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The Spiritual Discernment of Signs and Seasons
By Dr. David Reagan
The message of Lamb & Lion Ministries is: “Jesus is Returning Soon!” All of our outreach can be boiled down to that singular message. Most people who believe Jesus is coming again share one common question: When?
Can We Know the Timing?
Is there anything we can know about the return of the Lord Jesus Christ?
If you had asked me that question years ago, I would have said, “No, absolutely not! There is not one thing you can ever know about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.” But after over 45 years of intensive study of Bible prophecy, I’ve come to a different conclusion. When people ask me now, “Can we know when Jesus will return?” my answer is, “Yes and No.” No, we cannot know the date. Yes, we can know the season.
Now, when I say we cannot know the date that Jesus will return, I mean that with all my heart. The Bible makes it crystal clear we cannot know the date. In Matthew 24:36 Jesus Himself said, “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” We simply cannot know the date. Unfortunately, there are a lot of sincere people who are setting dates. I do not doubt their sincerity, but they are sincerely deceived.
Why Date-Setting Is So Dangerous
You see, Satan loves date setters because they bring discredit to Bible prophecy. You know how it works. Somebody sets a date. People get their hopes focused on that date rather than on their Savior, Jesus Christ. They become obsessed and run around all over the place talking incessantly about the date. The press picks up on the story and focuses in on the date. Then, the date comes and passes, and scoffers heap ridicule on those who believed in the date. The individuals who put their faith in that date are embarrassed, and they become embittered. They say to themselves, “I’ll tell you one thing, I’ll never do that again!” Then, when a responsible prophecy teacher comes along and says, “I don’t know the date, but I do know Jesus is coming soon,” they say, “Oh sure, I’ve heard that nonsense before,” and they refuse to listen. They close their minds to God’s prophetic word. And Satan loves it.
The closer we get to the Rapture, the more of these date-setters Satan is going to deceive. The effect will be like the person who constantly yells, “The wolf is coming, the wolf is coming, the wolf is coming!” Although the false messenger continues to shout a warning, people grow frustrated and decide to ignore the message. And then the wolf comes.
So, while we cannot know the date Jesus is coming, we can know the season of the Lord’s return.
We Can Know the Season
One of the most important Scripture passages that proves we can know the season of the Lord’s return is in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonian church. In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 he wrote, “Now as to the times and seasons, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.”
Notice that for most of the world, Jesus’ coming will be “like a thief in the night!” Verse 3 says it will occur while people are saying, “Peace and safety!” At that time, Paul says, “Destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape.”
But too many Christians stop reading at verse 3 and never get to the fundamental point found in verse 4. Underline that crucial verse in your Bible. Don’t ever forget it. The verse proves beyond a doubt that you and I can know the season of the Lord’s return. First Thessalonians 5:4 says, “But you brethren, believers, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; for you are sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.”
Now, what does that verse tell us? Paul is saying Jesus is coming like a thief in the night. But not for the brethren, not for Christians. He’s coming like a thief in the night for the world. He’s coming like a thief in the night for pagans. He’s coming like a thief in the night for those professing Christians who do not have any personal relationship with Him, who have never really been born again, and who refuse to believe and study the Word of God.
What do you think Paul means when he says, “We are sons of light and not of darkness”? I think what He’s referring to is the fact that if you are truly a born-again child of God, you have the Holy Spirit residing inside of you. The Holy Spirit is the Person of God who inspired the Bible. So if you lean on the Holy Spirit, He will illuminate your mind and heart, opening your spiritual eyes to understand the mysteries of God’s Word — including the season of the Lord’s return. And so the Bible says point blank, Jesus is not coming as a “thief in the night” for those who know Him and those who love Him.
There’s a similar passage in Hebrews 10:25: “Do not forsake our assembling together as is the habit of some, but encourage one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” What day? The day of judgment mentioned in verse 27 — the day when the Lord will return. It is the day referred to in verse 31 where we are warned that it is a “terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Note again verse 25 where it says that we are to encourage one another “as we see the day drawing near.” That means we can tell something about the season in which we’re living. It means we don’t have to be totally ignorant about the timing of the Lord’s return.
Looking Forward to the Blessed Hope
The point again is that, no, we cannot know the date; but if we exercise the spiritual discernment God’s Word tells Christians we should have, then, yes, we can know the season.
My friends, Jesus is coming soon, which is why every day I cry from the depths of my heart, “Maranatha!” Come quickly, Lord Jesus!