- SIGNS OF THE TIMES
We currently live in the church age, which began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and will end suddenly and dramatically with the Rapture. We live in a time where we are witnessing events foreshadowing the end and setting the stage for the tribulations and the things to follow. These developments are often referred to as “signs of the times.” A sign indicates what’s ahead.
In Matthew 24:3, Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” In Matthew 24:4-14 Jesus outlined several general and specific signs of the end of the age. He lists eight key signs that He likens to birth pains: false christs (v. 5); wars and rumours of wars (vv. 6-7); famines (v. 7); earthquakes (v. 7); persecution (vv. 9-10); false prophets (v. 11); lawlessness (v.12); and worldwide preaching of the gospel (v. 14). The comparison with birth pains indicates that as the time of Christ’s coming draws near, the judgments will increase immensely in frequency and intensity.
In Matthew 24:37-39 and Luke 17:28-30, Jesus describes it as being like it was in the days of Noah and Lot. Their lives were all about self-pleasure, indulgence, etc. and there was little to no sacrifice and consecration to God. In today’s world, even the majority of Christians hardly even notice how this world is falling apart … or should we say, prophetically in place. In Noah’s days – Genesis 6:5,11,12 …”And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in Days of Noah and Lotthe earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” In Lot’s days – Jude 1:7 …”Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” If we think about things such as the abortions, LGBT pride parades, ridiculous liberal demands, the tendency to socialism and the unbanning of Satanism it sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
2 Timothy 3:1-5 also describes the generation we live in in today. “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.”
In Matthew 24:32-35, Jesus encourages the disciples to look for the signs, like leaves on a fig tree, even though the day of His return is unknown. When spring comes and the trees put out new leaves, we know that summer is not far off. In the same way, we will know Christ’s return is near when we see the events, He mentions earlier in the chapter begin to occur.
The headlines in the news parallel the biblical end times template more and more every day. World events are unfolding exactly as the Bible predicted thousands of years ago. When considering signs of the times, we must make sure that we view current events in light of the Bible and not the other way around. We must also reject the reckless practice of date setting (see Matthew 24:33-34; Acts 1:7).
The other extreme we must avoid is scoffing at the signs of the times. Although scoffers have always been a part of this fallen world, Scripture indicates that, in the latter days, the scoffing will increase. Peter describes these scoffers as “following their own evil desires,” (2 Peter 3:3) questioning the second coming of the Lord Jesus (verse 4). Thousands of years have passed since Jesus ascended into heaven, promising to return for His faithful ones (John 14:1–4; Revelation 22:12). Scoffers point out the lapse of time and mock those who still wait and yearn for His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:7).
Jude describes the scoffers of the last days as people who follow ungodly desires and create division in the church (Jude 1:18). They even present themselves as church leaders, but they “do not have the Spirit” (verse 19). Many amillennials and preterists have part in this mocking and scoffing.
The signs we are seeing in the world today anticipate events that will occur in full force after the Rapture, in anticipation of Jesus’ return.
The signs of the times are often been referred to as “stage setting.”
Four examples of significant signs of the times:
The Regathering of the Jewish People
The Bible predicts over and over again that the Jews must be back in their homeland for the events of the end times to unfold (Jeremiah 30:1-5; Ezekiel 34:11-24; Ezekiel 37; Zechariah 10:6-10). In Isaiah 66:7-8, the prophet foreshadowed the re-birth of Israel, and, just like the Bible says, this happened “in one day,” on May 14, 1948. With the raise in anti-Semitism, thousands of Jews are “making aliyah,” which is the immigration of Jews from the diaspora to the Land of Israel.
A second sign of the end times is surging apostasy, that is, a departure from the truth, both doctrinally and morally (1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-9, 13; Jude 1:1-16). This apostasy foreshadows the final falling away that will break out as the end times begin to unfold (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3).
2 Timothy 4:3-4 provides an accurate view of what we see happening in most churches today. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”
Middle East “Peace” and the obsession with Jerusalem
The Middle East peace process is a key sign of the times. The event that signals the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation is the signing of a peace treaty between the leader of the Western Confederacy (the Antichrist) and the nation of Israel (Daniel 9:27; see also 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2). The number of resolutions issued against Israel by the United Nations speak for itself. There is a stern warning to the nations in Zechariah 12:3 “Moreover, on that day I will make Jerusalem a massive stone for all the people. All who try to lift it will be cut to pieces. Nevertheless, all the nations of the earth will be gathered together against her”.
Reuniting of the Roman Empire and Globalism
A coalition of nations, headed by ten leaders, will emerge to protect the interests of the West. This alliance will reconstitute the Roman Empire. This “Group of Ten” is first mentioned in Daniel 2:41-44, where it is symbolized as ten toes on a great statue. In Daniel 7:7 and 7:24 this same ruling oligarchy of ten leaders is symbolized by ten horns on a beast that represents the last world empire—the Roman Empire in its final form. Many interpreters of biblical prophecy believe that the European Union will fulfill this predicted alliance of nations.
Recently a coalition of ten European militaries has been mentioned in Paris, just days after Emmanuel Macron of France called for a “real European army.”
Ever since Genesis 10–11 and the tower of Babel, when Satan ruled the world through one man named Nimrod, Satan’s goal has been to get the world together again so he can rule it all. Access to the Internet now makes it possible. In terms of economics, the Bible predicts that the world ruler will have absolute control of the economy, and no one will buy or sell without his absolute control of the economy, and no one will buy or sell without his permission (Revelation 13:17). Both the need and the technology for world control exist today. Pope Francis stance on a borderless society is also no secret and “climate change” has become a handy tool in pulling all nations together.