Our house is nestled back away from the road and is surrounded with trees. All day, we spot rabbits in our yard and we often see deer munching grass right next to our house. We have cardinals making their home all around our small house, so we are serenaded every morning and evening with their songs. Occasionally we hear an owl and we've even seen over a dozen wild turkeys in our yard from time to time. For someone like me it is wonderful, especially in the Spring when everything is fresh and green and some trees are flowering. So far, it has been an amazing Spring where I live and everything is growing and thriving. The warm air, the green trees, the daffodils - these are all signs that tell us that Spring is here and it is time to start working on our gardens. So, I have started on my garden! It is only a start, mind you; there is still a lot of weeding and cleaning to be done. In the verses I am looking at today, Jesus uses the fig tree as an example of how we can tell what is to come. Please use the link and read Matthew 24:29-35.
These words Jesus spoke came after prophecy about what was to come. The disciples had asked for an explanation of the end times. It isn't easy to read through the prophecy of the end times because it isn't always clear what it means. But, Jesus was pretty clear about the fact that there would be persecution of His followers and false prophets and false messiahs. He finishes with a statement that "this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened." This is a statement that is confusing because obviously the end hasn't happened yet, and He was speaking to the disciples. I've read a little and heard other's thoughts on this statement and the opinions are all over the place. Many scholars have said that Jesus was telling us that the generation that sees the beginnings of the end will see it all. Either way, He likened the signs to those of the fig tree.
Jesus told His disciples that just as the fig tree shows signs of summer coming, the end will have signs that we must recognize and understand. So, we need to spend time recognizing what is happening around us and recognize how it matches up with what we have learned about the end times. I believe that this is why we have books like Daniel and Revelation in the Bible; God has given us a glimpse of what is to come. It is often foggy as we read through it because the images are difficult to understand, but there are some things in there that will help us understand and navigate through what will be a difficult time. Do we need to make this our focus and be anxious about the end times? No, but we can pray that if we are the generation to witness all this, that God will give us the strength we need during that time. We can do all that we can now to be ready by reading the Bible, spending time in prayer, and surrounding ourselves with fellow believers. This not only makes us ready for the end, but it makes us ready for life.
Have you spent time learning the signs?