Signs of the Times

And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala. The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.  He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

Matthew 15:39-16:4

And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.

Mark 8:10-12

One of the keys to understanding Jesus’ reaction to the Pharisees and Sadducees that came to him on this occasion is that Matthew records they “tempted” Him. As always, Jesus knew why they were there and what they were trying to do. They were looking for a way to discredit Him and pull the people away from following Him. Knowing this, Jesus “calls them out” as the hypocrites they were. They came asking a “question” but really just wanted to attack Him. We should be careful to not “question” others in this way. Yes, we should ask questions, but for the purpose of learning more about Jesus!

Jesus further points out their complete ignorance of the scriptures. These men should have known the Old Testament better than anyone but their refusal to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah blocked their understanding of all the prophecies concerning Him and the miracles that He performed. Jesus says that they can predict the weather by a casual view of the sky but they do not see the Messiah Who is standing right in front of them!

Jesus had given ample evidence (or signs) of Who He was. There was nothing else necessary for Him to do. Therefore, He cuts off the conversation and just leaves them there. This is not rude or inconsiderate. This is Jesus dealing with His enemies!

On a different note, there are those who use the phrase “signs of the times” to give predictions of the end of the world and coming judgment so they can scare people into obedience. This is not what Jesus meant by this phrase. Jesus clearly taught on several occasions that His second coming will be as a thief in the night. This does not mean that when it happens it will be secret. It simply means that no one knows when it will be. Any attempt to pinpoint that date is fruitless and been proven wrong hundreds of times in the past two thousand years.

We have been living in the last times since Jesus came to earth. Therefore, we should live in a way that reflects our belief that Jesus came the first time as the Messiah to redeem us from our sins and that He is coming a second time to take us home!

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Hebrews 9:28

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