Seeking a Sign? PI

Jesus dealt with this in Matthew 16, let’s take a look what this means and how it applies to eschatology.  

The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away. Matthew 16:1-4 

The Pharisees were hounding Jesus for more miracles to prove who He was. Just like many Christians today, who are so focused on fads and new teachings, they totally ignore Who and What Christ is. Even though Jesus gave them miracles that were greater than even Moses had shown, their faith was absent and their focus was skewed.

The leaders were so concerned with appearances and their made-up doctrine they could not, nor wanted to see the real Truth. Sound familiar? They interpreted and applied their ideas and judgments from the Law, but did not understand God’s plain truth as revealed in the Scriptures. So, they focused on trivial matters and burdened the people with silly laws that were not scriptural. Just like false teachers do today! They became obstacles to the truth and facilitators of confusion. They literally believed, with passion, the weather report based on superstitions, but not God’s Word based on fact! They could see the sky and predict tomorrow’s errands, but were unwilling to see God at work or His plan.

A sign from heavenhea. Literally means, point to the sky and show us! This did not refer to a sign from God; Jesus already gave them that. This was an astrological proclamation. Often the leaders would use astrologers and star predictions for understanding the signs of the times and the future, even though God did directly forbid it (2 Kings 20:8-9; 2 Chron. 32:24; Isa. 38:7).

They relied on superstitions and not spiritual maturity. Superstitions were rooted in Jewish custom; Josephus wrote that the heavens, as shown to men, had a special portion to predict future events (Judges 6:17; Isa. 7:11-14; 8:18; 19:20; 20:3; 37:30; 38:7; 66:19; Ezek. 4:3; 12:11; 24:24-27; Matt. 24:29).

Elijah countered the astrologers by making a sign on the spot (1 Kings 18:38).

They were looking for proof from fables, and refused to see the real proof as predicted by the prophets. Thus, it can be said the leaders were looking for a sign from God, but that is unlikely due to the fact that Jesus already gave them many.

The best sign in eschatology is the buildup of our faith and the deployment of our spiritual formation into the lives of others. We pave the way for His Second Coming by our faith development and deployment, not by our feeble theories and the chasing of signs!

Their problem was not the lack of signs, but the refusal to adhere to them. God had given them the signs, but they refused to read or obey them (Duet. 32:5-20). The ultimate sign would be the resurrection (Matt. 12: 39-40).

We need to understand our Lord’s worth; He is Worthy, He sees us as worthy to be saved. We need to see that worthy means honorable and precious, so we need to empty ourselves of pride and concerns so as to be worthy to worship Him. The this becomes the beacon sign to the unbeliever.

 

The Application of Eschatology?

Is there an Application for Revelation and Biblical Eschatology?

Revelation, as most evangelicals understand it, is about the last days and the judgment of evil, and, for the most part it is. “However,” (a BIG “however,” and a “however” most of us do not like to hear and will rarely study or teach on); Revelation is also about how we are called to lead faithful lives and manage HIS CHURCH! Among the questions we need to ask ourselves are, are we being a “harlot” with His Church? Consider that prostitution is a form of adultery—not just in the sexual sense, but being disloyal to God so we are committing adultery against Him. It is unfaithfulness, and thus corruption and disintegration of our life, faith, and then the family because of the breakdown of the Church resulting in the breakdown of society (Is. 57:3; Jer. 3:8-9; Hos. 2:4; Rev. chaps 1-3; 17:1-5). This is about who you pledge your life to. Is it to your own pride? Or, is it to His Church and the glorification of Christ? Or, do you chase bad trends, sin, and the ways of the world? Are you so concerned with your way of doing things that His Way is pushed aside or skewed? How do you lead your personal life or church? Perhaps you are the “harlot,” or at least acting like it. Consider the struggles of these seven churches and the struggles in your life and church. You may have some prayer and repenting to do! I know I have had to do so, and I will continue to do so!

Remember, if we feed our faith, our doubts and problems will start to starve. If we feed our doubts with sensationalisms and lust, all we will do is distort ourselves from our spiritual formation and in turn, glorify Satan and not Christ!

Real, effectual Eschatology has more to do with spiritual loyalty than about what happens in the future. This makes the question that we all need to ask is to whom and to what are we loyal? Is it fads, trends, and ideas, or is it the precepts of Scripture and the glorification of Christ? Why are Christians so interested in chasing fads? Did you know every theory and prediction of Christ’s return and the patterns of the day leading to His return all have all been wrong?

Some notable Rapture and End Time predictions include the following (From Wikipedia and CRI equip.org):

You can call this, the people of the oops!

· 1792 – Shakers calculated this date

· 1844 – William Miller, founder of the Millerites, predicted the return of Christ would occur on October 22, 1844, revised after an initial prediction for the 1843/1844 Hebrew Year. The failure of Jesus to appear on this date after his followers had sold all their possessions was referred to as The Great Disappointment.

· June 21, 1981- Maupin, a pastor in Tucson, Arizona, wrote a book predicting the date of the Second Coming. His congregation sold all their belongings and went to a hilltop on that day to await the event.

· 1981 – Chuck Smith un-dogmatically predicted that Jesus would likely return by 1981.

· 1982Pat Robertson predicted a few years in advance that the world would end in the fall of 1982.

· 1988 – Publication of 88 Reasons why the Rapture is in 1988, by Edgar C. Whisenant.

· 1988 Hal Lindsey had predicted, in his book “The Late, Great Planet Earth,” that the Rapture was coming in 1988

· 1989 – Publication of The Final Shout: Rapture report 1989, by Edgar Whisenant. More predictions by this author appeared for 1992, 1995, and other years.

· 1992 – Korean group “Mission for the Coming Days” predicted October 28, 1992 as the date for the rapture.

· 1993 – Seven years before the year 2000. The rapture would have to start to allow for seven years of the Tribulation before the Return in 2000. Multiple predictions.

· 1994 – Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church in Los Angeles predicted June 9, 1994.

· 1994 – Radio evangelist Harold Camping predicted September 27, 1994.

· 1997 – Stan Johnson of the Prophecy Club predicted September 12, 1997.

· 1998 – Marilyn Agee, in The End of the Age, predicted May 31, 1998.

· 1999- Jerry Falwell predicted that the Second Coming would probably be within 10 years

· 1999- Nostradamus predicted that “from the sky will come a great King of Terror” (a lot of Christians were using his writings as proof for a 1999 or 2000 year return of Christ.)

· 2000- Michael Drosnin, author of “The Bible Code,” found a hidden message in the Pentateuch (the first five books in the Bible) that predicts that World War III, involving a worldwide atomic holocaust, will start in 2000 or perhaps 2006.

· 2007- September 13, 2007- Paul Sides predicted that Christ would return, (He is very popular on the internet.)

· 2007- Hal Lindsey (he says currently no longer makes specific predictions about the end of the world). In his revised book The Late Great Planet Earth he did predict the battle of Armageddon in 2000 and the second coming of Christ in 2007

These do not include the countless ones from the TV preacher crowd, cultists, the nuts, and Y2K for the year 2000…

oops….