I recently had a conversation with a longtime and devout Christian. I was shocked that she felt it not necessary to be aware of prophesy and where we are on the prophetic time clock. I said, “We get a crown for watching.” And she responded with some hazy concept that these crowns aren’t real crowns, but an allegorical picture of the Lord being our head. I’ve thought about this for several days and think it’s important to point out all the places we are told to be watching and be aware of the times we are living in.
First, Jesus said,
He admonished the religious leaders of His day for not looking up, not realizing they lived in days of prophesy being fulfilled. I’ve heard at least a third of the Bible is prophesy yet unfulfilled. Why would God give us so much advance warning of what the world will be like when Jesus comes to gather His people? From what Jesus said to the Pharisees (middle class businessmen; considered oral tradition equal to the Word of God and turned tradition into religious law) and Sadducees (aristocrats and ruling class; often chief and high priests; more concerned with politics than spiritual things), He indicated they understood everyday events, but invested no thought or consideration of what God told them would come to pass and the signs to watch for. Does that not sound a lot like today?
Oh sure, there are lots of folks with their heads down, eyes on themselves and their lives. And they are leading good Christian lives, yet they are failing to follow Jesus’ instructions to watch. What did Jesus say about watching for His return? When the disciples asked,
Jesus spoke several times about watching (bold emphasis is mine).
So when we see false messiahs, wars and threats of wars, famines, earthquakes in various places we can know the Kingdom of God is at hand. Hmm, that suggests we know what to look for, watch for evidence of His Word becoming reality, and then we can know the Kingdom is near. But Jesus doesn’t stop there.
And what does stay alert mean?
That we continue to watch was so important to Jesus He wanted to be sure we understood what His expectation. So he gave us a parable.
That seems very clear – not only are we to be about His work, but we are to know the signs to look for and to be watching for the signs of His nearing return.
You know how late it is? How could we be expected to know unless we are paying attention to the signs of the times? Okay, so let me challenge you a bit more. Part of our life here is to build our faith, share the good news, and be eagerly awaiting His return. Still not convinced we are really meant to be watching for signs and knowing how close we are to His return?
So we are to hope! Pray! AND expect His return!
I have a few more verses to press my point.
Many think there is a crown for right living, but this is very clear. The crown is for right living AND eagerly looking for His return. Don’t be caught up in the cares of your life. No, we are to be looking up, eagerly watching for His return. We are to know the signs of the times and know, like a red sky in the morning, we are to take warning. Time is short before God steps in and intervenes in an awesome way with this world and gathers to Himself those who love Him.
One more point. He also instructed the Jewish people, the apple of His eye, to be watching as well.
You might be thinking that Thessalonians 5:1–3 says that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. Lots of people use that as an excuse for not watching. But read the next verses!
Very clear words. If you are Christian, you are of the light and should not be taken by surprise. Further, in verse 11 we are told to encourage one another by knowing the signs and letting people who come to us concerned about their future and the fearful things happening. We have good news in the face of the world spiralling out of control with global economic distress, increasing earthquakes, wars and religious wars declared and executed, massive droughts and floods leading to famines, the skyrocketing cost of food. So much is going on. The signs are everywhere. Time to look up! Time to watch! Time to eagerly look for His return.
Do you know once Ezekiel was called to watch, he was held accountable to know the signs and warn people (Ezekiel 33:1-6)? We are called to watch by Jesus Himself. What do you do with the third of God’s Word that gives us the signs of the times of the end? Will we too be held accountable to know the signs and warn our friends?