Signs of the Times
By Steve Meehan
One of my passions, every few years, is to take a trip out to the southwest of the United States and to explore the wide-open spaces of our country, where a small part of the Lord’s creation is marvelously on display. My job as a pilot, flying internationally, takes me to a lot of heavily congested areas of the world, so the trips out West are a welcome reprieve from the densely populated metropolitan centers of the globe that I travel to and allow me to get lost for a few days at a time in the far less crowded desert regions of the Old West, while soaking in the stunning vistas in that part of the World.
I’ve also developed an affinity for the locomotives that traverse those wide-open regions, and have had to stop my car on numerous times in order to get the “perfect shot” of the trains hauling their seemingly mile long haul of cargo amidst the backdrop of the green cacti and the setting sun-lighted desert dunes in the distance. I’m convinced now, that if I wasn’t flying airplanes for a living, that being an engineer in one of those iron horses, as it plods its way through spectacular scenery, would not be a bad gig.
Another byproduct of these getaways, has been the opportunity to discover billboards, murals and other depictions of the development and settling of the western towns that dot the desert landscape, that go back as far as the native Americans who used to dwell in these regions. The murals are quite colorful and really stand out.
A stopover town that I frequent quite often on these adventures – and one that I am currently in and hence the inspiration for this article – is the desert community of Barstow, where numerous murals appear on sides of buildings, throughout the old section of town. These signs of the times, hand painted by locals, give a rendering of the tribes who once settled here, the pioneers who later journeyed through the region, the railroad that steamed its way across these sands, opening up the west, and even of the infamous Route 66, that Mother Road ribbon of highway, that cut a swath across the nation, from Chicago to southern California.
These signs of the times point us back to yesteryear and a bygone era of the growth and development of our fledgling nation. They encapsulate, in a brief snapshot, of what had transpired in the past and how we got to where we are today.
By contrast, to the students of Bible Prophecy and really to all Christians who should be reading the Word, the signs of the times that we see developing in our present day are pointing us forward, to what is foretold to happen in these Last Days. The signs are pointing from every direction that the end is near – for the Church Age, anyway – and that soon Christ will be returning for His body of believers, and that a final seven-year period for the inhabitants of the Earth is about to get underway.
Like the tracking and forecasting of Hurricane Irma that is soon to make landfall in southern Florida, the impending impact of the Tribulation hour is imminent. Indicators and warning flags are all around us. While storms like Harvey and now Irma, were being tracked days in advance, thus allowing for people to make preparations for its arrival, the final seven years of human government before Christ would return and rule from Jerusalem, was first announced back in Old Testament times.
The prophets Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Joel and others first foretold of its coming centuries ago. Jesus, even in the New Testament, spoke of its onset, when His disciples asked about the end of the age. And lastly, the apostle John wrote of its occurrence in the final chapter of the Bible, in the Book of Revelation. The tracking of this event has long been underway and we are witnessing the climatic buildup as it nears us with each passing hour.
There is no chance that this storm will veer off and away from us; it will be all encompassing. Everyone left on the Earth will feel its wrath and unlike a typical hurricane that sticks around for a few days, then eventually moves on or downgrades, this event will last a full seven years, and will only intensify until finally the Lord Jesus returns to Earth and puts an end to its carnage. The entire globe will be engulfed in this catastrophe and the devastation will be unfathomable.
How can we be so sure that this prophesied event is about to happen? Every sign that was scribed to herald its imminent impact is before our eyes today. One cannot watch the 24-hour news channels, read a newspaper, or surf the internet without seeing the indicators of the nearness of this event.
An ear-piercing claxon warning that is hard to miss, in regard to how close we are, is the foretold “Rumors of War” condition that Jesus forewarned about to His Apostles in Matthew 24. There is no escaping the fact that we are a single military misstep away from a possible nuclear exchange with North Korea. The rhetoric and actions of the regime in Pyongyang defies logic, and they seem hellbent on provoking the USA to take military action on the North Korean missile sites. That, in turn, would trigger a retaliatory response from Kim Jong-Un on South Korea and/or even Japan. I’m convinced that only a restraining influence is presently holding off what appears to be imminent, only until after the Rapture of the Church.
Also under the rumors of war category, is what is presently taking place in Syria. The Bible is Israel centric, and so most of Bible prophecy is also Israel centric, or how Israel is affected by the events of Bible prophecy. A sign of the times billboard that should be highly visible to prophetic watchers is the fulfillment and nearness of the Isaiah 17 prophecy, regarding the destruction of Damascus.
With all the turmoil that has been ravaging the country of Syria these past 5 or 6 years, it has allowed for enemies of Israel, such as Iran and Hezbollah, to gain an even stronger foothold in that nation and to plot their evil deeds against the Jewish state.
Israel is extremely concerned with this current situation, and has been making forays into Syria to try to destroy the cache of chemical weapons that could be used against the Jewish people. It is only a matter of time until the Isaiah 17 prophecy turns from being a foretold event to one that sees its fulfillment.
I don’t see Israel taking a preventive measure that initiates that occurrence, but will more than likely take strong retaliatory action only after being attacked from some party within Syria, be it the Syrians themselves, the occupying Russian forces now firmly entrenched in the country, or most probably from a disguised attack from Iranian forces in Syria, or their Hezbollah proxies. To take military action to level a city like Damascus is no small matter and the worldwide outcry will be fierce, so to warrant such an occurrence, means that something huge has occurred to initiate such a measured response.
Still in the rumors of war dialogue, is the prophesied invasion of Israel by the forces of Gog and an Islamic confederation, as foretold by the prophet Ezekiel (chapters 38 and 39). Now, with Russia taking up positions in nearby Syria, and with Iranian forces and proxies also in the next-door nation, an eventual military campaign from that region can be better effected. Might such an action like the destruction of Damascus by Israel cause the invasion of these forces, or will the Isaiah 17 prophecy occur in conjunction with the opening salvo of the Gog/Magog campaign? Time will tell.
The last seven years or the Tribulation period is also described as the “times of Jacob’s troubles”. It could be that both events – the Isaiah 17 destruction of Damascus and the Ezekiel 38&39 Gog/Magog invasion into Israel – could occur after the Rapture of the Church, when the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is lifted, and the forces of evil that are now being held back somewhat, will be able to finally unleash their fury upon the Jewish nation. But with the buildup and present actions of those who wish to destroy Israel now taking up positions in Syria, and plotting their evil schemes, it can’t be too much longer until these demonically influenced forces are given the green light to carry out their prophesied and doomed advances.
Another sign of the times is the developing of the one world religion that is foretold to be in existence during the final seven years. Prophecy watchers have seen the stages of this entity taking shape, under the guidance and manipulation of the past few popes and their ecumenical drive to bring all under the Vatican’s influence. We’ve seen the images of Pope John Paul II kissing the Quran, in an attempt to curry favor with the Islamic peoples and bring them into a closer alliance with the RCC. If that man would have been a true servant of Christ, he should have realized that the Quran denies that Jesus went to the cross, paid the penalty for our sins in an excruciating manner, or that Jesus Christ is God. Why kiss such a lie-filled book, unless one had ulterior motives?
The RCC’s “Home to Rome” campaign has long been underway to entice those of us who were lead away from their bondage by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to once again reunite with them and give up our wayward position of trusting in Christ alone for our salvation. All is forgiven, and we “separated brethren” – formerly called heretics – can now go home to our “Mother Church”, the only true means of salvation, as they contend.
They have pulled out all the stops in welcoming not only Protestants, but adherents of all faiths – Muslim, Buddhists, Mormons, you name it – anybody and everybody – to join up with them, just as long as the pope and the Vatican are the controlling force. And now Francis is even claiming that homosexuals are probably welcomed into Heaven; in other words, he is trying to say that all peoples, of any stripe or persuasion, can seek entrance into the Catholic system, and pay their allegiance to the Roman Pontiff, thus ensuring one’s salvation. The fulfillment of the one world religion system has never looked more promising and this sign of the times has never been clearer.
The march to a one world government has also been long underway, but was momentarily derailed by events like Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. Barak Hussein Obama did all he could to further the ambitions of the globalists, and his supposed heir apparent Hillary Rodham Clinton, would have even further diminished the influence of the USA, by us giving up our sovereignty to the whims of a ruling elite in Europe. Thank God for the brief timeout we were blessed with by the election of a DC outsider. Obviously, the mainstream media is still incensed by that turn of events and one cannot do a channel search without hearing some negative comment or see the bottom of the tv screen crawl that depicts Trump in a bad light. Those people are so out of their minds with fury, that the “news” has become unbearable to watch.
But, alas, the Bible does warn that a one world government will arise, so it is only a matter of time until it takes place. Something will happen that will cause America to lose its influence and give way to the rise of the Antichrist and his one world governance. Even with Brexit and Trump, nothing can stop its formation, as it has already been prophesied to occur.
But, we are almost there. The Rapture could be, and probably will be, the “mother of all signs” (to use middle east parlance and sometimes bluster) to usher in and eventuate all the signs together to begin the “Day of the Lord”. We know the Rapture itself is a sign less event – it could occur at any moment – but the build up to the Tribulation period is preceded by all the signs happening in the world right now. Many believe the inking or confirming of the seven-year peace deal with Israel and her neighbors is the actual start of the Tribulation period.
The Rapture, though, could affect every facet that brings on the necessary conditions of the foretold events. Instantly, with the removal of the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit, wars as mentioned above, and others, could break out, necessitating a need for the emergence of a strong leader, to stop the warfare.
As seen in the Book of Revelation, it isn’t until after the Church is seen in Heaven – probably after the Bema Seat Judgment and the award of crowns, that are then tossed to Jesus’ feet – that we see the Lamb open the seals and unleash the antichrist onto the world. So, the Rapture would then pave the way for his emergence.
With the Church gone, that also allows for the 144,000 Jewish evangelists to go out and spread the gospel of Christ. Did you know – if you do the math – that 144,000 divided by say, 200 countries in the world comes out to approx. 720 evangelists for each nation?! That is an incredible number. No wonder that there are so many Tribulations saints that come out of that period, thanks to the Jews (again!) and all for the glory of God. To break down that number even further, 720 would equate to about 14.4 evangelists, of say, Apostle Paul or maybe even Billy Graham caliber per state in the USA. That is an astonishing number.
The Rapture will of course, remove the true Church of Christ and give rise to an apostate, false church, whose ascendancy has long been underway. She will be transformed into an amalgamation of all different religions, creeds and beliefs and its influence will be worldwide. Its leader, will even point the masses to a new worldwide ruler, who, might even come out her ranks. We shall see.
The signs of the times are all around us; the end is near. Along the old Route 66, Burma Shave had signs positioned sequentially, so as you progressed down the road, beginning with the first sign, reading each one, you would finally reach the last sign and put together a complete, if not whimsical promotion for their product. Unlike the humor found in those advertising gimmicks, we are progressing further and further along the road that leads to disaster, especially for the soul not prepared for its impending arrival. We are immersed in the signs and action needs to be taken to avoid calamity. Each sign of the times is followed by another.
There is a way out from what lies ahead. There is a detour that keeps us on a safe, narrow path. His name is Jesus Christ. He proclaims:
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6)
Why the attempt at taking another route? If one sees barricades blocking an unsafe section of highway ahead, isn’t it the smart move to follow the signs that lead away from the danger? By rejecting the only means of salvation, not only will one have to endure an untold number of years through the Tribulation period – it is seven years long, but the chances of surviving the whole event are slim – and then after that, if one still rejects Christ’s free gift of redemption, they will spend an eternity in the Lake of Fire. Will it be worth it? Hardly.
Heed the following sign:
“Enter in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be that go in that way” (Matthew 7:13)
Please take notice of the signs of the times. Christ is coming soon for His Body of Believers. Impending peril lies dead ahead. The world will be thrust into calamitous times. There’ll be no escaping it. Plan your evacuation now, before it is too late.
The Antichrist and False Prophet will soon emerge on to the world scene, deceiving people and forcing them into accepting a mark, that not only allows for buying and selling, but will also signify that you have rejected Christ and His gospel of free grace, and instead have opted to worship the Beast. This will seal your doom. Whoever takes the Mark of the Beast, will find themselves in a Christ less eternity. You may escape the wrath of the Dragon while on Earth, but you will not escape the eternal flames of the Lake of Fire, as meted out at the Great White Throne Judgment, presided over by the Lamb of God, and the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Jesus the Christ.
Say yes to Christ now, and you will detour all that lies ahead. Your name will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, a glorious future will await you and Jesus will soon snatch you out of this world before all things begin to happen. Signs warn of danger; they are only effective if one reads, then heeds.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28)
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved.” (Acts 16:31)