Lately, it seems like I have had more than I can do; and something that I spent much time on was an invitation to teach on the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24).
Because I am so covered up, I decided to pass on some of my notes from that presentation.
Jesus sat down on the Mount of Olives and started talking about a period of time before the end of the age that will experience deception, many false Christs, wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes (Matt. 24:4-8).
He called that period of time the “beginnings of sorrows,” but why? (Note: KJV says beginnings of sorrows; RSV says beginning of the birth pangs; ML says early pains of childbirth; etc.)
The first mention of sorrows in the Bible was when Satan tempted Adam and Eve to sin in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-6).
God put curses on Satan, Adam and Eve.
His curse on Eve reads, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children” (Gen. 3:16).
The word that is translated “sorrow” means birth pangs, labor pains, travail.
Because of sin, a woman will have birth pangs when she bears a child.
One of the names of the Tribulation Period is the “birth pangs.”
It will be destruction like a “woman in travail” (I Thess. 5:3).
Other names include the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble,” the “Seventieth Week of Daniel,” the “Great and Terrible Day of the Lord” and more.
So, the period of deception, many false Christs, wars, famines, etc. that come before the end of the age are the “beginnings of sorrows” (the beginnings of the birth pangs).
And the period after that is the Tribulation Period or the actual birth pangs.
Jesus called that period of time the “beginnings of sorrows” (KJV), but Christians call it the Church Age, the Age of Grace, etc.
In the Old Testament, God was talking about Israel’s enemies on earth, and He said, “Before she (the earth) travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things” (Isa. 66:7-8a)?
It is normal for a woman to have birth pains before her baby is born, but this verse reads, “Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered.”
For clarity’s sake, God was saying the nation of Israel will be born before the birth pains (the nation of Israel will come into being before the Tribulation Period).
“Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered.”
God asked, “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things?”
Today, it might not be unusual for a woman to have a baby before she has birth pains, but in Old Testament times, women had birth pains before they had a baby.
People never heard of a woman having a baby before she had birth pains.
If that happened, it would be unusual; a miracle; an act of God.
So, God asked two questions: “Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once” (Isa. 66:8b)?
Should God cause the earth to bring forth a nation in one day (should God cause Israel to come forth at once)?
The implied answer is that it would take a miracle or an act of God for a nation to come into being in one day.
Guess what? Israel came into being as a nation in one day on May 14, 1948.
Israel’s birth was a miracle because so many nations opposed it; but for some unexplained reason, several nations changed their vote at the last minute.
This is the point: God revealed that Israel would become a nation in one day before the birth pangs (before the Tribulation Period), and that has literally happened.
Here are two reasons why Israel came into being before the Tribulation Period.
One, Israel came into being before the Tribulation Period because Israel has to go through the Tribulation Period (through the seventieth week of Daniel; Dan. 9:24).
Two, Israel came into being before the Tribulation Period because there are other prophecies that require the existence of Israel (Israel will sign a peace treaty that begins the Tribulation Period).
Don’t underestimate the significance of Israel becoming a nation.
It signifies that other things are coming (Tribulation Period; covenant, etc.).
One, birth pains are a reminder that God judged Eve for sin.
Two, birth pains are a reminder that God has appointed a time to judge the nations for sin (Zeph. 3:8).
Three, the things that we are seeing today are indications (reminders, forerunners, signs) that the real birth pains or the real agony is coming (false Christs: reminder Antichrist is coming; wars: reminder Battle of Armageddon is coming; earthquakes: reminder that greatest earthquake ever is yet to come, etc.).
Why did Jesus caution people about false Christs, wars, famine, pestilence, earthquakes and deception?
We have these things in the “beginnings of sorrows” (Church Age) today, but the ultimate false Christ will be the Antichrist; the ultimate war will be the Battle of Armageddon; the ultimate famine will be the third horseman of the Apocalypse; the ultimate pestilence will be the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse; the greatest deceivers will be the Antichrist and False Prophet, etc.
The “beginnings of sorrows” (Church Age) is almost over (the Rapture is near), and the most important thing that any of us can do is to be ready and to try to help others be ready.
God willing, I will share more of the talk in another article.
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck