Red sky at morning, sailor take warning.
Red sky at night, sailor's delight.
- Ancient Seaman's Proverb
This ancient proverb was a well-known saying even in the days of our Lord's ministry. He quoted it to the Pharisees and Sadducees and then chided them for being able to anticipate the weather, but not recognizing the "signs of the times" (Matthew 16:1-3).
This biting criticism is even more valid today than it was for them.
The Times of the Signs
The more one knows about what the Bible says about the "End Times," and the more one stays informed on what is presently going on in the world, the more it would appear that we are being plunged into a period of time about which the Bible says more than it does about any other period in human history- including the time when Jesus walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee or climbed the mountains of Judea.
That statement is too preposterous to casually accept: it is our earnest hope that you will challenge it! How? By doing two things:
1) Find out for yourself what the Bible says about the climax of human history; don't simply echo the prejudices of your favorite teacher or commentator-it's too important! And,
2) Find out what is actually happening on the current world scene.
The first item is simply a matter of diligent commitment. Bible prophecy suffers from both its excessive enthusiasts as well as its skeptical detractors. But a carefully balanced study of this provocative area is clearly one of the most crucial commitments for the serious believer and invariably alters one's personal priorities toward spiritual growth.
The second task used to be difficult, especially since you won't get a clue from the evening news. The media has its own agenda: and it takes pride in its ability to shape public opinion rather than to inform it.
Today, however, things are noticeably different. The prophet Daniel predicted such a time:
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. -Daniel 12:4
Today we do live in a day when many "run to and fro, and [the availability of] knowledge certainly has been increased. Thanks to the Internet and the "alternative press," it is now much easier to find out what is really going on. There are excellent web pages, private newsletters, and talk radio sources that are doing a remarkably effective job for the diligent and concerned.
There are so many things that are now emerging on the world scene which are Biblically relevant that we tend to view our present horizon as the "times of the signs"! Check them out and judge for yourself.
There is another key point to keep in mind. One of the most valuable things to acquire is a strategic perspective. If you have a valid strategic perspective you have a viable context in which to ask the right questions, formulate effective plans, etc. It requires "connecting the dots" to recognize the real and dominant trends that are impacting our planning horizon. In any business, "trends are everything."
The events of September 11, 2001, are widely recognized as having changed our entire world permanently. But what is even more significant than this single tragic event is that there are a large number of trends that are following a pre-written scenario.
We have identified ten "strategic trends" that are destined to impact on our personal lives, our families, our communities, and our nation. And they each are also Biblically relevant. They are listed below (with some representative Scriptures):
Weapons of Mass Destruction - Matthew 24:22
- The Rise of Islam - 2 Thessalonians 2:4ff
- The Struggle for Jerusalem - Zechariah 12; Luke 21
- The Magog Invasion - Ezekiel38, 39
- The Rise of European Superstate - Daniel 2, 7
- The Rise of China - Isaiah 49; Revelation 16
- The Rise of a Global Government - Daniel 11, Revelation 13
- Ecumenical Religion - Revelation 13, 17, 18
- Biotech and Global Pestilence - Revelation 6:8
- The Predicament of America - Hosea 4 – 14
We have made available background "briefing packages" on each of these: two-tape cassette packages with extensive notes and references. We also continually monitor them on our website, and we offer a free weekly email bulletin to keep you up to date (see our Strategic Trends section for more information).
Our annual trends update briefing package isthis year entitled, Red Sky at Morning.Oureleven Strategic Trendsbriefing packages are now also offered on a single MP3 CD-ROM.
Why are we doing all this? What is our "hidden agenda?" It is simply this: to help you discover the reality that the Bible is God's inerrant Word, and that it is relevant to our world today.
We hope that these observations will prove useful to you in your personal priorities, for your private study, and, perhaps, for your small group studies in the home.
We opened this brief article with Jesus chiding the Pharisees and Sadducees for not recognizing the "signs of the times." The Pharisees were the strict legalists - the "conservatives," in a sense.
The Sadducees were the "liberals" of their day and rejected the supernatural. (That's why they were "sad-you-see." That crude pun can serve as a mnemonic to keep them straight.)
Some of the Pharisees appear to have ultimately accepted Jesus as the Messiah (Acts 6:7). It is disturbing to realize that there is no record that any Sadducees - the liberals - ever accepted Jesus.
A mild inoculation can make you immune to the real thing. The only true barrier to truth is the presumption that you already have it.
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