Signs of the Times
Mankind is approaching the moment in which the Lord is about to return (see Matthew 11). All of the signs that He speaks of will occur in one single generation, and the signs have begun to appear. This means those now alive are living within a generation in which a great deal is to occur. As it was in the days of Noah, so is it about to be — on the one hand, dreadful things are coming; but it also means that prophets are again going to be among man, people with messages that come from the Lord.1There is a great difference between recognizing the “signs of the times” and knowing the detail of how prophecy will be fulfilled. An example of the difference is found in Matthew. Matthew tells of “wise men” who studied the scriptures, watched the signs in the Heavens, recognized a “star” that testified of the birth of the Messiah or newborn “king of the Jews,” traveled a great distance (perhaps as long as two years) to worship Him, facilitated fulfilling prophecy by their presence in Jerusalem, and were visited by God in a dream. Despite all the wise men were able to know, they did not know where to find the newborn king. They mistakenly went to Herod’s people to inquire about Christ’s birth. They did not know, and God did not reveal to them, that Christ would be born in Bethlehem. It is unlikely they would have willingly acted to fulfill the Jeremiah 12:7 slaughter of children, yet Matthew credits their involvement with fulfilling this prophecy (see Matthew 1:11). Can men unwittingly fulfill prophecy? Can anyone, even wise men who are well-studied in scripture and prophecy, ever fully understand prophecy? One of the lessons from this scriptural account is that all “wise men” whose diligence and faithfulness lead them to understand God’s hand is at work may still not understand how or where God will act. There remain “mysteries” which God will accomplish but men cannot understand beforehand. If the wise men knew He had been born but could not identify where Christ’s birth happened (despite all else they were able to do), then how can anyone know how God will accomplish His “strange act” in the last days? Prophecies are not given so man can know details beforehand. They are given so that when they are fulfilled, one may understand that God knows the end from the beginning (see Isaiah 17:1).2 The heavenly signs in the lights of the firmament are testifying and confirming many of the events currently happening on the earth. Very few today are giving them any notice.3 These “signs” in the lights of heaven are meant to be seen and understood by the unaided human eye from the surface of the earth.4
1 500th Year Reformation Talk One, 9, Los Angeles, CA, Sept. 21, 2017.
2 “God’s Mysteries,” Nov. 14, 2016, blog post.
3 “Our Divine Parents,” March 25, 2018, 15n77, paper.
4 “Our Divine Parents,” March 25, 2018, 16n82., paper.