““Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus answered: "...You will hear of wars and rumors of wars,.. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains." ” [Matthew 24:3, 6-8]
"The coming of the LORD"
The manifestation of Christ’s coming is His return to earth in power and great glory to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. The Rapture will not be seen by the world; it takes place in a split second. But every eye will see Christ when He comes to reign. Therefore it is called the manifestation of His presence (parousia).
During the first half of the Tribulation, many false messiahs will appear who will succeed in deceiving multitudes. The current rise of many false cults may be a prelude to this, but it is not a fulfillment. These false religious leaders will be Jews claiming to be the Christ.
There will be wars and rumors of wars. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. It would be easy to think that we are seeing this fulfilled today, but what we see is mild compared to what will be. Actually the next event in God’s time schedule is the Rapture of the church. There is no prophesy to be fulfilled before then. After the church is removed, God’s prophetic clock will begin and these conditions will quickly manifest themselves. Famines, pestilences, and earthquakes will occur in various parts of earth. Even today world leaders are alarmed by the specter of famine due to the population explosion. But this will be accentuated by the shortages caused by wars.
Earthquakes and Tsunamis are attracting increasing attention—not only those now occurring but also those that are expected. Once again, these are straws in the wind, and not the actual fulfillment of our Savior’s words.
Verse 8 clearly identifies this period as the beginning of sorrows—the onset of birth-pangs. Naturally, the birth-pangs will increase in intensity and also in frequency.
The Parable of the Fig Tree
Again our Lord draws a spiritual lesson from nature. When the branches of the fig tree become green and tender, you know that summer is near. We have seen that the fig tree pictures the nation of Israel. For hundreds of years Israel has been dormant, with no government of its own, no land, no temple, no priesthood—no sign of national life. The people have been scattered throughout the world.
Then, in 1948, Israel became a nation with its own land, governments, currency, stamps, etc. Spiritually, the nation is still barren and cold; there is no fruit for God. But nationally, we might say that its branches are green and tender.
“So you also, when you see all these things, know that is near, at the very doors!” Israel’s emergence as a nation means not only that the beginning of the Tribulation is near, but that the Lord Himself is near, at the very doors!
If Christ’s coming to reign is so near, how much more imminent is the Rapture of the church? If we already see shadows of events that must precede His appearing in glory, how much closer are we to the Rapture?
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words. " 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
"...Even so, come, Lord Jesus"
“In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” [Hebrews 10:37]
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