“For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.
And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for
all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise
against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,
and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew
24: 5-8, NKJV).
The intensity of the occurrences of these events prophesied by Jesus
about the end times suggests that we are living exactly in the time He spoke of as
the “beginning of sorrows.”
In this study I will examine the term 'beginning of sorrows'
for descriptive purposes rather than from a prophetic timeline. First, the word used
for sorrows in this passage is the word for travail. This is the word used to describe
the pains and agonies of birth. Jesus uses this labouring word to point to a certain
transition period in history when His Kingdom will be fully birthed into this world.
we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until
now. (Romans 8:22, NKJV).
The apostle Paul used a related word describing how the
earth is yearning and travailing for the day that the Lord Jesus Christ returns as
King, with the hosts that will be with Him at His appearing. Paul said, when that
takes place. The yearning of creation will be fulfilled. So, we find the expression
of the throes of agony preceding the rulership of Jesus Christ on this earth in the
teaching of both Jesus and Paul.
For if we are part of God's creation, and we are,
and by our travailing and longing for His return we could shorten the time before
His appearing. The true church would say, “Come on Jesus!” However, there doesn't
seem to be any scriptural evidence to indicate that we can “hasten His coming,” through
the prayer of travail and change the return date of Jesus. But, let us remember that
the Scriptures says, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels
of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36, NKJV).
Even though we cannot affect
the time of of Jesus' coming, through travailing prayer. We do have reason to believe
in the possibility of a “new world” born in people's hearts and lives---now---in
families, in churches and even in the flow of history being written around us. The
entry of God's Kingdom, His will and working, can be birthed into the midst of any
human situation---not in the sense of His millennial rule but in the sense of His
present, redemptive activity.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that
the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every
side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not
forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9, NKJV).
His disciples, and He is telling us today, that the Kingdom of God is in us and 'In
His Name,' there is no situation or any despair that can not be transformed by the
life-begetting power of His kingdom and authority.
“For this purpose the Son of God
was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8b, NKJV).
Rev. Michael Cochran