Signs of the Times
Author: Boone, David F.
The phrase "signs of the times" was used by Jesus Christ when he reproved certain antagonists for not recognizing earlier prophecies relative to his second advent. He said they understood signs pertaining to the weather, but did not understand the "signs of the times" (Matt. 16:3). Recognizing such signs will enable discerning individuals to understand the unfolding of prophetic events in the final phase of the earth's history. Prophets before and after Christ have prophesied that there would be signs pertaining to events occurring prior to Christ's second coming (Joel 2:30-31; Amos 8:11-12; 2 Thes. 2:1-3; TPJS, pp. 286-87).
These signs include the coming of false Christs and false prophets and the deception of many who believe in them (Matt. 24:11, 23-24). Included also are wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, pestilence, and other natural calamities (Matt. 24:6, 27; Mark 13:5-8). Latter-day revelation provides additional insights concerning these eschatological catastrophes and the consequences of them for those who are unprepared (D&C 29:13-21;45:25-45). The gospel of Jesus Christ will be preached throughout the earth as a sign that the Lord's coming draws near (JS-M 1:31), and for those who believe and obey, his coming will be glorious. Even though no one on earth knows the exact time of Jesus' return (D&C 49:7), those who recognize the signs and prepare themselves by "treasuring up [his] word, shall not be deceived" (JS-M 1:37). These shall be as the "wise virgins" of Jesus' parable and shall profit from the signs of the times (Matt. 25:1-13; D&C 45:56; 53:54). [See also Jesus Christ: Second Coming of Jesus Christ.] DAVID F. BOONE