There appears to be a belief among certain Christians that to talk about “signs” of the Lord’s return, including the mark of the beast, as well as any other “signs” that the Lord has put in His word is simply wrong – even though the Bible itself tells us plainly to pay very close attention to them!
For example, Revelation 13:18 says, “Here is wisdom Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.” So we are actually told in this passage to “go for it” – do your very best to try and figure out what it means! So the signs that God has given to us in His word must be important! To disregard the signs would be a sign of disrespect for God’s holy word – not the other way around!
For example, I spoke with an (allegedly Christian) man recently who had read some of my articles about the mark of the beast, and he appeared to be rather agitated, and belittled me, as though it was insignificant to try and decipher Revelation 13. To him, the most important thing to discuss was the return of Christ – period. To him, signs had no place in the discussion. To talk about the mark of the beast, for example, or other things that are happening on the world stage, such as a one-world currency (which is definitely coming, because the mark of the beast is, itself, a one-world currency), amounted to “fruitless discussion”. Frankly, I think he is mixing up Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees because of their penchant to demand a “sign” with trying to understand what Revelation 13:18 and many other passages teach. In the former case, Jesus condemned the Pharisees and Sadducees on account of their motive. For Jesus said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah” (Matthew 16:4). And yet in Revelation 13:18, we read, “Here is wisdom Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”
So, on the one hand (in the case of the Pharisees and Sadducees), we see a condemnation issued on the part of Jesus for asking for a sign. Why? This is where we need to be careful! Jesus did not say that we should not pay attention to signs associated with His second coming in this passage! He said rather, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign”. The Bible is full of signs of the Lord’s second coming – and for a good reason. Eight chapters later, in Matthew 24:3, Jesus was asked by His disciples, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” You will notice that, in answering, Jesus did not condemn them for asking about signs! Instead, He went on to explain the signs! And He laid it all out for us in a very detailed manner, too!
Was Jesus therefore being inconsistent when He said, on the one hand, in Matthew 16:4, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign”, and, on the other hand, in Matthew 24:3, freely answering the disciples’ questions about signs of His second coming? The answer is no. First, the Pharisees and Sadducees were unbelievers. They sought for a sign precisely because of their unbelief. But they were unwilling to receive and believe the signs that God had already given! Jesus said, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves” (John 14:11). That’s all about signs. But the Pharisees and Sadducees (for the most part) were unwilling to believe on account of these signs. They wanted to be the ones to lay down the rules as to what signs qualified but God had already laid them down in His word long before that (e.g. Psalm 22:18, Micah 5:2, Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 53:5)! And this is the key point. In response to this desire of theirs to seek for other signs and to reject the signs God had already laid down, Jesus replied, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah” (Matthew 16:4). In other words, “If you really want to see a sign, take a look at this (the sign of Jonah, which is the resurrection from the dead)!” The resurrection from the dead, was, after all, the predominant sign that declared Jesus to be the son of God with power (Romans 1:4). But the Pharisees and Sadducees, for the most part, rejected all that. They were condemned.
So you need to understand the motives behind Jesus saying what He said in Matthew 16:4 before you go on thinking that it is wrong to pay attention to the signs of His second coming. Apparently, though, some Christians just don’t see that. Too bad – because the word of God says, with regards to Jesus’ second coming, that we are to be on the alert (Matthew 24:42, Mark 13:37, 1 Thessalonians 5:6). How can you possibly be on the alert unless you understand the signs? Hence, recently, I was practically lambasted by a fellow who thought it was a menial thing to talk about signs. I think he’s got me mixed up with some preachers who like to talk about signs at the expense of theology. I should hope that, by now, my articles demonstrate that I have a particular bent towards ensuring that the theology is straight. After all, did not Paul write, “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching” (1 Timothy 4:16a)? Apparently, I have not done well enough in showing some people that theology is important. But it is. Theology is very important. In fact, this was the problem with the Pharisees and Sadducees. Their theology was mixed up. To them, Jesus could not be the Messiah. And so they missed His first coming. And they were utterly condemned for it, too! Jesus said that destruction would come upon Jerusalem because “you did not recognize the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:41-44). Today, I fear that many Christians, or so-called Christians, are in the same category. They are missing the second coming of Christ, because they are thinking that things must work out a different way. But He is coming soon – very soon.
If you’ll read my writings over the years (more than 600 of them), you’ll find out that I did not talk much about the Lord’s second coming for about ten years. That’s because it was not time. But the Lord clearly tipped me off in 2008 that it’s now the time. And so you can expect that many of my writings, from this period forward, will be filled with issues surrounding the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is simply an obligation I have both to the Lord, and to you, because His return is on the horizon. I will be writing a minimum of 3 years on this same theme, right through to 2012, and then in 2012, some great occurrence is going to happen. This, the Lord has made clear to me. And I will be relying upon, not only my own research, but that of many others, because much great work has been done by many Bible scholars that now needs to be dissected and brought to the fore. So if I quote other scholars, you’ll accept that, correct? One of the unfortunate things I have come across while doing my research is that the end-time scholars don’t tend to cross-pollinate. I see few references being made by one scholar of what another scholar is teaching. Everyone thinks they have the answer. But in my research, I have found numerous scholars who appear to have parts of the puzzle all figured out. Collectively, we have a wonderful picture, and I would like to do my best to present that picture to you. I have been researching numerous Bible scholars, some with very different view points, but all of whom are said to be born again Christians. And I believe the Lord has shown me some very important information that you absolutely need to know at this time. Watch out as things unfold. I’ll do my best to make it known to you, but on your part, you need to be willing to check out the links that I provide, and pray. From time to time, I’ll also be sharing with you some prophetic insight that the Lord has made known to me, but not without first substantiating it with other evidence. Please understand what I am saying. I am saying that I don’t expect you to believe a word of what I am saying personally unless it can be substantiated by both the word of God and what others are saying. I believe that is responsible.
Wars and rumors of wars …
In telling us what signs we should be on the lookout for, in Matthew 24, Jesus started out by saying, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many” (Matthew 24:4-5). Now that’s a sign! Then he said, “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6). That, too, is a sign! Then He said, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes” (Matthew 24:7). Again, these are all signs! In fact, there are so many signs that the Lord has given us in His word that are designed to help us understand when the Lord is returning, that only those who simply don’t care should miss it. In 1 Thessalonians 5:4, we read, “you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief”. The “day” Paul is referring to is the Lord’s return. It will not overtake us only if we understand the signs. In short, we are intended by the Lord to be ready for His return, and to not be taken off guard. It will come like a thief in the night – to the world – but it should not come as a thief in the night – to you, if you love the Lord, and are paying attention.
So regarding signs of the Lord’s second coming, should Christians “seek after them”? No. We should never “seek after” a sign. On the other hand, we must pay attention to them. If we don’t, we do so at our own peril.
A few of the signs …
In brief, concerning the signs leading up to the Lord’s return, here are some of those that are revealed in Scripture, that we should be paying attention to (and remember, Jesus said, “be on the alert”, so how are we to “be on the alert” if we disregard them?):
1. A star named Wormwood will cause waters to become bitter (Revelation 8:11). Now “Wormwood” in English is translated in Russian as “Chernobyl”. And does anyone know what happened on April 26, 1986? “… reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant, near Pripyat in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, exploded … Four hundred times more fallout was released than had been by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The plume drifted over extensive parts of the western Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Northern Europe, and eastern North America, with light nuclear rain falling as far as Ireland.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster) Notice that the account in Revelation says that the waters were made bitter. Not only were “20,000 tonnes of highly radioactive water” produced in the immediate vicinity of the accident (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster), after the lid blew off the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl, it is said to have rained for several days straight, polluting the waters. In an article dated April 2006, we read, “Greenpeace said more than 90,000 people are likely to die of cancers caused by radiation from the Chernobyl explosion, 10 times more than a previous U.N. report had predicted.” (http://news.softpedia.com/news/Chernobyl-Killed-More-Than-90-000-People-21745.shtml) All of this the Lord showed to the apostle John about 2000 years before it happened – by name (Chernobyl or “Wormwood”). This was a sign that the Lord has laid down in His word. And it is a sign that we are into the book of Revelation now.
2. In Luke 21:25, Jesus talked about the “perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,” as a sign of this return. On December 26, 2004, a massive tsunami hit several parts of the world including Asia. An estimated 300,000 are said to have perished (some place it higher). How much greater do the waves of the sea need to be, and how many more people need to perish, before we accept the significance of this event?
3. Matthew 24:14 says, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” While it would be nice for each individual person to hear the gospel, this passage is referring to nations and not persons. Jesus Himself said, “truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 10:23b) meaning that not every person would be reached by the time He returns – not even in Israel, which is the “hub!” How much less, the “perimeter!” Thus, every nation must hear the gospel – but not every single person – before the Lord returns. Nevertheless, many people are hearing the gospel today like never before. Radios fixed-tuned to gospel short wave radio stations are being brought into countries via organizations like Galcom international (http://www.christianity.ca/NetCommunity/Page.aspx?pid=4829) and today the gospel is being broadcast globally into every single nation via satellite – something that was not possible not that long ago. The ability to actually broadcast into every single country via satellite fulfills Matthew 24:14. This prophecy has come to pass already, because every nation has heard the gospel.
These are merely three signs out of a whole list that could be given, and by themselves, they are compelling! But there are more!
Since this article is not intended to be exhaustive, I will not mention the “more” here, lest we be here all day. But suffice to say, we are commanded to “be on the alert” – and to understand the signs associated with the Lord’s return is part of that.
“Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come.” (Mark 13:33)