Olivet Discourse – Matthew 24:6-8 – Beginning of Sorrows

Matthew 24:6-8 (KJV) “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all [these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8All these [are] the beginning of sorrows.”

Continuing to answer His disciples’ second question, concerning the “sign of His coming and the end of the world,” Jesus begins to tell them what conditions would transpire on earth in the latter days leading up to His second advent.  It should be obvious to the observant reader that the events of these three verses cannot be alluding to the pending destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple…which He addresses a little further on in the chapter.  For the moment, Jesus is focusing on the long view.  Clearly, the destruction of Jerusalem was not the end of the world nor the end of the age, although it was the end of the Jewish economy.

Here, Jesus is speaking to all who will follow Him down through the ages – especially those who will be living at the “end of the age.”  These are “keep watch” verses.  For two-thousand years wars and rumors of wars have increased in frequency, intensity, and mortality.   

The word “nations” is from the Greek word eth’-nos and can mean a race or ethnic group.  Here, more specifically it is referring to people of the same habit or tribe, or nation.  It is not being used in this verse ethnocentrically. Often, people living side by side, of the same race and language, are embroiled in conflict.  Ever since God separated the peoples of the earth into nations (Genesis 10), men of both different and same ethnicities and languages have engaged in mortal conflict for territory, resources, and power…1John 2:16 calls it, “lust of the flesh, and lust of the eyes.”  Today there are 10 official wars and 8 active military conflicts recognized by the United States. There are also other violent conflicts involving 64 countries and 576 militias and separatist groups (http://www.References.com).

In the past few centuries, the earth has seen ever increasing pestilences: Bubonic plague, Spanish influenza, E-bola, Legionnaires, Aids, Swine flu, COVID-19, and a plethora of others.  Locus plagues and droughts in Africa, Australia, and various other places around the world.  Wildfires and floods along with storms, hurricanes, tornadoes are occurring with increased intensity and number throughout the earth…YES! There has been a startling, dramatic increase over the past twenty years in all types of natural disasters.  In January of 2020 alone, there was a worldwide total of 11,185 recorded earthquakes.  According to the USGS, there are at any time 45 active volcanos (seismic activity) with 20 of them erupting.  And yes again, these numbers are dramatically increasing.

This is only the “beginning of sorrows,” (pain, sorrow, travail).  Trials and tribulations are coming from both man and nature and will continue to escalate until the consummation—from the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem till the end of this age there will be wars among the nations, unrest between peoples, tribes, and kindred, and ever-increasing natural disasters, disease, and pestilence throughout the earth. 

Let’s never forget that this is the world man got when he chose to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  This is the world we received when the first couple yielded to Satan temptation with the words, For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5.  Our daily battle is against the powers of darkness, spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph.6:12).  Satan usurped governance of this world from man in the Garden of Eden.  In his rebellion against God, he dragged creation down with him as he fell under the weight of his own sinful pride.  Unfortunately, that too is the nature fallen man inherited when Adam and Eve took from the tree of the “Knowledge of Good and Evil.”  

The Scriptures say that Lucifer was the grandest of all the angels, second only to God Himself (Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14).  Could it be that he allowed his pride to overpower him when he learned God was creating man “in His own image?” Genesis 1:27.  Could it be he feared that one day man may be placed in a position of authority higher than his own?  The Bible does teach, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together” (Ro 8:16-17 KJV), and that the day will come when men “ . . . shall judge angels?. . .” (1Co 6:3 KJV).  Isn’t it reasonable to imagine Satan’s pride could not tolerate mere man being elevated to a position of power and authority above his own?  Is that what drove him to madness and rebellion against God?

What we call war, God calls coveting, (Exodus 20:17).  The general intent of war is to take from others what is rightfully theirs.  On the other hand, Love is willfully sharing with others from a godly heart. 

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (KJV)

” If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:” James 2:8 (KJV)

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” 1 John 3:7 (KJV)

Exploring Scripture~beause it matters-it really does!

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