THE SIGNS OF THE TIMESS
© Carlos Padilla – June 2020
Surely we live times in which people seek signs from Above that guide them in the midst of the darkness generated by the pestilence –this is how the Bible calls the viruses and pandemics– of SARS Co-V2 or coronavirus Covid 19, of which the experts say it is losing strength and it disappears. The worlds is always seeking the signs of the times when it fears, to what Paul said: “For the Jews request a signs and Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, for the Jews stumbling block and for the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Co. 1:22). Jesus did great signs that no one has been able to do and His wisdom is the greatest ever heard. But not all signs that come from the spiritual dimension are of God, of which we are warned in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke or in the Revelation of John. Each of the four Evangelists provide what each received in the eschatological field, which in my mind is the best and more reliable foundation of the true signs of the times, especially in the last, the branch of Theology that we know as Eschatology. And this is the difference between who knows God and His Word and the world. Those who believe in Christ know the signs of the times and do not fear because they know they are saved for eternal life, but the world does not know the roadmap of the Creator. But for those who believe, and for those who seek God, a brief check of those signs, those that are and those that are not, would work as traffic signs in the trip through His roadmap to guide us through the agenda that we will live of the events of the times.
These are the more relevant Biblical Texts of Eschatology for the signs of the times:
Matthew 24: Matthew is one of the 12 apostles, originally called Levi and tax collector. The Lord called him to be part of the 12 and his Gospel is focused to the Jewish mind.
Mark 13: Mark, originally called John, is the scribe of the apostle Peter, for which some refer to the Gospel of Mark as the Gospel of Peter, the fisherman of Galilee to whom the Lord revealed that Jesus was the Son of God. Also the two letters of Peter provide more data.
Luke 21: Luke, the beloved doctor and scribe of the apostle Paul, was who took care of Paul as well as writing the one we could call Gospel of Paul, he wrote one of the more important books of the New Testament and of the Bible: Acts of the Apostles.
Revelation: John is one of the 12 apostles, the young teenager, the beloved disciple, well educated and with more sensibility to the Spirit, the one that was always with the Lord, wrote the more spiritual and profound of the Gospels, but it does not include an eschatological part, like the other three evangelists, for the Lord had reserved for him the complete book He would reveal him, at the end of his days, in his confinement in the isle-prison called Patmos, from the archipelago of the Dodecanese in Greece. There, John would receive the known, controversial and almost always badly interpreted book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, well know by his Greek name Apocalypse, the book that closes and seals the Bible and the canon of the revelation of God.
All these signs draw us a roadmap of events, of signs of the times, some of which have already been experienced, others that we are experimenting now and those that will be experimented in the future, whether the immediate of the far, until the Day of the Lord comes and the last sign is seen: “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory”. (Mark 13:26).
Texts of warning to not be deceived:
The Lord, sitting on the Mount of Olives, in front of the temple said: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am He,” and, “The time has drawn near.” Therefore do not go after them. And another one of the Texts says: “…and will deceive many”. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect”. And it finishes with a warning: “But take head; see, I have told you all things beforehand”. He also said: “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When the branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near, at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will be no means pass away till all these things take place”. This generation is a reference to two; the one of the apostles, and another, the one of those who live the end times, because the prophetical message contains two parts, one for each, although the preterists only see the one of the apostles, and the futurists only see the one of the end time, but I think the Lord talks in a deeper way that of the limited minds of men who tight a belt they make for themselves, but for this we have hermeneutics. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away”, something very relevant because many apostates deny the Word of God.
Jesus also warned in that Text: “But of the day and hour no one knows, not even the angles in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. The Lord may come in the evening of times, or at midnight, or at the crowning of the rooster, or in the morning, therefore we must watch for when He come we are not found spiritually sleeping. “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together”.
The Apostasy is announced by the apostles John, in his first letter 2:18-19, and Paul in his second to the Thessalonians 2. The present time we are living, before the pandemic, is the one of the greater apostasy in history in reference to the population that seamed converted and due to the opposition to all that is of God and His Commandments. John tells that the faith in the Son is in the Father, and that those who deny that Jesus is the Christ are antichrist, but those who believe in Jesus – Yahshua as the Messiah, have eternal life, vs. 25.
Armageddon. We have always heard of wars and rumours of war, especially after the two great wars WWI and WWII. Today we have the rumour of the cold war, again, but now between US and China. “But when you hear of wars and rumours of war, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet”. We know that Armageddon is the last war that will happen and that it will take place in the valley of Megiddo, north of Jerusalem, when the anti-Semitic nations unite guided by the false trinity of Satan: the dragon, the beast and the false prophet (Rev. 16:16). Then continues prophesising that nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles; and this is called “beginnings of sorrows” and requests the apostles to watch out for themselves because they would be delivered to councils and beaten in synagogues (something that reminds us of our tortured brethren by the Inquisition), something that the apostles suffered, Peter and Paul in Rome where killed by Nero, and Jerusalem destroyed in 70 A.D. by the roman troops of Titus, who’s arch can be visited today in Rome. This prophetical sign of the time with reference to the destruction of Jerusalem can have two events; one mentioned in 70 A.D. and another after Armageddon, are refer to the Words of Jesus: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near”. All this, the Lord says, would be for His cause and for testimony to them. And requests that they get ready –or does He say it also to us?– to allow for the Holy Spirit to talk when they were delivered.
Large earthquakes in different places, “…distress of nations, with perplexity, the seas and the waves roaring; men’s hearts falling them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken”. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near. Rapture? And a warning for those who live in that time: “…lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing drunkenness and cares of this life, and the Day come on you unexpectedly”. Let us be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man, watch and pray. Rapture pre-tribulational, mid-tribulational, or God keeps His chosen during the Great Tribulation? May each one affirm what they believe.
Pandemics of viruses or flues called in the Bible pestilences, which we are living with Covid 19. And hungers still today, because hunger is still there in the XXI century. Today, due to the crisis of Covid 19 we are back in the food banks, some giving and some receiving, in the midst of the western society that believes to be the first world, but it is only for some rich and governing people.
But the Lord links this first warning with a time that seems to jump to the end times: “And the Gospel must first be preached to all the nations”. Now an important sign comes: “Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death”. This is something that has grown in the late times, parricide and false brothers. Continues warning that we will be hated by all for the cause of Jesus Christ – Yahshua, but that those who persevere until the end shall be saved.
The abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel (9:27) standing where it ought not, it refers to the description of that Text of the so called “70th week” after the death of the Messiah. The preterits think that this already occurred when Antioch Epiphanes in 167 A.D. when he placed an image of Jupiter in the place of the altar of the ruins of the temple of Zorobabel that Ezra and Nehemiah rebuilt, which culminated with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. But this person did not do a covenant of 7 years that he did not fulfil 3.5 years after as the Bible tells for that time (which may be what is known as mid-tribulationism) for (Rev. 11) tells that half way, 42 months or 3.5 years it will come to pass.
The end of the times of the Gentiles; the 2000 years that the Church exists, until that time fulfils (Luke 21:24). This is a prophetical sign of the times in the future, when many expect the rise of the antichrist (Rev. 13:14). Some expect that he places his image in the third temple of Jerusalem that will be rebuilt. Here we find great controversy as many expect that a new temple will be built, and all is ready for it. But there is an obstacle, the Mosque of Al-Aqsa or Dome of the Rock in the Square of the Mosques, what for Israel and the Bible is Temple Mount. Will there be an earthquake and it will fall; or will it be destroyed in the last war in Palestine; or will it collapse due to archaeological excavations; or will it be the hand of God? But, is this really what it means, or is it a millenary Zionist and messianic dream of a part of some Jews and Evangelicals.
The third temple. There, the Arch of the Covenant should be placed, and many believe that it was found and that it is keep in a secret place for that day, to place it in the only physical place where God reigns (although today He does in the heart of each Christian inhabited by the Holy Spirit); however what Revelation (13:14) tells us, is that there will be an image to be worshiped and will use the temple for cult for himself, which is an abomination. The Temple Institute is an institution that has everything ready to start and does not believe it will be by the hand of God that will build it, as many Jews and Christians believe, but that it must be by the hand of the believers in the Torah. They have the clothes of the high priest, the breastplate, the utensils for the sacrifices, which are jewels, preparations for the altar, etc.
The Great Tribulation follows in the roadmap. Those in Judea to flee to the mountains because those days would be of tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.
Asteroids that impact on earth: “…and the stars of heaven will fall”. NASA has a program of identification of asteroids that are potentially dangerous as they could impact on earth. Amongst them we known of the program Apophis 99942 (999 is 666 seen from above and 42 are the months of the middle of the Great Tribulation). Apophis is the Greed divinity of chaos, and the asteroid measures 3.5 American football stadiums. According to NASA, that is the asteroid that could impact on earth in 2029, date now discarded and moved to 2036 (three and a half years after the 2000 anniversary of the death of Christ), although at NASA they continue to update their data. It is by all known that authorities inform according to their interest. If there is no solution to the impact that will destroy humanity, why inform? If there are options, there will be a mission like in the film Armageddon. The son will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. This is what is told that will take place after the Great Tribulation. And here is where the story of the signs previous to seeing the Lord comes in the clouds of heaven, which continues in the following order:
Then the sign of the Son on Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27; Revelation 1:7). And then He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27), the generation that sees this, will not pass without seeing the Lord come. In the same way Paul and exposed what was revealed to him, in his first letter to the Thessalonians (1 Ts. 4:13-17) the event known as the Rapture of the Church. This event can be understood as before, in the middle, or after, the Great Tribulation: pretribulationism, mid tribulationism (3.5 years), postribulationism.
From Abraham to Jesus Christ – Yahshua: Other great signs of the times:
Abraham was called by God from Ur of the Chaldeans, the sign of the election of a lineage of people of faith. Isaac and Jacob until they got to Egypt, and were taken out by placing the blood on the two doorposts and on the lintels. The sign of the exit from slavery towards the Promised Land and until David, the prophets, the captivities and two temples, until the promised Messiah came.
Jesus comes to the world fulfilling all the prophecies about Him, like He would be born of a virgin, in Bethlehem, or of the tribe of Judah. The magi found the Child in the manger as a sign, being guided by the sign of the star of Bethlehem. Hid did miracles, healings, resurrections and signs that no one can do, like converting water in wine, walking over the waters, feed thousands with five breads and two fishes, healed the sick, the blind can see, the lame walk, the one armed and the cripples or lepers are healed and the dead are raised. Jesus Christ raised the third day, according to prophecy after a horrible death on the Cross and ate with them before He ascended to heaven before more than 500 brethren. Transformed the mind of the wise like Nicodemus when He told him he had to be born again from the Spirit. But the more relevant was His death on the cross and His resurrection, which is the sign of salvation. But John the Baptist announced about Jesus, and part of the people were asleep and part expectant. About the signs, the Lord replied to the Scribes and Pharisees: “An evil and adulterous generation seek after a sign, and no sign will not be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Johan was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three night in the heart of the earth. “The men of Nineveh will rise up ain the judgement with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Johan; and indeed a greater than Johan is here. “The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for the came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here”. (Matthew 12:38-42). Though neither with all these signs, the more important of all times, the many did not receive the Lord.
The Church at Pentecost starts its walk with the biggest addition of greater signs that God had done through Jesus Christ and there at the Upper Room they received the tongs, and then 3000 converted, the Gentiles were called and miracles continued until the Gospel is taken to all the nations making disciples until today, despite of the persecution in the roman circus, of the martyr death of the apostles Peter and Paul, of the Inquisition against the Reformation, of the apostasy of the end times, which includes the egoism and the lack of mercy and love to the neighbour, the increase of evil in its last tale lashes that took to those great wars WWI and WWII, and the horror of the Holocaust, an event that seemed to finish with the hopes of the prophecy of the return of Israel to the Holy Land, but like many other great signs was the price for the world would give back their land in 1948. All these signs have a guide for all the children of God.
We have seen that the times carry with them signs that identify them in the prophetical plan. God always talks to us through those who are His messengers for each time, and in the same way we have seen a sequence of some of the more relevant times with their signs, we have also gone through the sequence of signs of the end times that the Texts of the Gospels reveal that are completed by Revelation, of which we have only seen some flashes. This resume, a bit schematic of the signs that the Bible reveal can help to avoid being deceived with false signs and to focus in those that are to be expected, whether we live through the pandemic or pestilence of Covid 19, which could be one of the ones included in other Texts, or the next signs that we must expect, whether from heaven, in the Church, in the government of the world, and in Jerusalem, which is the prophetical centre of the world, of the more relevant events from God for the history of humanity, and where Jesus Himself will return and place Holy foot at the of times.
But, what sins of the times are more important, those pending fulfilment in the Second Coming of Jesus and the establishment of His Kingdom, or the first that He did in His first coming? I hope this will help you start a debate, but I think the first are the more important, because without them, the second that are to come at the end of time would not be possible. The victory of Christ over Satan has already been conquered on the cross of Calvary some 2000 year ago, and proven to the world in the resurrection and ascension of the Lord to heaven. Now we know what is to come and that those who believe in Jesus Christ have eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
I close concluding that while we wait for the signs, more than signs what the Lord expects from His Church is that when He comes He finds us living a life that emanates fruits of the Spirit, the truth of His Word, the love of God and the good deeds, the same that John concluded when he wrote about the signs of the times, it was there, in his first letter, 2:7-17 insisted in the New Commandment, not that it was new, because it was old, but it was new because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining: “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him”. … “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God”. …”Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts our fear; …We love Him because He first loved us”.
Today, 31st of May 2020, still under the limitations of the pandemic of Covid 19, we celebrate Pentecost for the glory of God and wait with patience, gathered in the homes, through Internet, praying and watching, worshiping and glorifying God, and helping our neighbour as each one can, until the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ – Yahshua, King of kings and Lord of lords. Amen!