Responsible For Knowing The Word
We all like a show or something out of the ordinary. Whether it was Houdini escaping, Emit Kelly sweeping up the spotlight, animal trainers, singers or sport figures gets millions to come and see them perform. Jesus had that problem. Jesus knew their motive was only to see a sign or wonder of some kind though they rejected His teaching. Many in ministry today fail to realize that people are there for the excitement of a show and they are not really as popular as they think (or hope) they are. Unlike Jesus, they take advantage of the financial possibilities of popularity.
Jesus was always unhappy with the requests of the scribes and Pharisees for Him to perform one more sign or wonder. Even at His trial, Herod was anxious to see a miracle. (Luke 23:8). Jesus knew that another healing or miracle would not convince them. The Hebrews had seen miracle after miracle as they left Egypt. Yet, in the wilderness they continually limited their conception of God's power to their immediate circumstances. (Just like we do.) It was a matter of doubt that God always considered to be rebellion and sin.
On the other hand, Jesus frequently said to them something like, "Have you not heard...? Have you not read...? Do you not know..." holding them completely accountable of being able to recognize and apply the teachings of the Old Testament. Few had any scrolls of scripture let alone all of the Old Testament. How do American Christians think we will be able to stand before Him and excuse our ignorance with, "I never heard about that. I never read that book much. “etc. Almost everyone in America has access to the Bible now either in print of on audio.
We have become so accustomed to disaster somewhere else, that we are hardly affected by it anymore. Reports of fighting here or there are expected. A massive earthquake or flood that leaves thousands homeless might get us to say "isn't that too bad?" Yes, the argument is true that there have always been wars, famines and earthquakes. But not like in recent years. In 2002 there were 21 earthquakes 6.0 and above recorded. In 2010 there were 168. More people have died and lost their homes in the past year than ever before.
We do not find every flood, famine, or natural disaster explained in full in the Bible. But we should be knowledgeable of the signs to expect before Jesus returns. The media has quit even telling us of the various bird and fish deaths in certain localized areas recently in such great quantities. In my few attempts to fish, I never caught a fish large enough to weigh. A hundred to 150 tons of dead off the coast of Brazil is hard to imagine.
Two scriptures mentioning birds and fish are Zephaniah 1:3 and Hosea 4:1-3. Which I believe we need to consider.
No, I do not have specific answers, nor do I know any dates. However, I believe that believers are responsible to know God's Word - even if that means turn off the TV and missing a ball game or other program. I do know that we can now see many pieces of prophecy come to pass in the last 50 + years, and that we are closer to His coming today than we were then. We are to be found waiting, watching, and ready as we will be without excuse.