Several weeks ago we began a discussion of the “end times”. We talked about an event known as the “Day of the Lord”. We said this is when Jesus comes back to take His church to heaven and end world history as we know it.
Jesus’ disciples were aware that these events were coming, but they wanted to know when. So, they asked Him, and He told them. Jesus said one of the “signs” of the coming events is called the “birth pains”. Let’s look at what He said in Matthew 24:3-8.
“Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, ‘Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?’ Jesus told them, ‘Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.’”
Jesus used the term, “birth pains” to describe a series of preliminary events which lead up to the “Day of the Lord”. He said there will be a proliferation of false teachers. Some will even claim to be the Messiah. Many people will be deceived. And He said there will be lots of wars, famines, and earthquakes all over the world.
So, let me ask you. Do we see these things happening today? Absolutely. Some say even in increasing amounts. But here’s the important question. Are these things occurring in sufficient amounts to inspire a one world government to form? In our last blog we talked about this. We said a one world government — with a leader known as the antichrist – is predicted to be in place at the time the Day of the Lord occurs.
So, do we see that happening now? In other words — is there someone on the world scene today that says, “The world’s a mess, but I have the solution for world peace and economic harmony. Please follow me.”
I don’t see anyone like that – at least not yet.
When a woman is pregnant, birth pains are the signs that the birth of her child is eminent. In the case of the “Day of the Lord” birth pains are wars – rumors of wars and all the other things that Jesus predicted. I believe these birth pains will set the stage for this person known as antichrist to rise to world prominence.
So, back to the question — when are the birth pains going to start? Have they already started? No one knows for sure.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:4-5 Paul talked about this. Let’s look at what he said.
“But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.”
When Paul starts with the words, “But you” — he is making a transition from a prior statement where he talked about people who were ignorant of the signs of the end. He says the Thessalonians are not ignorant. He says, “You are not in the dark”. He says they are children of the light and the day. He says people who belong to darkness and night can’t see the truth of God.
And then in 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 Paul gives the Thessalonians a command.
“So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.”
Paul says, “be on your guard”. That means watch for the signs that Jesus predicted. Be clearheaded means don’t let anyone tell you that there are other signs. Don’t fall asleep means don’t become complacent – keep looking for the signs. Continue to live in the light means continue to follow the Word of God.
Paul told the Thessalonians that they had special protection. They had the armor of faith and love and the helmet of salvation. So, what are these elements of protection and how do they work?
Well, that’s what we will talk about next time. Until then have a great week…