What is the sign of His coming?
Matthew 24 has Jesus debriefing His disciples on highly classified end time information. They are at the Mount of Olives after walking quietly yet pensively in strong consideration of the incredulous news Jesus had just given them about the Temple’s destruction. They have just asked Him three questions:
1. “When will these things be?”
2. “What will be the sign of your coming?”
3. “What will be the sign of the end of the age?”
In a previous blog post, we discussed the first question. The second one is very important because Jesus clearly defines specific signs for which to watch. In fact, the Prophecy Dude website is laid out based on the categories of sings Jesus presented.
Luke’s record of Jesus’ end time discourse finishes with this statement by Jesus (Luke 21:28), “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Jesus was very careful to place key time markers in his discourse so that those remaining and going through this time will be able to measure what was happening and prepare themselves for what would be ahead.
Signs of Nature
Matthew 24:7, Luke 21:11, 25, 27 reveal signs of nature that can be expected as signals that the end time is at hand. These include earthquakes, famines, pestilences, celestial wonders affecting the sun, moon, and stars.
Signs of Society
Societal signs as revealed Mathew 24:12, 37-39 will also serve as warnings. Society will become increasingly lawless and immoral as the days of Noah. This will be characterized by the three loves of self (humanism), money (materialism), and pleasure (hedonism) as revealed in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Men’s minds will become depraved, Romans 1:28, and people will call evil good and good evil, Isaiah 5:20. Are these happening today? This behavior will get worse, if that can be imagined.
The scriptures in Matthew 24:5,11, and 24 reveal some spiritual signs to watch out for such as the appearance of false christs and other cults. Wars in the name of religion will increase in impact. Apostasy of mainline Christian denominations through the undermining of the Bible as the inspired Word of God will find increased acceptance, and along those lines, an increased attack of Judeo-Christian values will surmount. Occult practices such as astrology, numerology, crystal gazing, transcendental meditation, channeling, and the modern New Age movement will make ranks against Christianity.
There are positive spiritual signs to rejoice in. Matthew 24:14 indicates that the Gospel will be proclaimed to the whole world, and technology has helped translate the Bible into all major languages. Joel 2:28-32 tells us that in the last days there will be a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Do you see these signs? Has the world been reached with the Gospel yet?
Daniel 12:4 tells us that knowledge will increase in the latter days. Modern technology is making it clear how Bible prophecy will be fulfilled:
• The whole world will look upon two bodies in the streets of Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8,9). Through CNN and the Internet this is reality.
• The image of the Anti-Christ will appear alive (Revelation 13:15) through television or holographic technology.
• The mark of the Anti-Christ (Revelation 13:16-17) will be taken by everyone through computer technology and lasers.
It is interesting to note that the technology to make the mark of the beast work is already in-place. Biochip implants the size of a grain of rice can be tucked conveniently under the skin to monitor all transactions. The Global Positioning System (satellite) can monitor and track every individual with an implant. Eye scans, facial scans, palm printing, and transponders are other in-place technology items for identification.
Before 9-11, Americans were adamantly against a national identification system. Look for that and other disabled and revoked rights to take place as the threat of terrorism increases.
Another very important sign is that of world politics. Zechariah 12:2-3 says, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” World politics will increasingly focus on Israel and Jerusalem.
Some nations to watch are Russia (Ezekiel 38:2,6), all the Arab and Islamic nations who are commanded by their prophet Muhammad (Hadith Chapter 79) to “Expel infidels in the name of Allah and His Messenger Muhammad from the Arabian Peninsula,” and special mention is made of Persia (Iran), Ethiopia, and Libya in Ezekiel 38:5; all of these are to form a coalition against Israel. A mighty army from the East (Revelation 9:13-16, 16:12-13), which may well prove to be China and North Korea, are also worth watching politically. The European Union, from which may come the reformed Roman Empire (Daniel 2:41-44, 7:7, 23-24; Revelation 17:12-13) is also worth watching since this is from where the Anti-Christ will rise.
Other international political signs include wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6), Civil wars (Matthew 25:7), and international terrorism and lawlessness of which we are well acquainted (Matthew 24:7).
Signs of Israel and Jerusalem
The greatest sign is that of the restoration of Israel as a nation. The most repeated Old Testament prophecy is the prediction that the Jewish people would be re-gathered from the “four corners of the earth” in the end times (Isaiah 11:10-12). Most prophecy teachers before this actually took place, found the task of this actually happening so impossible, they spiritualized the event. No nation in history had ever been re-gathered to reform that nation again, and Israel had been scattered for almost 2,000 years! It truly seemed impossible., but on May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was formed in its original homeland.
Before she was in labor, she gave birth;
Before he pain came,
She delivered a male child.
Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day?
Or shall a nation be born at once?
For as soon as Zion was in labor,
She gave birth to her children.
For behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’” Jeremiah 30:3
Another end-time miracle and sign of Israel was the revival of the Hebrew language. It was a dead language since Jews were scattered among other nations, they spoke their new countries’ languages. But, Zephaniah 3:9 bravely declares, “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language that all may call on the name of the Lord.” The Hebrew language was restored and taught and is now once again the national language of Israel.
As stated before, Zechariah 12:3 predicts the refocusing of world politics on Israel, and most importantly Jerusalem, but also Zechariah (12:6) prophesies the resurgence of Israeli military strength. This resulted in the Israeli reoccupation of Jerusalem in the miraculous 1967 Six-Day War. After almost 2,000 years, Jerusalem was back in the hands of Jews.
They key signs to follow are Jerusalem and the State of Israel. Israel, and especially Jerusalem, are God’s timepieces. The three most important prophetic events that indicate that the time is near for the end are:
1. The Jewish nation would be reborn in its own land
2. The Jews would repossess old Jerusalem and the sacred sites
3. The Jews will rebuild their temple on its historic site
Now, learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Matthew 24:32-35
Based on other examples in the Bible, prophecy scholars indicate that the fig tree represents Israel. Jesus is saying that when the nation brings leaves and blooms again, the generation at that time will not pass away before He returns. Israel bloomed again in 1948. It may also be that this “generation trigger” may not have begun until Jerusalem was incorporated into Israel in 1967.
It may be that the fig tree illustration presented by Jesus has nothing to do with Israel, but more to do with signs or signals to the end. The fig blooming in spring indicates the fruit is to follow in summer, a natural progression with spiritual meaning. The sign of the rapture assures the second coming of Christ follows.
All prophecy has been fulfilled, except for the building of the Temple. We know that it will be built because it is mentioned in Mathew 24:15 as the location where the Anti-Christ commits the abomination of desolation. This event is 3 ½ years into the seven-year tribulation. When the Temple is reconstructed, Jewish worship according to the Law of Moses with sacrifices and oblations will be reinstated. Does the Temple have to be built before the rapture takes place? No. The Temple can be built, quickly and will undoubtedly be part of the negotiation for peace in the Middle East brokered by the Anti-Christ.
What signs are you seeing happening now?
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