What other signs will there be? Haven’t we always had bad weather? How does that play into the end times?

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What other signs will there be? Haven’t we always had bad weather? How does that play into the end times?

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:36 am

The Bible gives several signs of the times that the end times are approaching. Here are a few:

(1) The Spread of the Gospel Message and the Growth of the Church. Jesus was the founder of the church, and He promised to both sustain it and grow it until the end; as He said, And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it—Jesus Christ, Matthew 16:18. The “rock” He is referring to is Peter’s confession, that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God”—Peter, Matthew 16:16. Jesus also told His disciples, And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come—Jesus Christ, Matthew 24:14. The period of time we live in now, the time of the church, the time when people are being saved through the ministry of the church and the believers, is commonly called “the church age.” There is no prophecy that tells us how long the church age will last.

(2) The Increase of Wickedness and the Spread of Evil. Jesus also predicted that, paralleling the growth and reach of the church, wickedness would also grow; as He told His disciples, Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors 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. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold—Jesus Christ, Matthew 24:4-12. Paul added his voice to the story, telling his protégé Timothy, But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness, but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them—Paul, II Timothy 3:1-5. We see these traits all around us. And there is also a profound warning from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, who foresaw these same characteristics from the Holy Spirit’s perspective in his day: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent. Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel—Isaiah 5:20-24.

(3) The Rise of False Prophets and Apostate Religions. Obviously Christ foresaw the rise of false religion, but so did both Peter and Paul. Peter said, But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up—II Peter 2:1-3a. Paul agreed, calling them false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve—Paul, II Corinthians 11:13-15. And why will these false teachers have such an available audience? Why won’t they be shouted down in their attempts to deceive? Paul nailed that, too; in writing to Timothy, he warned that the time will come when people 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 the truth and turn aside to myths—Paul, II Timothy 4:3-4.

(4) The Return of Israel to the Promised Land. The Old Testament talked repeatedly of a time when the nation of Israel would be gathered from all over the world, from all the places where her people had gone into exile. The prophet Ezekiel was told by God, I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered—with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath—God speaking, Ezekiel 20:34. And the prophet Isaiah made sure the nation heard the same promise: But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. . . . Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made”—God speaking, Isaiah 43:1, 5-7. On May 14, 1948, those ancient prophecies were fulfilled when Israel became, once again, an independent nation. The prophet Ezekiel predicted that this “regathering” would actually be a two-stage process—one physical and one spiritual: The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord’”—Ezekiel 37:1-14.

(5) ­Conflict in the Middle East. While prophecy sees Israel restored to the Promised Land, prophecy also sees perpetual conflict for Israel. Jesus famously predicted “wars and rumors of wars” during His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25), but He wasn’t alone; the Old Testament prophet Joel also foresaw that, In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land—God speaking, Joel 3:1-2. And of course, one of the seminal end-times battles will be the famous conflict spoken of in Ezekiel 38-39, where a confederation of nations led by a nation from the north will attack Israel.

(6) Hatred of Christians. Another passage where Jesus talks about end times is in Luke, where He says, There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your bearing witness to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish—Jesus Christ, Luke 21:11-18. A couple of notes: The word for pestilence describes a plague or disease. How many diseases are there that continue to defy man’s attempts to bring them under control? Avian flu is one that recent headlines point to as particularly distressing in scientist’s attempts to figure out a way to fight it. When Christ talked about “fearful events,” the Greek word is the word for “terror.” We almost can’t make it through a newspaper or a newscast without hearing of some incident of terror someplace in the world. Christ said it was coming. And regarding Christians being attacked (certainly something first-century Christians were painfully familiar with), estimates have sometimes put the number of Christians killed for their faith each year as perhaps as high as a million, making this the holocaust of our times. Even conservative estimates bring the number to somewhere around 105,000 a year—meaning, somewhere in the world, a Christian is dying for his/her faith about every five minutes. According to Christ, these attacks will not only continue, but increase. In line with that, the fact that the Supreme Court is taking up the gay marriage issue could have profound consequences for the church of Christ, where, for instance, hiring decisions could now come under the heading of civil rights discrimination. In Canada, anti-homosexual language of the Bible (Leviticus and Romans, for instance) is now legally considered “hate speech.” The coming years could be very challenging for Christians and the church as we seek to make Christ’s impact on the people around us.

Two final points: Regarding the weather, it is not simply new weather, but intensifying weather that is going to mark the end times. We certainly see that now, even in our country, where we are simultaneously witnessing historic drought in California and record-breaking flooding in Texas. Climatologists tell us that one of the consequences of global warming is a marked intensity in storms. Christ also predicted earthquakes. Now obviously earthquakes are nothing new, but He is talking about both intensity and frequency to a degree that is going to be attention-getting. He also predicted a perpetual up-tick in wars, “nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” It is His prediction of “kingdom against kingdom” that is particularly interesting when we consider end-times prophecies. The Greek word for “kingdom” that Christ uses in Matthew 24 is the same word from which we get the word “basilica.” In other words, we will not only see an increase in hostilities between nations but between religious nations. Certainly ISIS, along with Muslim warfare in general, fits into that picture. The nations that will join Russia (if we understand Ezekiel 38 correctly) are largely Muslim nations now, who are always hoping to extinguish Israel.

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