Unprecedented and Incontrovertible Signs
Sane and Sensible Perspectives on the Last Days
Many of the signs Christians give as indications that Jesus is coming soon are not at all convincing to unbelievers. They’re not even convincing to many of us. Such things as weather events, or political crisis, or moral degeneration have always been happening somewhere on the earth (just as Jesus said they would). However, there are unprecedented signs—stupendous happenings prophesied in scripture—that are taking place now which had never taken place before. And these signs silence even the skeptics.
2 But he answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 In the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but you can’t discern the signs of the times! Matthew 16:2-3 WEB
Read and Heed the Signs!
Judging by the strength of this rebuke, it is evident that Jesus fully expected everyone to be able to read the “signs of the times” the first time He came to earth. Recall that there were many prophecies about Messiah’s birth, life, work and death recorded in the Hebrew scriptures. Still, many Jewish believers didn’t recognize Him as Messiah, nor did any of them understand what had been foretold about His true calling.
Zoom forward to our day. There are vastly more prophecies and far more astonishing signs pointing to His Return, than to His first visit. This is not merely an addendum to the cross. This is the beginning of the fulfilment of all that death and resurrection began. He is returning to accomplish nothing short of the “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21). What will He say of this generation, if we don’t read and heed the signs we’ve been given? Fortunately, certain of the signs are so fresh on the scene and so marvelous in nature that they carry a power to convince like nothing else we’ve seen.
Unique and Unarguable Signs
These signs are unique. None of these signs were in place prior to the middle of the past century. This means that until very recently, no one looking for Biblical signs of the Lord’s return could have said His Return was drawing near—not without ignoring scripture. None of these signs had even begun to occur until just over a hundred years ago. On the other hand, the signs of "The Birth Pains"—wars and natural disasters, for instance—have always been with us. These never have been. They are utterly unprecedented as signs of the Second Coming. Many of them are also unprecedented as never-before-seen historical events.
The recent appearance of these signs makes them extraordinary, but it also makes them unarguable. Sure, some skeptics will continue to scoff, but any honest observer would have to admit how astounding it is that so many prophecies from thousands of years ago exactly describe our times. And that they include things about our times that would have been unthinkable realities to those prophets.
Such a startling congruence of ancient prophecy and present events just doesn’t happen in ordinary history. This makes them incontrovertible. How can anyone argue against such a mountain of evidence? Even so, it may not convince unbelievers that it was our God who made the prophecies and who even now is fulfilling them. But they cannot deny the congruence, even if they choose to seek some other explanation for it. (Good luck with that!)
Solid Evidence for Believing
For Christians, however, the convergence of these signs points inexorably to the knowledge that Jesus said His Church would have about the season of His Return. Most
Christians believe deep down that these are the Last Days. These signs give us clear, solid Biblical evidence for that innate belief. Their “sudden” appearance in our generation is nothing short of miraculous. In every case, these signs represent prophecies in scripture that for two thousand years had seemed, not only distant, but unimaginable. Now, there are not only visible, they are racing towards completion right before our eyes!
These “unprecedented and incontrovertible” signs fall under three main headings: Jewish Signs, Gospel Signs, and Global Signs. Each of these groups contain numerous signs each.
Jewish Signs It is a mark of God’s faithfulness that He never forgets, but always fulfills, His promises and His purposes. Long before Jesus came to earth, God chose the Jewish people to be in a unique covenant relationship with Himself. This was certainly intended for their benefit, but also for ours: Ultimately the long-awaited Savior would come to them, then through them to us. Guess what? He is getting things ready to do it again! And His own beloved first covenant believers are already playing a major role.
Gospel Signs Jesus gave us this sign, but Peter explained it. He wrote in 2 Peter 3:1-9 that the Father is in no hurry to bring things to a quick close because He doesn’t want anyone to be perish, but all to come to repentance. For that to happen the gospel has to be preached to all the world. That day is coming at us like a freight train… but there is more to this gospel sign than simply getting the word out.
Global Signs When the Bible was being written the “world” to its authors was no larger than the Mediterranean basin and outlying provinces, mostly under Roman control. Before the entire world could be organized into anything like the unified whole pictured in the Book of Revelation, it first had to be explored, then subdued. When these signs were given, they were unthinkable possibilities; now they are everyday realities. Well, almost all…
An Orderly Flow of Events
These signs are ordered in this way for a reason. Our scriptures tell us that the gospel is to the Jews first (Romans 1:16). Curiously, the Jewish signs began appearing first, then the others followed. Not only that, but the prophecies concerning “The Day of the Lord” preceded the New Testament prophecies about the Last Days and speak much about God’s future dealings with His first chosen people.
In this sense, the redemption coming to us all through the Lord’s Return is for the Jews first. We Gentile believers would do well to honor their position in the heart and plans of the Lord. Through the Jews—through Jesus—this gospel came to us Gentiles and we in turn must pass it on to all the world. Those gospel signs are now taking place within the context of a world that is rapidly being transformed globally, not entirely for the better. The Jews. The Gospel. The Globe. That’s the unfolding progression of salvation, culminating soon in the Lord’s Return.
There Are Other Signs
In addition to these three major categories of unique and unarguable signs, there are others that can be named. Jesus foretold signs of what He called the “Birth Pangs” which would come before the terrible ordeal of the Great Tribulation. These are emerging through “A Convergence of Calamities” taking place in our day. This sign can be debated, so it can’t be added to the top three for that reason. Nevertheless, it carries a lot of weight once you have seen them. The other sign is elegant in design and readily appealing to Christians, but by its nature could hardly convince a non-believer. It’s called “The Sign of the Seventh Year.” To these other signs may be added in the days ahead, as future events bring ancient prophecy into clearer focus.