Welcome to the Tribulation!
To bring a child into this present world requires a delivery to take place, beginning with the earliest labor pains. I’m no expert at labor, but I’ve seen it happen a few times! And Jesus says in our text that it is the same when it comes to the end times.
v. 8 ‘sorrows’ = ‘birth pangs’ ... labor pains start low and they increase in intensity as they continue. They also start slow and increase in frequency. So it is w/ the signs of the times, which are many!
Jesus has finally gotten it across to the disciples that He’s not in Jerusalem this time to set up His kingdom, and that He will be going away and returning for the end of the world.
The shadow of events to come are already cast across our day today, leading us to be warned that there is wrath soon to come to this world!
In the end there will be:
1. Spiritual Deception.
1 Timothy 4:1
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
The antichrist we know will come with signs, wonders, and miracles, and all he needs are people who are conditioned to see that and say, “It must be of God!” We’re there already today.
We’ve already established that Satan is mixing error in with truth in the church, and he’s also mixing all churches together these days with the notion that we all must get together, lay aside our doctrine, and be one big happy family. [We’re all going to heaven, just taking different roads. We all believe in the same God even if we call Him by different names.]
The ecumenical movement does far more harm than good in this world and is a greased slide toward the one world church coming during the Great Tribulation.
Spiritual deception is everywhere...not only in the church. It’s open season on Christians today, from the media to politics, to the pop culture of Hollyweird! Our senses are dulled and deception is already at epidemic levels.
2. National Disruption.
v. 6-7a War has always existed in this world. There will be no peace until the Prince of Peace returns and establishes it. The International Red Cross estimates over 100 million have been killed in wars since the beginning of the 20th C. But notice the phrase ‘rumours of wars’. What could this be? I believe it to be the cowardly militia known as global terrorism, which wears no uniform, has no flag, and strikes out at innocent civilians to inflict terror and fear. Imagine what it is like in many parts of the world when you cannot get on a bus or a subway w/out thinking about it possibly being blown up. Imagine eyeballing everyone around you in an overcoat, wondering if they are about to blow themselves up along w/ all of you standing near them! That’s rumours of war, where you cannot see it, but you know it’s out there...and don’t be surprised if it’s coming to a country you love or a city you now live in! I can’t be dogmatic about this, but it is at the very least troubling to not be able to find America in end times prophecy, when we are currently the most dominant nation in the world.
Ukraine is an example of rumours of wars. Why can’t we get real information about what is going on? Who is winning? Who is fighting? How many are dead? And who blew up the Norstream pipeline? The media is huge, and yet we seem to have less information. It’s all rumours.
Apocalyptic fever is all around us, and a growing sense that doomsday may not be far off.
Spiritual deception, national disruption...
3. Physical Destruction.
Famines: it’s not popular news, so you don’t hear about it much, but much of our world is on the brink of starvation, and no matter how much they want it, and beauty pageant contestants never quite seem to end world hunger...it grows worse and worse by the day!
Pestilences: This is incurable diseases. Not only are viruses mutating, but they are being cooked up in labs.
Earthquakes: The stats are staggering. Yet many dismiss the increase because they say it’s just the result of better detection. But couldn’t that be part of what Jesus was saying, that our perception would increase?
The point is that the birth pangs are growing closer and closer together, and greater and greater in intensity! The whole earth is crying out, “Jesus is coming!”
Spiritual deception, national disruption, physical destruction...
How should we respond to all of this? Well, Jesus didn’t give these prophecies to excite the curious, but to exhort the consecrated. I know people who will drive hundreds of miles to prophecy conferences, and they love to study it and hear about it, but won’t let it change their habits, won’t come to church any more often because of it, and won’t live much differently in light of it!
When Jesus comes there won’t be time to get saved or to get right! And He could return at any moment. “What shall be the signs of thy coming?” The signs of the times are all around us. The labor pains are a minute apart, the world is dilated to 10, but many so-called Christians want a spiritual epidural! We must wake up and get to work while there is time!
We continue now to new information in our text.
You won’t find the church in this next passage because it is gone. Aren’t you glad we are not appointed unto wrath? The same thing happens in Revelation where up until chapter 3 it’s all about the church, and over and again it says “he that hath an ear let him hear what the spirit sayeth unto the churches”...and suddenly in Rev. 4:1 it is gone...
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither…
Then we find in...
If any man have an ear, let him hear.
Something is missing: the Spirit, and the church!
And Satan’s full program cannot run while the Spirit is still here in the hearts of believers...but once the salt is removed from this earth there is no more preservative found for it!
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. [abomination of desolation]
2 Thessalonians 2:5-8
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Back to our text: The Jews are the ones being addressed at this point in Mt. 24, and here’s something about their culture I know you’ll find very interesting...
Ill.—when a couple was to be married they would embark on an engagement period [arranged by parents!] At the end of this period, they would actually part company. The bride would go home and she was instructed to watch and wait because the bridegroom could come to fetch her at any moment! She was to always be ready, always watching. And where was the groom? He was preparing a place for his bride...in those days he would just add on some rooms to his father’s house. [John 14] It wasn’t ready until his father said it was ready, and told the son, go get your bride! Usually he would fetch her in the middle of the night, approaching her house shouting, “Behold! The Bridegroom cometh!” Then they would have a Marriage Supper and live happily ever after!
The rapture is the next event on God’s prophetic timetable, and nothing is holding it back other than God’s perfect will and timing. Many in this world want rid of Christian influence and say the world would be a better place without us, and any day now they could get their wish!
But the world won’t become a better place; it will become hell on earth! When the church is gone, three things will be worldwide during the Great Tribulation:
World Wide Anti-Semitism.
This is Jewish hatred on a worldwide scale. Throughout history the Jews have been hated and persecuted. We know of the atrocities they experienced last century under the demon possessed Hitler. But it all began long before then, just read your OT. And today it’s the wild man, the sons of Ishmael…the Arab/Muslim world that wants the Jews dead.
World Wide Chaos.
You won’t be able to trust anyone. Parent will turn against child and vice versa. You think we’ve got crime problems today? Imagine unlocking every prison in the world. The looting and riots we see today will seem like a walk in the park. You’d be afraid to walk into a public restroom, or even out your front door in broad daylight.
In the early 60s the USA officially kicked God out of the public school system. Since then:
560% increase in violent crime
419% increase in illegitimate births
200% increase in teen suicide
Divorce rate has tripled
That was simply the result of a change ‘on paper’...what do you think will be the result when the Holy Spirit is completely removed? This world will go totally corrupt like never before!
v. 13 This has nothing to do w/ salvation in this present age of grace. Don’t twist this verse to try to make salvation by works or because you are faithful to the end. The Bible is clear that it’s not by me holding out but by God holding on! Salvation is by trusting, not by trying!
But during the Great Tribulation those who come to believe, who never rejected Christ before the rapture, if they endure in their faith and not recant, will be accepted by the Lord, though they will pay for their faith with their lives in horrible ways.
3. World Wide Preaching.
This is a very misunderstood verse. Many talk about getting the gospel out so Jesus can come back. [Christian radio share-a-thons, etc.] It is commendable to want to get the gospel out around the world, and I do believe God wants all humanity to have a fair shot at it, but this is not the verse to prove your point.
This verse is about the preaching that will take place during the Great Tribulation. [Rev. 7:1-8, 144,000 Jewish Evangelists]
The bottom line for the Great Tribulation...you don’t want to be here, and you don’t have to be! Get under the blood. Get into the ark. Witness to your world, and if they say they don’t believe all this foolishness, remind them that’s what the people in Noah’s day said! Today everybody has a boat in their driveway, not being used. Back then, Noah was the only one because it had never rained. But when the sky did begin to fall and people beat on the door crying, “Let me in!” it was too late, they had skipped their chance!
“But it never happens! Preachers have made this claim for years and it never has happened!”
Well, nothing happens, until it happens. And when it happens… “that just HAPPENED!”
We are closer today to the return of Christ than any humans in history!
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