sign of the times; signs of the times

an example that shows how society has become, usually showing how bad things are
—Now that the economy is failing, long lines of people looking for work are a sign of the times.

The Jewish teachers often tested Jesus with their questions and requests. When they asked him to show them a miracle. Jesus reprimanded them. He said that while they understood the signs of changing weather, they could not understand his miracles and his fulfillment of prophecy:

He said, “When evening comes you say, ‘It will be fair weather, because the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, because the sky is red and darkening.’ You know how to judge correctly the appearance of the sky, but you cannot evaluate the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Then he left them and went away. (Matthew 16:2-4)

Jonah was an Old Testament prophet who was thrown off a boat during a storm. He was swallowed by a large fish and was spit out alive after three days. Though the people didn’t understand it at the time, Jesus was using Jonah’s story to show what would happen to him after his death.

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