The Apostles asked Jesus, “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world” (Matthew 24:3)?
The Bible, and the New Testament, in particular, are filled with signs for the second coming. Think of prophetic signs this way — they are like clouds. Clouds are an indication of coming rain. It does not always rain when it gets cloudy, but when we see clouds, it is a reminder that rain may soon be on the horizon. Signs of the Lord’s return act much the same way. Even an abundance of signs does not mean Christ will return today, but the more signs we see, the higher the probability His return is near.
The sign most prevalent in the news recently is “wars and rumours of wars” (Matthew 24:6-8; Mark 13:7).
The saber-rattling between the United States and Iran has died down in recent days. Still, only a short time ago, people were talking about the start of WW III. There were shots fired and a general killed, but it has not resulted in a full-fledged war, but it is a sign — the rumor of war.
Another sign recently in the news — earthquakes (Matthew 24:7; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11). Puerto Rico, alone, has been hit with two more significant earthquakes within the last week. As I write this, I went to https://earthquaketrack.com/p/puerto-rico/recent, which is a real-time earthquake watcher. The stats I currently see on the screen are:
• 20 earthquakes in the past 24 hours
• 584 earthquakes in the past 7 days
• 1,551 earthquakes in the past 30 days
• 4,676 earthquakes in the past 365 days
Over one-fourth of the earthquakes in Puerto Rico over the last year have occurred in the previous month. In comparison, on the homepage of the same website, it records 119 earthquakes worldwide within the last 24 hours. 17% of all earthquakes in the previous day, happened in Puerto Rico.
Moving on, another sign Jesus mentions in Luke 21:25 is, “distress of nations, with perplexity.” Some synonyms for perplexity are bewilderment, confusedness, head-scratching. It appears nations will have problems that will leave a lot of people bewildered on which direction to go for a solution.
What do you do when Greece gives away so much the nation goes bankrupt, and the people no longer have their “entitlements?”
What do you do with people who are born here, but are technically illegal because their parents came here illegally before they were born?
What do you do with nations that call for the destruction of another country?
These problems and a score of others are perplexing. Everyone either has an answer that does not seem to work, or no one knows what to do.
The moral decay of society is another sign. Romans 1:21-32 describes part of the fall into moral decay. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 list heart attitudes and actions that will take place “in the last days.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
It is not that everyone will be like this, but it is that these actions and heart conditions will be prominent in society. It would be hard to argue that these elements are not prevalent today. For those of us with gray hair, we can also testify that these things are more prevalent today than at any time in our lifetime.
Some claim that earthquakes, wars, rumors of war, immoral people, severe political problems, and other signs within the Bible have been going on since the beginning of time. There is nothing new; therefore, there is nothing to these “signs of Jesus’ return” bit.
Well, the Bible tells us that when the response to the Biblical signs is that “it has always been this way,” it is a sign unto itself.
2 Peter 3:3-4, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in northern Parke County, Indiana.