Wars. Rumors. Nation vs nation. Kingdom vs kingdom. Famine. Pestilence. Earthquakes. Christians hated by everyone. Many offended. Betrayals. Hatred. False prophets. Deception. Lawlessness everywhere. Love growing cold.
Sound bites from the evening news, or the latest headlines? Yes, and no.
We hear of many of these things on a daily basis and have read of such in the history books. But these things were spoken first by Jesus when His disciples asked Him the sign of His coming and the end of the age. His response below is part of the Olivet Discourse where Jesus gave great detail about what we can expect before He returns.
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ’Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ 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. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come,’”
Matthew 24: 3-14 NKJV
All of these things that Jesus described have been happening in one degree or another since He ascended back into heaven. He described them as the beginning of sorrows. The Greek word translated sorrow was a word used for labor pains. If you have ever had a child or known someone who has (that includes just about all of us!), you know that labor begins with erratic and mild contractions that gradually increase in intensity, and regularity, and discomfort. Some women experience Braxton-Hicks contractions as they near their due date. These false labor pains sometimes last for hours, but never become regular or progress in intensity. But when they happen, it is an indication that real labor can be expected sooner rather than later. As true labor progresses, the contractions become closer and closer together and the pains almost unbearable. So when Jesus described the signs of the end of the age as labor pains, we get a good picture of the progression.
It does seem that many of these signs have become much more regular and intense. The discomfort they produce grows stronger and stronger. Some days it seems almost unbearable. So, what does this tell us? The birth of the Kingdom of God into the earth is getting closer and closer! Praise God! This is good news, indeed! Even if we are in Braxton-Hicks labor, it still means that actual labor is not far off. Jesus will make His appearance soon. Yes, we may have to walk through some agonizing times of disaster, both natural and man-made, and times of persecution and betrayal. But Jesus assures us that those who endure to the end will be saved. He also told His disciples, just before the crucifixion the following encouraging words:
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NKJV
One last thing is on the list before His glorious, victorious return—“this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations…”
It is our responsibility, as Christ’s disciples, to carry out this last task. Jesus spoke similar words to His disciples in the Great Commission:
”Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV
Contained in these marching orders is such a wonderful promise. Jesus will be with us through it all, “even to the end of the age.”
So how will you preach the gospel of the kingdom in all the world and make disciples (students, learners) of all the nations? It most likely will look different in each of us. During these many months of this pandemic (Could it possibly be a birth pang?), it has been difficult for many of us to get out and encounter people to share the gospel with, or to disciple. I, for one, am very grateful for this platform to share Jesus with any and all who come here. God has allowed these posts to find their way around the world to many nations, and I have been very humbled to have been able to share His goodness and love with all of you. Whatever small part each of us plays in spreading the love of Christ and His Word with others, God will bless and water and bring forth fruit to His glory. Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!
…and then the end will come.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
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Featured Image by HeldaB via CanvaPro.
Ideas about judgments and destruction are rarely liked by many. It’s difficult for us to see it as it happens all around us on such a constant basis. However, if we read the Scriptures completely, we can get the big picture and see that God is only love. Anything He allows only comes from His unique vantage point of all encompassing love. When we have this understanding of God, we can accept anything coming from Him as good, even the most difficult circumstances. He will bring this world to its knees, but in doing so, He will usher in His beautiful kingdom. For that, we will be eternally humbled and grateful.