Thought for the Month

"As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night." (Gen.8:22 NLT)

The seasons of the year are a feature of living in this world. In Genesis God promises that the seasons will remain and this is borne out by Psalm 74:17 and shows God created this feature. We have four seasons but as far as the Bible is concerned there are two seasons, summer and winter.

Winter is associated with bad weather. In Britain it leads to low temperatures with frosts. Summer bedding plants get killed off in the first frosts and hardier plants stop flowering. Some animals hibernate. Homes need heating in the winter which increases the energy costs. Snow makes travel hazardous. In Israel, Turkey and southern Europe where the New Testament was written the climate was different. Winter in Israel was cool and rainy from October to April. This still meant travel was difficult and roads muddy and the daylight shorter. This is the sense when Paul asked Timothy to come before winter. (2 Tim.4:21) Travel by sea was more dangerous in winter. Some harbours were not suitable for winter such as Fair Havens off Crete. Acts 27 records in the early part of winter that Paul was ship‑wrecked on Malta when the Aegean and the Mediterranean Seas can be very rough even for modern sea vessels. It appeared that Paul remained in Corinth for the winter to avoid travelling in the winter weather. (1 Cor.16:6)

Jesus said "pray your flight be not in winter." (Mark 13:18) In the first century A.D. the instruction was to get out of Jerusalem and the land of Israel. Those who did not get out before AD 70 ended up getting killed when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. None survived the last stand at Masada in AD 73. We can see that the disciple John heeded that message and we find him on the Greek island of Patmos writing Revelation after AD 70. Recently there have been desperate scenes in Kabul of those who were planning to leave Afghanistan frantically trying to board the last planes out and many failing to get out at all who may never be able to leave. This is an illustration of leaving it too late and lack of planning.

What immediately precedes winter? It is the harvest. Throughout the Gospel age the church has been selected out of the world. This must come to a close and there will be the consummation of this Gospel age (Christian era). This is also what Jesus is talking about in Mark 13. There will be a tribulation such as never was since creation. (v.19,24) The import is to make ourselves ready and make our calling and election sure before the wintertime of the consummation of the age. There are many signs of tribulation for the world with the pandemic and the climate which affects the global economy to indicate it may come quickly.

Nevertheless what follows winter? Here in Britain with four seasons its spring. Spring brings new life, the end of stagnation, sowing. So with the tribulation it will end and new age will be evident on earth. The opening scene will be the resurrection of the dead. This is cause for rejoicing for those who rest in the promises of God.

Soon, soon from out the dust
Shall all come forth and sing;
Sharp has the frost of winter been,
But brightly shines the spring.


The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.