Jesus Gives a Sign
An article specially designed for parents to read with their children
TODAY we are going to talk about signs. It is good to know how to read signs. They can help us.
Some signs have words on them. They tell us where we can buy food. They may warn us not to cross the street when cars are coming. What signs have you seen?
There are signs of another kind too. They may have no words. Some of them tell about changes in the weather. Clouds may cover the sun. Perhaps the wind starts to blow. Lightning flashes. There is thunder. When you hear and see these things, what do they mean? What is going to happen? Yes, there will probably be rain. It is not hard to read those signs, is it?
One day Jesus’ apostles asked him for a sign. They had heard him say that people would not see him again until some future time. They wanted to know when that would be. What sign would there be that the time had come?
The Great Teacher knew that his followers would need a sign. He was going to go back to heaven to be with God. When he came again he would not be a human. He would be a spirit. And can you see a spirit?
So, how would anyone know that he had come again? Well, Jesus told them what to watch for. He told them about things that would happen right here on earth.
When Jesus was talking to them, they were close to Jerusalem. They could see it across the valley. And they could see its beautiful temple. So Jesus told them about things that would happen to Jerusalem and its temple. And those things did happen!
But Jesus also said that the same things would happen again later. This time they would happen to the whole world. And what would this mean? It would mean that Christ had returned. It would mean that from heaven he had begun to rule in the kingdom of God. Soon he would destroy the wicked. Life would soon get much better here on earth.
Have we seen the sign that Jesus gave? I have. Would you like to hear about it?
As part of the sign, Jesus said: ‘You are going to hear of wars and reports of wars. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.’
I have seen that in my lifetime. Whole nations have fought against other nations to destroy them. The trouble really began in the year 1914. Now we hear news reports about war almost every day. Have you heard those reports on the radio or on television?
Here is another part of the sign that Jesus gave. He said: ‘There will be food shortages in one place after another.’
Not everyone has enough food to eat. Did you know that? I have heard that every day ten thousand people die because they do not have enough food. Jesus said that there would be food shortages.
Jesus also said: ‘In one place after another there will be pestilences.’
Do you know what a pestilence is? It is a sickness or disease that kills many people. Right after the war that began in 1914 there was a very great pestilence. It was called the Spanish flu. About 500,000,000 persons went to bed sick from the flu in just a few months, and over 20,000,000 of them died. Just think of that! But the Spanish flu was not the only pestilence. There are still cancer, heart disease and other sicknesses that kill many thousands of persons every year.
This is another part of the sign that he gave: ‘There will be earthquakes in one place after another.’
Do you know what an earthquake is? It makes the ground shake under your feet. Houses fall down and people often get killed. Since the year 1914 there have been many more earthquakes every year than there were before. These are things that have happened in my lifetime.
Jesus said that another part of the sign would be ‘more and more lawlessness.’ That is happening too. That is why people almost everywhere lock the door on their houses. They are afraid that someone might try to break in. And in many places it is not safe to walk on the street alone at night. Never before has it been as bad as it is now.—Matt. 23:39–24:22; Luke 21:5-36.
Some people may say that these things have happened before. But never before has it happened to so much of the world at the same time. All this has special meaning.
Remember, Jesus said that these things would be a sign. Can you read that sign? What does it mean?
Most people see only the trouble. It makes them unhappy. But if they knew what the sign meant, they would rejoice. Why?
Jesus said: ‘As these things start to happen, lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.’ That means that we should be happy. Because in just a short time God will put an end to all the troubles on this earth. Life will be a real pleasure then.
Don’t you agree that is good news? If we really believe it, we won’t keep it only for ourselves. Other people need to know about it too.
“How comely upon the mountains are the feet of the one bringing good news, the one publishing peace, the one bringing good news of something better, the one publishing salvation, the one saying to Zion: ‘Your God has become king!’”—Isa. 52:7.