Last time, we continued in our study of the primary signs of Jesus’ second coming and looked in great detail at His prediction about an increase in pestilences (diseases) and natural disasters. We saw the emergence of deadly diseases such as Ebola, Lassa Fever, and coronavirus and how they have ravaged different parts of the world and killed untold numbers. Today, we will be going further by looking at Matt 24:8.
“All these are the beginning of sorrows”.
The Beginning of Sorrows
In Jesus’ Oliveth discourse, after He enumerated the primary signs of His second coming, He pointed out that those signs are the beginning of sorrows. It is puzzling to consider that there could be things and events more devastating and excruciating than the primary signs already pointed out by Jesus on the Mount of Olives.
The pertinent questions to ask are: what did Jesus mean by the phrase ” these are the beginning of sorrows”? If these primary signs are the beginning of sorrows, is there any hope and respite for the human race?
The term “all these are the beginning of sorrows”, in the Greek rendering in the original manuscript meant that “these are the beginnings of the birth pangs” or the “beginning of the labour pains”. This paints the picture of a pregnant woman who is due for delivery and is undergoing birth pangs or travail in birth. The primary signs that Jesus predicted are actually the earth’s reaction in convulsion and labour pains or travail, crying out for a rebirth of God’s kingdom.
Note: God’s kingdom does not come except through a birth, whether in the life of an individual, or a nation or the entire human race (Matt 6:10).
*God’s kingdom in the spheres of an individual, nation and the human race.
1. God’s kingdom in the life of an individual:
We see in Jesus’ discourse with Nicodemus, that he pointed out to him that except he is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). Although Nicodemus didn’t understand the depth of what Jesus was trying to communicate to him, Jesus was trying to tell him that except he is reborn in the spirit sense, he cannot see the kingdom of God (Ps 87:4-5).
Nobody gets genuinely born again except through travail (labour in prayer), as we see in the ministry of Charles G Finney who before his evangelistic meetings, travailed in prayer for the birth of his audience with Daniel Nash, and saw heartfelt genuine repentance and conversions in his meetings (Isa 66:7).
Note: If we want to see genuine conversions in our families, churches, and communities, it will only come through travail in prayer.
2. God’s kingdom in the life of a nation:
We see this same principle in the prophecy of Isaiah to the Jews in Isa 66:8-9, where he said that a nation can only be born through travail in birth. If we want to see God’s kingdom born in our nation, it will only come through travail in prayer.
3. God’s kingdom for the entire human race:
In Jesus’ discourse in Matt 19:28, we see that Jesus remarked that the entire human race will only be saved through regeneration or rebirth.
When Jesus says all these are the beginning of sorrows or labour pains or birth pangs, the question arises in our hearts, labour pains of what? It is the labour pains of a new age that will lead to the convulsion of the whole earth that will bring to pass Jesus’ prayer in Matt 6:9-10, that kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Note: The good news is that out of the birth pangs will come the birth of God’s kingdom on earth.
The closer the birth of a child, the more the frequency and the intensity of the labour pains. And once the process of the labour pains or travail starts, it cannot be reversed until the process is completed. This, therefore, suggests that as the second coming of the Lord Jesus draws closer, the world will see an escalation in the frequency and intensity of all the primary signs listed in Matt 24:1-13.
Note: It is my personal belief that the first world war was the beginning of sorrows or the labour pains or birth pangs.
The entire human race should brace up as there will be an increase in ethnic conflicts, wars, natural disasters, persecution, lawlessness, offence, martyrdom, hatred of Christians, antisemitism etc, as predicted by Jesus in His Oliveth prophecy. There is no better time to pray the Lord’s prayer as recorded in Matt 6:9-10, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
We will continue our study of the Oliveth prophecy next time by looking at the other signs of the second coming of Jesus Christ in Matt 24:9-13.