Choosing Christ By Nathele Graham Christians live a double life, but we aren’t to be…
Looking For A Sign
By Nathele Graham
We all want signs that we are following the right path, or a sign of what God has planned. During a very troubled time in Israel’s history, they were being harassed by the Midianites. Israel had been in rebellion to God and were paying for their sins. This was a constant theme with Israel and God.
“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.” – Judges 6:1.
Even though Israel has periodically rebelled against God, He will never desert them. In times of rebellion, God allows them to be overrun by foreign nations, but He will never completely turn away from them. During one of those rebellious times, God called Gideon to stand for Israel. Gideon wasn’t sure he had heard God right and wanted a sign.
“And Gideon said unto God, if thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, behold I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou will save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.” – Judges 6:36-37.
Morning came and the fleece was soaked, but Gideon still wasn’t convinced He asked for another sign. He wanted the fleece to be dry while the ground all around was wet. Once again, God patiently gave Gideon the sign he wanted. Gideon went to war; the battle was won and God was glorified. God calls Christians to battle evil every day and we need to be prepared. The signs are all around us.
God knows the beginning from the end and uses prophecy as a sign. Too often we neglect to study the Old Testament because we think it doesn’t relate to Christians. That’s very wrong. There’s much to learn from Abraham, Job, David, the Judges, and from all the prophets of God. Prophecy helps us to prepare for the battles we face. The prophets of old most likely didn’t fully understand what they recorded from God, but they knew that it was important. When Daniel was young, he was taken captive and relocated to Babylon, a very pagan place to live. Although he was young, he never stopped worshiping and serving God Almighty. He knew the Temple had been destroyed, but he still openly worshiped God. When he was given a prophecy about the distant future, he didn’t question God, but recorded the words. Today we have more understanding of their truth. Because we live in the times that were written about, we can see prophecy coming into focus. Daniel didn’t question prophecy so he knew from Jeremiah that the Babylonian captivity was about to end. Daniel was also given many prophecies, including one that told when Messiah would come and signs of the end of time.
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” – Daniel 9:24.
That verse alone holds a lot of information. God hasn’t replaced Israel, nor has He turned away from them. Also be aware that a “week” equals seven years, not seven days. The prophecy is about Daniel’s holy city, Jerusalem. Jerusalem would be rebuilt and one day there would be no more sin. How could that happen? Daniel didn’t know how, but he knew God said it so it would happen.
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again and the wall, even in troublous times.” – Daniel 9:25.
This is also a prophecy about Jesus. It has been calculated that from the day that Artaxerxes issued the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (history records that date) until Jesus entered into Jerusalem to the praises of the people, Daniel’s prophecy was fulfilled to the day.
The Scribes and Pharisees should have known, but they chose to ignore prophesy. God knew they would. Their ignorance allowed other prophecies to be fulfilled. The prophecy given to Daniel reveals that the Messiah would be killed and Jerusalem would be destroyed again. History confirms this happened. Why do so many people question the truth of God’s word? Like the religious leaders of old, many religious leaders today choose ignorance. Jesus had publicly given many signs that He was the Messiah. He healed many people and cast out demons but the Scribes and Pharisees still wanted a sign.
“Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” – Matthew 12:38-40.
Scripture was their sign. The religious leaders knew the Law and the Prophets, but they refused to believe that prophecy was being fulfilled in their lifetime. Biblical prophecy will be fulfilled whether we choose ignorance or not.
The Apostle Peter was a witness to all the miracles that Jesus did and heard His teachings Peter didn’t attend a seminary, so he wasn’t confused by man’s interpretations. He was a fisherman. Jesus saw his character and knew what Peter could accomplish if given the chance. Peter stumbled a few times in his walk, but when he finally realized his calling, there was no turning back. I guess he might have been somewhat like Gideon and was surprised that he had been chosen for important work for the Lord. Even though Peter was an eyewitness to the healing of deaf and blind people, and he heard the voice of God the Father booming out of Heaven, he knew prophecy was better proof than those signs.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” – 2 Peter 1:19-21.
If you’re living in fear of all the wars and diseases that trouble the earth, then you need to open your Bible and study prophecy. There are hundreds of prophecies in Scripture which Jesus fulfilled. Since those were fulfilled, why would you doubt that the other ones will come to pass? Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Amos, Zechariah, and others all give insight to today’s world and what will soon come to pass.
We live in the end of days. Daniel was shown prophecy about our world today. He saw that Jesus would be crucified and that Jerusalem would be destroyed.
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” – Daniel 9:26-27.
The Messiah would be “cut off” (killed) and reveals that the temple will be rebuilt. It was rebuilt, but destroyed again in 70 AD. Many Jewish people are actively working toward rebuilding the temple. Three pure red heifers have been found, and that is an important part of rebuilding the temple, which has to be rebuilt before the man we call the Anti-Christ is in power. It will happen just as God foretold in prophecy. The temple will be rebuilt, but the Anti-Christ will defile it. It’s a sign, but a sign that evil is still in the world.
There are many more signs of prophecy being fulfilled. Again, look to Scripture for answers. Prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, He had a quiet talk with four of His disciples. These men were curious. Before embarking on a study of these verses, keep in mind that the ekklesia (Christians) had not been born yet. Jesus had not been crucified, nor had He risen from the dead. Pentecost was still in the future. Jesus’ Jewish disciples asked questions about Israel.
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming; and of the end of the world?” – Matthew 24:3.
No matter which Bible translation you read, it’s only a translation of the original text. The word translated “world” is “aion” which should be translated “age”. The disciples had finally understood that Jesus was going away, but they wanted to know when He would return. They knew that when He returned, the oppression would end. They didn’t understand that He had to die, and when He returned, the oppression He would end wasn’t Roman rule, but Satan’s evil. The first point Jesus made was not to be deceived by false Messiahs.
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” – Matthew 24:4-5.
If you don’t study Scripture, you’ll easily be deceived. Then He gave general “signs” to watch.
“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 24:26.
If you listen to the news media, you’ll hear of many wars. Russia is at war with Ukraine, but that’s just a stepping stone to their ultimate goal of controlling the Middle East, specifically Israel. Iran hates Israel and attacks on a regular basis. Go back and study the book of Judges. We know Israel has been in rebellion and mostly doesn’t honor God. It’s time for them to return to the God of their fathers and fight. Unfortunately, they’ll only call out to God after seven years of tribulation (read Revelation). Today, Israel is tired of rocket and terrorists attacking them and war is looming.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…” Matthew 24:7a.
As we read this, it seems redundant. “nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom”, but once again, going back to the original language will help to make it clearer. “Ethnos” is translated “nation” which is a people group…ethnic groups. We see it daily that there is fighting within a nation because ethnic groups can’t get along. There are also many wars between nations. Do you see any of these signs happening? I do and it’s all very troubling.
The signs continue and can cause great concern.
“…and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Matthew 24:7b.
If you follow the earthquake events, you’ll understand that there are thousands happening each month, and they are getting stronger. Pestilence is also a sign. Most of us remember the craziness of the last few years over a man-made disease. People willingly allowed the government to control every part of their lives. There will be more of the same coming as the world is being conditioned to accept a one world leader…the Anti-Christ and his mark. But that’s another story for another commentary. Jesus also told of famine. We see problems beginning now. Food shelves aren’t stocked like they once were. Animals have been dying, fires break out in chicken houses and thousands of chickens die. Our food supply is being tampered with so the food we buy is not the food that God created for our nutritional health. Scripture also tells of another type of famine.
“Behold the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” – Amos 8:11-12.
Oh my, this is happening. Preachers are politically correct instead of Biblically correct. Drag queens are invited to preach in some congregations, and it gets worse by the day. People are starving for God’s truth.
Remember, Jesus wasn’t talking with His disciples about today’s world, but the way the world would be just before His second coming.
“All these are the beginning of sorrows.” – Matthew 24:8.
The word “sorrows” is from the Greek word “odin”, which means “birth pains”. I’m sure many who are reading this can relate to that feeling. I remember walking the floor all night because of pain as my baby was beginning to get in the position for birth. It hurt, but the pain would intensify. The pains grew stronger and finally it was very painful. As my husband held my hand, all he could do was encourage me. Then, it was time and the baby was born and the pain was worth it. As we watch the signs coming to pass in our own time, we know we are very close to the final seven years of history. As it gets closer, we need to encourage each other.
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11.
Don’t forget that Jesus wasn’t telling the disciples about the Rapture, but about Daniel’s 70th week…the tribulation. That’s an event that will happen after the Rapture. Jesus took our punishment at the cross, and Christians will be taken to Heaven prior to God’s judgment being poured out upon the entire earth. In His words to the disciples, Jesus gave many, many more signs to look for, and we see the shadows of all of them falling upon our world today. The days of Noah and the Days of Lot are especially prominent as genetic manipulation and sexual perversion are all around us. Brothers and sisters, don’t be a part of the sin in this world, but set your sights upon Jesus and His promise. Even though we see the signs happening, Christians have the promise that we will be taken Home before the Anti-Christ begins his reign of terror.
“And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
When Jesus returns to establish His Kingdom on earth, we will come with Him. That final battle will be over quickly. No evil can withstand the King of kings.
Looking for signs? Look to Scripture for signs of the times and act accordingly. Conform your life to Christ’s example. Share the Gospel. The signs say that time is getting short.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed
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