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Signs

What is needed desperately today is prophetic insight. Scholars can interpret the past; it takes prophets to interpret the present. Aiden Wilson Tozer


When we think of "prophets" we often think back to the Old Testament and consider men like Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and so on, as those whom God gifted the burden of either foreseeing or foretelling the future either by the Holy Spirit, angelic messenger, or by a word from the Lord (i.e., thus sayeth the Lord...). However, I believe God has primarily chosen to reveal His plans for us with two primary methods of divine communication; progressive revelation, and progressive illumination.

Progressive Revelation is direct from God to the prophet to give to the people (i.e., Thus sayeth the Lord...).


Progressive Illumination, however, is when what has already been prophesied, either finds its fulfillment or exists at a time when the conditions are such that said prophecy can be fulfilled. Thus, the former relies on God, who is not bound by time (see Isaiah 46:9-10) to reveal to His prophets the things that will come to pass. The latter, relies upon men with prophetic insight who can, through the power of the Holy Spirit, discern the times in which they live, to show in Scripture what has, or what can come to pass.


Both of these, make heavy use of signs, as a means to either validate or authenticate the message. But what are signs and how can we trust what we see is what is really from God?


Given the fact that one of the most used and abused words in the English language (or perhaps every language) is the word signs. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word signs means:


1. an object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else

2. a gesture or action used to convey information or instructions.


Various belief systems, including Christianity, have long relied on supernatural signs (in the sense they either never or rarely happen in nature) to establish their authenticity and authority throughout human history. Pagan traditions, for instance, interpreted rare meteorological and natural occurrences as indicators of divine emotions toward their followers. Similarly, cults have long utilized both natural signs and purported paranormal phenomena to exert control over their followers.


Nevertheless, signs persist as a primary method of validation across most major belief systems, serving as a common thread in the quest to substantiate both individual and collective faith. However, outside of Biblical Christianity, these signs often exhibit an air of ambiguity, making their appearance subject to the interpretation of the interpreter.


Considering the pervasive appearance of unexplainable signs as of late, one might question whether the Biblical signs, amidst the cacophony, have become nothing more than white noise in the background. This thought raises the inquiry: What foundation does the Biblical perspective have in such a context?


Certainly, Satan, the chief adversary of mankind and the Christian faith knows the Bible routinely uses signs as a means to give us to understand the times in which we live...especially for those in the proximity of the two advents of Christ. Given Satan's blundering in the first coming (1 Cor 2:8), he knows full well he cannot prevent the signs that Jesus gave in the Olivet Discourse from happening. So if Satan can't stop them from manifesting, how can he nullify (or attempt to nullify) these from warning the masses of the nearness of the end?


He does what we see now...with a flood of signs.


He sends so many lying signs and wonders that mankind is inundated with signs so much so that most are simply overwhelmed by them and ultimately become desensitized to their meaning. I believe this has very much been the case since the turn of the 20th century when the world was thrust into the 2nd, 3rd, and now 4th industrial revolutions, two world wars, hundreds of other regional and national conflicts, massive population explosion, a deluge of toxic ideologies promoting anything and everything except the truth, as well as the exponential rise of paranormal, supernatural, and other unexplainable phenomena.


So what are Biblical signs?


As already mentioned, God as the creator of time and reality, does not exist in time, nor is He bound by it. He sees the past, present, and future simultaneously and frequently declares the "end from the beginning." God alone is the only being in all of creation (including all dimensions and realities) who can manipulate time. Everyone else is subject to it, even the created spiritual hosts (both holy and fallen) who exist in the eternal realm, are subject to the constraints of time. But God gives us (mankind) signs so that we can know when we are on God's prophetic calendar.


Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed. Matt. 16:1-4


As such, God can foretell future events with laser-like precision because He has already seen them unfold. This means that the accuracy of Bible prophecy is always 100 percent accurate and is unparalleled amongst any other belief system, ideology, religion, or scientific endeavor. The Bible is the only Holy book, amongst the world's "holy" books that even dares make such claims. As such, the prophetic signs are meant to convey information to us in a manner that:


  • Provide general information: Genesis 1:14, Genesis 9:12-17, Jeremiah 31:35-37

  • Provide direction: Exodus 13:21, Numbers 24:17

  • Provide evidence: Matthew 12:38-39, 16:1-4, 1 Corinthians 1:22, Mark 13:11, 23, 2 Corinthians 12:12

  • Provide hope: Isaiah 7:14, Zech 3:8, Romans 4:11

  • Provide a warning: Joel 2:31, Matt. 24:30, Acts 2:16-21, Revelation 12:1-3


Granted, this is but a sampling as there are many hundreds of passages related to signs and their meaning. Furthermore, and borrowing these thoughts from my friend Lee Brainard,


— signs appear immediately after the great tribulation (Matt. 24:29)

— signs appear when nations are gathered for Armageddon (Joel 3:9-16, Is. 34:2-4)

— signs happen in the presence of a descending army (Joel 2:2-11, Is. 13:3-13)

— signs happen when Satan and minions are bound (Is. 24:21-23)


Given its unparalleled accuracy, Satan (the father of lies) knows he cannot compete with God's mastery of time. Therefore, since he cannot foresee the future, he has taken to corrupting and perverting this gift (signs) from God so they can be used to confound and deceive the masses (e.g., Matt. 24:24, 2 Thessalonians 2;11, Revelation 13:13-14, 16:14, 19:20, etc.). This is why Jesus in His epochal Matthew 24 Olivet Discourse, warns of deception in the last days;


  • And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. (vs 4) 

  • For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. (vs 5)

  • Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. (vs 11)

  • For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. (vs 24-25)


Of the Jewish people we Christians are often chided to be more like, is the Bereans (Acts 17:11) who trusted but verified, and the sons of Issachar (1 Chron. 12:32), who understood the times in which they lived. As such, given the reality that deception is going to be exponential in the last days, we are to both verify information conveyed to us and to understand the times in which we live based on God's word. God gives us signs so that we can know beforehand and therefore, have our faith reinforced.


Conclusion


The Church right now has more fashion than passion, is more pathetic than prophetic, is more superficial than supernatural. Leonard Ravenhill


One of the criticisms I often hear from non-Christians in mocking my belief in Christianity is that we only know about this "invisible sky god" from an "antiquated book" written by "illiterate sheepherders." If that last bit were true, then that in and of itself would be quite the achievement given the masterful use of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek (all of which are far more precise languages than English) to create: all sixty-six books, which were written by 40 men, on three continents, and over 1,600 years. All of which, contain the prophetic scarlet thread of the coming Messiah we see interwoven from Genesis to Malachi.


And while the godless and haters of Christianity might mock the written word itself, they cannot mock the fulfilled prophecies that were recorded thousands of years in advance foretelling what would happen before they happened. At best, they might have to attempt to do the mental cheetah flips and twist the meanings of things, but they cannot do so legitimately. Nor can they undo recorded history proving the Biblical text is true. It is in their hatred of all things God, that one of the final nails in the coffin as it were in their process of being given over to a debased mind, is when they flagrantly dismiss provable, quantifiable, and qualitatively proven fulfilled bible prophecy.


As Mr. Ravenhill astutely observes, the modern, western, church has come to ignore bible prophecy to its detriment, trading the deeper things of God for wave-top-level, twenty-minute sermonettes on how to live your best life now. By ignoring the signs God gives us about the end of the age, most professing Christians are ignorant of their predicament of facing an immediate storm on the horizon. 

But this is not just any storm. It's the end of the world storm and God's in the final stages of wrapping up human history. Sermonettes on sowing financial seeds, or becoming more accommodating to a society bent on suiciding itself is the wrong message at the wrong time. It's the wrong message because it is willfully ignoring the times in which we live. If you can ignore the time in which you live, means you've ignored all the signs God's given you to warn about what is coming upon the earth. 


Many churches avoid eschatology altogether because they think it is either "too sensational," "too divisive", or "too unknowable" to be taught to the lay people. They treat this doctrine (eschatology- the study of last things) as if it were somehow wholly distinct from the rest of biblical doctrines in that you have free license to make of it whatever you want. They act as if it were a "Choose-Your-Own-Adventure" book.


Eschatology, like every other biblical doctrine, only has one definitive interpretation. Granted, doctrines often have multiple applications, but each has only one interpretation. The Lord Jesus Christ is only going to Rapture the Church one way. He's only going to subjugate the world to God's wrath one way. He's only going to return at the Second Coming one way.


And as we become like both the Bereans and the Sons of Issachar, in letting the Holy Spirit guide us into all truth, we quickly realize that while we can't know the day or hour, we can know the season. According to Jesus’ warning in Revelation 3:3 to the church of Sardis, the expectation is that we will know the hour and only those Christians who are asleep (spiritually speaking) will be caught unaware. We will know the season because the signs that point to that final week of years (Daniel's 70th Week) are being prepared right before our very eyes.


In closing, we should be like that good servant who, in knowing the master will one day return, be fruitful in investing the treasure he has entrusted to us. That treasure, while shown as currency in the parable of The Parable of the Talents, is the gifts and callings God has bestowed upon each of us. What did we do with those talents He has entrusted to us? (See Matthew 25:14-30) The Parable of the Faithful Servant and the Wicked Servant further illustrates God’s expectations that we should be watching and anticipating His any moment return as part of our lives as believers. We watch because we are supposed to be watching, and what we are watching for is accompanied by prophesied signs that serve as mile markers showing us the nearness of our redemption.


“Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Luke 12:35-40

 

 


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Everyday since 2007 I have been looking up praying Maranatha Maranatha 🙏


What a glorious future our Heavenly Father has already planned for all who Believes 🧜🏽‍♀️


See you all in the Balcony of Heaven 🙌

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I love that passage from Luke!

When he says "the master of the house" - is he talking about Satan not allowing the thief to come? As in, Jesus steals us from Satan's realm?

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Simpson/Alliance thus Tozer are not futurists they are historicists!

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Loved this article Pete!

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“One of the criticisms I often hear from non-Christians in mocking my belief in Christianity is that we only know about this "invisible sky god" from an "antiquated book" written by "illiterate sheepherders”

I just love asking those sort of people: And what is YOUR religion!!!


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