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Read Matthew 24:1-14.
There are many people wondering if we are living in the end times. Believe it or not, Jesus' disciples also wondered if they were living on the edge of the end of days. They went to their Master and asked, "[W]hat will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3). It was a short question, but Jesus gave a long answer. That's because the Truth was more complicated than the disciples knew.
The Truth was more complicated than the disciples knew.
You see, the Jewish people believed the Messiah would come only once. Thus, the disciples were wondering when Jesus would declare His global, eternal rule and usher in a new era. But through His answer, Jesus indicated that His visible rule on earth would be in the distant future; it wasn't going to happen immediately, as the disciples thought. He went on to explain that before His return there would be a series of labor pains that would come with greater frequency and greater intensity—building up to that great event.
The first of these labor pains is widespread falsehood and deception. While people will be desperately seeking answers for the calamities and sufferings that torment them, sadly, they will be deceived by the unparalleled wickedness and immorality of the world that even invades the church.
The second labor pain is global disputes and warfare. No group of people will be exempted from this worldwide conflict. But before you lose heart, look at what Jesus said: ". . . see to it that you are not alarmed" (v. 6).
The third labor pain is famines and earthquakes, natural disasters in staggering proportions. These will be "in various places" (v. 7). That means they will happen around the world, simultaneously.
Fourth, believers will be hated on account of Jesus. Just remember: When the persecution comes, they won't hate you because of who you are but rather because of whose you are.
The fifth labor pain is a consequence of the fourth one. As persecution heats up, some people will forsake Christ and join the non-believers. "[B]ut the one who stands firm to the end will be saved" (v. 13).
Finally, the last labor pain is the most encouraging: The Gospel of Jesus Christ will be preached to all nations.
As the world moves closer and closer to the return of Jesus, know this: The world may be growing darker, but the dawn is coming. Jesus will be here soon!
Prayer: Lord, thank You that You hold me in the palm of Your hand. I know that as the days grow dark, You will be with me. You do not forsake Your children. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"All these are the beginning of birth pains" (Matthew 24:8).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon series Is the End Near?: WATCH NOW