Could all the terrible natural disasters occurring lately be signs of Jesus' soon return?
Jesus told us in Luke 21, beginning with verse 11. "There will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines. And there will be terrors and great signs from Heaven."
Speaking of the signs of the end times, the Bible is full of what we call "signs of the times." These are signs that we are told to watch for in the end times that will point to the season of the Lord's return so that we can know the general season.
I studied these signs for many, many years, and I've tried to get a handle on them by putting them into categories. These are the categories that I have come up with.
1) Signs of Nature
First are the signs of nature. God has always worked through signs of nature. He continues to do so today. We'll come back to this in detail later in the series. This is the category of signs that are least respected.
2) Signs of Society
Second are the signs of society. The Bible says that society is going to go full circle. It's going to become as immoral and evil as it was in the days of Noah, and then the Lord Jesus Christ will return.
3) Spiritual Signs
Thirdly, there are the spiritual signs, both negative and positive. The negative ones are very, very negative. They are things like the persecution of Christians in the end times, the Church being assaulted by heresy and apostasy, things like doctrines of demons, and people wanting to have their ears tickled by cults, false prophets and false Christ's. The list goes on and on and on.
But, thank God, there are also positive spiritual signs, such as the preaching of the Gospel all over the world — a great pouring out of the Holy Spirit in the end times. The Bible always pictures two outpourings of the Holy Spirit — the early rains and the latter rains, using the rains of Israel as an example. The early rains came at Pentecost and the latter rains will in the end times after the re-establishment of the nation of Israel. We have seen that happen as the Gospel has been proclaimed literally all over the world.
So, we have both the positive and negative spiritual signs.
4) Signs of World Politics
Fourthly, there are the signs of World Politics. Before I went into the ministry in 1980, I taught international law and politics for 20 years at the university level. This was an area of special interest to me. The Bible predicts that in the end times there is going to be a certain configuration of nations that will come together, and those Arab nations will come against Israel, there will be a menacing power to the far north, the Old Roman Empire will come back together, and on and on it goes. We are the first generation ever to live when all of those particular signs have been fulfilled.
5) Signs of Technology
Fifthly, there are also signs of technology. I refer to these because there are many prophecies in the Bible that no one has ever understood until our generation. We are the only generation that's ever lived that's understood certain prophecies, and the reason we understand them is because of technological developments.
A good example is in Revelation 11, where it says two great witnesses of God are going to be the conscience of the world during the first three and a half years of the Tribulation. Then it says that the Antichrist will go to Jerusalem and declare himself to be god in the flesh, and the first thing he will do is kill those two witnesses. It says their bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 1/2 days and the whole world will look upon them. Then, as the whole world is watching, they will suddenly come to life and be raptured. We're the only generation that's ever understood that prophecy. No other generation has ever been able to understand how the whole world could look upon two bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem. Today we read it and we don't even think about it. All you have to do is point a TV camera at two bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem and zap it up to a satellite and the whole world can watch those two bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem.
6) Signs of Israel
Sixthly and finally, there are the signs of Israel. The signs of Israel are the most important of all. They are more important than all the rest put together, and there is a reason for that. It's because Israel is God's prophetic time clock. I don't know if you've ever thought about that or not, but when God talks about the future, He often uses Israel as His time clock. He will say to the affect, "I'm going to do this in the future and I'm going to do that when this happens to Israel. So, watch Israel. When that happens, this will happen. When that happens, this will happen." Jesus did that in the last week of His life. Sitting on the Mount of Olives, in summary He said, "Watch the city of Jerusalem. It will fall to the Gentiles. The Jews will be scattered all over the world and the day will come when the Jews will be re-gathered to the city of Jerusalem, and when they are back in Jerusalem, you will know that I am about to return." They returned on June 7, 1967. He said, "Watch Israel, watch Israel." Israel is God's prophetic time clock, and so we are to watch Israel.
There are four major prophecies about Israel in the end times:
- One is the re-gathering of the Jewish people from the four corners of the Earth in unbelief, which occurred during the 20th Century and continues today.
- The second is the re-establishment of the State of Israel which occurred on May 14, 1948.
- The third is the re-occupation of Jerusalem, which occurred June 7, 1967.
- The fourth is the re-focusing of world politics upon Israel upon on one issue. Zechariah 12 says the whole world will come against Israel over one issue which is the control of Jerusalem, and that is exactly where we are today.
The fulfillment of these four prophecies clearly indicates that we are living on the threshold of the Tribulation, that we are living on borrowed time, and that Jesus is at the very gates of Heaven waiting for His Father's command to return!
In the next segment of this "God, Judgment and the Weather" series, we'll look at why the Signs of Nature that point to Christ's soon return get so little respect.