The Beginning of the End

December 26, 2021

And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:4-8).

Someone whom I highly esteem as a scholar, historian, biblical exegete, and thinker, has said, “The days we are living in today are unprecedented in terms of false messiahs, false churches, false Christians; unprecedented in the threat of and making of war, international strife, natural disasters in both intensity and frequency, climate instability, and rampant and uncontrollable diseases. Surely these must be the last days, for I cannot imagine a more frightful time to be living in other than the Great Tribulation described in the Book of the Revelation.”

Jesus asked His followers not to be deceived, which means we must be discerning of the times we are living in. When the Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus to ask of Him a sign from heaven. He responded, When it is evening you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red;” and in the morning, “It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.” Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times (Matthew16:1-3).

Jesus was speaking of that time that would immediately precede the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70. However, He also said these things would be the beginning of sorrows, which means the days would grow darker and more dangerous for the Jewish people and for the followers of Jesus Christ. Far greater calamities would occur before the destruction of Israel by Rome and the end of the final age, which is yet to come. How bad will it get?

Jesus described those days as the beginning of sorrows, literally ‘birth-pangs’. A.T. Robertson said, “The Jews used the very phrase for the sufferings of the Messiah which were to come before the coming of the Messiah (Book of Jubilees, 23:18; Apocalypse of Baruch 27-29).” I’ve never experienced ‘birth pains’ but I was in the delivery room when Nancy gave birth to both of our daughters. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. I asked an attending nurse what that pain would feel like. She said for a man it would feel like passing a kidney stone the size of a bowling ball.

Jesus said these events are not proof of the end, but only the beginning of it. The Apostles John and Paul said the last days were already upon them, but the terror of the last days would continue to increase until the time of Jesus’ 2nd appearing.

“Lord Jesus, many of us believe we are living in the latter part of the last days. Much of what You spoke about in the text are occurring on a grander scale today. We pray with the Apostle John, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.” But until You do, keep us faithful to the task of spreading the Gospel to every creature. Amen.”


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