Signs of the Last DaysSeptember 2, 2018
First of all — greetings to you in Jesus’ precious name!
I’ve been watching the news recently, and as I watch, it is becoming clearer to me that we’re witnessing signs all around us as never before that point to Jesus’ coming for His Church! As I see so many things happening around the globe, I am especially taken back by how blatantly a spirit of deception is attempting to operate on every front in society today. That’s why I felt I should write to you this month about the “signs of the times” and how it will actually be possible for us to know when we are approaching the time of the coming of the Lord.
Please try to put everything aside and focus for a few minutes as you read my letter to you this month. I believe it will encourage you!
SIGNS IN MY DAILY TRAVELS
As you probably know, Denise and I live on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia. On my daily drive into the city to our ministry offices, I see signs along the road that have been strategically placed to confirm to travelers the destination to which they are headed. The closer I get to the city, the closer together these markers appear. I know by the signs how far I have left to go before I cross the border into this immense city.
As I get nearer to Moscow, the environment around me starts to change. Instead of quaint village homes situated in the outlying areas, I begin to see industry, multifamily housing, and high-rise buildings. The roads also become increasingly denser with traffic. At first, the transition is subtle and barely noticeable. But the nearer I get to my destination, the more obvious the changes become. As I reach the very edge of the big city, the changes appear almost abruptly.
When I finally reach the city limits, I see a huge sign that reads, “MOSCOW.” This last sign separates the outskirts from the city itself. The moment I drive past it, that sign confirms that I have entered new territory. I’m no longer traveling toward Moscow — I have actually entered the city.
Signs are important — so much so that Christ carefully enumerated in Matthew 24 signs that would indicate we were approaching the territory of the very end of the age. He described these markers in great detail so we would recognize them when we saw them — and understand how to use what He foretold to navigate the road ahead.
THE FIRST SIGN INDICATING
THE VERY END OF THE AGE
The word “sign” in Matthew 24:3 is a translation of a Greek word that could be used to describe signs placed outside the city limits to help travelers know exactly where they were in their journey. This means the disciples were asking Jesus what should be taken as SIGNS ALONG THE WAY that the end of the age and His coming was nigh.
The first sign Jesus indicated in Matthew 24 contained a clear warning of wide-scale deception that would emerge worldwide in the last days — and the need to guard against it. Jesus said, “…Take heed that no man deceive you” (v. 4).
The word “deceive,” or “deception,” aptly describes what we are seeing in society today. An onslaught of deception is attacking our culture from every direction. The propensity to rationalize away truth and replace it with “progressive” thinking is affecting every part of society. This mindset is present in our schools, in government, and on television and movie screens — in virtually all forms of art and media.
A DAY WHEN ‘EVIL WILL BE CALLED
GOOD, AND GOOD WILL BE CALLED EVIL’
We are living in a day that the prophet Isaiah warned about when he said, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness…” (Isaiah 5:20 NAS). Those of us who know and believe the Bible have understood that such a time would eventually come, but now we’re experiencing the stark reality that it is happening right now, in our lifetime.
As Isaiah forewarned, what was once viewed as morally wrong in our culture has become acceptable and even celebrated. At the same time, what was once upheld as the moral standard has become a symbol of hatred and intolerance. Many celebrities, media moguls, politicians, judges, educators, and society at large are also promoting new precedents and this twisting of the truth.
It’s interesting that although Jesus listed many signs that would indicate we were on the road to the very end, He listed deception as one of the primary indicators that the end of the age was indeed upon us.
Let’s see why Jesus placed such emphasis on this sign, even above other specific signs of the times.
In Matthew 24:4, the word “deceive” was translated from a Greek word that means to wander off course. It portrays the behavior of someone who was once on solid ground, but this person began drifting and teetering on the edge of a crooked, dangerous path. Either he had already departed and lost his bearings — or he was in the process of departing from what he once morally believed. He had begun going cross-grain against all that was once a part of his belief system, deviating from a former stable position to a course that was unsteady.
Do you know someone who once walked in truth, but has wandered off course and “fallen” into the mindset of the world? It is certain that most of us know at least one person who fits this description. We must pray for these fellow believers to return to their spiritual senses!
I also want to encourage you that as we advance through time toward the climax of this era and Christ’s return, all is not lost! The prophet Joel and the apostle Peter also prophesied that in the last days, the Lord would visit people of all ages in a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit (see Joel 2:28,29; Acts 2:17,18).
IN CHRIST, YOU CAN NAVIGATE
ANY SPIRITUAL STORM!
Jesus is coming soon! But before that event occurs, it is likely that we will face the winds of a culture caught up in an end-time storm of deception. As a lost society tries to morally alter many long-held Bible-based beliefs, every believer will have to decide either to accommodate the world or refuse to compromise.
We who make no room for compromise must hold our position with confidence, knowing that we have been ordained by God to live in this hour. We were chosen for this moment to demonstrate victorious living in Jesus Christ, by His all-sufficient grace, in a world that has run amuck.
Rather than run for the hills to hide, we must recognize that this is our greatest hour! This is our opportunity to speak truth to those who are deceived by darkness. They need us, they need our voices, and they need the truth we possess and hold dear.
I realize this has not been a typical partner letter, but this is what was on my heart for you this month. Jesus wants us to be equipped and prepared for the time we live in, and it is imperative that we embrace our role in these very last days and do our best to shine the light of God’s Word into the darkness around us!
Thank you for the offerings you send to this ministry. They are helping us in a huge way share the light of God’s Word with people around the globe. How I wish you could see and hear all the testimonies of lives that are being transformed because of the teaching they are receiving. As a partner, you will receive part of the credit for these changed lives. Thank you so much for joining hands with us spiritually and financially so we can do what Jesus has called us to do.
How can Denise and I and our team be praying for you this month? We already pray for you every day — but hearing from you helps us as we add our faith to yours for the breakthroughs you seek. Praying for you really is one of our highest honors in the ministry!
We love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families