We were expecting a baby at our house… I had read the books, listened to my wife (who is a registered nurse), I’d been briefed by the doctor, and felt I knew what to expect. Some have even attended classes in order to be prepared for a birth. But when the time comes – when the contractions begin and increase in intensity – you’re still unprepared and can almost panic. Just imagine how someone might respond who had no idea what was happening to them or their spouse? They’d probably call an ambulance and take them to the emergency room! Major crisis!! What is happening anyhow?!
I think the same kind of thing can happen for people who see what is happening in our world today and have no understanding of what the Bible teaches about conditions as we approach the end of time. They’re a little like the person who might see a woman experiencing labor and had no idea of what was happening to her… (those who know what is happening respond a bit differently than those who don’t). I think that is why Jesus provided the following information to his disciples when they asked Him, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”
This is what he told them (and notice what I’ve placed in all caps that He had to say)…
“And Jesus answered them, ‘SEE THAT NO ONE LEADS YOU ASTRAY. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. SEE THAT YOU ARE NOT ALARMED, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. ALL THESE ARE BUT THE BEGINNING OF THE BIRTH PAINS. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But THE ONE WHO ENDURES TO THE END WILL BE SAVED. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and THEN THE END WILL COME.’“ (from Matthew 24:4–14 ESV)
For informed followers of Jesus… Concern is warranted – panic isn’t! Awareness is essential – but not gullibility that leads to deception! Being Biblically informed is critical – certainly not compromise and spiritual capitulation because of fear. The kinds of things we are seeing are “signs” – if you please “the birth pangs” of the close of this age will increase in frequency and intensity before He returns! What happens will be challenging, it will be frightening, lawlessness and deception will increase, persecution will come… Things will appear to be spinning out of control… But it is all the “birth pangs” of the coming Kingdom! God is in control – these things must happen – but the Kingdom of God will be fully realized, every enemy will be defeated, Jesus will return and “He will reign forever and ever!”