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What are the "Signs of the Times"?
Jesus Himself gives the "Signs" that He was asked for personally and specifically by Peter Andrew, James and John. Please note that these signs are given to "His Disciples", to "Believers" not for the skeptical, unbelieving, scoffing world.
The first words Christ spoke after being asked for a "sign" was simple and clear: "Take heed that no man deceive you!" Matthew 24:4.
Then He proceeds to give 13 signs, as we group them.
[Sign-1] Many coming in the Name of Christ, false prophets and false Christ's, with some shewing great signs and wonders deceiving many, even to the "elect" (saved) if it were possible: Matt 24:5, 11, 24
[Sign-2] First the Rumors of wars Matt 24:6 (Please note the "war is not the end!")
[Sign-3] Then war, with nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom, Matt 24:7
[Sign-5] Pestilences (diseases), Matt 24:7
[Sign-6]Earthquakes in divers (unusual) places, Matt 24:7
[Sign-7] Note the previous signs come first, and Jesus said THEN . . .Christians will be hated, afflicted and killed, delivered up to the Synagogues, Matt 24:9
[Sign-8] Christians shall be "betrayed" (by parents, family and children Luke adds) as love waxes cold, Matt 24:10 & 12
[Sign-9] Iniquity shall abound! Matt 24:12
[Sign-10] During it all, however, the "Gospel of the Kingdom" shall be preached in 'all the world' for a 'witness to all nations'; and the end cannot come until this occurs. Matt 24:14
[Sign-11] An "Abomination that makes Desolate", Matt 24: 15, or as Jesus said just before He began the Signs, when He wept over Jerusalem, He prophesied their House would be left unto them, 'desolate', Matt 23:37-38 (remember, there were no chapter or verse separations in the Scriptures for thousands of years!)
[Sign-12] Note the previous signs come first, and Jesus said THEN . . . The Christians (believers in Judea should - and will - flee into the mountains, immediately, taking nothing, but leaving all behind, Matt 24:16-19
Why are the Christians to 'Flee into the mountains?'
Note the previous signs come first, and Jesus said THEN . . . There shall be a time of 'Great Tribulation', and there will never be anything after it like unto it again, not ever! Matt 24:
**[Note Aside: Jesus gives a 'generic proverb' stating simply:
> > Wherever the dead carcass is,
> > There will the vultures be gathered (eagles of Canaan were - and are - vultures/buzzards, carrion eating birds of prey),
This is not a 'sign' in itself, that there will be real buzzards around a real dead carcass, but a 'proverb of understanding' to apply to the whole teaching.]
[Sign-13] Finally, the 'Great Tribulation' is over, and "immediately after the tribulation of those days" the Sun, Moon and stars shall be darkened, and the powers of Heaven shall be shaken. Matt 24:29
Where is the "Rapture" in this great teaching?
Doesn't it seem the signs and teaching are all to the Christian Believers all the way through, warning them what to look for, what to do, what to pray for (that their flight be not in the winter, etc.)
We beg of you to spend much time here. Where in Matthew 24-Mark 13-Luke 21, would you put the "popularly believed rapture"?
What is the Undefined Sign "To The Whole World?"
Amazingly, AFTER this Great Tribulation, Jesus gives another sign. Jesus said "And THEN shall appear the 'Sign', . . .of the Son of Man in Heaven,
What could the "sign" . . . of the Son of man in Heaven?
Please remember, that as far as the whole nation of Israel was concerned - and those on Earth who had heard of Jesus - that Jesus had been 'Publicly Executed', crucified, buried and that was the End of Him and His Ministry!
Admittedly, some disciples claimed they had seen Jesus risen from the dead, but just as if some few today claim Hitler or Elvis is risen from the dead today - no matter how passionate they were - you and I would DEMAND they produce the risen body!
"Bring Hitler or Elvis forth" we would insist! Let us see, touch, hear, and prove to us he lives!
Even the vast multitudes of Christ's Triumphal Entry - many of whom actually did believe in Him as a Great Teacher and Miracle Worker and that He could be the long-awaited Messiah, even hoping and praying He was - could not deny the reality of Jesus as far they could determine:
> > Jesus had been in and out among them for years, doing miracles that could not be denied.
> > The multitudes could see Him, hear Him teach, perhaps be healed or miraculously fed by Him. Jesus was real!
> > Then Jesus had been very 'Publicly Executed', crucified for the world to see, buried in a stone Tomb, and that was the End of Him and His Ministry!
> > That some disciples claimed Jesus was alive, they could not produce Him! . . . and the multitudes who loved Him, could no longer find, hear or see Jesus.
> > Any reasonable person had to assume Jesus was still dead, because if He were resurrected as Disciples claimed, He would surely show Himself and win millions of converts in the process!
> > Thus to the vast multitudes whom Jesus had fed and Ministered to, Jesus was simply a a great, dead prophet - just like John the Baptist, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and many others, never to bee seen until the resurrection of the Last Day!
> > The faithful disciples of Jesus, however - bless their loyalty, even to their insane imaginations - claimed Jesus had ascended into Heaven . . .
> > Now enthroned in 'Great Power at the Right Hand of the Father' . . .
> > > > to 'rule-&-reign'
> > > > with a rod of iron
> > > > UNTIL His enemies be made His footstool!
> > So much did the Disciples - including Paul - preach this "fairy tale" of Jesus Ruling-&-Reigning at "the Right Hand of the Father UNTIL His enemies be made His footstool". . . that this is "the most repeated Prophecy in the whole New Testament!
[Look them up, and count them for yourself!]This is a "WHOLE OTHER" Bible Study!!!
For our purposes in this study on the Signs Jesus gives in this Olivet Discourse, Jesus claims one last Sign - not to the believing Disciples - but to the Jewish Tribes of the whole world:
What is equally amazing about this great "sign" . . . of the Son of man in Heaven? is as follows:
(a) ALL of the Tribes scattered about the Earth see it, Matt 24:30
(b) ALL of the Tribes scattered about the Earth recognize it as about Jesus, Matt 24:30
(c) ALL of the Tribes scattered about the Earth agree what it means - that Jesus is in Heaven - not in the grave! Matt 24:30
(d) ALL of the Tribes scattered about the Earth ascribe great Clouds of Power and Glory to Jesus in Heaven! Matt 24:30
(c) ALL of the Tribes scattered about the Earth mourn . . . that they did NOT believe before, that it took this "supernatural Sign" proving to them Jesus was NOT in the graeve as they had concluded, but was now in Heaven
> > That indeed Jesus was the Christ, just like He said, . . .
> > That indeed Jesus had indeed ascended into Heaven to be received, crowned and enthroned in great Power and Glory,
> > That indeed Jesus was alive and well, Ruling-&-Reigning with a Rod-of-Iron UNTIL His enemies be made His footstool . . . just like His Disciples had been preaching for 40 years! Matt 24:30
However, Jesus gives one sign to the world, after giving many to the Believers: Matt 24:30
Jesus said: And THEN (after the Great tribulation of the previous verse 29) Jesus gives another sign.
Jesus said "And THEN shall appear the 'Sign', . . .of the Son of Man in Heaven,
What could the "sign" . . . of the Son of man in Heaven?
Please note, this is NOT a sign of the Son of Man on Earth, but that He is in Heaven!
Please remember again, that except for the Disciples and their converts - Israel, and the Jews scattered throughout the world - many who had hoped and prayed and wanted more than anything for Jesus to be their Messiah . . . but in all reality for them . . . the Great and Wonderful Shepherd and Prophet, Jesus, was cold, buried, dead and decayed, awaiting the final resurrection.
Now, however, IMMEDIATELY AFTER the Great Tribulation, Jesus gives a sign - not to the Believers but that the tribes scattered throughout the whole world can see - as sign that proves as follows:
> > Jesus is NOT dead in a cold grave!
> > Jesus is "alive and in Heaven,
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