Watchmen Understand the Signs of the Times
Watchmen see the signs of the times. Watchmen see the same signs as others, but that’s not why they are Watchmen. They are Watchmen for three reasons. One, they see the signs earlier than others. Two, they recognize more signs than most. Three, they’ve learned to interpret the signs to see a complete picture.
Signs of the Times Require BALANCE
The Signs of the Times are everywhere. What are the signs of the times? In Eschatology, signs of the times includes the prophetic categories we have come to expect, as detailed in this article; but in the Twenty-first Century Church, it’s an ever-growing list. Understanding the details of the most significant events and differentiating the significance of the least important events, is what makes a Watchman’s perspective so crucial for a world enduring these Last Days.
Watchmen need to be the voice of BALANCE in the Body of Christ. If you become so consumed with End Times subjects that it’s all you discuss at parties and in the car and at Starbucks and at the family reunion, that’s not diligent, it’s weird. People will listen to a Watchman, they won’t listen to a weirdo. Here are a few basic categories with recent examples. If you are reading this in 2018, it’s all current. These examples represent the type of information you need to know because it’s the kind people will ask about.
Be informed, and be ready to explain what you know and quote Scripture to back it up. Just remember, not everyone is as fascinated with End Times as you are, so keep the listener in mind. Feed them what they can digest.
Jesus often rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees. One such occasion is of particular interest to Watchmen and End Times students.
“And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” (Matt. 16:1-4)
Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel, Joel, Matthew, 1 & 2 John, literally hundreds of individual verses describe the End Times or prophesy various parts of it. Why is this one different?
This statement by Jesus is different because it separates “signs of the times” from signs of the sky, as in the weather or the planet itself. The rest of the Christian world should separate them as well. Signs of the times are not (always) signs of the End Times. If you take nothing else from this article, write that statement down and refer back to it every time another significant event occurs.
Celestial events in the heavens – by this most mean the sun, moon, stars, and various interpretations of them using zodiac ‘signs’ and various odd occurrences which happen to align with dates that might have prophetic significance. Most in this category are recurring events: full moons, blood moons, planetary and star alignments, solar flares, comets, and others. They have come and gone over the centuries; most have come and gone many times, and will again.
Will they play some role in End Times? Yes, some. Will these ‘signs’ allow us to predict when Jesus will return? If the last two-thousand years are any example, no. Books were written about the blood moon, the once-in-150 year eclipse, and an unusual planetary alignment on September 23rd. All of them happened exactly as the scientists and NASA predicted. None of the predictions by Christian or non-Christian authors – zero, were even remotely associated with any significant prophetic event, news event, world event, or obviously the Rapture …not one.
It is always a dangerous practice to predict biblical events based on celestial events unless they are very specifically and unmistakably foretold in Scripture. Jesus’ birth is a good example. Numbers 24:17-19 prophesied that a star will announce the Sceptre (King), who will arise out of Israel and rule the world. We know the star did lead the magi to Christ, thus fulfilling that prophecy.
The Bible records that God marked significant moments by using the stars, the moon, and the sun. These were distinct moments in history, and most were specifically at the direction of God. The sun stood still extending the daylight (Joshua 10:13 & Exodus 17:12). Solar eclipses darkened significant events (Joel 2:10; Amos 8:9). Most markedly, the sun went dark at Christ’ crucifixion (Matt. 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44). However (and this is a massive HOWEVER), that does not mean every solar or lunar eclipse carries some prophetic significance.
According to NASA, a total solar eclipse is visible somewhere on planet Earth once every 18 months. Some places see them more frequently than others. New York sees a total eclipse once every 150 years; Los Angeles, by comparison, won’t see another one until April… of the year 3290! Bottom line, nothing in Scripture links Jesus’ return to an eclipse. Simply because one happened when He died, does not mean one will occur when He returns.
In 2017 a few somewhat rare (but not unprecedented), celestial events took place. Thanks to expert astronomers, we knew all of them were coming. Unfortunately, so did several prominent(-ish) Bible “scholars.” The usual flood of predictions, books, TV interviews and general nonsense took place. The eclipses and alignments took place as predicted, with only one expert completely missing His cue – Jesus. If you’re reading this, you already know He didn’t return for any of the 3 blood moons, the solar eclipse, or the much-ballyhooed Revelation 12 Sign on September 23rd of 2017.
Jesus watched all of them happen, as did many of us; Him from Heaven, us from Earth. Please, PLEASE… I beg of you, remember what Jesus said,
“He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.’” (Matthew 12:39)
God knows what’s coming because He created the universe. What seems stupendous to humanity was already on the calendar before the Earth was created. This scribe was fortunate to be around when Halley’s Comet last passed close to our planet in 1986, and also for the pass of Hale-Bopp in 1997. Some of you missed both, some saw both. To see both of them again, you’d need to live a long time (Halley’s 2061, Hale-Bopp 4380). I will see both again, but from a much better vantage point next time!
Remember three things: First, every (major) celestial event that occurred in the last 30 years, which includes all the above, has happened before – every single one, most several times. Second, Jesus was present for each of them, this time and the time before. Third, He is NOT standing at the edge of Heaven watching the moon, only the clouds (1 Thess. 4:17).
Many celestial events have come and gone since Creation, never to occur again, and He saw those too. He planned them. Since Creation, comets have burned up, suns have exploded, black holes have sucked up entire galaxies, and if the Lord waits, those and other celestial events will recur, and entirely new ones will surprise us. None of them will surprise God.
In the last few years, books have been written about the moon, the sun, the constellations, the “magic” number 666, the Mayan calendar, and which world leader is the Antichrist (this week).
What happened when those dates, and colored moons, and constellations, and popes and presidents came and went? The page turned on the calendar, and the books about the event stopped selling, nothing more. It is 2018 as this is being written. If we could see the list of books the various publishers are already preparing to release, we would discover more signs are just around the corner. And we would also discover, that those same authors are already writing the books to release after those dates pass. One Sign To Know:
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)
Dramatic weather conditions – hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc. Many devastating weather events will happen as Jesus prophesied
Wildfires – are recent natural disasters. They burned millions of acres worldwide. In California, when rains finally came, no vegetation remained, and the result was deadly flash floods. This article has been in a “recycle file” waiting for 2018. At the beginning of this article, 4 states still had active wildfires – NC, CA, OK, TX. California also had the mudslide mentioned above which killed over twenty people.
We tend to localize our memory, but in 2017 deadly wildfires also blazed in Siberia, Russia, Brazil, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa, Canada, Italy, Romania, Portugal, Germany and more. At one point, fifty-four fires were ablaze in Greece! Even Ireland, generally noted for its damp climate, had fires, in part, because of 75-percent reduced annual rainfall. The heatwave in the EU caused much of the dry tinder and record wildfires. The heatwave was so severe for so long, they named it. The name? Wait for it… Lucifer.
Hurricanes – were in the news a lot in 2017. This writer was in the Caribbean, unable to return to port during Hurricane Irma. We were redirected to Mexico, where we arrived just in time for their earthquake! Houston also experienced a major hurricane. Since Irma, I have spent time with friends in Puerto Rico doing supply and relief work. As of my last visit in March, some islanders were still without power or running water! We pray for their recovery. If you would like to help, contact Calvary Chapel, San Juan. They are a central hub for relief efforts.
At one point 5 hurricanes were brewing in the Atlantic at the same time! In all of 2017, thirteen hurricanes, tropical storms, and 3 PTC’s (Potential Tropical Cyclones) tore through the Atlantic. Two reached category (cat) 5 status, two more cat 4, one cat 3, two cat 2’s, and eight reached tropical storm or PTC levels.
Earthquakes – there were seven magnitudes 6 or higher in 2017, and many hundreds which were much smaller. As mentioned earlier, this writer was in Mexico for the 8.1 record earthquake of 2017. Thankfully we were offshore and did not suffer any effects. Many were less fortunate. Over 200 died.
[This Just In]: Literally while this was being written (1-17-2018), a small meteor plummeted into Michigan. Its size and speed caused the equivalent of a sonic boom. The concussion was jarring enough to register on seismographs. It was not an earthquake, but the jolt felt like a 2.0 in the impact zone. Not the least bit prophetic, but no injuries, so pretty cool.
Volcanoes – As of this update (June 2018), there have been two major volcanic eruptions: one in Hawaii, and the other in Guatemala. The Guatemala quake left 110 people dead, an additional 197 are unaccounted for and presumed dead.
News Events And News Reporting
News in 2017 It would be difficult to quantify the number of ‘significant’ news events. Some of the top (most attention given) stories included the following:
- 4 major destructive hurricanes: Maria, Jose, Irma, Harvey.
- Cryptocurrency Bitcoin price hits $17,000.
- DACA suspended (program to halt the deportation of 800,000 illegals).
- Mass shootings in TX and NV. Vegas shooting deadliest in US history.
- Terrorist runs down people in Manhattan park; kills 8, a dozen injured.
- A total solar eclipse traversed the US, coast-to-coast (first in 99 yrs).
- [highly] Unlikely Presidential winner, Donald Trump sworn into office.
- An investigation of possible “Russian connection” to US election.
- Gymnastics doctor sentenced to 175 years for sexual assaults.
- The “Me Too” movement gave voice to many sexually abused women.
- President declares Opioid addiction a National State of Emergency.
- North Korea tests 13 missiles, including one it says can reach the US.
- Culture “Wars” and tensions escalate (again) over racial inequality.
- An Amtrak train derails in WA killing 3 and injuring over 70.
- Amid real news, 1.2 million people watched the birth of a giraffe named April, in April. It died in July.
News in 2018 (this article is published in June) The headlines below are a few of the most prominent stories to date.
- President Trump ‘officially’ recognized Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel. [Note: The embassy announcement was significant, but Jerusalem being the capital of Israel has been part of the Republican platform since 2012. People just didn’t know about it until a Republican became President.]
- May 14th the US Embassy officially opened in Jerusalem. It is housed at the Consulate while a separate building is constructed.
- A nuclear attack alert was mistakenly sent to cell phones in Hawaii. There was no attack.
- Rumors spread that Oprah will run for President. She says not.
- Another Amtrak train derailment with numerous fatalities.
- Bitcoin hits $20,000, then plummets to $6,000.
- Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launches its largest rocket to date.
- S Korea hosts Winter Olympic Games. N & S Korea to combine teams. US wins gold for first time in Men’s Curling & Womens’ Hockey.
- Evangelist and America’s Pastor Dr. Billy Graham passes away at the age of 99.
- New England Patriots fail to win record-tying 5th Superbowl.
- Tide Pod Challenge generates over 14,000 calls to Poison Control Center at CDC. 86 kids seriously injured (as of Feb).
- More school shootings in Florida, Kentucky, Texas and Indiana.
- Palestinian terrorists rush Israeli border fence. Over 60 are shot and killed. Israel is, once again, maligned for defending itself and its borders, but within the next 48 hours, terror organization Hamas confirms that 50 of the dead were members of their terror group.
- US President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un hold first-ever summit talks.
As all the above events transpire, more bits of Ezekiel 38:26-28 fall into place.
“I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”
A Never-Ending Saga
Much more could be included in this article, and we will continue adding to it so long as we’re here and Jesus has not returned. Until that occurs, keep in mind what Jesus said,
“Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. I distinguish the end from the beginning, and ancient times from what is still to come, saying: ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.’ I summon a bird of prey from the east, a man for My purpose from a far-off land. Truly I have spoken, truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, I will surely do it.” (Isaiah 46:9-11)
If we continued to delay this article it would only become a running version of the daily news feeds, so we’ll wrap it here. For up-to-date news feeds from reliable sources, see our Watchman Updates page.
Jesus is coming soon. Perhaps today, maybe tomorrow, possibly before you finish reading this (Matt. 6:34), so be ready now.
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