THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS
In Matthew 24, Jesus gives prophecy of a time of Tribulation that is coming upon the earth and the signs that lead up to it. It is the prophetic week of Dan. 9:27, which is seven years long. The last half of those seven years will be great tribulation, called Jacob’s trouble in Jer. 30:7. At the beginning of the seven years Israel will be deceived and enter into a covenant with the nations. This will be their down fall, which we will cover later.
Before those seven years begin, the overcomers of the Church will be raptured, I Thess. 4:14-17. Then Christ will be seated on His throne in heaven to reign, Rev. 4. Gentile times are then ended and judgment will begin for the nations and ungodly men, the tribulation days. They will end when Christ comes to the aid of Israel and take vengeance on the nations, II Thess. 1:7-8; Jude Vs. 14-15 and Rev. 19:11-16. There is almost seven years between these two phases of His coming.
Mt. 24:1, “Jesus went out, and departed from the temple.” The leaders of Israel had rejected Him (chapter 23), and He said unto them, “Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” – Mt. 23:39. A remnant of Israel will receive Him at the end of those days of Tribulation.
“The disciples came to him to show Him the buildings of the temple,” in which they had much pride. “Jesus said, See ye not all these things? Verity I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (V. 2). “The disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (or Age), V. 3.
Vs. 4-5, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” It will be a time of deceiving. I know I have heard of some in my life time. And we know by Scripture, the greatest deceiver to come will be the Antichrist.
V. 6, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” All these things are signs. There has been a war going on somewhere in the world since 1914. There are wars going on today and rumors of several wars that could break out any time. The leaders of the nations are trying to bring about world peace by negotiations, trying to keep wars from happening. The Lord says, let not these things cause great anxiety, for these things must come to pass, the worst comes later.
V. 7, “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers (various) places.” True these things have happened in the history of the world, but these signs are of significant character, coming all together or one after another. Famine follows war and is also caused by lack of rain. Many countries are suffering famine. Pestilences are present in many forms: AIDS, Ebola Virus, and Coronavirus are world health problems, and killer hornets, etc. Earthquakes use to happen in 50 or 100 years, but have increased and become common even in unusual places.
V. 8, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” In other words all these things lead up to the seven years of tribulation. We are not in the tribulation period, but I do believe we are in the beginning of sorrows, the signs God gave to alert His people to the times in which they live. So that we will be ready for our LORD’s return and not spiritually sleeping. In I Thessalonians 5:5 Paul says, we are not children of the night, we should not experience the tribulation days. For they are the day of His wrath. He has provided that we escape those days, He has given us these signs. I Cor. 11:31-32, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” We are to judge ourselves by the Word of God.
Wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes should wake people up, that the time is near. But most are not stirred toward the Lord. These things happen so frequently now that people treat them as common place and become numb to news reports. Most Christians are indifferent as if they are going to continue here forever. Oh, that men would seek the Lord and put Him first in their lives. Luke 21:28, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
Continued next issue: Tribulation begins