Many would ask, "Signs of the time? Just what signs and what time are you referring to here?" Well, the signs are warning signals or a "heads-up" God provided for us in Scripture that we might know when the return of our Lord Jesus is very near.
Fifteen or twenty years ago...no, let's make that just ten years ago, I never would have dreamed I would be living in these end times just before Christ's second coming. Just imagine - after almost 2000 years, I believe we are now living in that time, and are experiencing the last days first hand. What a time to be alive!
As believers, we are not only commanded to understand the signs surrounding the soon return of our Lord, but we are also called to be watchmen (Ezek. 33:6,7) warning of the things to come. Therefore, I felt led to share these thoughts with you.
For about 1800 of those years the Jewish people were scattered far away from Israel, forced away from the land God gave them through His everlasting covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants. During those years the land withered into a dry wasteland of blowing sand and brush, with only a few migrant sheepherders inhabiting the area.
The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Amos foretold of those years. However, they also said the Jewish people would return to their land one day never to be uprooted again - predicted almost 2500 years before it happened. Ezekiel predicted that the valley of dry bones would one day come alive again (Ezek. 37) and the land would flourish. The Jewish people began to return in great numbers in the late 1800's and 1900's. Isaiah said Israel would be reborn in one day (Is. 66:8). That happened on May 14, 1948 - the only time ever in recorded history that a nation has re-formed after disbanding for hundreds of years...and it happened in one day. Then, Israel regained control of Jerusalem on June 14, 1967 in the six-day war, victorious against overwhelming odds.
Since 1948, these are just a few of the things that have happened - much of it prophesied about 2500 years ago:
The Hebrew language was restored recently as Israel's official language - prophesied by Zephaniah. Israel has become a leader in agriculture technology and medical innovations. The land has flourished with trees and vineyards in the once parched land. This tiny nation exports billions of dollars of goods and produce - inconceivable just a few decades ago. Israel's security intelligence and military is among the best in the world.
We know Scripture teaches that in the last days, God's focus will be on Israel and the Jewish people. They, as well as the whole world, will go through a terrible time of trouble (Dan. 12:1) causing a remnant to finally accept Jesus as their true Messiah. Recently, newspapers and the television news media are filled with reports of wars and violence taking place in that part of the world as never before. The tensions are increasing daily.
Today we see storm clouds gathering all around Israel with nations committed to destroy her and the Jewish people. We hear of feverish negotiations and schemes underway to further divide Israel and Jerusalem - the apple of God's eye. God has warned in Joel 3:2 NKJV, "I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land."
Jerusalem would be a burdensome stone to all nations (Zech. 12:3). Almost daily the world news media reports on the conflict over Jerusalem. The United Nations, the Vatican, and many world leaders want to make it an international city. However, God says that the city is His and He has given it to the Jews forever (Gen. 15:18; Lev. 25:23; 2 Chr. 6:6). All who burden themselves with it will be cut in pieces.
Scripture also speaks of many other things that will take place in the last days, warning us of the end time.
Deceptive signs and wonders would abound (Matt. 7:22-23; 24:24; 2 Thess. 2:9). The signs and wonders movement has swept the globe in recent years replacing the Word of God. Experiences that feed the senses in the name of Christ are drawing millions away from Him.
Men would be lovers of themselves (2 Tim. 3:1-2). This generation, like no other, regards "self" above all else. Self love, self esteem, self reliance, and self gratification are encouraged by the media, schools, and psychologists, etc. Many churches today preach a feel-good-about-yourself message, as well as a prosperity and social "gospel". In contrast, Jesus taught self-denial.
Knowledge would increase (Dan. 12:4). Today we are witnessing an explosion of available knowledge as has never happened before.
Deadly diseases (which the Bible calls pestilences) would be common (Matt. 24:7). Emerging diseases such as AIDS, Ebola, Hanta virus, Dengue, West Nile, SARS, bird flu, etc., underscore this fact. Other new diseases are arising as well.
Chaotic weather would be prevalent (Luke 21:25-26). Jesus foresaw the seas and the waves roaring in the last days. He also likened these signs to birth pangs (Matt. 24:8).
The earth would be filled with violence (Luke 17:26; Gen. 6:11-13). In the United States alone, violent crime has increased nearly 500% since 1960. Fifty years ago abortion was illegal in most countries. Today abortion is legal in most countries, resulting in millions of children being brutally slaughtered each year.
Humanity would become increasingly materialistic and lovers of pleasure (2 Tim. 3:1-5). No other generation in history has devised so many ways to entertain and arouse the senses. Every imaginable pleasure is available and has become big business.
Jesus said Christians would be hated for His name's sake (Luke 21:17; Rev. 6:9-11; 20:4). The banning of the Bible, prayer, the Ten Commandments, nativity scenes, Christmas songs, etc., all reflect that trend. Many would forsake the Ten Commandments as a moral code: blaspheming, committing adultery, disobeying parents, stealing, lying, coveting, etc. (Matt. 24:12; Rev. 9:21).
Homosexuality would be flaunted at the end of the age. Jesus warned that the last days would be like the days of Lot who lived in wicked Sodom (Luke 17:28-30). Sodom's lasting infamy stemmed from their aggressive homosexual sin (Gen. 19; Jude 1:7). Today, the homosexual agenda is being flaunted and forced upon our entire society in our schools, the media, same sex marriage, Hollywood, civil unions, and has the support of many churches.
Apostasy would occur just before the Antichrist is revealed (2 Thess. 2:3). Increasingly, experience-based Christianity is replacing the Bible as the standard for saving faith. The ecumenical movement is striving for unity at the expense of truth. Christ's exclusive claims are negated in the name of tolerance.
There would be a move towards a one-world religion (Rev. 13:8, 12; Rev. 17). Today, as never before, we are witnessing religions joining hands in the name of peace and tolerance. Contrary to Scripture, they all claim to worship the same God with all paths leading to heaven.
Mankind would be capable of destroying all life (Matt. 24:21-22). Today, with nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, it is possible to easily wipe out all flesh on planet earth.
Jesus also warned that deception in the last days would also include great signs and wonders (Matt. 24:23-27) performed by false prophets claiming to be the Christ.
Blasphemy would be common (2 Tim. 3:2; Rev. 16:9, 11, 21). Consider how often people use their Creator's name (God, Lord, or Jesus Christ) as a curse word or in a casual, flippant manner. What they are doing is dragging the One who is holy and the source of every blessing down into the gutters with them.
Sorceries referring to witchcraft, magic, or occult practices used to enchant and deceive are also anticipated in the last days (Rev. 9:21; 18:23; 21:8; Is. 47:9-15; Mic. 5:10-15). Today, interest in the occult is flourishing.
Preparations for a global war anticipated (Joel 3:9-14; Matt. 24:22; Rev. 16:14). Never before in recorded history have so many nations stockpiled weapons of mass destruction.
Many would call themselves the Christ (Matt. 24:5). Although Jesus only traveled within the tiny nation of Israel, He predicted that many would come in His name, claiming to be the Christ. Now today, worldwide, many within the New Age Movement, Eastern religions, and the cults call themselves the Christ. This is yet another incredible fulfilled prophecy!
Some would depart from the faith, having listened to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1). This generation has witnessed the explosion of apparitions and other heavenly visitors that are often embraced by professing Christians even though their messages contradict the Word of God. Channeling, witchcraft, psychics, etc., have also gained in popularity though forbidden by God (Deut. 18:10-12).
People would reject the sound doctrine of the Word of God and follow the doctrines of men that appeal to their own lusts (2 Tim. 4:3-4; Acts 20:29-30). Others would confess faith in Christ, but not obey His Word (Matt. 7:22-23; Matt. 24:48-51).
Men would mock the warning signs of the end of the age saying those signs have always been with us (2 Pet. 3:3-4). Most of them don't want to see Jesus come back now or in their lifetime. They deny the Truth of Scripture because they either don't believe it, or they have a greater love for the things of this world.
Despite the Bible's numerous warnings and last day's prophecies, many people would be taken off guard when these events happen (Luke 21:34-36; 1 Thess. 5:2-6). It is true that some of these signs have been around for thousands of years, but only our generation has witnessed the coming together of every one of these events just as Scripture said would happen.
Jesus said in Matt. 24:33-34 NKJV, "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."
Never before in all of recorded history have all these things happened together exactly as prophesied - and we are here to witness them. Do I believe we are in the end times? Yes! Do I believe Jesus is coming soon as He promised? Yes! What an exciting time!
We are living in the final seconds of the final hour before His return. Are you ready and longing to meet Him face to face? If Jesus is truly the Savior, Lord and Master of your life, then you are ready, and He'll return to find you expectantly watching and waiting for Him.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
During retirement, my prayer is that I might serve the Lord by sharing the Gospel through my writing. As the Lord leads, my work will inform, challenge and encourage. I also enjoy Biblical theme woodcarving, Bible studies and Christian music. Watch, pray and keep looking up!