By Christ’s own words, we have now established the correct premise upon which to answer the disciples’ questions regarding “the end of the age.” He clearly said that talk of wars, rumors of wars, and natural disasters are not to be viewed as signs of the end of the age. In Matthew 24:24, He emphasizes how difficult it would be to not get caught up in these deceptions. In verses 24-25 He said, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.” In spite of this clear warning, this is exactly what has happened for most of the last 2000 years. Some of the most vocal doomsayers have been ministers, prophets, and those who claim to understand prophecy. By and large they themselves have been deceived and would not listen to any other point of view, which guaranteed that they would stay deceived. It is truly a shame that generation after generation has lived and died with the fear and anxiety spawned and fed by error.
Christ’s True Signs
Jesus Christ was not hesitant to answer the disciples’ questions, which have echoed down through time to this very day. Matthew 24 lays this groundwork for the true signs and wonders for which to watch. These signs and wonders are corroborated and expanded upon throughout Scripture. Now that we have arrived at the end of the age, He wants all mankind to understand what they are.
Before we examine a few of these remarkable signs and wonders, we must understand what Christ meant by these two words. Let’s define them from the original Greek:
- Signs: Semeion (4592, Strong’s, 1995): an indication, especially ceremonial or supernatural, taken from the word
- Semeino (#4591, Strong’s, 1995): a mark to indicate.
- Wonders: Teras (5059, Strong’s, 1995): a prodigy or omen.
Taken together, signs and wonders mean indicators, whether ceremonial or supernatural, that mark or indicate where we are in time or how God is interacting with humanity. Therefore, the correct signs and wonders are like a window, allowing us to view God’s actions and thus contemplate His great plan and where we are in its chronology. In other words, signs and wonders are way-markers along the road of history.
If we are not to look at wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, or natural disasters (or the Mayan calendar, for that matter), what are we to look for? We need to state where and what those signs are and prove these things from Scripture.
True Signs and Wonders
True signs and wonders are evidenced by Christ working through His people. In the Old Testament, He worked through His prophets. During Christ’s ministry on earth, He performed signs and wonders directly. His very life and the truths He taught were for signs and wonders. His death and resurrection in itself was a powerful sign for the body of Christ. However, just as He warned, many have come in His name and deceived many with talk of war, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, and other disasters as signs of His coming!
Keep in mind that signs, semeion, are indicators that are ceremonial or supernatural. Therefore the signs and wonders are divided into two basic areas:
- Miracles (supernatural)
- Ceremony (what believers do)
We can verify this in Scripture by turning to Isaiah 8:12-22. These verses clearly show the contrast between those preaching a harsh message of doom and gloom, and those preaching the real good news of the gospel like Christ did. For the sake of space, let’s look at some of these verses, but you may want to read the whole passage later.
Isaiah 8:12: “Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’ concerning all that this people call a conspiracy, nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” Verse 16: “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.” Verse 18: “Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells in Mount Zion.” Verses 20-22: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. They will pass through it hard pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward. Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.”
This amazing set of Scriptures clearly shows that God’s people who keep the law (Ten Commandments) and hold the testimony (Bible precepts) are for signs and wonders. The surest way to end up in a state of darkness and confusion is not to keep God’s Ten Commandments and to twist Scripture by misrepresenting the good news of the Bible.
The two methods God uses to communicate with mankind are through miracles and prescribed ceremony instituted by God Himself. Many Scriptures confirm what we read in Isaiah 8. A powerful corroboration for keeping the law and the testimony is in Exodus 31:12-18: “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: “Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you. You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.”’ And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.”
When a person honors and keeps God’s weekly Sabbath from Friday sundown until Saturday sundown and His annual holy days, they bring themselves in concert with God’s will. They also put themselves in the right place at the right time to understand and sometimes even become active participants in God performing signs and wonders.
The first annual holy day to follow Christ’s death and resurrection was Pentecost. Amazing signs and wonders took place on that high Sabbath. One hundred and twenty of Christ’s followers, including His disciples, were present for interaction with Christ’s Holy Spirit. That extraordinary event has reverberated to this very day! Let’s read about the powerful signs and wonders that took place on that holy day when both ceremony and miracle changed the course of history. Acts 2:1-4, 14-22: “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance… But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, ‘Men of Judah and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in Your midst, as you yourselves also know.’”
The rest of the New Testament records time and again how Christ’s disciples were used for signs and wonders. Here are a few:
- Acts 2:43: “Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
- Acts 4:23-31: “And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said, ‘Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: “Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.” For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
- Acts 5:12-16: “And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”
- Romans 15:14-21: “Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able to admonish one another. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed to make the Gentiles obedient—in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, but as it is written: ‘To whom He was not announced, they shall see; and those who have not heard shall understand.’”
These Scriptures provide incontrovertible proof that Christ will provide the true signs and wonders to guide mankind along the path toward a good relationship with Him. With this knowledge, you can avoid the fear and anxiety that has plagued mankind for so long, the feeling of doom provoked by false signs and wonders.
There is an extremely bright future just ahead, and we can provide many study aids to help you prepare it. We have a companion CD to go with this issue, which is titled Searching for Signs and Wonders. Contact us and request or download any of our study aids, absolutely free.