Professor Victor Yap, from Hong Kong, shares this funny story:
Upon entering a little country store, a stranger noticed a sign reading, “Danger! Beware of Dog” posted on the glass door. Inside, he noticed a harmless old hound dog asleep on the floor besides the cash register. He asked the store manager, “Is that the dog folks are supposed to beware of?” “Yep, that’s him,” he replied. The stranger couldn’t help but be amused. “That certainly doesn’t look like a dangerous dog to me. Why in the world would you post that sign?” “Because,” the owner replied, “before I posted that sign, people kept tripping over him.” (sermoncentral.com)
We all know that signs are meant to help keep us safe. If we don’t heed a stop sign or caution sign or danger sign, we put ourselves in potentially harmful situations. If we want to protect ourselves and others we will heed the warning signs.
Jesus gave us warning signs when he spoke of the end of the age and his second coming. In Matthew 24:3, it says, “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?'” (New American Standard Bible, NASB).
The very first sign he gave was the warning there would be deception: “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you,'” (v, 4). Signs are important for they keep us from being taken down a dead-end road of false teachers and preachers.
If we’re truly going to be prepared for the Lord’s return, we need to read and heed the Word of the Lord. We don’t want to be led by those walking in the darkness of their own vanity for we don’t want to run the risk of going astray and getting eternally lost. God’s Word is the light that shines the truth and exposes the blind leaders of the blind (Matt. 15:14).
In Matthew 24, Jesus goes on to list many more signs alerting us to what will happen as his coming draws near. Tumult between the nations, natural disasters, persecution of God’s people, great tribulation like the world has never known, the spread of the Gospel worldwide all point to the need to be ready for the great Day of his return.
Meanwhile, we keep our eyes on the news regarding the fig-tree nation, Israel, the true sign-post of the end of this present age (vss. 32-35). The prophets, in addition to our Lord, all indicated that Israel has yet to go through an unprecedented time of persecution until the Jewish nation accepts Jesus as their Messiah (vss. 15-21; Ezekiel 21:26-27; Zechariah 12:10; 14; Jeremiah 30:7).
Just like the guy that finally realized what the “Danger! Beware of dog!” sign meant, we want to make sure that we understand what it means to “beware” of the signs of these times. The great falling away in Second Thessalonians 2 indicates that many will trip over their own ignorance concerning the Anti-christ and be led astray (Rev. 13). For this reason, the signs are important for the sake of our own salvation when the Kingdom comes.
Good News to you!