Signs of the Times
By Hal Lindsey
This year, planet earth has been taking a stroll through Matthew 24 — the famous chapter where Jesus laid out for His disciples some of the signs to look for as the time of His return approaches.
The most obvious sign right now is “pestilences.” COVID-19 has been dominating the lives of people around the world. But it hasn’t come alone. London’s Daily Star reported recently on an “Apocalyptic swarm of deadly mutant ticks” that have invaded Russia. Massive locust swarms are still ravaging parts of Africa and Asia. The world is battling pestilences almost everywhere.
And if you think the present pandemic is bad, look out. Shi Zhengli is the deputy director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology and one of the world’s leading scientists specializing in viral transmissions from bats. She said the current coronavirus pandemic is “just the tip of the iceberg.”
Jesus also spoke of “lawlessness.” We’ve been seeing lawlessness all over television in recent days. It started with lawlessness among four law enforcement officers. Then some of those protesting that lawlessness went full rogue themselves — looting, burning, and finally injuring and even killing police officers who had nothing to do with the death of George Floyd.
As Jesus foretold, these are also days of unprecedented “deception.” Technology has given us more ways to communicate than ever before. Your telephone is a TV studio and global broadcast station packed into something small enough to put in your pocket. And with every new way to communicate comes another opportunity for deception. I’m not talking about occasional mistakes that honest journalists make from time to time. I am talking about blatant lies meant to deceive and mislead. And it’s everywhere.
I could speak of wars and rumors of war, earthquakes, persecution, and the other things Jesus told us about. But in the present turmoil, I want to focus on a phrase found in Matthew 24:7 — “nation will rise against nation.” The word translated “nation” is the Greek word “ethnos.” The English derivative is “ethnic.” Racial prejudice and divisions are a direct fulfillment of this prophecy.
The events from Matthew 24 that I have been describing are hard to watch. But it’s important to realize that the Lord told us about them two thousand years in advance. He likened the world in these times to a woman going through labor. Birth pangs follow a pattern. They increase in frequency and intensity right up to the time of birth. That’s what’s happening now.
We look forward to the Lord rescuing us from this world. (See 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). In the meantime, we will see heartbreaking things. We can best help people by sharing the Gospel in every way possible. And while we’re here, remember the power of prayer. 1 Timothy 2:2 gives us an amazing motive to pray for those who are in authority — “that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”
This not the time for timidity or fear, but for love, wisdom, work, and prayer.