It’s true that Jesus said that no one would know “the day or the hour” of His return, but He also rebuked the Pharisees for failing to see and understand the signs of their times. In Matthew chapter 24 and Luke chapter 21 King Jesus gave His inquiring disciples signs that would indicate the general time of His return. I believe that He gave them the signs for a reason. He didn’t engage in idle chatter. One major reason is encouragement of believers in an extremely evil, horror-filled and very dangerous time.
It used to be that some Christians expressed their most basic doctrines by these words: “The Book, the Blood, and the Blessed Hope.” The Blessed Hope – of Christ’s return for His Church before the Great Tribulation – will be the topic of several articles.
“According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first! After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever! Therefore encourage one another with these words!” (1st Thessalonians 4:15-18)
“When you see all these things, lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28)
First sign: “… many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not follow them.” Wikipedia has a list of thirty-five, going all the way back to 4BC. (They include Jesus of Nazareth in the list.) 23% of that list were born in or after 1950. 54% were born after 1900. 83% were born in the 19th century or later.
Second sign: “And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” The Amplified Bible translates “tumults” as “insurrections (disturbances, disorder, and confusion)”. Because of space limitations, this article will be confined to this sign only of the Lord’s near return. The other signs are necessary to validate that the fulfillment of the Blessed Hope is near (“When you see ALL these things”) and we’ll look at them in other articles. Take a look at some of the “insurrections (disturbances, disorder, and confusion)” going on at about the same time around the globe. Trust me, this isn’t even close. And I have not mentioned the wars actually being fought right now.
US / Syria: “The United States will repel any attempt to take Syria’s oil fields away from U.S.-backed Syrian militia with ‘overwhelming force,’ whether the opponent is Islamic State or even forces backed by Russia or Syria, the Pentagon said on Monday.”
Consider that President Trump has ordered the production of low-yield nuclear weapons. Suddenly “overwhelming force” takes on a whole new dimension.
Turkey: “Turkey will clear northeast Syria of Kurdish YPG militia if Russia does not fulfill its obligations under an accord that helped end a Turkish offensive in the region, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.”
Britain: “Last week, hundreds of thousands of Britons marched through London to demand a new Brexit referendum.”
Hong Kong: “Hong Kong has fallen into recession, hit by five months of anti-government protests that erupted in flames at the weekend…”
Iraq: “Thousands of Iraqi protesters stood fast in Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square on Sunday, defying a bloody crackdown that killed scores over the weekend and an overnight raid by security forces seeking to disperse them.”
Italy: “Italy, which already has the third-largest population of migrants in Europe, is undergoing an ‘unbearable’ crisis, and now faces the real risk of an ‘Africanisation’, as Stephen Smith called it in his book, The Scramble for Europe … The native Italian population is already shrinking rapidly. Without the foreigners, every year native Italians would die (615,000) at twice the rate of births (380,000). Eurostat, the European official statistics office, calculates that by 2080, one-fifth of Italians will come from migration background (11 million of Italy’s 53 million)”
Lebanon: “… no sign of moves by the government to give ground to protesters whose demands include its resignation … Banks remained closed on Monday. They have been shut for nine working days, citing safety concerns. Bankers and analysts also cited wide fears depositors will try to take out their savings when banks reopen.”
Argentina: “Argentina’s Peronists swept back into power on Sunday, ousting conservative president Mauricio Macri in an election result that shifts Latin America’s No. 3 economy firmly back toward the left … Argentina is one of the world’s top grain exporters, is stirring the energy world with its huge Vaca Muerta shale field and is on the cusp of restructuring talks with creditors over $100 billion in debt.”
Mozambique: “During his second five-year term, Nyusi will be responsible for overseeing a gas boom led by oil giants such as Exxon Mobil Corp and Total, battling a festering Islamist insurgency … It was hoped the Oct. 15 poll could … put a definitive end to four decades of violence between Frelimo and Renamo … Instead the deal is at risk of falling apart as opposition parties reject the results, claiming they were tarnished by fraud, violence and irregularities from the outset. Frelimo says the elections were free and fair.”
Kashmir / India / Pakistan: “Pakistan has condemned the change of status of the territory, where militants have been fighting Indian rule for nearly 30 years, leading to the deaths of more than 50,000 people. It warned the decision could drive more Muslims to extremism across the world … The Kashmir dispute has bedeviled relations between the two nuclear-armed nations and sparked two of their three wars.”
Bolivia, after disputed presidential election: “Citing ‘massive fraud’, [losing challenger] Mesa called for a strike in La Paz on Monday, which would intensify days of protests that have already seen electoral offices in some regions torched and large marches and strikes in major cities … Morales [incumbent] had warned on Saturday that his rural supporters would besiege cities that continue to protest his victory.”
Chile: “Chile, the world’s top copper producer, has long been one of the region’s most prosperous and stable free-market economies. But entrenched inequality and spiraling costs of living ignited massive, and sometimes violent, protests last week … In Chile, a hike in subway fares more than a week ago proved the breaking point. Small protests quickly boiled over into riots that have killed at least 17 people, resulted in more than 7,000 arrests and caused upwards of $1.4 billion in losses to Chilean businesses.”
I don’t expect you to be encouraged until we’ve reviewed the other signs. They’ll really up your happiness quotient. 😉