Monday, February 10, 2014

Matthew 24: The Beginning of Birth Pains

Matt 24:3-14 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?" And Jesus answered them, "See that no one leads you astray.  For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. 

"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Wars, famines and earthquakes in various places. Across the globe, total number of countries currently involved in wars is 60 involving 520 militant/ethnic groups. The situation in the South China Sea is also heating up and may engulf many nations in this region in military conflicts. Famines caused by wars, natural disasters are still rife despite better agricultural technology. Scientists have issued warning that a rise of 2.7 degrees may exacerbate water scarcity around the world, resulting in global food shortage. While earthquakes have always been around, the USGS (US Geological Survey) statistics shows there has been a significant increase in major earthquakes since 1990.

What is of major concern to Christians would be the rise of false Christs and false prophets. There will be an increase in "lawlessness"--a rejection of moral standards and biblical values. While the world slides downward in the natural, moral and spiritual realms, the Gospel will buck the trend as it will be "proclaimed through the whole world as a testimony to all nations." Like light in darkness, the Gospel of Jesus Christ will give light and direction to a world lost in confusion and fear as the earth unravels.

As Christians, we should not be rejoicing that end is near--rather we should be actively engaged to seek and save the lost through the Gospel.

Lord, Your word is truth. Help us focus on sending it out to those who need it and want it while we still have the time. Amen.

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