Facing Uncertain Times

Does this pandemic thing feel like what we’ve only read about in the Bible? Does it not feel apocalyptic? For those of us living in America, we find it unusual that our grocery store shelves are empty of certain items. Schools are closed; businesses with the exception of the very needed are closed; the roads are almost empty and everyone is told to stay home.

So one of my questions is this: Is there any connection between this virus and end times? How would we know if this virus is a sign that our world as we know it, is ending?

First, let me define what a sign is: A Biblical sign is an event or symbol or object whose existence indicates something on God’s plan for the future. Jesus told us that in the future there would be many signs:

Luke 21:25 – “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars, and on the earth distress of nations,, with perplexity, the sea, and the waves roaring; (Verse 26) “men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.”

Jesus actually scolded the Pharisees and the Sadducees for not paying any attention to the signs of the times. They were just like some today saying none of this is really important.

Matthew 16:1-3 – Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. (Verse 2) He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; (Verse 3) “and in the morning ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”

Matthew 24:3-8 – Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age? (Verse 4) And Jesus answered and said to them, “Take heed that no one deceives you. (Verse 5) “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. (Verse 6) “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

(Verse 7) “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Verse 8) “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

The disciples asked Jesus three questions: When will these things be; what will the sign of Your coming be; and what will be the sign of the end of the age be? Jesus answers the second and third questions in verses we just read. However, He doesn’t answer the first question of “when” until verse 36, which says, “But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

In the answers to the second and third questions, Jesus gives us six signs to let us know we are in those end times before He comes. (1) The deception by false Christs. (2) Disputes and warfare among nations. (3) Nations rise against nation. (4) famines (5) pestilences (6) earthquakes in various places.

The six signs will cover the first three and one-half years of the tribulation period. We are living, right now in what the Bible calls the “Chruch Age.” The “Church Age” is going to come to an end very suddenly with what is called “The Rapture of the Church!”

After that, the seven years of tribulation starts on this earth. The judgment that happens on this earth at that time will be horrific! Then at the end of those seven years, Jesus comes from heaven with His saints and sets up His kingdom on this earth.

None of the signs listed in Matthew 24, have anything to do with the “Rapture.” Here is a verse that confuses a lot of people, but we must remember not to take it out of context: Matthew 24:34 – “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things are fulfilled.”

Which generation? The generation that sees all these signs. The generation that is alive at the time these signs come, will not pass away until Jesus comes back. Be careful trying to predict though, these signs have nothing to do with the rapture and when it’s going to take place.

And the reason we know this is because when Jesus comes for us in the rapture there will be no announcement! It will take place in an instant! Without warning the rapture will take place.

So if all these signs are not signs about the rapture and after the rapture I will be in heaven, why should I be concerned about the signs at all? Because future events cast their shadows before them: These things that are going to be happening in the tribulation period, some of them in some form are going to be going on before the rapture takes place.

So is this pandemic a sign of the rapture? O course not because there are no signs for the rapture. However, this could be the sign of the coming of pestilence. Some of these tribulation signs can spill over into the final years before the rapture.

What does all this teach us? What can we take away from this when it is all over? It teaches us the vulnerability of everyone. They had first told us that the elderly and those with underlying conditions were the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, but as time went by, we see that no one is safe, healthy or not!

This should make us all realize how much more dependant on God we really are. 1 Peter 5:5 – …”God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Perhaps before this is over, we will be a nation on our knees!

This also teaches us the credibility of the Bible. We are living right now what some had to live in the Bible. So when we’ve read about plagues and pestilence before in the Bible, we can believe it happens. None of us saw this coming!

James 4:14 – whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

Please don’t ever forget to be grateful for what God has done in your life because we have no certainty of tomorrow. I’m not full of “doom & gloom,” it’s just that we all need to be reminded how vulnerable we all are and to give honor and praise to the One who it is due. The plans we all had, the schedules and the appointments we made are all put on hold for now, but soon, very soon, our God will show us what a Mighty God He is.

If people only listen to the negative of how many people have this or have died across the world, they will be consumed with fear! But let me remind every Christian, “God didn’t give us a spirit of fear!!! He came to give us hope!

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