Sign of the Times

 

Bible Class 4

Series: Common Bible Phrases #2

Meaning: A type of picture or symbol which shows, reveals or explains about something bigger or more important than the symbol itself. Especially a certain time in a societies or the world’s history.

More definitions of the phrase:

Firstly, on a straightforward level, that the thing being indicated, as a sign of the times, is a symptom of something bigger, often a change in society, especially in moral values, that is taking place.

Secondly, when Jesus talked about “the signs of the times”, He was indicating or illustrating specific things that were happening in His day. Showing that a great change was coming or indeed had come with Jesus’ coming into the world.

In fact, our worldwide dating system is anchored in that change. The world before Christ, is known as, B.C, Before Christ. (Now referred to as BCE, Before Common Era) and A.D. A Latin phrase, Anno Domini, meaning the year of our Lord or Christ. (Now referred to as C.E. Common Era).

So, 'the sign of the times' that Jesus referred to was his own bodily presence, God, as a man in human form, come into the world. Showing his 'First Coming'.

Later in His ministry, Jesus also gave other specific ‘signs of the times’ that would be indicators of His return to the world or Second Coming, those again would be indicators of a radical change happening in world history.

It is these later signs of Jesus' Second Coming, that people are mostly referring to, when they talk about, ‘signs of the times’ or ‘The End-time’ when connected to the Bible.

 

Let’s look at two different references from the Bible:

 

1) New Testament Matthew 16:2,3 He answered and said unto them, when it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

 

2) New Testament Luke 12:54-56 MKJV And He also said to the crowd, when you see a cloud rise out of the west, immediately you say, There is a shower coming. And so it is. 55 And when you see the south wind blow, you say, There will be heat; and it occurs. 56 Hypocrites! You know to discern

the face of the heaven and the earth, but how is it that you do not discern this time?

 

What was the ‘word picture’ that Jesus was making when he talked to the people back then?

 

That we should look around at things that are currently happening and realize or understand what the ‘bigger’ implications mean, usually that great changes are coming or are happening.

 

Another common phrase that has a similar, but less dramatic meaning is, ‘smell the coffee’. Although it doesn’t come from the Bible, again, it means be attentive to the things happening around you, and consider the outcomes or consequences.

 

Some music artists have used the phrase, ‘Sign of the Times’ in their music lyrics etc. below are some examples:

 

Petula Clark, "Sign Of The Times" on The Ed Sullivan Show on August 14, 1966.

 

Prince,  "Sign O' The Times" from 'Sign O' The Times' (1987)

 

One Direction star Harry Styles, reveals surprising and dark meaning behind Sign Of The Times’ lyrics says it was inspired by 'a young mother being told she's not going to make it'. News Article here.