In Matthew 24, Jesus delivered to his disciples his basic teaching on the end of the age. It involved wars and rumors of wars, nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom, famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in many different places. He warned them that believers would be hated for His name’s sake, betrayed even by family and other so-called Christians. Because iniquity (lawlessness) would abound the love of many shall grow cold. Into this atmosphere the Antichrist will be able to set up his systems of control and abomination. Jesus concluded His answer to their question with –
“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” – Matthew 24:33
The fifth strategy is to be alert.
Jesus and the prophets spoke much about the events and signs that would indicate the approaching end of the age. The reason for this is God desires all to be prepared for and to escape the coming judgment on sin and wickedness. The seven Feasts of the Lord are celebrations by which we can meet with God but they are also warnings of coming events. The first four feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost) were all fulfilled exactly by Jesus in His first coming, to the day. It is very likely that the last three feasts (Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles) will also be fulfilled by His second coming.
God also uses His creation to speak to us, even calling them signs –
“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:” – Genesis 1:14
The constellations tell the story of God’s salvation in Jesus but He also uses blood moons and eclipses as warnings to prepare. Recently a very rare blood red moon tetrad has appeared, that is four blood red moons occurring on the Biblical feast days of Passover and Tabernacles (heb. Sukkot). Eclipses of the sun also occurred during this time warning of coming judgments and wars. These signs ushered in the coming Year of Jubilee which begins in September this year. The Jubilee Year was meant to be a great financial blessing to God’s people but, because they rebelled against God, putting Him out of their lives, instead it became a curse to them. America too was dedicated to God at its beginning but now, we too have denied Him, putting Him out of our lives – so what will this Jubilee Year be for us? What do these heavenly signs portend for us?
There are many other events and signs happening, such as the mass die-offs of birds, fish, and mammals all over the world. There is a marked increase of volcanoes and earthquakes in many places all of which reveal the stress that the earth is under.
“By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.” – Hosea 4:2,3
All these are signs from God to alert us of the coming judgment and there are many more such as the preparation of nations for war against Israel. Proverbs gives us all a timely word of advice –
“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” – Proverbs 22:3
God wants us to be prepared and He wants us to be wise. “A prudent man foresees” – there is nothing wrong with preparing ahead for trouble. Can you see that the food supply in America might be damaged – then prudently stock up an emergency supply. What will you do if money becomes worthless? How will you contact your loved ones and friends in an emergency? Jesus warned in Luke 21 that when they saw armies surrounding Jerusalem there were things they had to do.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are not only given to build us up, but also to help us be alert to danger. Nothing is hidden from God’s eyes and He can and will reveal evil and danger to us. This is one of the great benefits of prayer. I know this is why the devil fights so hard to keep us from praying! It is one of my greatest struggles! I feel like the disciple in the garden of Gethsemane when Jesus asked to watch and pray, and they went to sleep! Today, an easy way to lose half your church is to just ask them to fast and pray! But, for the end times, it is a critical strategy.