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The Times of the Signs – Part One – By Ed Wood

The phrase, “Signs of the Times,” is no doubt familiar to anyone who visits this blog, but can we turn this round and use the sequence of them to give us a clue as to how far along we are on the prophetic timeline?  Using the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21), let’s do a “status check” on the signs Jesus told us would be coming to the world after his Ascension.

Fulfilled

TEMPLE DESTROYED

This sign was completed within forty years of Jesus’ prediction when the Roman General Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70. Though Jerusalem exists once again and is under Israeli jurisdiction, the Temple Mount is under control of the Muslim Waqf and the site is presently occupied by the Dome of the Rock and the Al – Aqsa Mosque.

In  Progress

FALSE PROPHETS

It’s important to bear in mind that “prophecy” is not limited to the disclosing of future events, but anything presented as being messages from God. Naturally, there are those who have taken it upon themselves to pass along lies in God’s name. They’ve been around a long time. The passage below from the Old Testament provides the way to recognize a false prophet :

Deuteronomy {13:1-3} If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and  giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

In Jesus’ time we have:

Matthew {7:15-20} Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Jesus is the speaker).

Many of the Epistles were written to combat false doctrine presented by lying prophets as well:

1 Timothy {4:1} Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.

1 John {2:18-19, 2:22-23} Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many  antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out,] that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. . . . Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

That this kind of activity is increasing and is evident in the falling away of what comprises much of “organized religion” today. Much of Protestantism in the Western World has denied Jesus (sometimes, even his gender!) as the only means of salvation. Many have accepted homosexual lifestyles, even among their clergy which the Bible clearly opposes. These false teachings are nothing less than the “doctrines of devils” being promoted by lying prophets.

The worst of these deceivers appears at the end of the age during the Tribulation, namely the Antichrist and his henchman, the False Prophet:

Revelation {13:11-12} And I beheld another beast* coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast** before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. *The False Prophet (Revelation 19:20); **the Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 13:2)

Multiple Signs – One Verse

Matthew {24:7} For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

WAR

The Twentieth Century was the deadliest in terms of casualties due to warfare, the First and Second World Wars alone accounting for millions. Along with these, there were more major military conflicts in that century than any which preceded it and the warlike tendencies of this past century appear  not to have abated in the Twenty-First.

Indeed, it will be a war of an unprecedented scale that if allowed to continue would very likely be the end of the human race entirely, were it not for the direct intervention of Jesus himself (Revelation 16:12-14; 19:11-21).

FAMINE

This is unmistakably increasing, especially in Third World countries as the result in overpopulation accompanied by a deterioration in the ability of the land itself to produce food. Part of the reason can be attributed to yet another sign, that of natural disasters, which we will shortly see. Even in the industrialized countries such as the U.S., though there are not the extremes of hunger of the magnitude we see in other parts of the world, a significant percentage of their populations go to bed hungry every day.

PESTILENCE

Disease is increasing across the world and there are many reasons. In no particular order, here are the main reasons, in my opinion. Poverty is getting worse world-wide which deprives people of healthy living conditions ans access to medical care. Pathogens are adapting and becoming resistant to pharmaceuticals that formerly were effective. The relative ease, speed, and modest cost of travel and transport has provided an accelerated mechanism for the transmission of diseases quicker and over wider areas than ever before.

EARTHQUAKES AND NATURAL DISASTERS

United States Geological Survey data clearly indicates that seismic activity has ramped up considerably since the turn of the century for reasons that are not understood. Accompanying these, hardly a day goes by when extreme weather stories do not appear in the news. This year (2019), vast areas of the United States alone have hit with major flooding and unusually powerful spring snowstorms. Formerly record breaking meteorological events have now become commonplace.

The Human Condition in the Last Days

PEOPLE GET WORSE

Look at how people are acting of the opening decades of this century and see if it squares up with what the Bible predicts. Ask yourself: Do these nearly 2000 year-old passages sound very familiar in our own time?

Matthew {24:12} And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Jesus is the speaker.)

2 Timothy {3:1-4} This know also, that in the last days perilous times  shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.

Let’s face it, unless you’ve been marooned on a desert island for the past half a century, you know that the answer is a definite “Yes!” It seems like every day we are encountering blatant examples of all of the above. The behavior ranges for the more subtle instances of people just looking for pleasure above all else to the extremes of sociopaths committing crimes on a frequency and magnitude hitherto unprecedented. It’s becoming increasingly easier to believe that the inmates are in firm control of the asylum.

CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED

Matthew {24:9-10} Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended,  and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. (Jesus is the speaker.)

Jesus was the first to die for the truth that he was not only the Son of God, but God himself and he made it clear that those who also believed this would likewise subject to persecution – up to, and including death. Of all his original apostles, except for Judas Iscariot who betrayed him and subsequently committed suicide, only John died of natural causes at an advanced age.

In the intervening centuries, history records the many accounts of those persecuted even up to the point of death for their Christian beliefs. There are probably even more whose did so whose names are known to God alone. The persecution continues today, notable in atheistic and Muslim societies where proclaiming that one is a Christian will subject a person to prison or death.

It is certainly not limited to these extremes because even in a free nation like the United States, those who believe in Jesus are increasingly subject to discrimination. For example, in our public schools, Jesus and God have been effectively banned by the Supreme Court since 1963. That this obvious infringement on our First Amendment rights and freedoms has been allowed to stand for 56 years is, to me, even more distressing that this unjust ruling itself. Perhaps what it reveals is that in the United States, God’s opponents are more dedicated to their cause than those who call themselves followers of Christ.

Perhaps even more telling is that those who believe in the Jesus of Scripture often find themselves unwelcome in the congregations of most of the liberal denominations of the church today. It seems these organizations have an open mind toward just about everything except those things revealed as truth in the Bible and the people who maintain that Scripture alone is the ultimate authority.

GOSPEL PREACHED WORLDWIDE

Matthew {24:14} And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Jesus is the speaker.)

With the invention of the Gutenberg printing press in the Fifteenth Century, the age began in which printed material could be mass-produced, ultimately making it affordable by the general public. (Interestingly, the Bible was the most notable product of his press.) From that beginning, the Bible remains the best-selling book in the world.

No longer limited to only a physical document, the Bible is now freely available in a multitude of languages on the Internet, accessible anywhere on the planet where one has a laptop, power supply, and a satellite link. We presently see Jesus’ words on this subject fulfilled on a level surpassing any other time in history. Yet, the dissemination of the Bible will go beyond technology into the supernatural during the Tribulation:

Revelation {14:6-7} And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

It seems that in our present time and the turbulent years of the Tribulation, God is still giving people the chance to make the choice of whether to accept or reject him. It certainly makes a defense of ignorance a lot less tenable, doesn’t it?

FAMILIES IN STRIFE

Mark {13:12} Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against [their] parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.

In totalitarian societies, the situation was (and remains) grim. For example, the betrayal of a family member to the Gestapo in Hitler’s Germany was considered the duty of a loyal citizen. This outrageous sort of practice continued in Soviet Russia and no doubt has been replicated in many authoritarian regimes past and present. There continue to be beheadings by those who have converted from Islam to Christianity, some betrayed by family members in fundamentalist Muslim nations where such conversions are considered a capital offense.

Free nations, such as the U.S., are not immune to family problems. Even in the instances where an intact family exists, too often economic necessity requires the income of both mother and father to support the household which leaves the rearing of the children, even in infancy, in the hands of a daycare center. Now this is not in any way meant to malign these dedicated and often underpaid individuals who provide this service, but one must wonder if anyone other than a parent can be as committed to the child’s best interests.

Complicating these matters is the growing number of  single-parent families where what should be a shared responsibility is now shouldered by only one person – a situation which is, at best, a lot tougher economically and emotionally on both parent and child.

Finally, in a direct threat to the traditional family, as I see it, is the legalization of “gay” marriage and allowing same-sex couples to adopt children, thus exposing them to a lifestyle which not only the Bible declares as objectively wrong, but, up until very recent times, so has secular society. As to where this will lead in the years ahead, one can only guess. My personal guess is that it will not lead to anything good.

Conclusion

Of all the signs given here, one has been fulfilled, the others are already in progress. Now where do we stand in the prophetic timeline at this point? I believe we’ve arrived at the point where NO additional prophecies, except the Rapture, need to be fulfilled before the Tribulation period begins. The signs that remain will only come to pass until the last seven years of this age have begun. We’ll look at them in the second part of this article. Now, more than ever, let’s remember the words Jesus told his disciples concerning the Last Days:

And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” Mark 13:37


9 Comments

  1. Darrell Creamer says:

    I totally disagree with your conclusion that there are no remaining prophecies to be fulfilled before the tribulation. The rapture must happen first.

    Have a blessed day/shalom

    >

    • Ed Wood says:

      Hello again.

      On subsequent reflection, I thought it might be better it I applied this correction to Part One immediately:

      “I believe we’ve arrived at the point where NO additional prophecies, except the Rapture need to be fulfilled before the Tribulation period begins.”

      Once again, thanks a lot for the correction and helping me get this right!

      God bless – once more!

  2. Ed Wood says:

    Hello Darrell.

    Of course, you are right in that the Rapture must occur before the Tribulation, which itself opens the door for the remaining Olivet Prophecies to occur.

    I used Tribulation as a prophecy benchmark instead of the Rapture because we don’t know just how much time elapses before these two events Therefore, I felt the Tribulation Time was a much clearer landmark in that the remaining Olivet prophecies indeed will not occur until after the Tribulation begins.

    Nevertheless, you made a very good point and I’ll make sure I make it clear in the next article that the Rapture must indeed precede the Tribulation and the prophecies that will occur during those last seven years of history as we know it.

    Thanks for writing. It’ll help me do a better job for Part 2.

    God bless.

  3. Gerald O’Dell Gerald O’Dell Teach us how to Pray:
    The invisible One “Good” Living Spirit of The Living Spirit of the Holy Heavenly Almighty Father GOD…of his Holy Heavenly Family.
    The Happy Mother Day to the Holy Spirit. Who is the Living Spirit of the Beautiful Holy Spirit, a Happy Mother Day. In the Living Spirit of the Holy Son; Holy Jesus Christ, Holy Name on the Holy Cross Amen. From the “Book of Prophecy” by Gerald O’Dell. From KJV TO “BOOK OF PROPHECY took 16 years to do. Love the Book come alive on you. { This invisible Magical Energies from who the Lord of spirits of devils?
    The Eyes Are Useless When the Mind is Blinded.
    FROM HEAVEN. Your lying Heart never be honest with you as written. the Holy Teacher facebook

  4. hawk2017 says:

    Good one. Ty.

    • Ed Wood says:

      Glad you liked the article. I did make a correction in the conclusion which mentions that the also Rapture has to happen before the Tribulation begins, thanks to Darrell’s comment.

      Best regards, God bless.
      Ed

  5. I felt that it is obvious to those like us that are remnant believers and watchers that the rapture is a given. Just me, I guess. Looking forward to Part 2. Thank you much!! God bless.

    • Ed Wood says:

      Thanks very much, Dawn.

      I’m actually very glad Darrell pointed out my omission, because it was an important one. The appropriate correction has been made . . . and underlined. It makes my conclusion more accurate.

      Thanks also for the kind words – they are very much appreciated. Part Two will cover all the prophecies that will only begin once the Tribulation starts.

      Luckily for us, we’ll be gone before they do!

      Keep looking up – and God bless!

      Ed

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