Principle of the First Coming
Let me summarize the points that I’ve made thus far. First, you are either under grace or you are under wrath. Second, Jesus is returning in wrath. Third, God never pours out His wrath without warning. Fourth, God is obligated by His character to warn. And, finally, therefore, God is obligated to let us know the season of the Lord’s return.
How then can we know the season? God wants us to know it, but how does He reveal it? Well, He reveals it through signs that we are to watch for. The same principle applied to the First Coming of Jesus.
You will find the principle in Matthew 16:1. There we find Jesus teaching when He is suddenly confronted by the Sadducees and Pharisees. They demand that He show them a sign from heaven. Now, what they wanted was a miracle, but Jesus played with the word “sign.”” He responded by saying:
“When it’s evening, you will say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning. ‘There will be storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”
Do you get the point Jesus was making? Here are the religious leaders of Israel demanding a sign to prove that Jesus is the Messiah. They want Him to perform a miracle. He says, “I don’t understand you guys. You can look at the sky and you can tell what the weather is going to be, and you can’t look at me and discern the signs of the times? What miracle do you need? What sign do you need besides what I’m doing?”
What’s Jesus referring to? He’s referring to the fact that the Hebrew Scriptures, which these men had been studying all of their lives, contain over 300 prophecies about the First Coming of the Messiah. Many of those prophecies are repetitious. So, if you boil them all down you’ll come out with about 109 separate and distinct prophecies about the First Coming of Jesus. These prophecies foretold everything about His life: where He would be born, how He would be born, that He would go into Egypt, that He would live in Galilee, that He would heal people, and love people, and die for the sins of mankind. All aspects of His ministry were prophesied in detail.
Take His lineage, for example. It was prophesied that He would be descended from Abraham, thru Isaac, and Jacob, and David. With incredible detail, the last days and hours of His life were prophesied. The prophets said He would be betrayed, by a friend, for 30 pieces of silver, that He would be lifted up, that He would be pierced in the side and hands and feet. Every aspect of His death was prophesied.
Now, Jesus was fulfilling all those prophecies before the very eyes of the Scribes and Pharisees. And yet, they were demanding a sign! So Jesus replies, “How blind can you be? I’m fulfilling the signs of the times.”
Here’s the point. There are 300 prophecies about the First Coming of Jesus in the Old Testament, but there are 500 prophecies in the Old Testament about His Second Coming. And, in the New Testament, one out of every 25 verses has to do with the Second Coming of Jesus. In other words, there are many, many, many more prophecies about the Second Coming of Jesus than His First Coming. Probably twice as many.
Why so many? Because Jesus is returning in wrath. The first time He came, He came as a compassionate Savior with His eyes full of tears, but when He returns, He is returning as a conquering warrior with eyes like white-hot flames because He is returning to judge and make war against the enemies of God. And so, since God does not wish that any should perish, He has given us sign after sign after sign to watch for.David Reagan: Jesus is returning in wrath. The first time He came, He came as a compassionate Savior with His eyes full of tears, but when He returns, He is returning as a conquering warrior. Click To Tweet
As I said before, I’ve spent the last 45 years studying those signs. And, I tell you, there are so many that they just simply overwhelm you. They literally overwhelm you. What I’ve done is to try to put them together into categories, into groupings. That’s the best way I know of to get a handle on them.
As you begin to study those categories, these groupings of signs, I want to tell you something, you just get overwhelmed by the fact that Jesus is returning soon. You begin to have spiritual eyes, and you start seeing the signs of the times that point to the soon return of Jesus. Everywhere you look it’s as if God has a neon sign in the sky that is flashing on and off saying, “Jesus is coming soon! Jesus is coming soon! Jesus is coming soon!”
The Sign of Nature
What are the signs of the Lord’s soon return? Let me present them to you in categories. First are the signs of nature. Let me just tell you right up front that the signs of nature are the least respected signs in all the various categories of signs. When you mention signs of nature, people say, “What do you mean by that?” I respond by saying, “What I’m talking about is earthquakes, and volcanos, and famines, and pestilence, and mysterious things in the heavens,” and they start laughing. They start laughing! Usually for one or two reasons.
They either first of all say, “Well, those things have always been with us. There have always been famines, and always earthquakes, and always tornadoes. So, what else is new? Dave, come on, get serious!” Or, they just laugh. They laugh at you because they think you’re a stupid idiot to believe that God would speak through a sign of nature. They put you on the level of some ignorant and superstitious native in some primitive land who thinks that because his volcano goes off his god is mad at him.
Well, I’ve got news for you. The signs of nature are for real. They are for real! The Bible teaches from beginning to end that God has always spoken through nature and that He continues to do so today.
We here in the United States live in one of the most rationalistic societies on the face of the earth. We worship at the altar of rationalism. The average American no more believes in the supernatural than he believes in the man in the moon. This is true also of the average Christian. We are so rationalistic we believe that if you can’t see it, if you can’t touch it, if you can’t smell it, if you can’t taste it, if you can’t weigh it, then it does not exist.
But, the Bible teaches that there is a whole realm of reality that is normally beyond the perception of the senses. I’m speaking of the realm of the angelic, the realm of the demonic, the realm of supernatural spiritual warfare. An aspect of it is the way God speaks through signs of nature. He always has, and He always will.
When people sneer at these signs and say, “Well, you know, there have always been signs like these,” they ignore what Jesus said in Matthew 24. Listen to what He says as he describes these signs. In Matthew 24:8 Jesus said the signs of nature will be like birth pangs.
Now, I’ve never had birth pangs. So, when I first started studying Bible prophecy and I ran across this, I went to my wife and I said, “What is going on here? What does this mean?” She responded with, “Listen, you dummy, any mother knows what that means.” She explained that the closer a pregnant woman gets to the delivery of her baby, the birth pangs increase in two ways. They increase in frequency and intensity.
That’s exactly what Jesus meant here. The closer we get to His return, the more earthquakes there will be and the more intense; the more volcanic eruptions, and the more intense; the more plagues, and the more intense; the more famine, and the more intense. Does that sound like the evening news? That’s exactly what began happening in the 20th Century.
Get a World Almanac. Look up the statistics in it, and you’ll see that ever since the 20th Century began, we have been experiencing an increasing frequency and intensity in all of our natural calamities. The statistics are overwhelming. It’s as if God is shaking all of nature and shaking it harder and harder and harder the closer we get to the coming of Jesus. He is saying to the world, “Listen to me! Listen to me! Jesus is coming soon!”
My friends, the signs of nature are for real, and we had better pay attention to them. They are proclaiming that Jesus is returning soon.
In the fourth part of this series proving the fact that we are now living in the season of the Lord’s return, I will present as proof the end times signs of society.