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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

July 18, 2014

The beginning of sorrows

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

When Jesus Christ was asked by His disciples about the signs of His promised return, He told them to look for a series of developments that would culminate in His 2nd coming.

Jesus first mentioned a series of trends that began in New Testament times and have continued to our day. They have occurred continually since Jesus predicted them 2000 years ago. As the labor of a woman before giving birth intensifies, so these trends are to intensify prior to christ's return.

The first major trend is war (Matthew 24:6). Jesus makes clear that there will be many wars, but they are not the final sign of the end. So why does He mention them at all? We need to understand that they will occur in the end time with greater frequency and intensity. Wars and the other trends Jesus mentioned are therefore not to be understood as one-time events. Instead, it is their more frequent occurence and intensity that should interest us.

American television commentator Bob Schieffer, who has been a reporter for the American CBS television network for 45 years and the host of the Sunday program "Face the Nation" for 23 years, said this week that the current state of world affairs is more dangerous than at any time during the cold war. That was on Monday, prior to Israel's ground offensive in the Gaza strip and the crash of Malaysian airlines flight MH 17 over the eastern Ukraine. Schieffer's opinion coincides with a remark by 77 year old senator John McCain, who said that he had never seen the world in such turmoil.

Jesus said clearly that wars, as terrible as they are, are just the "beginning of sorrows".

Jesus said also that the end is like a fig tree that puts forth new leaves when summer is near. "So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near – at the doors!" (Matthew 24:32-33). It is apparent that the time of the great tribulation is not yet here. Instead, we appear to be living in a time of increasing woes.

In His Olivet prophecy Jesus exhorted each of us to be mindful of world conditions and our own spiritual condition. In Luke 21, verse 36 He tells us: "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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