“A Sign From Heaven”
AN OLD rhyme says: “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight,/Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” Today, satellites, computer-enhanced temperature studies, Doppler radar, and other scientific means are employed to forecast the weather. Predictions often harmonize with the rhyme just quoted.
Jesus Christ’s religious foes once demanded of him “a sign from heaven,” an unusual display to prove that he was the Messiah. “When evening falls,” he said, “you are accustomed to say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is fire-red’; and at morning, ‘It will be wintry, rainy weather today, for the sky is fire-red, but gloomy-looking.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but the signs of the times you cannot interpret. A wicked and adulterous generation keeps on seeking for a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah.”—Matthew 16:1-4.
Jesus’ enemies could forecast the weather but were unable to comprehend spiritual matters. For instance, what about “the sign of Jonah”? After spending about three days in the belly of a great fish, God’s prophet Jonah preached in Nineveh and thereby became a sign to that capital city of Assyria. Jesus’ generation had “the sign of Jonah” when Christ spent parts of three days in a tomb and was resurrected. His disciples proclaimed the evidence of that event, and thus Jesus was a sign to that generation.—Matthew 12:39-41.
On another occasion, Jesus’ disciples asked him for “the sign” of his future “presence” in Kingdom power. In reply, he gave a composite sign made up of various features, including unparalleled wars, great earthquakes, food shortages, and earth-wide preaching about God’s established heavenly Kingdom.—Matthew 24:3-14.
Do you recognize the sign of Christ’s presence as invisible heavenly King? Its features are being fulfilled upon this generation. (Matthew 24:34) And what of the future? The Bible not only reveals that the end of this system of things is at hand but also forecasts God’s promised new day that is soon to dawn clear and bright for mankind.—2 Peter 3:13.