How To Interpret the Signs of the Times
DAY 2 | How To Interpret the Signs of the Times
“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your
coming and of the end of the age?”
Matthew 24:3, ESV
In looking back in high school, I can recall just how bad of a class clown I was. I accepted bets and dares all day long just to have fun and goof off to make the day go by quicker. I thought I was providing some kind of community service to my fellow classmates. I was there to make them laugh, and love school! We had to make the most of the 8th period English class. Ms. Green hated me, but I still loved her. Not! I did anything for a laugh. One day, I was dared to act like I lost my hearing in a car accident or some random illness. At one point in the class, I was tilting back in my chair and the teacher called on me to stop leaning back. My friends kindly lied and informed her, “I am sorry but he lost his hearing!” So Ms. Green pointed for me to sit on the chair on all four legs on the ground. I acted like I saw it and sat down. But then I heard my friends say those three dangerous words. “Do It again!“ And you know, as Drake described himself, as a young dumb, broke high school kid, I could relate! I was broke and looking for a buck. My friends kept telling me to keep leaning back so finally, it happened. I slipped and lost my balance and busted and the whole class busted out laughing!
As believers, we can act goofy, and really get hurt in trying to look cool. Some approach scripture with a know it all mentality. They are too laid back and think they are fine with the need to get better grounded in God’s Word. But when it comes to learning about Biblical prophecy we need guiding principles to guide us, to keep us steady and stable in our thinking and theology. Like four legs to the chair that are designed to hold us up, there are four essential principles that hold weight. There are four grounding principles to help us interpret scripture and end times events.
FOUR PRINCIPLES TO HELP HOLD WEIGHT TO YOUR STUDY
- Faithful not fanatic. With every current event or world headliner, you will find the fanatics making their ways and waves in the media. There is always wild speculation and super sensation in when it comes to end-times events. It’s unfortunate to see the many self-appointed prophets find people to listen to them. As believer, we need to be faithful Bible students. Reading God’s word, absorbing biblically saturated Bible teaching, and being cautious to see every news event as a sign of Jesus return. We need to be known for our faithfulness and biblically balanced nature, not our sensational swings or fanatical frenzies.
- Spend more time in the scriptures than on social media. The average person spends roughly 2.5 hours a day on social media, and more than 75% of people admit to not spending any time reading the Bible on a given day. As believers, we need to need to look to the book. We are told to meditate on the word both day and night. (Joshua 1:8) Not to social media or news for our insights into the return of Jesus. While there are many great Bible preachers and teachers out there, there are also a host of false prophets and phony preachers that are looking to take advantage of gullible people. As believers, we would do well to follow The late great Billy Graham, who was said to keep a Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. We ought to be saturated with the scriptures. Focused and faithful in the world, yet we need to keep a pulse on the times as well. We need to know our world and the people in it. We ought to pay a disproportionate time in God’s word over the media when it comes to trying to discern the signs of the times. The Bible is a book of prophecy. Roughly 1/3 of the Bible is written on the subject! It the source guide. With 66 books in the Bible, we find some 1,000 prophecies, with 500 being fulfilled, we still have 500 to look for in the future, as we await the return of Jesus Christ.
- Remember that signs point to the return of Christ, not the rapture. While signs are important it’s important to understand what they are point to. They are not pointing to the rapture but the return of Christ. These are two very different events in God’s End Time plans for our world. The Rapture is an imminent event, that takes place before the tribulation and the return of Christ. It’s an event that could happen at any time. (John 14:1-3, I Corinthians 15:51-53, I Thessalonians 4:16-18) It’s God’s rescue operation, that will save all living believers from the coming evil and tribulation that will last for a period of 7 years. Jesus could come and rapture believers at any moment. Dr. Mark Hitchcock notes some of the distinctions between these two events…
At the Rapture
- Christ comes in the air (I Thessalonians 4:16-17)
- Christ comes for his Saints (I Thessalonians 4:16-17)
- Movement from earth to heaven
- No signs needed
- Time of blessing (I Thessalonians 4:18)
- Involves believers (John 14:1-3, I Corinthians 15:51-55, I Thessalonians 4:13-18)
- Will occur in the blink of the eye (I Corinthians 15:51-52)
At the Return
- Christ comes to earth (Zechariah 14:4)
- Christ comes with His Saints (I Thessalonians 3:13, Jude 14)
- Movement from Heaven to earth
- Many signs (Matthew 24:4-29)
- Time of destruction (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12)
- Involves Israel, Gentiles nations (Matthew 24, 25)
- Will be visible to the entire world (Matthew 24:27, Revelation 1:7)
THE FIRST SIGN OF CHRISTMAS, MEANS THANKSGIVING IS NEAR
To illustrate how we can know the rapture is near is by seeing signs for the return of Jesus Christ being partially fulfilled or set up for future fulfillment. It’s like Christmas. Each year about 40 percent of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween! The vast majority of stores are in full swing of playing Christmas music and selling the Christmas products before Thanksgiving ever hits! It’s important to realize that all there are many events that are taking place right now, like the Coronavirus, or the peace agreement in the middle east that are signaling that the times are nearing. As we look to God’s word we learn that the Rapture is the next event, but there is no sign in specifically for it mentioned in the scriptures.
However, there are more than 500 prophecies about the return of Christ that are yet to be fulfilled. Therefore as we see events that look like these prophecies, we can see them as set ups to what will one day take place.
Just as we see Christmas advertisements in the store, we know Thanksgiving is close. Though there are little to no signs for Thanksgiving we know it’s close when Christmas music is playing on our radios, commercials are running on our TV’s and the stores are selling trees and lights! We ought to say “Christmas Already?” And then know Thanksgiving is just around the corner!
It’s doesn’t take much to know we are nearing closing time in our world. Some 40% of Americans believe Jesus is coming back in the next few decades or sooner! While we are not seeing all the signs being fulfilled we are seeing set ups to future fulfillments.
What do you believe? When will Jesus return? Which principle do you think you need to implement most often to have a stronger and more solid approach to interpreting our times under the light of scripture?
#LivingInTheLastDays #LastDays, EndTimes, #Israel #JewsforJesus #Bible #BibleProphecy #Prophecy #Israel #PeaceInTheMiddleEast
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