The Pacific Press Publishing Association, the printing and publishing house of the North American Division, produces several sharing magazines. These magazines are geared toward members being able to share them with their family members, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Signs of the Times®, the third to be featured in our series, is available for subscription at www.adventistbookcenter.com. Signs of the Times’ website is www.signstimes.com.
What was the original mission of the publication?
The original mission of Signs of the Times® was to proclaim the soon coming of Jesus and to teach people how to prepare for that glorious event. But more than that, it was to be a publication for everyone, covering topics that relate to the Christian life. Back in 1874, the first year that Signs was published, James White told his readers about the new missionary magazine. He described it like this. “Signs of the Times is designed to be not only an expositor of the prophecies, a reporter of the signs of our times, but also a family, religious, and general newspaper for the household” (Signs of the Times, June 11, 1874).
As the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s sharing magazine, it was designed to be widely distributed. In 1906, on the heels of the tragic San Francisco earthquake, Ellen White offered this counsel to Adventists: “Just now, when people are thinking seriously, literature on the meaning of the signs of the times, wisely circulated, will have a telling effect in behalf of the truth. . . . Now is our opportunity to make known the truth to them” (Review and Herald, May 24, 1906).
How has the mission changed and/or adapted since its inception?
Today Signs continues to produce a missionary journal that communicates the Adventist understanding of truth, written in a way that reaches a twenty-first-century audience.
Each year Signs publishes articles on prophecy that help people to understand the times we live in and the nearness of Jesus’ second coming. Over the course of a year, all of the major teachings of the Bible are covered, including salvation, the Sabbath, the state of the dead, and the Second Coming. Each issue also includes devotional articles on healthful living and family life. And of course, Signs tries to make the magazine as attractive as possible. We want readers to be drawn to the beauty of God’s Word.
What is the target audience? Whom is Signs written for?
Almost anyone would enjoy Signs of the Times®. Since it is a mission magazine, it is specifically designed for sharing with loved ones, relatives, former and inactive members, friends, and neighbors. Beyond single copies shared by mail, the news box program allows churches to distribute the magazine at convenience stores, grocery stores, and almost any other business. The magazine is also an ideal gift for Bible study interests.
Recently a woman called the Signs customer service line and said, “I picked up a copy of your magazine at a thrift shop, and I’ve been so blessed by it that I want to purchase a subscription.”
Signs of the Times® helps Adventists reach others regardless of whether they’re next-door neighbors or live clear across the country. In many cases people might resent anything said to them about their faith, but Signs arrives as a silent visitor in their mailboxes every month for as long as the subscription continues.
What makes Signs of the Times® different from other religious magazines?
Signs brings the unique Adventist understanding of Bible prophecy to its readers. All the truths of God’s words are taught from the great controversy perspective. This is an approach that is uniquely Adventist.
Please share some meaningful responses from readers.
“Thank you for the inspiration: While sitting in the hole at the penitentiary, the Seventh-day Adventist chaplain stopped by and asked if I liked to read. I said, “Yes!” and he slid a Signs of the Times® magazine under my door. As I began to read, the articles spoke to my heart and touched my inner need. Thank you for the inspiration and guidance Signs provides. It helps me and my fellow inmates keep our focus and anchor in the Lord.”
“I enjoy your publication: I have been picking up Signs of the Times® from the box outside the post office. I think it is about time I send you a donation. I do enjoy your publication, and I try to keep the Sabbath. Thank you.”
“We send Signs to our nephew. He was recently going through a difficult time and was angry with God. But one issue of Signs came along with an article that helped him understand suffering. He is much less angry with God now, and I thank you so much.”
An Editor for the Times
Signs of the Times is searching for a new editor. In September 2021 longtime editor Marvin Moore was laid to rest. For 27 years he was a trusted voice in Adventism, and his passing is a loss to the church. Evangelist and author Mark Finley recalls that “I first met Marvin more than 30 years ago and was deeply impressed with his clear grasp of end-time events centered in Christ. His approach to prophecy was solidly Adventist and extremely practical. The Seventh-day Adventist Church will miss the clarity of his voice through the written page in Signs of the Times.”