Wars, Famines, Pestilences, Hurricanes, Tsunamis and Earthquakes
There have been wars, famines, pestilences, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes in various places for hundreds of years. Wars, famines, pestilences, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes are becoming more frequent and greater in magnitude. What does this indicate regarding the timing of the End and the return of Christ? Lets examine carefully how Jesus describes what to watch for.
Christ first indicated that when we HEAR of wars and rumors of wars, that we should not be concerned because the Time of the End - was not yet.
Later He indicated that the generation that "SEES all these things" would not pass away until He had returned and the Kingdom had Come. Therefore, the generation (less than 40 years) that SAW the Beginning would also see the End.
Christ lists the signs of the Beginning of the End.
For nation [ethnos] shall rise against nation, and kingdom [basileia] against kingdom: and there shall be famines [limos], and pestilences [loimos], and earthquakes [seismos], in divers places. All these are the beginning of birth pains (Matthew 24:7-8).
Below are the Greek words that form Christ's list of things.
ethnos: G1484 - nation - ethnic group, as in tribal or civil war
basileia:G932 - kingdom - with a king or ruler, a nation
limos: G3042 - famines
loimos: G3061 - pestilences
seismos: G4578 - a shaking to and fro of air, land or sea.
Air: gales, hurricanes, tornados, typhoons or cyclones.
Land: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions.
Sea: tsunamis, tidal waves
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:6-13).
When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows (KJV Mark 13:8).
When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away." Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven (NIV Luke 21:9-11).
The end will not come right away:
· Wars, revolutions and rumors of wars.
Beginning of birth pains:
· Nation against nation - ethnic group against ethnic group
· Kingdom against kingdom.
· Earthquakes, cyclones, tornados, hurricanes and tsunamis
More birth pains:
· Fearful events
· Great signs from heaven
The beginning of birth pains will lead to the end of the age and the birth of the Kingdom of God. When we experience the birth pains the Kingdom of God is approaching. Read how the prophets described the approach of the Day of the Lord.
Wail, for the day of Yahweh is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man's heart will melt. Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame. See, the day of Yahweh is coming --a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger-- to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light (Isaiah 13:6-10).
Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of Yahweh repaying his enemies all they deserve. "Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says Yahweh. "Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?" says your God. "Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her. For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance." For this is what Yahweh says: "I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees (Isaiah 66:6-12).
The days are coming,' declares Yahweh, 'when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,' says Yahweh." These are the words Yahweh spoke concerning Israel and Judah: "This is what Yahweh says: "'Cries of fear are heard-- terror, not peace. Ask and see: Can a man bear children? Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor, every face turned deathly pale? How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it. "' In that day,' declares Yahweh Almighty, 'I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. Instead, they will serve Yahweh their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. "'So do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O Israel,' declares Yahweh. 'I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid. I am with you and will save you,' declares Yahweh. 'Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you (Jeremiah 30:3-11).
These are just a few of the many Old Testament prophecies which depict the coming great and dreadful Day of the Lord as labor pains on a woman. This is what it will be like before the Kingdom of God comes on earth.
Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4).
The unbelieving world will not understand, but the believers will know and be prepared. When we experience all these birth pains together we will be in the period know as the “Great Tribulation”. The birth pains will most likely increase in frequency and magnitude as we approach the great and dreadful Day of the Lord.
Richard H Perry