Matthew 16:1-3 – “Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for not recognizing the signs of His first coming. The religious leaders of His day had full knowledge of the prophecies of the Messiah, yet these religious leaders ignored the signs and still rejected Him. Being a meteorologist, forecasting the weather and discerning the signs of the times go hand in hand for me. Unlike the religious leaders of the first century, I refuse to ignore the signs of the Lord’s return!
What are the signs of the Lord’s return? How do these signs show us that the Lord’s return is soon? Jesus refers to these signs as “birth pangs.” In the “Olivet Discourse” study, I discuss in detail what “birth pangs” are. Here are the “birth pangs” Jesus told us to watch for:
- Wars and rumors of wars
- World wars
- Earthquakes in diverse places
- Fearful sights and great signs in the heavens
- False prophets
The signs of the Lord’s return will be like “birth pangs,” in that they will be increasing in frequency and intensity before Jesus returns (Matthew 24:8). Therefore, we can use the “birth pangs” to gauge how close we are to the Lord’s return. The “birth pangs” occurring on a regional scale today, will become global in the Tribulation, as described in Revelation 6. When these “birth pangs” begin to have large-scale consequences, on the verge of becoming global, we know the Lord’s return is imminent:
|Regional Birth Pangs||Global Seal Judgments|
|Many false christs Matthew 24:4-5,11, Mark 13:5-6, Luke 21:8||1st Seal One ultimate false christ, the Antichrist Revelation 6:1-2|
|Wars and rumors of wars Matthew 24:6-7, Mark 13:7-8, Luke 21:9||2nd Seal Global war Revelation 6:3-4|
|Famine, pestilence and troubles in various places Matthew 24:7-8, Mark 13:8, Luke 21:11||3rd & 4th Seal Global scarcity. 1/4th Earth subject to death Revelation 6:5-8|
|Persecution and martyr of some saints Matthew 24:9,13 & Mark 13:9-13||5th Seal Martyr of saints unrestrained Revelation 6:9-11|
|Earthquakes in various places Matthew 24:7, Mark 13:8, Luke 21:11||6th Seal Wrath of the Lamb worldwide earthquake Revelation 6:12-17|
The super sign that shows we are in the end times is that Israel is a nation again. The Jewish people are returning from exile. After nearly two millennia of rejection, God is going to call them His people again (Hosea 1:9, Romans 9:25-26), but first He must deal with their transgression of the Law (Daniel 9:24).
God is not going to wait for several generations to deal with Israel. God has brought His chosen people out of exile to deal with their transgression, in preparation for the Millennium. Many people, including myself, believe that the sign of the fig tree in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 show that God is going to fulfill all these signs within the life of the generation who witnessed the rebirth of Israel as a nation.
As we move closer to the Tribulation period, we should see an increase of the following signs:
Daniel 12:4 – Increase in knowledge and travel – This will support globalization.
Matthew 24:7, Mark 13:8, Luke 21:11 – Famines and pestilences – Due to increase in natural disasters and war.
Revelation 11:9 – Satellite technology – People from all over the world will be able to view the two dead witnesses.
Revelation 13:16-17 – Computer technology – The mark of the beast will be a cashless society.
Revelation 13:16-17 – Global currency – All other currencies will crumble.
2 Timothy 3:1-8 – Rampant immorality and hedonism – Increase in selfishness and resistance to absolute truth.
A “perfect storm” is brewing. Since Israel has been back in the land, we have seen an explosion in technology and travel, now called the “Information Age.” Constantly, there are wars and rumors of wars. There has also been a drastic increase in the intensity in natural disasters. In just the last few years, these disasters have become a threat to the global food supply.
Immorality is certainly on the rise, with legalized abortion and homosexual marriage, in addition to rising fornication, adultery, and divorce. Hedonism has helped to lead the world into the credit crises we are in, which is threatening to collapse economies around the globe.
Because of the credit crisis, there have been calls to form a new global currency. This could easily be instituted as a cashless currency. Cash is not widely used anymore, due to advances in computer technology. The technology of the mark of the beast is here, as computer chips are already being embedded in animals, and people who have diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
Having personally gone through natural child-birth twice, in my opinion it looks like the biblical “birth pangs” are nearing the point of transition, where the regional “birth pangs,” with regional consequences, will “transition” to global judgments, with global consequences during the Tribulation period. Also, lulls between these “birth pangs” are becoming shorter, reflecting the increasing frequency between them, just like human birth pangs.
Those who don’t think we are in the end times, I believe have taken the “epidural” of blindness. Anybody even casually watching can see the lateness of the hour. I believe that the rapture of the Church will be the catalyst to “transition” these signs, from a regional to a global scale:
Luke 21:34-36 – “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
The more I watch, the more I find that I cannot not watch; if that makes sense. A perfect storm is brewing, and the signs are all pointing to the ever more imminent return of Jesus Christ.
Specific “birth pangs” in the headlines
Luke 21:25-28 – “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
Jesus told us to watch for specific signs leading up to his return. These signs are the “birth pangs” discussed above. When these signs “begin” to happen, we know our redemption is near. While this redemption is ultimately speaking of Israel at the 2nd Coming of Jesus, the “birth pangs” have already begun. In other words, as the “birth pangs” increase in frequency and intensity before our eyes, we know that the Church’s redemption in the rapture is that much sooner.
To track the “birth pangs” click here.
The following are excellent articles about the “signs of the times”: