“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” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
Signs are important to our daily life. When we take a trip, we use a map and look for road signs to guide us along the correct route. The life we live is a journey, and God has given us signs to guide us. His guidance is found in Scripture, which is more trustworthy than any road map you’ll ever use. Roads can change over time, but God’s word never changes.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).
Prophesy is a sign given so we can know where we are in history. If we trust God’s word and look for the signs, He has provided that our journey in life will be less treacherous.
Prophecy is a large part of Scripture. If God didn’t want us to know what was ahead, He wouldn’t have included it in Scripture. Prophecy foretold that the nation of Israel would be dispersed but would be gathered again as one nation, and that has happened. Ezekiel tells of a major war, and today we see that the nations mentioned are coming together. Isaiah tells of the total destruction of Damascus, which could happen any day.
If you listen to the news and filter it through Scripture, you’ll see that we live in very exciting times. Watching the signs tells us what will soon happen, and they all point to the fact that the final seven years of history is near. That means the Rapture is even nearer. Let me give an illustration:
My daughter and I occasionally go to a movie in a town called Sullivan. As we drive along the interstate, we see signs telling us that St. Louis is getting closer. We don’t want to go to St. Louis, but by watching those signs, we know that Sullivan is getting closer. We know that Sullivan isn’t in the middle of St. Louis and it isn’t on the other side of St. Louis, but before we get to St. Louis. Think of Daniel’s 70th week as St. Louis and Sullivan as the Rapture. The proximity of Sullivan to St. Louis has nothing to do with what we believe, but just the facts. The facts of the end times are found in Scripture.
Christians will be taken Home in the Rapture prior to Daniel’s 70th week. As we see the signs of the Great Tribulation approaching, we know that the Rapture will happen before then. A “picture” of this is found in Genesis. Enoch is a picture-type of Christians, and he was taken by God prior to the judgment of the Flood.
“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:24).
Like Enoch, Christians will be taken prior to God’s final judgment.
The Pharisees are always a good example of how not to behave. They knew the Law and the Prophets (the Old Testament) but wouldn’t believe it was being fulfilled in their day. Like seminary students today, they studied Scripture. The Pharisees looked for signs of the Messiah but chose to remain blind to the facts. Jesus fulfilled hundreds of prophecies during His first coming. For example, Micah 5:2 told where He would be born, Isaiah 7:14 disclosed He would be born of a virgin, and so on. Still, the Pharisees wouldn’t believe the signs. Jesus healed many people, but the Pharisees just tried to discredit Him. The signs they had seen weren’t enough for them, and they chose to live in ignorance rather than understand the times in which they lived.
Many pastors have this same attitude. They point to the verse that quotes Jesus as saying “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign…” (Matthew 16:4a).
Not only is this taken out of context, but the rest of the verse is ignored. Jesus knew that more signs wouldn’t open the eyes of the Pharisees to the truth. In the previous verses He had chided them for being able to read signs regarding weather but unable to discern the signs of the times.
“He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matthew 16:2-3).
He told them there would be another sign for them:
“…and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed” (Matthew 16:4b).
What was the sign of Jonas (Jonah)? Just as Jonah had spent 3 days and nights in the belly of the whale, so would Jesus spend 3 days and nights in the heart of the earth after His crucifixion. The Pharisees chose blindness and wouldn’t let go of their misinterpretation of Scripture. We can be so busy looking for signs that we miss the reality of what those signs point to.
Today, people look for many signs in life but ignore the most important signs of all…the signs of the times. Scientists look for signs of life in the far reaches of the cosmos. The Catholic Church has also joined in the search for extraterrestrial life, as evidenced by their activity on Mount Graham in Arizona. The ever-deluded leaders of the Catholic Church have stated that alien life forms can be baptized and are probably more pure than humans. Read your Bible. Jesus became human and gave His life to redeem humans.
“For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:16-17).
They are looking for the wrong signs. Jesus listed some signs that point to the end of the age. Earthquakes will increase, wars and rumors of wars will be everywhere, the hearts of men will grow cold, false teachers will arise, and the list goes on. These things have always happened, but not like today. The strength and number of earthquakes have steadily increased. It’s hard to think of any nation that isn’t embroiled in war, including the internal strife. Heinous crimes are increasing, including abortion, and show the coldness and wickedness that permeates today’s world. The signs all show us that the end of time is approaching. As the days grow darker, we need to draw closer to the Light of the world…Jesus Christ.
How do we prepare? Many people encourage us to lay in supplies to last for the long haul. That’s not a bad idea. I try to keep extra food and water on hand because, during the winter, it’s not unusual for me to be snowed in and unable to go to the store for a week or so. My water pipes sometimes freeze, so I keep bottled water just in case. The people who push for having a large supply of food to last for years are usually those who think they must live through the Great Tribulation. Life will be worse than ever seen before during that time, but only non-Christians will face that final week.
The signs seem to be happening very quickly, and prophecy will soon come to a climax. The one-world currency is getting closer. Instead of francs and pounds, most European nations use the Euro. Worse than that, people are having a chip implanted that only needs a wave of the hand to pay bills, buy food, and start cars.
“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:16-17).
Is that chip preparing the way for the mark? Could artificial intelligence be paving the way for the end time events? I’m convinced we’re very close to the Tribulation, and even closer to the Rapture.
Again, I ask how do we prepare? There’s a spirit of fear growing among Christians, and that’s of Satan, not of God.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Many see the signs and know that the Tribulation is near, but don’t believe God when He says that Christians won’t face the judgment of that final seven-year time-span. The only way to prepare for that final judgment period when God’s wrath is poured out upon the inhabitants of earth is not to be here. Only faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ will guarantee eternal life with Him, and that faith promises that Christians won’t face God’s wrath.
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10).
If you give your life to Jesus, you will be called Home prior to the Tribulation. That doesn’t mean life on earth will be free of troubles and persecution before then, but whatever we face today is nothing compared to what we will be caught away from.
That last 7-year period of time is not a judgment upon Christians. Jesus paid the price for our redemption and took our judgment upon Himself. As we read the signs and know what’s coming, Christians should draw closer together.
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Every one of us should also look at our own lives to be sure that we have truly placed our eternity in Christ’s hands. We have freedom in Christ, but if you can embrace sin with no prick of conscience, then maybe you need to ask yourself if you truly meant it when you said you accepted Christ. If you have any doubts, then repent today and allow Christ to change you.
As we watch the signs of the times, we should also feel an urgency to witness to the lost. Today, the door is still open for everyone to accept Christ for salvation, but there will be one final convert before the Rapture takes place. You may be the one who leads that last person to Christ. What a thrill that would be!
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25).
Witnessing should be urgent no matter what. We look with great expectancy for the Rapture, but the person you’ve led to a saving faith in Christ just might be in a fatal accident or have a sudden heart attack. Eternity depends upon what you believe, not how perfect you behave.
Look for the signs and draw nearer to God. Only He can properly guide us in these final days.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at https://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” – God breathed.
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