Summary: Just as the Pharisees didn’t read the clear signs of the first coming of Jesus,many people today are missing the clear signs that point to the second coming of Christ. Four spiritual signs that are too bold to miss.
When you hear the phrase, “It’s a sign of the times” what comes to your mind? If you’re into music you might think of the #1 hit song in the 1960s by Petula Clark, “It’s a sign of the times, that your love for me is getting so much stronger.”
We often use that expression when we see something that has become a part of our lives that is different from the way things used to be. When you see someone texting you think, “It’s just a sign of the times that everyone seems to have a smart phone these days.” That sign is because of the change in technology. In other words, “the signs of the times” always point to some important changes happening in our world.
It’s not a new expression. In His ongoing debate with the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus accused them of being unable to interpret the signs of the times. We can read about this encounter in Matthew 16:1-4:
“The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, ‘When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.’ Jesus then left them and went away.”
Jesus was amazed that these religious do-gooders could look at the sky and read the signs to know what kind of weather was coming, but they couldn’t read the sign of His presence among them as the Messiah. He said the only sign they would get would be the sign of Jonah. That’s clear prediction of His resurrection. Jesus said in Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
It is easier to read weather signs than spiritual signs. Jesus’ remark about seeing a red sky was also expressed in an age-old sailors’ adage. “Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.”
If you live in East Texas long enough you can start reading the signs of weather changes. In a few weeks, you’re going to head out one morning and it will be 80 degrees. But during the day you’ll notice a shift in the wind direction from the north. If you can read the signs you know that one of our famous “Blue Northers” is on the way. Cold air is diving down from Canada and though you were wearing short sleeves that morning, you’ll be pulling out your coat by that night. One of the most famous blue northers happened on 11/11/11. That’s November 11, 1911. Early in the day the temperature in Dallas was a balmy 83 degrees by that evening the temperature had plummeted to 17 degrees. That’s a 66 degree change, and that record still stands today. If you don’t read the signs of a blue norther coming, you’re going to be shivering in your short sleeves!
What Jesus said to the Religious Mafia 2,000 years ago is true for us as well. We can read the signs of the weather, but we are often blind to the spiritual signs all around us. The Pharisees didn’t read the clear signs of the first coming of Jesus, and many people are missing the clear signs that point to the second coming of Christ. Let me share with you four spiritual signs that are too bold to miss.
SIGN ONE: THE REGATHERING OF ISRAEL
The nation of Israel was destroyed in 70 A.D. when the Roman General Titus captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Jewish Temple. For the next 2,500 years, the Jews were spread out across the globe. Beginning in the early 20th century, a few Jews started trickling back into Palestine at the risk of their lives. Then in after WWII, the British government was given authority over Palestine and in 1948, Israel became a nation again through the action of the United Nations. This is the clearest sign in our world about the second coming of Christ.
This should not have come as a surprise to any Bible scholar, because this re-gathering of Israel is predicted many times in scripture. The prophet Amos wrote: “I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them…I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God. (Amos 9:14-15) And Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this generation [ethnos] will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (Luke 21:32)