You know the song –
“You better watch out,
You better not cry,
You better not pout,
I’m telling you why…”
Having found yet another little gem from the Scriptures on the Second Signpost (Dan. 7:4, 8:4-6, Rev 6:3-4) just this last week, I was reminded of this Christmas song. For such relatively short prophetic passages in God’s Word there are all kinds of implications of what conditions will be like when the Second Signpost finally strikes.
In Matthew 24 (and Mark 13 and Luke 21), Jesus tells us all the events of the end times, one after the other, and how they will all occur in one life time. Note the Four Signposts He mentions in Matt. 24:4-8, i.e. the delusion, the war, the famine, the destruction; one-two-three-four.
But note that of the four, for which one does He tell us not to be afraid? It’s the second with its war, just as, of the four horsemen, only the second one takes peace from the earth and is given power to start war in the quarter of the earth (Rev. 6:8b).
As I’ve written about before, the word for peace in Rev. 6:4 is iraynay, which is peace of mind and stability, as the second horseman will take it away. But what is Jesus telling us exactly in Matthew 24 and Luke 21?
Matthew 24:6 says,
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed.”
As we find sometimes in our English Bibles, the words chosen by the translators don’t quite capture what the Greek is saying. (They do fine in relating to us the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, but end time prophecy has proven itself different.) That word behind “alarmed” is throeo (Strong’s #2360, thro-eh’-o). Throeo means to clamor, to make a tumult, to make a loud cry due to being terrified, and could even mean to scream. In Matthew 24:6 the Greek may literally be saying, “see that you aren’t screaming (from terror).” Why would He tell us this? Could it be for the same reason that every time an angel appears to someone the first thing the angel says is “don’t be afraid”? In other words, when the Second Signpost strikes will there not be every human reason to be afraid and in terror? The world will then likely be screaming, but we, His followers, are to be different.
That word throeo is only used three times in the whole New Testament – it’s used in the same verse in Mark 13 talking about war, and for a third time in 2 Thessalonians 2:2, where Paul writes to calm down the church there that Christ hasn’t already returned.
It is interesting that where Paul tells Christians not to throeo because Christ has not come yet and there was panic He was missed, Jesus is inferring to us in Matthew 24 that the world will throeo because Christ is coming, even though its only one of the preceding signs. And we are not to act like the world.
We can contrast throeo with the common words used for fear in the New Testament, like Strong’s #5399 and #5401, which means to be afraid. These words are used 142 times. But throeo is different.
Another uncommon word used for terror is the word used in Luke 21:9. It is different as well. Christ tells us, “When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened.” The Greek word behind “frightened” is ptoeho (Strong’s #4422, pto-eh’-o) and it means to be terrified; to be terrified to the point of fleeing or acting in a panic. Again, our English Bibles fall short here. It comes from a root word meaning to fly, flutter, or to go off in a panic into irrational behavior. It’s quite a bit different from “frightened”. Ptoeo is used in only one other place in the New Testament. It is in Luke 24:37 after the Resurrection when Christ appears to the disciples and they think He is a ghost – something supernatural and terrifying. And here, too, Christ says to them, “peace be with you.”
And so, I believe Jesus is telling us that when the Second Signpost strikes and the Persian ram is running all over the Middle East, including to the south where the oil is, and the second horseman is taking peace from the earth, we are not to act like the world. Christ is not just telling us to not be “afraid” – we are to not scream and to not run around in a panic. Christ’s command to be calm is telling us the Second Signpost will indeed be terrifying.
But we are to be different. Even the bulk of people in the church will likely panic and scream – but they need to be told too, why the Iranian invasion is different and why we need to be different.
This kind of behavior might just have people asking you – “how can you be so calm?!? The world is falling apart and you are calm?!!?” That’s your invitation to witness what the Iranian invasion is truly all about, and what is truly happening, and that Christ is indeed coming in a few years. Be ready. Be ready in the head, in the heart, and if you can, be ready physically.
Like the Christmas song says, “you better not cry.” And you better not panic. And right here I’m telling you why. Because Christ told us not to do these things. Because Christ is coming. And you are His and we are to be different from the world. And He told you ahead of time that the terrifying Second Signpost is coming. So watch out, and stay calm. As Jesus said in Luke 21:28, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Hallulujah!
[Note: The jpeg accompanying this post is meant to be printed and used. I pray it is used as a reminder, and as a tool for drawing the curiosity of people. I’ll add a page-size pdf version to the Resources page.]