Signs of the Times: Part 1 of 2 - By Ron Ferguson -
How Do We Understand This, Our Age?
Matt 16:2-4 "But 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, 'There will be a storm today for the sky is red and threatening.' Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?"
Matt 16:4 "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and a sign will not be given it except the sign of Jonah,' and He left them and went away."
The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus, trying to trick Him to gain an advantage; and He spoke those verses and made reference to Jonah which had to do with His death, burial and resurrection. His enemies were reprimanded for not being able to discern the signs of the time. They knew how to discern the atmospheric signs and tell the next day's weather, but they had no idea how to discern the signs that indicated Jesus was the Messiah, confirmed by His undisputed miracles. If they had known the scriptures, they would have recognized that Jesus was the Messiah. It was as clear as that. Had they been Old Testament scholars as they claimed they were, then they would have known all the scriptures that supported that. They were frauds.
What is meant by "the signs of the times"? For me, it means being able to understand the days in which we/you live in relation to God's program and prophecies in the bible, and the unfolding events in the world; in other words, indicators of events. This is what makes it so exciting. Christians are distressed at the growing evil and anti-godliness in the world, and that has happened so very quickly in our generation.
The items covered in Timothy for "the last days" (2 Tim 3:1-5) sit right in our time. Another verse says evil men will grow from bad to worse. The verse in context explains why Christians face increasing difficulty in these days. "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Tim 3:12-13).
I am not going to examine the many facets of government in Australia which have led to God's order being overthrown, and who are the people involved in this.
I think we need to note this very carefully. The opening verse in 2 Timothy 3 is this - "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come."
The word "perilous" - (KJV) "difficult" (NASB, Holman, ESV) "terrible" (NIV) - means "hard to do or to bear; troublesome, harsh, fierce, oppressive, annoying, fiercely difficult to cope, even injurious." Consider each of those carefully. For some Christians and people generally in some countries, this is happening for them. We in Australia and the developed world are more sheltered. Has the world reached that place yet? The Chinese virus and the failed oil price (April 20th) with the collapsing financial money market has placed us in those times.
Throw into all that this current pandemic, the "corona virus" or the "Chinese virus," and you have a vulnerable world, scarcely able to cope. The world struggles for a solution, but China has manipulated this for its own advantage. It is eyeing the distressed world because its brand of communism wants world rule. For some time, China has been spreading its influence throughout, buying up large enterprises in many countries. Numerous countries have many of their assets in Chinese hands already. I think it is worthwhile reporting a News release from 13 April 2020 where Chinese scientists were sharing their research in this virus with peer scientists in the world, and now the Communist Government has censored it:
"Hong Kong (CNN) China has imposed restrictions on the publication of academic research on the origins of the novel coronavirus according to a central government directive and online notices published by two Chinese universities, that have since been removed from the web.
Under the new policy, all academic papers on Covid-19 will be subject to extra vetting before being submitted for publication. Studies on the origin of the virus will receive extra scrutiny and must be approved by central government officials, according to the now-deleted posts. A medical expert in Hong Kong who collaborated with mainland researchers to publish a clinical analysis of Covid-19 cases in an international medical journal said his work did not undergo such vetting in February. The increased scrutiny appears to be the latest effort by the Chinese government to control the narrative on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 177,240 (April 22nd) lives and sickened 2.56 million people worldwide since it first broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December."
That means that the world is again disadvantaged as it was in the outbreak of the virus when China refused to tell the world, but let it spread through the world before the world knew what was happening. Evil governments produce evil men. I don't need to explain to you the injustice, the wicked policies that have been made law, or the decay of all morality, which also includes justice, honesty, fairness, and the pursuit of goodness. We see that decay continually.
Returning to the signs of the times, how do we understand our current world? Everything needs to be examined scripturally. God has given us His prophetic program, so that is the basis for interpreting our times. Our Bible study group has been working through the Minor Prophets in great detail, and we understand what is ahead for this world. The nation of Israel is key to much of this prophecy, and the wise Bible student will keep his eyes on Israel.
The Rapture of the Church is the event on the horizon. We understand that to be very, very close as we study the signs of the times. After that, the events of the Tribulation unfurl from Rev 6:1 onwards, and some of those events can be understood in some small measure as we understand our world. The current pandemic is a mild forerunner of the pale horse, the 4th one of Rev 6; the whole earth seeing events in Jerusalem instantly as required by Rev 11:8-10, and is understood in cell/mobile phones - these things we must study.
At this juncture I must say something about the great rise of self-proclaimed prophets coming on the scene.
2 Pet 2:1-3 "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned, and in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep."
I won't name them, or at least the ones I know, which is only a drop in the bucket. I don't wish to offend anyone, but there are no prophets today. They ceased with the completion of scripture in AD 96 when God's entire will and program was delivered to us. There is no more revelation. None, but these false prophets are on about predicting happenings and reading dates, setting dates, and blood moons and making nebulous prophecies like, "There is someone listening to me who has pain in the lower back...."
A BIBLICAL PARALLEL: One matter that I have been considering quite seriously concerns our current times. I speak for Australia and the United States. As I talk about this, I am aware that some may disagree, and that is fine if you have studied it in detail and have an understanding of our times that is biblical but different from mine. We need to look at a biblical time before destruction descended on Judah around 597 B.C.
Manasseh, son of King Hezekiah, was probably the most wicked king to reign in Judah (2 Kings chapter 21) and did horrible abominations. He also had the longest reign of 55 years. Wickedness like that permeates among the people, but it is true that a wicked people gain over them a wicked ruler as evil leaven. A wicked generation wants wicked rulers. So it was in the case of Manasseh. When he died, his son Amon ascended the throne, but he was just as evil as his father. His rule was short because, after two years, his servants conspired and killed him. His place was taken by his son Josiah, the most godly man to reign over Judah and stands shoulder to shoulder with David in godliness.
God's judgment was mounting for Judah, and the prophet Jeremiah warned over and over about it; but his message fell on deaf ears, for the sinful people would not repent. God held off His judgment against the nation while Josiah was alive. Josiah's reforms and spiritual initiatives were enough for the people to take note and repent or face judgement. They refused but paid lip service.
When the godly king died, one of his worthless sons took the throne, and he was evil. He was Jehoahaz, but the interesting thing is that he was installed as king by the people of the land. This is the populace plotting its destiny and its destruction, and the end was nigh, for Nebuchadnezzar came; and it was not long after before destruction fell on the nation. I believe God gave breathing space for Judah to repent while Josiah was king, but they would not, and the destruction came as God promised.
I see a very interesting parallel here with the present conditions. We are living the days of the signs of the time at the end of the Church age. President Trump is a professed Christian, but people have taken note of propaganda against him from his many enemies of the left with communist beliefs. He is hated for recognizing Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel, and that would not be surprising as there is a hatred for Israel from the socialist left, many main media outlets and social networking sites. He opposes abortion and other socialist agendas as does the Christian Vice President, Mike Pence.
God's judgment will fall on godless America but is presently held up with this last chance given to the people to repent. This will be their last chance, I believe. Once Trump has to leave office, the nation will be in the hands of the Democrats (possibly), then destruction will not be far away.
I believe we are that close to the Rapture, and then the world enters the Tribulation. This is the last chance for the USA and Australia to repent.
My nation, Australia, also stands at the crossroads. The Morrison Government replaced a very dysfunctional Australian Labor Party rule with its abortion and homosexual marriage and gender travesty and socialist/communist/green agendas. Scott Morrison has something of a Christian leaning, and like Trump, has prayed for his country. Sadly, in the Liberal Party, which Morrison leads, there are weak members and those with socialist, politically correct agendas. Morrison could be replaced possibly at the next election by another Labor Government, and Australia, now godless, will decline so rapidly. This too is Australia's last chance. Evil men in Australia are going from bad to worse. Christians are generally hated in the country.
The corona virus has attacked, worst of all, the nations of western Europe that formed the powerbase of the old Roman Empire. Italy, Spain, France, the UK, part of Germany, and Belgium were the strength of the old Roman Empire. The Antichrist (world leader of the new, revived Roman Empire, 10 members) will have those 5/6 mentioned nations as his nucleus. However, they are all weakened by this pestilence and may not recover, or not recover well. If the Rapture occurs very soon, then the beast (Antichrist) who arises will be looked on as the saviour who can rescue these nations, the rider coming on the white horse of Revelation 6:1 and of the first half of Revelation 13. I know it has been said for decades, but this evil man, the beast, Antichrist, could be living today.
Israel is in place. The nations of Europe are in place. Phone coverage reaches to every part of the world (necessary for Revelation chapter 11). The prophecies of the last days in the book of Timothy are clearly here. The signs of the time announce the coming Rapture and the subsequent Tribulation of judgment. When? No one can say, but it must be close.
Stay tuned for The Signs of the Times, Part 2: How Do We Understand This, Our Age.