Signs of the Times: Matthew 16:1-4
“1) The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. 2) But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3) And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? 4) An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away.” Matthew‬ ‭16‬:‭1‬-‭4‬
The Pharisees and Sadducees come again to test jesus by asking Him to perform a sign from heaven. One wonders where they were the previous 2 1/2 years. He had performed many signs and wonders.
No matter, they were in good company. The last one who demanded signs from Jesus to prove His Deity was the devil himself. He challenged Jesus to turn stones into bread and to jump off the pinnacle of the temple. Jesus side stepped both demands. (See Matthew 4:1-7)
Maybe they were asking Him to perform the sign of Elijah and call fire down from heaven. (1 Kings 18:20-40) Instead, He offered the sign of Jonah. He was prophesying His coming death and resurrection.
Jesus instead challenged them to read the signs of the times. There were over 300 Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. Jesus had already fulfilled many of them. It was time for a positive verdict. They claimed to be religious leaders but they were blind to Gods Word.
Beware of any self proclaimed religious critic who is ignorant of the Bible. It intrigues me that neither the office of Pharisee or Sadducee is anywhere prescribed in the Old Testament. They were self appointed critics.
This same proposition will accompany the end times. Many loud mouths will try to discredit Jesus by asking for ridiculous signs.
I once had a secular professor brag that he had the perfect test to prove the non-existence of God. He held up a piece of chalk and challenged any Christian to come forward and pray that when he dropped it to the ground, if God exists He would prevent the chalk from breaking. He then lamented that not one Christian dared take his challenge though he had proposed his simple test for many years.
I quickly raised my hand and offered to accept his challenge. He was thrilled until I raised the stakes. I said; “I will accept your challenge on this condition; I will also include in my prayer that God would prove He exists by striking you dead prior to the start of class tomorrow.” I then added, “If you survive for twenty four hours, you can then proceed with your part of the challenge and drop the chalk. Do you agree to these terms?”
Suddenly, the atheist professor must have converted to an agnostic. This time he was the one who declined the simple test. Evidently, he didn’t want to put any skin in the game, especially his own!
Rather than succumb to a foolish challenge, Jesus pointed to the signs of the times. Two lines of prophecy fill the bulk of prophetic Scripture. Both point to the Messiah. The first related to His birth, public ministry and eventual crucifixion and resurrection. The second relates to the end times and His return to set up His kingdom.
I encourage you to study the Word of God and become familiar with biblical signs of the end times. Also study the person and works of Christ during His public ministry. Read the four Gospels and the book of Acts continually. My wife and I include a chapter a day from these books in our personal reading schedule.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global