Birth Pangs :: By Terry James
Author’s note: This essay was previously published. It has been somewhat updated and continues to, through the prism of God’s prophetic Word, give an overall look at the world today as it lurches toward Christ’s return.
The term “birth pangs,” in terms of Bible prophecy, refers to certain convulsive geopolitical, geophysical, astrophysical, and worldwide socioeconomic events and issues scheduled to occur in the time leading up to Jesus Christ’s Second Advent (Second Coming). These are likened to the contractions experienced by a woman about to give birth, with those episodes increasing with frequency and intensity. Jesus’ foretelling of these birth pangs uses the word “sorrows” in His Olivet Discourse on end-time things to come.
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, 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?
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. 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. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:3-8).
Jesus’ prophecy is further expounded upon in another of the Gospels.
“And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.
Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven…
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:8-11, 25-28).
All of the birth pangs were given by Jesus and the Old and New Testament prophets in context of the Tribulation – Daniel’s Seventieth Week. This will be the last seven years of human history leading up to Christ’s Second Advent.
Scholars in Bible prophecy believe that although the world isn’t yet in that prophesied time of unprecedented horror, the stage is being set. The birth pangs are already being felt. Christians are commanded by Jesus to watch for the birth pang-like developments.
“What I say to one, I say to all; watch” (Mark 13:37).
Many who observe the times believe that God, in His mercy and grace, is allowing us to see foreshadows of the coming apocalyptic storm. One such observer likens the birth-pang symptoms to a storm front: “The storm front is in view; the birth pangs are being felt.”
TOP 10 BIRTH PANGS: A COUNTDOWN
Birth pang 10: Signs in Sun, Moon, Stars
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:25).
The present world of earth dwellers has seen signs in the sun, moon, and stars that no other generation has seen. From looking into the universe with our powerful telescopes, to spacecraft traversing the black void beyond the farthest planet of our solar system, we have seen things through the prism of photographic science – something no other people in earth’s history have known.
Whether considering the solar flares that disrupt earth’s electromagnetic mechanics, looking with awe upon spectacular landings on the moon, or observing with horror the explosions of two shuttles, we have seen fearful signs. Who couldn’t help but be mesmerized by watching the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet slam into Jupiter in July 1994?
UFO sightings around the globe are becoming almost routine fare. Pilots, prime ministers, presidents, and just plain people report seeing spectacular light shows, moving apparently with directed intelligence throughout the night skies.
We have seen the beginnings of this birth pang, scheduled to become much more intense when the Tribulation begins.
Birth Pang 9: Violence upon the Whole Earth
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man” (Luke 17:26).
“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11).
“And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Genesis 6:13).
All we must do is to look at the headlines to know that the earth is filled with violence. Jesus’ words of the world being like in the time of Noah just before the Flood certainly is an apt description of this generation, no matter what society one cares to examine.
If we go to the darkest regions, there are tribal slaughters. If we look at the sophisticated societies of the Western world, there is violence among gangs; destructive, even deadly riots; among families; and one-on-one homicidal rage. Terrorism from the Middle East is indicative of violence that literally saturates the human condition.
Violence in this last time is a symptom of the beginning of sorrows.
Birth Pang 8: Famines, Pestilence, Earthquakes
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matthew 24:7).
“And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven” (Luke 21:11).
It is an astounding paradox that there is at the same time plenty of every variety of life-sustaining foods and medicines in most of the Western world – particularly in America – yet there are deadly pestilences and famines in places such as Ethiopia, the Sudan, and many other regions. These are created in almost every case by ethnic cleansing ordered by dictators, just as Jesus foretold. COVID, many believe, is one such end times pestilence – and that created to achieve globalist evil.
“Nation shall rise against nation…” The word for “nation” is the Greek word ethnos, from which our English word” ethnic” is derived.
Earthquakes are being reported at an exponentially growing rate – not just quakes, but quakes of significant magnitude. The increase can be quantified and verified today with the vast technological advances in monitoring.
Earthquakes, wars, and rumors of war are precursors to the impending emergence of a time of unprecedented sorrows.
Birth Pang 7: Nations in Distress with Perplexity
“And there shall be signs… and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:25).
Planet Earth and all of the nations during this last time are filled with perplexities when trying to fix the things that seem to be broken. Economies are in trouble; there is ethnic rage around the world; no one can live in peace; and terrorism threatens everyone, everywhere.
Yet, Jesus says these are just the beginning of sorrows – announcing the birth of a truly New World Order. It will be the birth, not of the time of Antichrist’s regime, but ultimately, of Jesus Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.
Birth Pang 6: False Prophets; False Teachers
“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” (Matthew 24:4–5).
Jesus warned that there would be an assault on truth by false teachers. A couple of recent examples of this are the attacks on the deity of Jesus Christ. The secular entertainment and news industries – as well as some within “Christendom” – are attempting to inculcate us with the message that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross – that it was a faked death and resurrection. They say that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were actually lovers who produced offspring that now make up a progeny that will one day rule in some nebulous way that is never explained.
Documentaries have been shown time and time again purporting that the bones of Jesus’ relatives – perhaps even of Jesus, Himself, have been found in ossuaries (bone boxes) in caves in and around Jerusalem. These are never backed by even the slightest of evidence – it is fiction of the worst order.
Jesus, however, said the generation that would begin seeing this type of false teaching should “believe it not.” He said they would come in His name and would even claim to be Him. Recent news accounts tell of a man who claims just that, and he has received considerable news coverage.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Most troubling of all are the false teachers within Christianity. These proclaim a “do-good” and “feel-good” gospel. They totally stay away from preaching and teaching that people are sinners, thus are separated from the God who created them. They don’t teach that a terrible price had to be paid to redeem us from our sins. “Jesus is love” is the only message they want to teach. But they refuse to fully reveal the extent of that love – that God gave His Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for the sins into which we are born since the Fall in Eden.
They fear – and their fears are well-grounded – that if they preach the rest of God’s love offering to mankind, they will lose their huge audiences, who want only to hear the fairytales they bring every Sunday in their gargantuan arenas, and through their multimillion-dollar television forums.
The false teachers and itching ears of this last time are surely prime evidence that we are witnessing the birth pangs Jesus and the Apostle Paul prophesied.
Birth Pang 5: End-time Technology
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4).
Daniel the prophet prophesied a time when transportation and knowledge would increase. The past century to the present date has produced an explosion of transportation and knowledge experienced by no other people of any time in human history.
Man could mount a horse and ride at no more than fifty miles an hour or so from the time of the Garden of Eden until the middle of the nineteenth century. Since then, man has progressed to the point of traveling at more than twenty thousand miles an hour in a spacecraft, and his communication at the speed of light over wires, fiber optics, and beams of electronic transmissions through space and earth’s atmosphere.
“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:16-17).
That explosion of knowledge has produced the technologies that can enslave the world. Antichrist will use satellite and computer technologies, no doubt, to put all earth-dwellers in electronic bondage. Electronic funds transfer methodologies and devices are now capable of bringing all people into a cashless society – one that can fit within the system foretold in Revelation 13:16-18. This represents a major birth pang.
Birth Pang 4: Nations Aligning for Prophetic Fulfillment
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (Psalms 2:1-3).
Nations today are aligning against God, just as prophesied in the verses above. The birth pang-like convulsions are coming in contractions as nation after nation pulls farther from the prescription their Creator wrote for how life on earth must be conducted. Those nations specifically foretold to be end-time players can be found in the following Scriptures. They are in the news every day in our time.
- Revived Roman Empire: Daniel chapters 2, 7, 8, 9, and 11
- China and “Kings of the East”: Revelation chapters 9 and 16
- Russia, Iran (Persia), Turkey (Togarmah), and many others: Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39
Birth Pang 3: Apostasy: One-World Church Forming
Revelation Chapter 13 prophesies that a False Prophet will point all earth-dwellers to Antichrist, who will ultimately demand worship. Second Thessalonians chapter 4 also speaks to this demand for the world to worship the “man of sin,” also known as “the son of perdition.”
There will develop an ecumenical amalgamation of many religions, leading to a one-world religious system, as outlined in Revelation chapter 17.
This syncretized apostate system will reign until Antichrist decides he wants all worship for himself. His regime will turn on all who run this one-world church and destroy them.
There is a massive movement toward this system today. The cry is against true Christianity as being narrow-minded and bigoted. There are many ways to God, they cry. They proclaim that the only way to end the religious bickering is to meld all religious beliefs into one system.
The movement toward one-world religion is a major birth pang swelling and moving in our time.
Birth Pang 2: One-World Government and Economy Forming
The forming of a New World Order is underway at a phenomenal pace. The so-called international community has arisen in this last time to pressure less-powerful nations to conform to the developing one-world template or remain forever in destitution.
The European Union is the reviving Roman Empire, many prophecy observers believe, and is on the ascent in a swiftness that amazes. Daniel chapters 2, 7, 8, 9, and 11, and Revelation chapters 13, 17, and 18 all foretell the rise of a one-world government.
We are seeing the development of world trading blocs on the order of the EU. One such trading bloc is taking place in North America and includes Canada, the US, and Mexico – with smaller nations in the hemisphere most likely scheduled to be a part of the mix.
This union was dissolved for the most part during the Donald J. Trump administration but has since been put back into the thinking of those who want to be part of a new globalist order. These world economic blocs look to be, if brought to fruition, what will eventuate in the ten-kings prophecy of Revelation chapter 17.
The economic convulsions taking place represent birth pangs that portend the coming Tribulation.
Birth Pang 1: Israel
“A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompence to his enemies. Before she 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? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.
Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God” (Isaiah 66:6-9).
Israel is without question the single most profound signal that we are on the edge of entering the Tribulation.
Key among factors surrounding Israel as the number-one birth pang is that nation being at the heart of the cry for peace and safety. As a matter of fact, Antichrist’s confirming of a covenant of peace is the act that will usher in the Tribulation, it is foretold in Daniel 9:27.
With the proposed dividing of land by almost every peace effort involving God’s chosen nation, Israel, there is an increasing cry from the world of diplomacy today for peace and safety. This is not without good reason. The threat of thermonuclear war is unthinkable, so deadly would be the results.
The Apostle Paul prophesied this would be the case for the last time and what the final result of that cry would be.
“For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
There is great worldwide clamor for peace today. Whether considering the area surrounding the tiny Jewish state of Israel, the entire Mideast region, or other less biblical geographic areas of the world, people are grasping for peace and safety.
Specifically, there is a great cry for safety today, seeking security from the threat of global terrorism. This terrorism is, for the most part, wrapped around the existence of Israel in the area known as the Holy Land. Added to the volatility and tension is the matter of oil, which likely will be the catalyst – in the geopolitical sense – for bringing all nations to Armageddon. Israel is increasingly being seen by the world diplomatic community as the holdup to establishing peace. “Land for peace” is the deluded mantra. If Israel will give up more territory, the Islamic terrorists will cease their murderous rage.
The prophet Zechariah foretold that the whole world will turn against Israel and that this will bring on the worst time of war-making in world history (read Zechariah 12:1–3).
The cry for peace and safety will be answered by the end-time world leader, but the people of the world will get more than they bargained for.
“And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify [himself] in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand” (Daniel 8:25).
Israel—and its threat to world peace because of satanic rage against God’s chosen people—is the number-one birth pang that indicates where this generation stands on God’s prophetic timeline.