What signs of nature point to the soon return of Jesus Christ? Find out with hosts Tim Moore and Nathan Jones on the television program, Christ in Prophecy!
Air Date: May 20, 2023
Standing Stones Community Church
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Tim Moore: Welcome to another episode of Christ in Prophecy. Throughout this year, we’ve been highlighting the signs of the times. That is the message David Reagan tasked me with sharing when he invited me to join Lamb & Lion Ministries and proclaim the soon return of Jesus Christ. The signs foretold in Scripture are multiplying all around us and herald our coming Messiah. Dr. Reagan sorted all the signs into six categories: signs of nature, signs of society, spiritual signs, signs of world politics and technology, and signs of Israel. We’ve already addressed the signs of nature and society. The next category is one that requires spiritual discernment to recognize because it encompasses spiritual signs. To help me break down this category I’m joined today by David Bowen, a pastor and gifted teacher of Bible prophecy and a close friend to Lamb & Lion Ministries. David, thanks for joining us again today.
David Bowen: Thanks for having me, Tim.
Tim Moore: Many of you will realize by now that our Lamplighter magazine is tracking along with this Christ in Prophecy series. Over the course of 2023 our six bi-monthly magazines will focus on the various categories of signs. And if you have not already signed up for the Lamplighter, I hope you’ll do so either as a free electronic subscription or as a printed copy of our acclaimed magazine. Just call the number on the screen or visit our online store if you want to receive either version.
So, David, let’s jump right into this discussion of spiritual signs. And unlike the other categories, there’s something unique about the category of spiritual signs. What is it?
David Bowen: Well, with this sign, Tim, there’s a positive side, but there’s also a negative side.
Tim Moore: You know, I absolutely agree, David. As a matter of fact, I think most people are oblivious to this particular category of signs, because unlike the signs of nature, we cannot measure them with our senses. Indeed, some people even celebrate this category in the negative aspects that we’re going to be talking about because they are negative and because they mark a trajectory away from the truth of God’s Word and a reverence for Him as God. I believe this particular category of signs is also an indication of the falling way that Jesus referred to when He asked rhetorically in Luke 18:8, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
David Bowen: I think unfortunately, many people take their relationship with Christ far too casually.
Tim Moore: Yeah, I would agree.
David Bowen: We need to be understanding the days we live in and how serious each day is, because Christ could return any time and our world is just taking things much to relaxed and being very, very casual about their relationship with the Lord.
Tim Moore: Well, I think not just casual, some are in absolute open rebellion against Him. And I think in our society that is manifesting itself all around us. And yet you’ve done a little research into a book written many years ago by a man who also tracked the downfall of other societies. So, tell us a little bit about what you learned from Edward Gibbon’s book.
David Bowen: Well, that book was actually done in the 1700s, and it was written for the decline of the Roman Empire specifically. However, what he’s put in that book applies to any nation or any country, because what he says, when a nation is going to fall apart, when it’s on a decline, there’s certain things that have to happen in the culture. The first one is the family unit has to be attacked. When the family unit is attacked, and we see that in our culture now where we don’t even know what a family is anymore. That’s the foundation of society and that becomes the first crack there. The other one is that we raise taxes. Why do we raise taxes? So that the culture can have free bread back in his day. Well, we can check that off the list for our world today, too, because we’re trying to give away everything for free to everybody. The third thing is entertainment, really sports. Sports become more immoral. They become more violent. That’s all part of a culture ready to decline and ready to implode. And we have that too. In fact, in our culture, you go to a major sports stadiums there’s gambling sites now outside of that. So, we talk about being immoral and being more violent. And the last one, Tim, is really, really one that can hit home because it’s about the church. So when the family unit is attacked, when sports become more than what it should be, the church loses its role in our culture. This is another sign of the Roman Empire declining and any nation declining is when the church no longer has the influence it once had on the culture it represents.
Tim Moore: You know, it’s interesting you say that because this is a secular book per se, by Edward Gibbons, “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” and yet that pattern is manifest over and over again. It’s being manifest in our own society. And even those without spiritual discernment recognize this pattern, and some advocate for it. I could use the example of Saul Alinsky and his “Rules for Radicals,” where he laid out almost a game plan for bringing down Western Judeo-Christian society and converting us into a socialist society. And if you look back just a handful of years, boy, that is proven to play out exactly, truthfully here in our country. It’s very sad.
David Bowen: And the world sees it. You don’t have to be a Christian, you don’t have to be a pastor, you don’t have to be a missionary to really see this. I’ve been out twice, once at a hotel, and I was waiting for some people to come down, and the lady working at the desk asked the coworker, “Do you think God’s coming back soon?” Now my ears perked up to that when I hear something like that, you know? So I turn around and she has no idea who I am. I turn around, and said, “Well, do you believe that?” And she looked at me, now she’s working, you know, so she looked at me, and said, “I do.” So now she has my attention. So I get up from my seat and I walk over her and I said, “Well, do you go to church?” And she said, “No, I don’t go to church.” I go, “Well, why do you think that?” And she said, “Look at the world and all that’s happening. I think God has to come back pretty soon.”
Tim Moore: I think you’d have to be not only spiritually blind, but virtually blind in other regards, or at least totally unwitting not to recognize that something is amiss and something is afoot in our society. And yet we have so many today on a spiritual level that want to cast off the fetters of God. That’s why our society is rejecting its Judeo-Christian foundations. It wants no restraint on its own immorality and wickedness. Because in keeping with what I just quoted from Psalm 2, they don’t want to honor the Lord or His Anointed.
David Bowen: But they know they’re missing out when they don’t.
Tim Moore: Oftentimes.
David Bowen: So I have an article here, and again, when I read things, you expect things from the church. You expect the Christians and the pastors and people to understand church attendance and how important that is. But when the world recognizes the importance of this. This is from a group called the National Bureau of Economic Research, they’re about 100 years old. It’s not a Christian organization, it’s a secular group. And the research they do, and they focus basically on the economy of our country, basically. This is called “Deaths of Despair.” And this talks about those who are dying from alcohol abuse, drug abuse and suicide. And they’re saying, why are these things happening in our culture, in our nation? Well, their research comes back and it says the widespread dismantling of church attendance from America culture, there’s no other institution that can emerge or has emerged to match the value, the value society gains from attending church. Even the world knows, it’s important to be in church and seeking the things that we’re talking about.
Tim Moore: You were sharing with me earlier a passage from Isaiah where the prophet recognizes what the Lord will give over to societies that turn away from Him. In other words, part of His judgment is just removing His hand of blessing or removing His hedge of protection. So what does Isaiah have to say about what happens to societies that turn away from the Lord?
David Bowen: Isaiah 3:1-3. Isaiah says, Okay, when God wants to bless a nation, He gives them strong leadership. Now we just had the 118th Congress be introduced. It took 15 rounds to get a House Speaker. So God says, when, I want to bless this nation I give you strong, mature leadership. But when I want to remove that blessing I’m going to give you children. Verse 4 says, I will give you children as leaders. When He’s saying children, He’s not talking about four and five year olds, He’s talking about spiritually immature people. God says, I will remove from you I will take away your captain. I will take away your counselor. I would take away your elders. I would take away all the godly leadership and I would replace them with children. Now that talks about politics, it talks about business, talks about education, talks about entertainment. So who’s making decisions for the masses? Do we have spiritually mature people or leadership immature? What about the arts and entertainment? Who’s making entertainment? Movies, TV shows for the masses? What about education? The universities, which started out to be the Ivy League, started out to train ministers for the gospel.
Tim Moore: Yes.
David Bowen: What are they teaching the kids now? What are they saying about the godly aspect of our country now?
Tim Moore: And we know with entertainment so many are going after the prurient interest instead of raising the bar, even of our understanding of our own history and foundations. You know, I’ve seen this happen personally, both in my time serving in the military and in the legislature, as many of our viewers probably know. And I watched as people you would think would be the best and brightest coming forward to serve. And yet I was sorely disappointed with the caliber of leadership oftentimes that was elevated and making major decisions on behalf of our society. We can look at other circumstances even today. So New York City earlier this year embraced giving free abortion drugs to anyone who wanted with no charge whatsoever. And God is not going to bless a society that does this. Chicago obviously has had skyrocketing homicides and other crimes because they have callous disregard for actually holding to a moral set of standards. And we see this over and over again.
You know, going back to Scripture, what Paul had to say when writing to the church at Thessalonica is so instructive. In 2 Thessalonians 2, he talks about the fact that in the end days there will be a rise of apostasy. It will happen before the Lord returns, and I’ll come back to that passage. Also, writing in 1 Timothy 4, he says that the Spirit told him explicitly that in the latter times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. And sure enough, we’ve seen that. Now, let’s face it, all of us are prone to wander, prone to leave the Lord we love. But our society is doing so with headlong abandon in fulfillment of what He then goes on to describe in 2 Timothy 3 he says, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, (but he says they will) holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; (and then Paul counsels) Avoid such men as these.”
David Bowen: Have nothing to do with them, right. You know, Tim, I’ve read that passage many times, five years ago, ten years ago. It means more today because you see people that way. I know people who work in retail, people who work in fast food, and they talk about the stories they tell about how angry people are, how upset people are, how just people are just acting exactly like the Scripture says.
Tim Moore: Living it out, and before our very eyes. You know, everything we’ve touched on today, dealing with the apostasy in the Church that we see rising in many denominations. Heresy throughout our culture, which actually denies Christ, rejects Him as having any deity and of course rejects the inerrancy of Scripture.
David Bowen: But it’s welcomed in our culture.
Tim Moore: Yeah, deviancy. We see a precipitous rise in Satanism, and secularism, and cultism, even in formerly Christian societies such as our own. And we see a general repudiation of Judeo-Christian values. You know, one of the cults, for example, I saw recently was the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, just ridiculing Christian faith and promoting an absolutely godless secular Humanism.
David Bowen: Yes. You know with that list of things. I just want to kind of put my head to bed and not get up.
Tim Moore: Well, you know, thankfully and now we do need to shift because in addition to all these negative signs, the Lord is also blessing us with some very positive spiritual signs, which were foretold in Bible prophecy. For example, it talks about in Joel 2:28, an outpouring of latter rain that would occur in the last days after Israel is back in the land. And so I see an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that’s happening all around us. It’s manifest oftentimes in Davidic praise worship. And some of you may even enjoy worship that is so exuberant and joy filled. I think of David dancing before the Lord, almost an embarrassment to his wife, but he was so filled with joy of worshiping God.
David Bowen: And that’s, going to Israel it’s unique because you meet people there and you say, “Why did you come here?” Those who moved there or live there. I remember one time we were on the bus, the bus had to stop there was military things going on and it’s fine, it’s safe. But one of the military guys got on the bus and he had red hair. And I looked at him and I said, “You’re not from Israel.” He goes, “No, I’m from Cincinnati.” You know. And I said, “Why are you here?” He said, “God, just call me back.” And it’s just I see that and hear that all the time, either in Israel or people going there. God, just calling them for some reason and they don’t know why. But the Scriptures tell us in the end times God is going to call them back to the homeland. And that’s part of the spiritual signs were talking about.
Tim Moore: It sure is. So we can see that streaming back to the Jewish people to Israel, a very positive sign that’s occurred within our own day and age virtually. And we’ll talk more about that one specifically. We’ve also seen, Dave, and you’re a part of this, the worldwide preaching of the Gospel. So Billy Graham, for example, is estimated to have preached personally to 2.2 billion people. What a tremendous joy and blessing that is. And yet it’s still reverberating outward through all the evangelist around the world today.
David Bowen: God’s Word never dies.
Tim Moore: It never dies. We’ve also, as our friend Doug Cobb, has talked to us about, been on the cusp now in the last few years of fulfilling the Great Commission in this regard. There are preachers and evangelists reaching every people group through Bible translation, through spoken word translation to where no people group, no tribe tongue or nation will be without knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
David Bowen: Well, Romans 1 talks about that, no man can have excuse if you’re out there living and breathing, you see that God created things.
Tim Moore: Sure can.
David Bowen: People always ask me, “Well, what about, it’s always in Africa? What about that one nation? That one tribe in Africa that never gets to hear the Word of God.” I go, “Yeah, but if you look at them, do you notice they always have a totem pole?”
Tim Moore: Yeah.
David Bowen: Worship is inside of us.
Tim Moore: It sure is.
David Bowen: You have to choose who and what you’re going to worship. But worship is part of how God made us.
Tim Moore: Well, David, I hate to break up this conversation, but this is a heavy topic, so let’s take a brief pause and offer our viewers a resource that will give you great encouragement here in these last days. It’s one of my favorite books written by Dr. David Reagan, of course, called “Living for Christ in the End Times.”
Tim Moore: Well, welcome back to this episode of Christ in Prophecy. Obviously we are dealing with spiritual signs. And we talked about the fact, David that this has both negative attributes, many things negative happening, and you have to have spiritual discernment to see some of them.
David Bowen: You do.
Tim Moore: But as we demonstrated, even people without godly discernment or Christian discernment recognize that something is amiss in our society.
David Bowen: That’s true. That’s true. And you look around the world and people know something’s going on. But if you don’t have the Bible, how do you know what’s going on? You have to understand Scripture.
Tim Moore: That’s exactly where I want to take us next. So there are also positive attributes. We’ve talked about those the worldwide preaching of the Gospel, the fact that there’s been an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, even with the Davidic worship, and the fact that we are on the cusp of fulfilling the Great Commission. But let’s dive specifically into the discernment that we can have from reading God’s Word, from studying it, and for seeking His prophetic Word to understand the varied times we’re living in. Do you see that happening right now in this day and age?
David Bowen: I do. I do. You know, people ask me, isn’t the Bible written by a bunch of men? And they go, you can’t believe, it’s by a bunch of men. But what they don’t understand is the Bible is outside of time, because when God talked about things, He talked about things hundreds of years beforehand. So men could not do that. We don’t even what’s going to happen tomorrow, let alone 700 years from now. So prophecy is important to understand it. And then there’s characters in the Bible as well. When you look at some of the characters in the Bible, you get a clear understanding of what God wants or what God expects, and that’s a good way to learn too.
Tim Moore: It is a good way to learn. So these prophets of old, they weren’t just spouting off their opinion. One of the reasons that we emphasize on Christ in Prophecy, providing Scripture references going to the Word of God is because we’re not just on here sharing our opinion. We want to drive you to the Word of God, let you dig for yourselves. Be like the Bereans don’t trust David, or me, or Nathan. Trust the Word of God. Because if we err it is always accurate. And yet those very prophets, they weren’t just sharing their opinion, they were sharing revelations given to them by God.
David Bowen: And they gave God the credit. They said, This is God speaking, not me. This is not a man speaking. This is this is God speaking. So, yes.
Tim Moore: So that’s the only way really they could understand the future, because to God, past, present, future, it is all relevant and outside of time.
David Bowen: Correct.
Tim Moore: So give us an example of the kind of hope that we can have and how faith can give us hope that springs eternal, so to speak, from the Word of God. Give us a scriptural example.
David Bowen: Can I have some leeway?
Tim Moore: Sure.
David Bowen: Can I give you an unlikely character?
Tim Moore: An unlikely character, I love it.
David Bowen: When I look at the Bible, I think of Rahab. Not many people think of Rahab, but I think of Rahab only because, now many people know her story from Joshua 2. She was a Canaanite. She was, her occupation there’s no delicate way of putting what her occupation was. But Joshua set spies into the land not to see if he was going to attack, but when to attack. And anyhow, she protected them and hid them. Well because she did that, the question is, why did she do that and what happened? And the answer is, of all places, is in the New Testament. In the Gospel of Matthew she’s in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. You know, this Canaanite woman of the world is in the genealogy of Jesus. But in the Book of Hebrews Chapter 11, which is the Hall of Fame, all the heroes of the faith in that chapter she’s mentioned there, not the spies, she’s the one that’s recorded in the Book of Hebrews. And my favorite part is in James. In the Book of James, she’s talked about, her faith, and it says that she was righteous because of her faith. And when she confessed her faith the way that she confessed it, and the way she explained God was, that it was unbelievable, because it’s only recorded twice in Scripture, in Deuteronomy and in Exodus when it explained about the Ten Commandments. You shall have no other God. That’s how she professed her faith in Christ. And James says, because she was so faithful, she’s righteous.
Tim Moore: You know. So as you said, there’s no delicate way to describe her background. Let’s just say that Scripture is very clear she was a woman of ill repute, not only from her profession that we assume, but also because she was a Gentile, she was from a pagan nation. She was Canaanite. They were the enemies of the Jewish people. God had already declared a judgment on the land of Canaan for their wickedness. So she was a part of all that.
David Bowen: Yes.
Tim Moore: And yet she is grafted in not just to the people of God, but to the very family of Christ.
David Bowen: And she’s called righteous. Now, I don’t know about you when I hear that term, I go back to Genesis and Abraham. Abraham was found righteous. Why because of his faith. So now, if someone from a Canaanite background, a woman of the world can be found righteous, isn’t there hope for you and I?
Tim Moore: Boy, there is. And that’s exactly what many of us would testify. You know, I find one other thing fascinating about Rahab. She could not have said, “Oh, my parents, you know, they were faithful, or my grandparents they went to church.” No. The faith of Rahab started with Rahab.
David Bowen: Yes.
Tim Moore: And so many of our viewers today may not have a family that you can say, well, we were always in church and my grandparents were faithful. That is no discredit to your ability to be grafted into the family of God, because God calls all of us to choose for ourselves. As Joshua said, choose this day whom you will serve. And so this becomes a spiritual sign. If you want a spiritual sign of the goodness and the grace of God, there’s two of them sitting right in front of you here.
David Bowen: Absolutely.
Tim Moore: Because we are living testimony that God is good and people all around you, you may think, well, there’s nobody left. But, you know, as Elijah said, I’m the only one. No, there are people who will be faithful to God, to the very ends. And the fact that He still saves proves that every Word of scripture is true.
David Bowen: Yes, she’s not one that tasted manna in the wilderness. She’s not one that was led by the pillar of fire. She was not one who heard the Law being preached. She had none of that. In fact, the opposite. She said, “My people have heard of your God, the one who stopped the Red Sea, but we want nothing to do with Him.” But her people rejected God, but somewhere in her heart she became a Christian because she well, it wouldn’t have been a Christian in the Old Testament, she became a believer because of her faith. And it all comes down to faith.
Tim Moore: She was faithful to the knowledge God gave her at that time, and she trusted in Him. And really, that formula is the same thing we advocate today, because now we know in the fullness of time that God’s plan for salvation was through a person, a man, Jesus Christ. God Himself come down from heaven to live and dwell among us and to show us the path, the only way to the Father. And so we have more spiritual understanding even than Rahab. But the formula is the same, if we trust Him, if we trust what God has given to us as the provision for our salvation, then we will be saved.
David Bowen: Yes, the spiritual signs can be negative, people leaving the church, people being rude, obnoxious, but the spiritual signs can also be positive because people can still have faith in the Lord.
Tim Moore: Well, we’ve said it before, but Christians are not people who are pessimists. So yes, we recognize the very negative signs multiplying around us. As a matter of fact, they’re heartbreaking to those of us who serve the Lord. David, you as a pastor have to be heartbroken by the apostasy that’s happening in so many churches. The heresy that’s multiplying in our society. So that bothers us tremendously. But we’re not pessimist, on the same side we’re not just optimists that looks through rose colored glasses to see the world around us and has kind of a Shangri-La attitude. No, we are people who see the world as it is, but we are people of hope. And it’s not hope in a nebulous concept, our hope is in a Person. Which is why Paul, writing to Titus, calls Jesus Christ our Blessed Hope. He is our Blessed Hope, and therefore our hope does spring eternal.
David Bowen: And He’s there for everyone, whenever we need Him.
Tim Moore: Well, folks, obviously, whether it is all the different signs manifesting around us, or the signs of society, we hope that this particular series will make you aware that the signs themselves are not just here for being a signpost in and of themselves. We’re not stopping to investigate these signs and just staying here. As a friend of mine recently shared, if you were driving to a destination and going to see, let’s say, the Ark encounter in Kentucky and you saw a sign 50 miles to go to the Ark, you wouldn’t stop and have a picnic in front of the sign. You would realize we’re getting close and that would spur you to enthusiasm, to eagerness and to expectation that soon and very soon I’m going to reach that destination. So all the signs, including the spiritual signs we’ve been talking about today, demonstrate that Jesus is at the very gates of heaven. David, any other thoughts?
David Bowen: So what you’re telling me is I can be excited about the spiritual signs because the Lord Jesus is coming.
Tim Moore: Amen and amen. You should be excited, as am I. So folks, we hope that you too are excited. And we’re going to turn our attention here in just a second to another thought to share with you.
Tim Moore: Folks, I know that many of you are frustrated because you cannot find a local church that is true to the Word of God and preaches the whole counsel of Scripture—including the prophetic Word. Sadly, it is going to get harder to find biblically-grounded churches as we get closer to the Rapture. That is why Jesus posed the rhetorical question I mentioned earlier in Luke 18:8.
And yet, Elijah’s experience in the Old Testament should encourage us. The prophet began to feel sorry for himself as he witnessed the apostasy of his people and the wickedness of his rulers. He resigned himself to fleeing into the wilderness to wait to die. The Lord met him there and restored his hope. He pointed out that 7,000 had not bent their knees to Baal but had remained faithful to Him. God was not finished with Elijah; He still had a purpose and plan for his life.
While we have breath, God still has a purpose and plan for each of us. No matter how old or tired or frustrated or fearful you are, listen for the still small voice of the Lord. Wait upon Him and let Him renew your strength. Commit to serving Him boldly—until He comes or until He calls you home.
We hope that this program has been a great blessing to you today—alerting you to the spiritual dynamics at work in our world, unseen but never dormant. And, we pray that your own spirit has been invigorated by the prophetic promise, the inevitable truth that Jesus is coming again.
He may come before our next episode of Christ in Prophecy. But if He tarries, we will look forward to seeing you again next week. Until then Godspeed!
End of Program