Commanded to Know the Signs of the Times
The Command to Know the Generation
Jesus actually commanded the people in the generation of His return to know that His return was near when they saw all the sign events of Matthew 24 occurring at the same time. There is only one generation in which all these things happen simultaneously on a global basis (Matthew 24:33-34).
Rebuked for Not Discerning the Generation:
Jesus spoke sternly with those in His generation for not being able to read the signs of His first coming. Asking for a sign was a legitimate request because Joel prophesied that the Messiah would give signs from Heaven (Joel 2:30). Their hypocrisy was in testing Jesus by asking for signs beyond those He did (Matthew 16:1-4, Luke 19:42-44).
The Command to Know the Season (more narrow than the generation)
Paul taught that the Church should actually know the times and seasons related to the Lord’s coming (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6).
This exhortation was written to a church that Paul had birthed but was only able to spend 3 weeks at. Paul teaches these new believers to confidently understand these in depth matters of knowing the times and seasons.
Paul says that we are not in darkness so that the Day of the Lord should overtake us like a thief. He says this to show that suffering loss from a thief can be avoided by watching and knowing the signs.
The Postulation That We Would Eventually Know the Day
At the time of Jesus’ teaching, not even He knew when He would return. He only knew the signs that would precede it, at which point He would know with increasing clarity the day and hour. He says that things will be like they were in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:36-37).
Noah was told 120 years in advance when the flood was coming (Genesis 6:13-17). This can be likened to the period of Birth Pangs which mark the generation.
Afterward, Noah was told 7 days out that God was going to flood the earth, telling him to make proper arrangements (Genesis 7:4). This clarified to Noah the “day” the flood would come. This can be likened to the years just before the start of the Tribulation and even the first 3.5 years.
Finally, on the day God indicated, God shut Noah and his family up in the ark (Genesis 7:11-16). The lost world had no idea about what God was doing. The signs had been there all along; a man building a huge boat for 120 years, example of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5).
So it will be in the last days. Those who, like Noah’s generation, pay no attention to the signs will be caught off guard like a thief in the night. But those who, like Noah, hear what the Lord is saying and heed the call will be awake and ready for His return (Matthew 24:42-44).
5 Common Lies Against Knowing the Signs
1. We Can’t Understand End-Time Scriptures:
This lie says that the signs of the times that Jesus gave as signs can not be known and so they are voided. Scripture was written to be understood by all (2 Timothy 3:16).
2. The End-Times Are a Distraction
This lie says that understanding the End-Times will minimize the work of the Kingdom because people will be distracted by the message.
While it is true that it is possible to take the study of the End-Times to unhealthy and incorrect places (as is the case with any study), the study of the End-Times is really the study of the Man of the End-Times, Jesus!
Spending time on these subjects causes our hearts to become more alive and in love with Christ as we see His remarkable leadership.
The work of understanding, teaching and preparing for these events is part of the great commandment because Jesus taught much about this subject and promised to come back.
3. We Can’t Know When He Will Come
This lie says that since Jesus said no one knew the day or hour of His return we should not try to know the times and seasons or the signs of the generation of His return.
The truth is that the Scriptures require those in the last generation to know it and prepare accordingly.
Jesus and Paul emphasized the know-ability of the prophetic signs of the End-Times
Though Jesus didn’t know the day or hour doesn’t mean He or we won’t. In fact, we will know with great precision once a few of the Biblical signs occur.
For instance, once the Antichrist sets himself up in the temple there will be 3.5 years until Christ returns (Daniel 9:27)
4. Every Generation Believed They Were the Last One
While it may be true that a small number (probably 1% or less) of each generation thought they were the last generation, it was never world-wide or sustained.
Some in history spoke of the End-Times when a great crisis occurred but it was temporary.
There have only been 2 generations with the sustained belief that they were/are the last generation: the 1st century church and our current generation.
5. It Will All Pan Out In the End
This lie says that it will all work out so there’s no reason to worry about all of this.
The truth is that the signs and warnings are there to serve us, not amuse us.
Paying attention to the signs and being ready means understanding, salvation and being found in God’s will as the times approach.
Warnings are not neutral, they have consequences if not heeded.
The signs are an expression of God’s love and concern for us.
I want to thank my good friend Brad Stroup, Director of the Prayer Room DFW, for teaching this information to me and many others! Brad has studied the Signs of the Times for several years now, teaching on it most weekends at the Prayer Room DFW and has a clarity on this subject that surpasses my understanding.
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