In this section we see Jesus upbraiding the Pharisees and Sadducees who were looking for a sign from heaven to test Jesus. There are many Bible signs of the times throughout both Old & New Testaments relating to Jesus’ coming. The Pharisees and Sadducees were aware of them, but refused to accept this mere carpenter as the Messiah spoken of in the Bible signs of the times discussed in the old books of the prophets.
They wanted proof that Jesus was who he was, but even if they were to receive a sign, they would not have believed. As Jesus showed in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.” (Luke 16:31) The sign that Jesus offered to the Pharisees and Sadducees was exactly this. He said, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” (Matthew 16:4) In effect when Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by the great fish, spending three days in its belly, he was presumed dead. However when he was regurgitated he effectively rose from the dead. In Jesus’ case he would spend three days in the tomb and actually did rise from the dead. This is the parallel he was drawing by quoting the sign of Jonah.
But as we see, the Pharisees and Sadducees still would not believe even after he was raised from the dead. The chief priests of the time and elders of the temple paid off the guards and told them to spread the story that Jesus disciples came by night and stole the body away while the guards slept.
So Jesus upbraided them for although they could look at the signs in the sky to predict the weather, they were blind to the signs of the times. The Bible signs of the times have been given to us so that we may be aware of what is happening and what is to come. We can see from what is going on around us, and comparing this to the Bible and see the hand of the Lord. Let us look at some of the things occurring today and consider what they mean in the light of scripture and the Bible signs of the times.
2 Timothy 3:12 “Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” If you desire to follow Jesus and to live a godly life, you need to know that there will be persecutions and you will have trouble. This goes with your call to Christ. But you will also be strengthened by looking to Christ and be given the means to come through such persecutions. So as far as Bible signs of the times go, this is one at a personal level. When you are persecuted for the Lord, not if you do wrong, you are blessed and can take comfort that you are doing something right. If you were not, the devil would not persecute you.
Matthew 24:6 “And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet.” Consider the wars and skirmishes of recent times. The world or parts of it have been in constant war and fighting for the past century where nations have risen against nations. Look at the two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, two wars in Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan and the many crises in places like Uganda, Cuba, the Falklands, Yugoslavia, Georgia in the USSR, Timor, the middle east and many more that have occurred in recent years. These are pointers to the beginning of the end of this age; the birth pangs of the end as it is described.
Matthew 24:7 “…there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” The seismic activity in recent years is unparalleled in the world’s history. There are more earthquakes occurring in more places than ever before. While there is some argument that we now have more and better equipment to identify and measure earthquakes, if we look only at the major quakes, i.e. greater than magnitude 8 on the Richter scale we see a definite increase. In the 1980’s there were 4 Mag 8+ quakes, in the 1990’s there were 6 Mag 8+ quakes and in the 2000’s there were 13 Mag 8+ quakes. This data is according to the US Geological Survey dep’t and can be seen graphically here.
Matthew 24:12 “And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold.” Man’s inhumanity to man is beyond precedent today. Random acts of terror; random shootings and stabbings are daily news events. People lock themselves away for fear of violence on the streets.
Luke 21:25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves.” We are seeing more damage caused by sea and tsunamis than ever before. Consider the tsunami that hit Indonesia on Boxing Day 2004. Nobody knows exactly how many people perished in that disaster, but they have accounted for at least 220,00 lives lost and possibly as many as 280,000. Recently in 2010 & 2011 there have been freak waves that hit Sydney and nearby beaches washing people out to sae with some lives lost. The common response to this freak weather was “Where did it come from? People and reporters were perplexed, as too were the weather experts. This is another manifestation of this sign in the Bible written several thousand years ago.
The prophet Daniel enquired of the Lord what some of the prophesies of the last days meant. He was told, “…Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4) Was there ever a time in history like the one we are in today in respect of these matters? The Internet has made knowledge accessible to everyone and it is increasing at a rapid rate daily. Technological advance is such that sometimes gadgets are obsolete within months of their release. Consider the first IBM PC was released in 1981 and the change to the world in just 30 years since then as a result of that invention. And mankind is running to and fro all over the place. The pace of change is such that “busy-ness” is the norm for most people today and with global flights so cheap, people are on the move.
The upshot of all of these Bible signs of the times is that it is plain we are in the beginnings of the end times. Make no mistake, the Lord is returning in the not too distant future. We have not been given to know when that will be, but we have been given these and many other signs to help us understand what is happening, and to point to the approaching end of this age.