Discerning the Signs of the Times (Matthew 16:1-4) by Gale Maiden

By Gale Maiden

Discerning the Signs of the Times

(Matthew 16:1-4)

by Gale Maiden


What times is this Biblical phrase talking about? Is it past times, present times or future times?


I am concerned over some current teachings concerning the times in this Biblical phrase found in the Gospel of Matthew 16:3. My concern is that we are overlooking the present. We all know that there are many characteristics of both the past and the future which have viable roles in enabling our seeing and entering into the at hand Kingdom of God.


Due Season is Now Time


It is most significant that the Greek word for times found in Matthew 16:3 is kairos (kahee-ros) which actually means a set or proper time; due season. With this definition of times we may paraphrase the phrase discerning the signs of the times as follows: distinguishing or deciding the indicators of due season. If it is due season indicators which we are to discern then it is present or now time indicators. Of course we are talking about the now due season of the presence of the Kingdom of Heaven in the earth.


The phrase discerning the signs of the times is found only one time in the New Testament. As you will see, Jesus is teaching emphatically that it is the present times and not the past or future times with which He is concerned.


And the Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing (in contempt of) Him asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He answered and said to them, "When it is evening, you say, '{It will be} fair weather, for the sky is red.' "And in the morning, {'There will be} a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.  Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot {discern} the signs of the times?  An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah." And He left them, and went away. (Matt 16:1-4, NAS)


To be Future Minded is to be in Contempt of the Generated Word of God


The Pharisees and Sadducees were guilty of contempt of court when asking Jesus to show them a sign from heaven. How were they in contempt? Contempt means to openly disrespect or despise. The court and authority of God had declared throughout the ministry of both Jesus and John the Baptist that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, the Kingdom of Heaven is present! Proof of this court of God authority had been demonstrated before the eyes of the Pharisees and Sadducees just days before this encounter. Jesus demonstrated multiple signs from heaven as He miraculously fed five thousand on one occasion and then immediately fed four thousand.


Did Jesus Forecast or Cast Forth


Jesus declared a simple yet profound analogy of how we are to see the ever present signs of heaven. Jesus said that if one would in the evening look at a red sky, he would say fair weather. This is not a forecast of the weather but a casting forth of present conditions. Important is the fact that the phrase it will be is not in the Greek text of the subject scripture. It will be wrongly being added signifies a forecast concerning the future. This analogy totally is talking about the present and not the future.


Are we to seek signs from heaven? Jesus said, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah."


Without an in depth study of this verse, Jesus was saying that any generation (speaking forth) of words contrary to the generation of God is evil and adulterous. This simply means that words which contradict the obvious present tense indicators of the Kingdom of Heaven are actually evil (as opposed to good) and adulterates the truth. The truth is that the Kingdom of Heaven is here now and is being demonstrated continuously if one can see it.


What is the Sign of Jonah


Those who persist in demanding a sign from heaven will be given the sign of Jonah the Prophet. The sign from Jonah is that God asked Jonah to demonstrate the present tense Kingdom of God by immediately going to Nineveh which Jonah initially refused. As Jonah, all who postpone the present will end up in the belly of a giant fish and will come forth only by repenting of being futuristic. The rest of the sign of Jonah to an evil and adulterous generation is that in Jonah's obedience to preach, a wicked city of 120,000 came into the immediate presence of God.




Be encouraged! Signs from heaven continuously encompass us. To deny this truth is to generate an evil and adulterous existence. Matthew 24 warns all to beware of false christs (anointings) which lead many astray. Do not follow after or associate with those who purport to be waiting on a sign from heaven! Signs from heaven are to be as readily and instantly discerned as this moment's weather. As Jonah repented and learned to occupy the NOW, let us continue to our Nineveh.


I hear the Spirit of God saying, Our future and past is NOW.

Gale Maiden


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