The Christ was amazed at how the Pharisees and Sadducees were able to predict the weather patterns but not the signs of time. In Mathew 16:2-3,He says, "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".
Jesus was born of a virgin, an occurrence that had never and has never occurred again. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and released the bound. If you were alive at that time, would you have recognized Him as the Messiah? Would you have taken note of the strange happenings around Him? Unfortunately, we too are living in a world that bespeaks of the end times yet we continue living in ignorance of how close this is.
There is increased anxiety about the future in almost all countries. The ever increasing national debt which is now in trillions reigns high on the list of American worries. Even Greece had to be bailed out by the EU and IMF. Natural disasters and pandemics continue to be experienced world wide; from Tsunamis, floods and earthquakes to swine flu, bird flu and all manner of disease. Mathew 24:7 declares, 'Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places'.
There have been predictions about the world ending and 'exact' dates given but these have only been followed by apologies. However, there is a collective sense by many who read from Scripture that the world is indeed ending. And God has generously desired that we know the signs of the end times hence His revelation in the Word. This is all in an effort to not only prepare us but to rid us of anxiety when the signs befall us. And Hollywood continues to cash in on all these happenings without inkling as to what really needs attention!
Jesus is coming soon and when He was on earth, He took the time to sensitize us on what to expect and what would be indicative of His second coming. In Luke 21:25-28 He says 'There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads because your redemption is drawing near'. Several other things are worth noting.
Firstly, upto 40% of the scattered children of Israel have re-gathered and Ezekiel's vision of dry bones coming to life in chapter 37 is coming to pass in the restoration of a nation. Knowing that salvation would come through them, the devil has been hard at work scattering and trying to eliminate them throughout history with Herod's Haman's and Hitler's missions to wipe them from the face of earth failing, The very existence of the nation of Israel is one of the signs of the end of the age because they are the chosen children of God through whom His earthly existence came into being.
Secondly is the rise of monarchies in Europe which have brought disparities of wealth to the fore like never before. Prophetically, Daniel had predicted many heads after Nebuchadnezzar. Also, the very existence of the extremely rich who own most of what a nation has while the larger percentage of people wallow in lack is telling.
Thirdly, there have been wars and rumors of war which have led to signing of peace treaties. There is, in almost all nations, an upsurge of Islam.
Fourthly the globalization efforts can only be compared to what happened at the Tower of Babel. No wonder Greece was quickly bailed out. When the US sneezes, we are told that the whole world catches a cold. This is all in preparation for the antichrist.
Fifthly is the apostasy or abandoning of the faith that is being experienced alongside all the other onslaughts on Christianity. We see strange doctrines infiltrating Christianity as is warned in Scripture in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, 'For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from truth and turn aside to myths'. There have also been moral issues now being debated upon as though the Bible had not spoken against them already; tolerance of matters such as ordination of self proclaimed gay pastors, fornication and adultery.
Do you recognize the signs of the ending of the age? A time of tribulation is expected and it will bring great testing, this will be initiated by the antichrist signing a treaty with the nation of Israel. Scripture talks of nations converging against Israel but of God supernaturally fighting their battles for them. Ezekiel 37:28 declares, 'Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy; when my sanctuary is among them forever'
God's Word is accurate and prophesies that were foretold thousands of years ago are being fulfilled. There is no loss in God's Word, it always comes true and stands tested. We can hold Him at His Word even for the promises that He has made over our lives.
Christ wanted us to be ready for Him and we must make a deliberate decision about our lives on earth that will determine our eternity. For non-believers is the decision to believe, repent and give their lives to Christ. For believers is the onus to live our lives as Christ lived- in love and without discriminating anyone and with our eyes focused on the crown that will be given us at the end of the race-each according to what He determines.1Peter 4:7-10 advises us, 'The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self controlled so that you can pray. Above all love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms'.
The question remains, can you evaluate the signs of time?
And if you can, are you ready for our Lord?
May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.