Grk] that “the Father hath put in his own power.” There is nothing we can do about knowing those; we cannot know them (Revelation 10:4; Daniel 12:9; 2 Corinthians 12:4); nevertheless some times and seasons are knowable, and should be so pursued. Paul takes that for granted in 1 Thessalonians 5:1 when he states, “ye have no need that I write unto you” – about times and seasons that they should know.
The word chrono in Greek is generally interpreted as meaning a space of time, an interval, a duration. The sense comes out in the following scriptures where the word is used, although translated into different English expressions:
And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long TIME [chronos], and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. (Luke 8:27).
And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as [chronos] they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast (Mark 2:19).
And he asked his father, How long is it AGO [chronos] since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child (Mark 9:21).
Now Elisabeth's full TIME [chronos] came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son (Luke 1:57).
Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a longTIME [chronos] (Luke 20:9).
Whereas chronos designates a duration or a period, kairos means an opportune moment, an occasion, a set time, or proper time. Comparatively, this is not a long stretch of calendar-time or countable time; it is a short time, a due season, a moment of opportunity, a convenient time. Again, a few scriptures where the word occurs in scriptures will further clarify the meaning.
For an angel went down at A certain SEASON [kairos] into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had (John 5:4).
And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have A convenient SEASON [kairos], I will call for thee (Acts 24:25).
At that TIME [kairos] Jesus went on the sabbath day [specific day] through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat (Matthew 12:1).
Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the [specific] TIME [kairos] of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn (Matthew 13:30).
Every chronos comes with myriads of kairoses for individuals, families, churches, organizations, and nations. Summer and winter may be chronos; the rainy and dry seasons may be chronos, but a specific day during that period when an opportunity may be seized will be kairos. To miss kairos is to miss harvest, and the fruits of would-have-been opportunities thereafter rot away, because harvest time is past (Jeremiah 8:20). A school year could be chronos; a semester or school term could be chronos, but the day for an exam within that chronos would be kairos. To miss that kairos is to repeat a course, or fail out of school entirely. The year 2018 is chronos, but not the rare opportunities within the year. Being in hospital from January to March will be chronos, but to miss the best time when a surgery could have been performed or to miss the specific date of maternity delivery will be kairos lost. This applies no less to the destiny of nations as it does to individuals. Jesus lamented one such kairos forever lost by the city of Jerusalem, and the calamities that were therefor to follow; severe national calamities that could have been escaped if kairos had been seized.
41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in THIS thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time [kairos] of thy visitation (Luke 19:41-44).
How does that affect Nigeria?
Yesterday’s Prophecies, Today’s Bad Dreams
An alternative subtitle for this section might have been, “Beyond PVCs.” By strange intuition, some observers of the Nigeria political landscape have been unable to share in the ‘PVC’ hype; they have been unpersuaded with the common agitation to ensure registration and possession of a Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) in the opinion that the good outcome of the next elections would rest solely on that. In some societies, yes; in some other societies, unfortunately, No.
Early in this political dispensation, we published a burden in an online post entitled “Body Language.” Not everyone liked it. One or two readers wasted no time in lashing back, one of them doing so in language that is not fit to repeat here. Apparently from the perspective of their political affiliations, they interpreted the message as being ‘politically motivated,’ as ill-intentioned ‘ethnic bias’ pretending to be prophecy. Today, that prophecy, in several respects, already mocks us impudently in the face, more real than a bad dream; and some of those that then scorned have regretted their earlier hastiness.
Talking of body language, we have heard it frequently lamented these days about a Government in place that ‘has little respect for the law.’ A group of human right lawyers lately mourned that there were heaps of court injunctions that the present Federal government is yet to honour. If that is true, will they respect future court orders? Could a man be without some grand agenda who puts his own people in every strategic gate of the nation? The National Security Council is virtually an Islamic and Fulani caucus. It has never been so bad. The heads of defence, the army, the air force, the police, the immigration, customs, education, media, the intelligence agencies, the Federal electoral agency – INEC, organs of the judiciary, and so on, are deliberately and blatantly Muslims; hard core defiant Muslims. Could all of this be simple coincidence, or a ground plan ahead of some decided agenda merely waiting for a date? Could anyone have done so much by consecutive stubborn mistakes? Will this Person conduct a fair election? Will his brother whom he has put there as Head, for whatever Purpose they are already sworn to, release a credible election result? Will the blood of humans mean more then than the blood of heathen dogs and baboons which had meant nothing before?
There have been suppressed outcries in sections of the country about suspected plans to deliberately disenfranchise those sections, especially the largely Christian south as well as Christian communities in the north of the country. Voters cards are generally inaccessible in those places and registration process is as hard as going through the proverbial eye of a needle, etc. In the largely Muslim communities, however, it is alleged that INEC officers go from place to place to ensure registration, and even children are mass registered. Does all this describe a scene where Somebody is about to conduct a credible election, or would respect the ‘unfavourable’ outcome of one? What some have seen, who see, is a Pharaoh who, in the event of a voters’ situation that threatens his perpetuation on the throne, would create national crises using his armed ethnic militia already posted into the nooks and crannies of the country, thus warranting the unleashing of Constitutional prerogatives that would legitimise continuing on the stool. If they ‘saw’ well who have so interpreted the times and seasons, we need more than PVCs to take us to Promised Land; we need radical divine intervention. Does that mean anyone should throw away their voter’s card? No, but this season calls for much more that only God can give. It is why some seers say they see no election coming, as if to say we might have been rehearsing in vain for a show that will never be.
No Islamization Agenda
We have had it vigorously denied, even by our own Christian Vice President, that there is ongoing Islamization in Nigeria aided by the present government system. His view is strangely strongly shared by some christians on his side of political affiliations. Maybe somebody needs to explain what ‘Islamization’ means. It does not necessarily mean the forced conversion of non-Muslims; it means the enforcement of an Islamic worldview and outlook upon a society, even where the people do not immediately convert.
Is Iran an Islamic country? Is Saudi Arabia an Islamic country? Yes. Is every resident of those nations a Muslim? No, but there is an unmistakeable law and aura of Islam which is thrown over everyone, in one way or the other. It does not take a billboard for even the blind to see it. It comes out in the culture, in the educational system, in the architecture, the dress codes, the laws, the institutions of government, the holidays observed, everything conforms to that religious creed. Such a society carries the bold ‘stamp’ of Islam from the very gate: airport, seaport, highway, etc.; it is ‘called’ by the name of Islam even if it carried its own label. That is part of what those who understand are protesting against in Nigeria. Islamization does not in all places at all times mean forceful conversion; that may be ultimate; it is the bringing of everyone under their black flag, as a Muslim or as a dhimmi – a slave of Islam.
Should Nigeria by stealth or by force be ascribed the identity of Islam? Does the sustained gruesome killing of Christians look like anything other than a jihad? When employment and recruitments into government agencies have to respect Islamic holidays, the Islamic religion, and Arabic; when Christian businessmen and women are being deliberately wrecked, and Muslims empowered over them; when school uniforms and other official attires have to be hijab-compliant, what more do we say? We pardon our brethren who do not see what the rest of the world already mourns. Sometimes it is sorcery; high level blinding sorcery, against which we also need to battle over their adamant heads.
We have had strange deaths lately, which is another side to the conflict. Some of the deaths smack of sophisticated enemy intelligence operation with stealth toxins, etc. The casualties have been prominent and vocal anti-establishment advocates of justice. The General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr Musa Asake, from Southern Kaduna in the terrorised Middle Belt region of Nigeria, died overnight after a strategic Kingdom meeting in the middle of this month of May. The media announcements were a subtle mockery of us. They said that he had died ‘two weeks after leading a mass church public protest against the killing of Christians,’ as if to say, ‘Behold the end of your spokesman; march out again let’s see.’ We are not surprised that the government media, almost entirely under Islamic and Fulani supervision, would put the narrative that way. The month had hardly ended before there was another ‘breaking news’ of the death from “an undisclosed ailment” of Dr Bala Takaya, Chairman of the Middle Belt Forum. All the deaths have occurred on a Sunday morning or thereabouts. Strange deaths of high profile spokesmen within the same embattled region, within a short period of each other.
Two months ago, in the last week of March, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the same troubled Middle Belt region of Taraba State, Rev Dr Ben Ubeh, was crushed to death by a truck where he had been standing by his car off the road on his way to an “official engagement” in Yola, another state capital in the same region. It was Sunday morning. Was there a Friday plotting for the Sunday actions? On top of all of that, the recent murder of catholic priests and worshippers during an early morning mass, as it had happened in Enugu State about a year ago. With all of these, it is strange that anybody would still allow themselves to be paid to call this jihad a backyard conflict between cows and grasses, between herders and farmers. What grasses were what cows looking for in the church where the priests were killed? Time to wake up.
Come in and Hide Thyself…
A few days ago, we came to the end of 21 days of fasting and praying and repenting on behalf of Nigeria. While we thank God for everyone’s privilege to fast and pray for the nation during “Project 21,” may it be said again that one battle does not always mean the end of the war. A popular Christian hymn well admonishes, “Christian, seek not yet repose/ Ambushed lurks the evil one.”
The Redeemed Christian Church of God has declared a fast through the month of June. That church would usually do such marathon fasts at the beginning of the year. What kairos sounds has their respected Overseer, Pastor E.A. Adegboye, heard from Above to declare that fast now? Throneroom (Trust) Ministry of Prophet Emmanuel Kure had earlier made a similar call. At the end of that prophet’s monthly prayer project in May in the Federal capital city of Abuja, I received the following SMS: “June is critical. Thirty days fast declared with the theme: ‘Thy will be done as it is in Heaven.’ The Government will come heavy, but God is saying He is in charge of Nigeria… Month of shifting from the wrong place to the right one…” Another kairos sound in this chronos season of a third year.
A modest voice to the nation that I will simply describe as Pastor B (with due respect to his preference for self-effacement), said the same thing about the month of June as we shared prayers a few days ago. “If we miss June, the Church in Nigeria might have to wait till 2013,” he warned. Bad news. An intercessor from one of the respected prayer ministries sent me the following message this morning: “Today is 29th May, Democracy Day and Workers Day. It is also full moon day when diviners and enchanters build and renew altars.” She felt that the “coincidence” of full moon with ‘Democracy Day’ could not be ignored, and she promptly took a fast. She wanted to know what I thought. I told her she was on target; that a few of us were already on a spontaneous fast for three days beginning from today the 29th, till the end of the month, and some others looking further into June. Today also, Rev Dr Moses Aransiola of Gethsemane Prayer Ministry in Ibadan is gathering national intercessory stakeholders on a similar mission. A weekend ago, another event had been concluded in Abuja at the instance of The Messenger Ministry of Barr Prophet Isaac Ezeh, with some leaders of the intercessory concern in Nigeria who, I judge, would rather prefer to be anonymous here. I know another group of praying, weeping women whose leaders are shut in for a weeklong retreat, beginning from yesterday. That’s how much my list reads for now. What kairos trumpets have they all heard, to be summoning unto prayers now?
A Moment of Travail
On the day we were ending Project 21, a sister-intercessor was on a prophetic mission on a flight to the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, to make declarations over the nation from the air. In that process, she had the vision of a woman in travail. She wrote to say that she thought it meant that Nigeria had come to the point of birthing, and needed strength to bring forth (2 Kings 19:3), which confirms something I have been saying about this season: Nigeria is a woman at the point of delivery. Any of several things could happen to a woman in travail: she could die in labour with the child, she could survive but lose the child to the Red Dragon, she could die after successfully giving birth to the child, or both mother and son could survive the birthing (Revelation 12:1-17). We are entering that season of which God spoke, that division will strike the House of the wicked and their Project shall be dead (Judges 9:1-57). When Daniel knew the season that he had entered into in relation to the destiny of his nation in Babylonian captivity, he began to pray in line with that ancient prophecy of Jeremiah. That prayer faced great oppositions from the satanic powers that oversaw the sorceries of the Chaldeans and astrologers that held down the land (Daniel 9). We cannot afford less. Like King Jehoshaphat, confronted by the proud and ferocious confederacy of Moab, Ammon, and Edom, with numberless imported Ammonites besides, we turn to the Lord and plead, “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee” (2 Chronicles 20:12). We await His answer to this prayer.
For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another (2 Chronicles 20:23).
The sword has begun to pass through the land, starting from the Church. Whenever God starts to smite from the sanctuary, He is about to enter into the rest of city in fury. May our garments be white and our foreheads marked with ink from the one “clothed with linen” among “them that have charge over the city,” as they patrol the season. Amen (Ezekiel 9:1-6; 1 Peter 4:17).
From The Preacher’s diary,
May 29, 2018.