Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

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Pastor’s Note: The following excerpt is from the book I reviewed earlier in the month. Like the Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians, we SHOULD be comforting one another with the Scriptural prophecies that have been given us in God’s written word. Put your trust in the eternal word!

As with any of these articles that are not mine, the credit is listed at the end of the excerpted article and all rights are reserved to the author and publisher.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-21, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” KNJV (Bold emphasis, added).

The April 2009 cover of Newsmax pictures Jesus with outstretched arms under the heading—“The Jesus Question: Will He Ever Return?” The article notes that one in five Americans “believe that Christ will return in the present generation” and that “20 percent say the global life expectancy is just a couple of decades.” After laying out all the polling of Americans’ end times views, Newsmax concludes, “So the idea that creation’s clock could strike midnight at any time turns out to be as American as apple pie, pink slips, and debt collectors. If you mix the morning headlines into the average American’s eschatology, you stir up quite a powerful, angst-inducing brew.”

The headlines do seem to parallel the biblical end times template more and more every day. World events are unfolding exactly as the Bible predicted thousands of years ago. Yet, in our attempt to understand world news and current events in light of Bible prophecy, we need to carefully avoid two extremes.

The first extreme is sensationalism. Sometimes in our desperation to make sense out of what is happening in the world, we are susceptible to sensationalist claims. Date setters are among the most egregious sensationalists, people who are always trying to identify the Antichrist, and who try to make every earthquake, disease, disaster, or international feud a sign of the times. For too many prophecy buffs, virtually everything that happens is a sign that the Lord’s coming is near.

The problem is that when everything becomes a sign, then nothing is a sign. This extreme position of “newspaper exegesis” is unproductive at best and unbiblical at worst and highlights how careful we need to be in times like these when people are searching for answers. There are always those who offer sensational ideas that people desperately grab onto without really knowing all the facts. We must vigilantly avoid sensationalism.

When considering signs of the times, we must make sure that we view current events in light of the Bible and not the other way around. We must also reject the reckless practice of date setting for the Lord’s coming or the end of the world. Never speculate about the time of the Lord’s coming or listen to others who do. If date setters have taught us anything, they have taught us that if someone sets a date for the coming of the Lord, you can be sure that’s not the date. Jesus can come at any time, and He is coming on the Father’s schedule, not on a date set by any person (see Matthew 24:33–34; Acts 1:7). As prophecy teacher Ed Hindson reminds us, “God’s clock, the clock of history, is ticking away. It never speeds up and never slows down. It just keeps on ticking, continually and relentlessly, moving us closer and closer to the end of the age. How close we are to the end will only be revealed by time itself.”

The other extreme we must avoid is scoffing at the signs of the times. Many today react negatively to any mention of signs of the end times. They say it is foolish and unwarranted to look for or even talk about trends and developments that point toward the end times scenario portrayed in Scripture. But is this negative outlook justified? Are signs of the times important? What did Jesus say? In Matthew 16:1–3, Jesus sternly rebuked the religious leaders of His day for their blindness to the signs of the times of His first coming:

One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. He replied, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times!” (italics added).[1]

pw prophecy vs sensational

[1] Mark Hitchcock, The End: Everything You’ll Want to Know about the Apocalypse (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2012)
*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
**Where noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of intercessory prayer, encouragement and exhortation of the Word of God and author of the ministry blog, For The Love of God. I live in Delta, Colorado with my beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom we affectionately call Bella.
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