Wars And Rumors Of Wars
"Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?" v.4
"when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" Mt 24:3
"when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?" Lk 21:7
- Based on Zeckariah 14, the disciples were led to believe that all three events; Jerusalem's destruction, the Lord's return to set up the kingdom, and the worlds end, would happen at about the same time.
- Beginning of birth pains. Verses 5-8 mentioned in the last part of verse 8.
All of these signs pertain to the far off seven year tribulation period, while some have a dual reference to both the tribulation and the fall of Jerusalem. MKB
First 3 1/2 years of the 7 year tribulation. How do we know this?
We know that the "abomination that causes desolation" happens at the mid-point of the seven year tribulation according to Daniel 9.
"He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.' In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." Da 9:27-29
So the first 3 12 years of the tribulation is called "The beginning of birth pains" and the last 3 12 years is called "The Great Tribulation," taken from the KJV of Mt 24:21, "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
"Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many." v.5-6
- Later, Jesus repeats the warning.
"At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles (we will take about this later) to deceive the elect-if that were possible." Mk 13:21-22
- False Christs and false prophets
Jim Jones claimed to be Jesus Christ incarnate. He was founder of the Peoples Temple and is responsible for the mass murder and suicide of 909 of his followers in Johnstown, Guyana, South America.
David Koresh of the Branch Davidians cult in Waco Texas claimed to be the messiah, Jesus Christ. He died in a massive fire along with his followers in 1993.
There is a man in South Florida who says, "I am Jesus Christ man, the second coming of Christ." Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda: "I Am Greater Than Jesus Of Nazareth" he claims. His story was broadcast all over the national media just a few weeks ago. He claims to be God and says that there is no more sin, hell or the devil. His followers get tattooed with the numbers 666. He has drawn thousands of followers with his claim of being the 'Antichrist' and Jesus Christ in the flesh. He is a Puerto Rican Minister and head of Growing in Grace International Ministry. This ministry has literally taken off the ground with around 300 churches affiliated with him. His ministry has a huge following and makes enough money to allow this man of the cloth to live in luxury.
As world problems grow in the end-times, the desperation of people will make them susceptible and vulnerable to those who claim to have an answer to the overwhelming calamities that torment them.
Taking advantage of that desperate situation, an abundance of false and cleverly deceptive messiahs will arise, each claiming, I am the Christ. Their spurious gospels will mislead many, as they promise to deliver men from their problems and troubles.
This includes false prophets as well; men and women who claim to have the ultimate answers to life's problems.
"Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them." Ac 20:30
The most deceptive false Christ will be the Antichrist, the ultimate false messiah and deceiver. As Jesus Christ was righteousness incarnate, the Antichrist will be evil incarnate. People will follow him by the millions during the tribulation time.
"When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains." v.7-8
- Wars and rumors of wars
The Roman empire had been enjoying a long era of peace. But the return of wars (the destruction of Jerusalem) will not indicate that the end of the age that leads to the kingdom has come.
A growing intensity of these things in the last days.
- "There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven." Lk 21:11
"When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth." Re 6:7-8
- The beginning of birth pains.
"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." 1 Th 5:3
Jesus listed the things that must not be taken as the “signs” of His coming. Rather, they are indications that the Tribulation “birth pangs” are just beginning. These signs are: the success of false Christs (Mark 13:5-6), nations in conflict (Mark 13:7-8a), natural disturbances (Mark 13:8b), and religious persecutions (Mark 13:9-13). They have been always been with us, but since these events are compared to “birth pangs,” our Lord may be saying that an acceleration of these things would be significant.
Thee will be a period known as the "the beginnings of sorrows" v.8 and a period known as "The great tribulation."
But what Jesus is saying is that, like birth pains, these things will increase in frequency and intensity as the Tribulation period draws nearer.
- The bubble effect; the leading edge of calamity.
CONCLUSION: I've been struck by all this study, that if we were to live through such a time ourselves, how would we fair? What kind of followers of Christ would we be? All of this tribulation is an extreme type of the tribulation we experience to a lesser degree every day.
"Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might" Eph 6:10.
What makes us think we could be strong in times of great tribulation when we are so weak in lessor times of everyday temptations?
Think about the person who was strong during this horrible time, what would he or she be like in our easy time? Successful, disciplined Christians then would be successful, disciplined Christians today?