In Matthew 16:3, Jesus scolded the religious leaders of his time for being able to analyze the physical weather conditions, but not being able to analyze the spiritual significance of the many Messianic signs and prophecies that Jesus was fulfilling by what He said and did.
Just as the religious leaders of Jesus’ time were blinded by their religious traditions into not being able to see the spiritual significance of how Jesus was fulfilling Messianic signs and prophecies; so also there are many religious leaders of our modern time that have been blinded by various traditions or deceptions so that they are unable to see the significance of the fulfillment of many Biblical prophecies that are related to the time of the return of Jesus Christ back to earth to conquer every form of evil and establish God’s earthly kingdom.
In order to understand that significance we must study those prophecies and then compare them with what is happening in the world today.
In Jesus’ major teaching session about the signs that would show that the time of His return was getting closer, the first thing that Jesus warned His disciples about was: “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying I am the Christ, and will mislead many.” (Matthew 24:4-5 NASB)
Jesus further explained that warning in Matthew 24:23-24: “Then, if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘there He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs, and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”
Those prophecies have been fulfilled when there have been people who claimed to be the new messiah rose up and spread their deceptive spiritual teachings, but then died-leaving their disciples disillusioned. ( Side Note: God raised Jesus up from the dead showing that Jesus really did complete God's plan for the spiritual redemption of mankind.)
The modern religious world is full of deceptive spiritual teachings that try to pull people away from following God’s principles for living found in the Bible.
The Apostle Paul warned about the coming of a great deception in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10, where he prophesied that before Jesus would return to earth there would arise a man of lawlessness that would rebel against God’s principles and would use the spiritual power of the Devil to produce great signs and false wonders so that he could deceive those people who would not receive God’s truths and become saved.
Paul further declares that ”the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” (2 Thessalonians 2:7) As that demonic spirit of lawlessness has spread over many areas of the world, it has deceived many people into committing great actions of lawlessness causing great problems for many countries and people. This could be fulfilling the prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 24:12 that ”because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.”
The significance of these fulfilled prophecies is that they show the enormous spiritual warfare that is happening between the spiritual forces of God and His spiritual kingdom of light and the Devil and his spiritual kingdom of darkness.
We can see this spiritual warfare in the way that some people and organizations are attacking God’s principles of living found in the Bible and trying to destroy them from being the foundation for the beliefs and actions in various levels of government and in the cultural foundations in American society.
We can also see this spiritual warfare in the way that the entertainment industry has shifted from formerly producing movies and programs based on Christian values to now producing movies and programs which have fleshly temptations, ungodly actions, and demonic deceptions as the standards for their products.
Another form of spiritual warfare is found in the way that the spiritual forces of darkness have been deceiving fanatical members of other religions into persecuting and murdering thousands of Christians around the world.
In Matthew 24:9-10, Jesus warned His disciples that evil people “will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name, and at that time many will fall away and deliver one another and hate one another.
Although this prophecy has been fulfilled by the many times Christians have been persecuted and murdered since Jesus made that prophecy, there are some prophecies of future persecution of Christians found in the book of Revelation.
As described in Revelation 6:9-11, when the fifth seal is broken there is revealed the Christian martyrs who faithfully maintained their testimony of having Jesus Christ as their personal Savior as they were being murdered.
“And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed, even as they had been , should be completed also.” (Revelation 6:11)
Then in Revelation 7:13-17, there is the description of the Christians who “come out of the great tribulation,” (v.14) are given white robes, and then are placed before God’s throne where they have Jesus as their shepherd.
The spiritual significance of these prophecies is that Christians are in the middle of the spiritual warfare between God and the Devil and that warfare will last until Jesus returns to conquer all evil and establish God’s earthly kingdom.
Christian leaders and people need to wake up to that reality, teach their people about spiritual warfare, and how to use their spiritual weapons described in Ephesians 6:10-18.
Christians also need to use the discernment of the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide them in understanding the spiritual battles taking place in their area. Sometimes they need to band together to discuss how to fight big spiritual battles. Then, as God guides them they can use their spiritual weapons, the name of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit to bind the attacking spiritual forces of darkness and cast them into the abyss/lake of fire to stay there forever.
The more Christians understand the significance of the fulfillment of the above prophecies and use the guidance of the Holy Spirit to fight their spiritual battles, the more they will be able to overcome the many problems that they will face during the rest of their journey of life.