Jesus referred to the signs pointing to His soon return as warnings that lead directly to the “birth pains.” Those of us who have given birth know what they are like. Often, some time before the due date, you feel some “odd” pains. “Is this it?” you wonder, “Am I in labor?” Then after a bit, things subside and we conclude, “Nope, false alarm; Braxton-Hicks pains.” But those Braxton-Hick’s pains warn us that we are getting close to the due date. Finally the day comes when we really are in labor. Sometimes labor starts on schedule but sometimes it comes as a surprise, well before expected. Labor begins with uncomfortable pains several minutes apart, with time to rest in between. As time goes on, however, the pains come more frequently and more intensely with little time to catch your breath in between.
Jesus doesn’t want us to be ignorant about when the time is close to His return. All of us are supposed to recognize the season (Mt 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) – the budding fig tree; the robin in spring. He does not want us caught unaware and unprepared. We are to know the warning signs and to watch for them. “Watch. Pay attention,” He said.
It’s difficult to watch for birth pains. After all, we’ve always had wars and famines and drought and pestilence and earthquakes. Little Old Ladies have always said, “tsk, tsk.” about the morals and behavior of younger generations. The difference, we are told, is their increased frequency and intensity, just like labor pains.
There are two primary categories of early warning signs: those regarding the planet and those regarding people. Warning signs regarding the planet include wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilence/plagues, fearful events, signs in sky, the world’s focus on Jerusalem.
Let’s look at some ecological birth pains. In the last couple of years planet Earth has been subjected to more and more and stronger and stronger fires, floods, droughts, heat, cold, winds, rains, hailstones, earthquakes, volcanoes, locust invasions, pestilence/diseases.
(The first draft of this was actually written in April but not posted) There was a point in mid-February when major fires were blazing out of control in Australia, now it’s California and Colorado. Western Europe was being slammed over and over again with gale force storms, now it’s Asia and the Gulf Coast; millions of acres of crops were recently destroyed in Iowa from something called a derecho. The animal-originated Corona virus was just escaping China, now there are millions of cases worldwide. Ebola was re-emerging in the Congo, still is and now a couple cases of Bubonic Plague have popped up. Locusts were swarming in Africa, now they’ve moved into the Middle East, too. Earthquakes and volcanoes were erupting in various places, and are still doing so with steadily increased intensity.
Talk about this and people will tout, “Climate change.” Oh for crying in the beer barrel, (I promised my friend Peggy that I’d find a way to work this frequent saying of mine into a post) who do you think engineers climate change? God. It was He who warned the Israelites that if they disobeyed His rules for righteous living He’d turn the lush, crop-producing land into a barren wasteland. (Deut., Lev., Ez, Jer., Zk) And that’s exactly what happened. Who was it that sent the rains and flood of Noah? God. Who was it that parted the Red Sea with a strong wind? God. Who sent the fierce storm that resulted in Jonah being thrown overboard? God. Who calmed the seas? God. Who ordered an earthquake at Jesus’ death? God.
Who decided – and told us – 2000 years ago that among the warning signs pointing to His imminent return would be an increase in frequency and strength of natural disasters? God. Who decided that it was time to ramp up the ever-present floods, famines, etc.? God. God is totally in control. Always was, always will be. “When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?” (Amos 3:6)
Jesus said that nation would make war on nation; kingdom would rise against kingdom and tribe against tribe. Currently, there are so many countries threatening each other that it’s difficult to keep track of who’s angry at whom and why. The weapons at their disposal have the potential to obliterate entire nations: nuclear, chemical, biological, cyber and, no doubt, others I am unaware of. Beginning with the 2011 Arab Spring, civil unrest has been unending in the Mideast and has spread across the globe.
Next time we will talk about protests and how they fit into the times of the end.
Please, neither offhandedly accept nor reject what is said in this blog. Check it out. Look it up for yourself in the Bible. If you are a child of God, you are in good hands and there is the most wonderful eternity waiting for you. If you are not a Christ follower, now is a really good time to honestly explore the truth claims of the Bible.