Signs of the times. It’s a popular phrase describing hard to explain events and rapid change happening around the world. But did you know, it’s actually a Biblical phrase taught by Jesus to highlight certain events that will happen leading up to the return of Christ? The conversation started with a question by Christ’s disciples as they sat on the Mt. of Olives, getting some rest.
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
Here’s our list of 8 important signs to consider (Click next to get to the next sign):
Jesus immediately responded to the disciple's inquiry by pointing to a time when there would be widespread deception. In his exact words (translated from original Hebrew) he stated, “Take heed that no one deceives you..."
The implication here is that there would be false information being disseminated. True disciples of Jesus would need to be aware and discerning of what to believe.
Jesus went on to explain that the deception is centered around him and people masquerading as the Messiah or possibly a messiah figure, claiming to have the answers and asking for the allegiance of people. "For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many."
One of the important things to keep in mind is that the Bible elsewhere (Joel 2, Acts 2) describes the days we are living in as the last days - since the death and resurrection of Christ. Now also remember that a day to the Lord is like a thousand years, a thousand years are like a day. (2 Peter 3:8)
Every generation since the birth of Christianity thought that their generation was the last one, so bits and pieces of these signs have been fulfilled in various generations.
Again, in summary, widespread deception is a sign of the times and Jesus told us to take heed on this matter regarding devotion to allegiance to his truth - the Spirit of Truth and Jesus himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Jesus spoke again about deception and false prophets in Matthew 24:11 saying, "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many."
2 Wars and rumors of wars
The next sign of the times Jesus spoke about were wars and rumors of wars. Then he said something most peculiar considering how upsetting war is - he told his disciples to, "See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." Jesus said it was a sign of the times, but not to be overly troubled because it was going to happen and even went so far as to say they must come to pass. In other words, he was saying, "Even though war is awful, I am working my plan out in the midst of it and my plan will come to pass."
This is actually an incredible assurance for the believer, knowing that war does not surprise God and he is working in the midst of it and knew beforehand it was going to happen.
3 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom
Next, Jesus explains that nations will rise against nation - pointing to war, globalism, and the spread of fear in the nations as one nation war. This is also pointed to in Psalm 2which reads,
Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
Jesus then went on to offer another sign of the end when he spoke of famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. Natural and manmade disasters would happen in various places including:
- Food shortages
The dictionary defines pestilence as a fatal epidemic disease, especially bubonic plague.
5 Hatred of Christians
Jesus spoke “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake." Throughout history Christians have faced intense persecution and still are to this day. Here's a list of the top persecuted nations for Christians according to Open Doors:
1. North Korea
6 Broken Relationships
"And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another."
Hatred, betrayal, and offenses. Sounds like a soap opera!
But, the truth is as we get closer to the coming of the Lord, and the end of the age, Jesus warned of an increased level of offense, betrayal, and hatred happening in relationships.
7 Cold Hearts
Similar to the last sign, Jesus described a time when hearts were growing cold toward God and toward one another. The circumstances of life, the increase of sin, and the turning away from God would cause hearts to grow cold to God and to one another. This speaks of Christians turning away from the faith and the love of believers growing cold toward one another. It also speaks of a time when the value of human life is diminished, a disregard for humanity, and coldness of heart between people that characterizes a society.
8 A Victorious Church
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."
One of the most significant signs of the times is a church full of believers committed to sharing and spreading the gospel. As the gospel is preached throughout the world, this prepares the way for the return of Christ. This is a sign to the church and a sign to the world that the world will be full of the knowledge of God. Isaiah confirmed this with a prophetic word when he wrote, "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."