By Justin Johnson — Grace Ambassadors
While many see the signs of the times in the modern headlines, an old Bible teacher rightly said that we do not see the signs of the time, because we do not live in the times of the sign. That teacher was dispensational.
Matthew 24 is where the disciples ask Jesus, “What shall be the sign of thy coming?” (Matthew 24:3)
Dispensational Bible study has received a scarred reputation by prophetic speculators who think Matthew 24 prophesies the present dispensation. Mid-Acts right division accurately explains it as the sign of the Lord’s return to earth in Israel’s kingdom, and not his return for the church of his body.
Let No Man Deceive You
Moreover, many of signs that speculators produce from Matthew 24 are not the sign Jesus described. Jesus warned against following after those who see signs in the events of the day.
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” — Matthew 24:4
Many are being deceived by signs falsely so called in our present dispensation. Don’t be deceived, we do not live in the time of these signs, and even if we did, their signs do not match what God describes.
The End is Not Yet
Wars and political turmoil are often used as signs of the time. Yet, Jesus said specifically they were not.
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” — Matthew 24:6
He says the end was not when wars occurred. Wars have happened for 2000 years. They are nothing new. They would not make good signs. Neither do earthquakes and pestilence.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” —Matthew 24:7
There are people tracking the earthquakes and their frequency trying to predict the Lord’s return. This is futile. Jesus said these are only the “beginning of sorrows” not a sign of the end. Disaster and tragedy have happened since sin cursed the planet. They are not predictable signs of the end.
Believe it Not
Jesus said not to believe those who claim to see the Lord over “here” or “there”. Could this also apply to those who say they see signs of the Lord’s coming over here or there as well?
“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.” — Matthew 24:23
Even so called prophets who come performing great signs and wonders are described as false prophets trying to deceive them (Matthew 24:24).
The Sign of the Coming
The reason Jesus spent so much time warning his little flock about non-signs was that none of the terrible or wondrous events they would see happening was the true sign of the end. Man is so easily persuaded in his impatience (Luke 21:19).
The true sign of his coming would be seen by everyone. It would not be a sign only seen by those who search diligently in a library or watch the nightly news.
“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” — Matthew 24:27
What sort of sign could be shown to everyone from the east to the west and not be missed? Here’s the sign of the coming of the Lord:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:” — Matthew 24:29
The Father of lights will use his created lights as a sign just as he described back in Genesis 1:14. When the sun is darkened, people will look up. It is at that time the Son of Man will return (Matt 24:30).
The Time of Salvation is Now
The time of the sign is not the time to preach salvation. At that time, time will be up. At that time the Lord returns to judge and war (Rev 19:11). That time is not the present time and must occur after the present dispensation of God’s grace and peace.
If you are saved and in the body of Christ Paul explains that you will not be on earth to see this sign (Rom 5:9). The sign in the sky is for the remnant of Israel who are waiting for their promised kingdom.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” — Luke 21:29
You live in the wrong time for this sign, but you live in the right time for free salvation by God’s grace. You have present redemption through the blood of Jesus and by his grace (Eph 1:7). There is no need to wait for a sign to be saved. Walk by faith, not by signs!
“Be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” — 2 Cor 5:20 – 21