The Shemitah year is over. What now? Regardless of any guesses on times and dates, the signs – the Signposts – are still coming, one after the other.
In the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 Jesus gave us a list of things to be aware of. He told us of the beginning of the birth pains (vs. 4-8, which are the Four Signposts). He told us of how persecution would rise and be the first half of the Tribulation (vs. 9-14). He told us of the last half of the Tribulation (vs. 15-28), and finally of His glorious return (vs. 29-31). After all this He warned us to watch these things:
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Matthew 24:42 (NIV)
And Jesus said it here,
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:13 (NIV)
“What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” Mark 13:37 (NIV)
Many English Bible translations say “watch” or “be alert” but is that all it means? After all, you can relax and watch a favorite show or movie on television and there isn’t much to do at the moment beyond just watching. No, what is meant is a different kind of “watch”.
The Greek word behind “watch” is gregorio (Strong’s 1127, gray-gor-ee-oh’), meaning “to be vigilant.” In the preceding verses Jesus is telling us in the second person, to watch, to be vigilant, hence “γρηγορεῖτε” or transliterated, gregoreite.
Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines this word as “to watch i.e. give strict attention to, be cautious, active…” This word is used in 1 Peter 5:8-9a:
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” (NIV)
You see? We are to be alert and watchful but is that all? No! We are to react as well, to be active. Do we only watch for the devil to come and let him take us? Of course not. Like verse 9 says we resist him. Thayer said γρηγορεῖτε is to give strict attention to. We must be cautious and active.
You parents know, when you have your three-year-old on the playground at the local park do you only watch your child like you are watching TV? Absolutely not! In my past parenting career I had to actively and cautiously be alert for anything that might harm my child and when it comes you act! You comfort him or her when they take a tumble. You put yourself between the child and that big dog that wanders over.
Why did the English translators of the Bible just write “watch” in those verses like Matthew 24:42? I believe, as in so many other passages that the translators had their pre-conceived notions of what to expect. They were expecting the Rapture – not the Signposts. They were expecting to passively watch for a Rapture, and not to be active and vigilant and alert like the word really means. Gregorio! Be alert, vigilant, and active!
So what does this mean for the time we are in now? The end of the Shemitah has come and gone. We may or may not see something happen on a particular date (usually, it’s not). But the Second Signpost – the next sign to watch is still looming. Going back to Matthew 24:42, we are to not only watch for the Second Signpost and the succeeding ones, but we are to be alert, i.e. Webster’s says to be quick to perceive, recognize the events for what they are, think, and act. We are also to be vigilant which is, again with the help of Webster’s, to be carefully noting problems or signs of danger. In summary here is our list of actions:
Item 1) First, be awake and watch the Middle East events;
Item 2) Carefully note the events and quickly recognize them for what they truly are and how they relate to the Signposts;
Item 3) Act when you see each significant event and see opportunity to spread His Kingdom.
THIS is what it means to watch. This is Gregorio! But how do we do these things?
To do Item 1 – Generally and most importantly, to be awake and watch means to be repentant, having a soft heart, allowing God to work in your life, and following and obeying His promptings. Having Him as the number one priority in your life will enable you to be awake. More specifically, by reading Daniel Revisited, or by arriving at the Signposts on your own you will be ready. By actively following Christ and knowing what the signs are, you will be fully awake with your eyes open possibly for the first time in your life (it happened for me personally in 1997 when He grabbed me and showed me He had to be my God, and in 2003 when my eyes were opened to the Signposts).
To do Item 2 – You need to be cognizant of the Scriptural passages related to the Signposts and be able to relate or compare each current event to Scripture. This will take some practice. Only by doing this can you see the Signposts in action, to see them coming, and to see them passing. You need to know what is a false alarm and what is the real deal. When we see a handful of ‘Antichrists’ come and go you have to recognize the right one.
I realize I personally have another Action too. I will be taking extra time and effort in each post related to news, to highlight and accent the related scripture passages. If you go back to my old posts you will see them, but I will in the future highlight them more. By studying each current event you too should become proficient at seeing how events relate to the Signposts. Many readers of this blog are already becoming so. As the end times go on there may not be an internet where you can read this blog to see comment on events. You must be able to do so on your own. So I must not only show people the Signposts but must teach people to watch correctly themselves.
To do Item 3 – This is the part that requires much prayer. How do you act? You must act through prayer and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I think it boils down to two basics:
(a) Making material provision for yourself, family and those who come begging at your door, (per Proverbs 22:3: “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” (NLT)) like food, etc. How much food if any should you store? How much cash and/or silver? Should you start a garden or start a new career as a gunsmith? This is all between you and your God.
(b) Learning and knowing and telling people what is happening so you are a watchman too. You can tell people at the start of the Third Signpost for example that there are still years to go with the second half of the Sunni-Shia War, so we need to dig in and prepare and have the right mindset and attitude, and don’t think you will be rescued in the Rapture tonight. No, you still have to go through that war and the other wars of the Fourth Signpost. You can show the lost and fencesitters that each subsequent event is called out in His word and that the end of the events is the coming of Christ and that you must be ready for His return, as 1 John 2:28 says, “…continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.”