Do you remember the parable Jesus told one time about reading the weather signs? It’s in Matthew 16:1-4.
‘The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
He replied “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.
There are two main reasons I think this parable is applicable to the Church today:
The first is that many Christians today don’t have a clue about how to interpret the signs of the times. Part of this problem is that their Church leaders are also clueless.
The second is that a lot of Christians who are asking God to give them miraculous signs are actually doing nothing more than revealing that they, themselves, are still part of the wicked and adulterous generation.
Signs in the Sky
When Jesus arrived on earth as a baby there was a miraculous star which led the wise men to Him.
When He was crucified there were several supernatural signs, but the major one in the sky was the complete darkness when the sun was blacked out for 3 hours.
His return to heaven saw His physical form disappearing into the clouds, and when we are snatched or ‘raptured’ (1 Thess 4) we will do the same.
On His return to earth He has said that there will be unprecedented signs in the sky – soon after the time known as the Great Tribulation. According to Matthew 24:29-30: “Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.”
Luke 21 also points out that there will be strange events occurring in the heavenly bodies, but it is not clear whether those apply to the period before, or only during the Tribulation, as in Matthew 24.
So when those strange signs in the sky begin to occur, it could be too late to warn and to encourage one another to ‘look up, for your redemption is drawing near.’ The time to look up and get ready is NOW, before it all happens.
Signs on the Earth
Signs on earth are another thing: Jesus predicted that before He returns, that is, before and during the Great Tribulation, there would be these events:
For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, ‘ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
In other words, we have four other signs which, right now, are pointing us to His return:
1. Deception; 2. Warfare; 3. Famines; 4. Earthquakes.
If you cannot see that right now in 2012 we are experiencing widespread spiritual deception, much warfare (43 current conflicts), recurring famines due to weather extremes and economic issues, and a documented increase in earthquakes, then please look again.
Luke also adds ‘roaring seas’, which would include tsunamis and tropical cyclones. The Messiah’s return is very near.
Signs in the Church
The most important reason why I continue to send out these newsletters, week after week, is so that Christians will be reminded to stay alert to the very first warning sign mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 24.
While false prophets and teachers don’t all claim to be the Messiah, or the Anointed One, there are some who have gone to that extreme. The Dalai Lama is one, the Muslims look for their ‘messiah’, there were Jones, Koresh and a little-known ‘Jesus’ in Queensland just recently, and some people, in their ignorance, give that role to the Pope, by calling him ‘holy father’.
But there are thousands who are deceiving many today, as foretold in Matt 24:24-26: most televangelists [name one that does not preach a Word-Faith or dominionist message], and the list goes on.
The Church in Australia is riddled with apostasy; many Church leaders are silent or approve of homosexual ‘marriage’, the true gospel [a la Paul] is watered down to sinless, repentance-free do-goodery, many emphasise signs and wonders, and there is an epidemic of entertainment posing as worship. Biblical truth is optional and is a matter of choice.
Is your Church like this?
Signs for You and Me
Despite these difficult days, we are told to encourage one another, because our Master is returning very soon.
Things will get much worse in society, in Israel and the Church before the man of sin appears, but whenever the rapture may occur, our duty is to ‘stand firm’, ‘look up’, ‘stand till the end’, ‘comfort one another’ and ‘stick to true doctrine’ as we are told numerous times by Jesus and the apostles right through the New Testament.
To those supposed followers of Christ who say ‘so what?’, or ‘it’s always been the same’, I say wake up, actually read the Scriptures, listen to the Holy Spirit and put it all together.
Don’t be left asleep!