Signs of the Times

We have seen lately what a huge role weather forecasting plays in our lives. There have been deadly tornadoes in parts of the Midwest and especially in the South. Relaying all of the information connected with these storms is an immense task that meteorologists face. Even when the weather isn’t as dire as that, we still depend on forecasts to plan our days so that we know what we should wear, whether we will be able to exercise or do work outside, or just so we know whether or not we will have a pleasant day. As vital as this service may seem to us, it is even more important that we know what the signs of the times are and how we should live in these last, evil days. “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment” (1 Chronicles 12:32). David had men in his army and also among the government officials of that time who analyzed current events and knew how the children of Israel should react to them and what was the proper perspective to have of what went on within the nation of Israel as well as the surrounding kingdoms such as the Philistines and Edomites. In the New Testament Jesus showed the Pharisees that their priorities were wrong in this regard when they asked Him for a sign from heaven. “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). Jesus was not condemning their weather forecasting skills. We have a similar proverb today “Red sky at night/ sailor’s delight, red sky at morning/ sailor’s sure warning.” His issue, rather, was the fact that the Pharisees were more interested in and focused on what the weather was going to do than what the word of God commanded them regarding how they should live, or what they should look out for in this world as far as wickedness is concerned. As we look at the spiritual weather forecast, the picture is very dark indeed. It looks very stormy and seems to be ready to explode soon. Matthew 24 talks about persecution, war, and the increase in frequency and severity of natural disasters, as well as the breakdown of the family and society in general. We see this in regard to the acceptance of abortion and homosexuality, the power of the labor unions, the recent takeover of Crimea by Russia, and many other events that make us deeply nervous about the way this world is heading. There are signs in the church such as women serving as ministers and officebearers that also tend to put us as Christians on edge. But not everything is as dark and despairing as it would seem to be. Another one of the signs Jesus lists in Matthew 24 is that the gospel is being preached throughout the whole world(verse 14). God is gathering His church through all of this, small in number though it may be. There certainly will be increasing persecution in this world, both by the wicked and by the false church as well. But if we, by God’s grace and Holy Spirit watch for these signs, and like David’s men, analyze them from a Biblical perspective, we will have the comfort, joy and, peace that seek in this life. “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
Kevin Rau

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