|Posted by donnadawson on March 9, 2009 at 6:05 PM|
"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains." Matthew 24:6-8 NIV
This portion of scripture can be vague while at the same time being very pointed. Here, Jesus made it plain that this was the beginning of the end. But what exactly does that mean? There have always been wars and rumors of wars. All through history mankind has vied for world dominance--at least dominance of the world they knew. But there is a dividing line in this scripture reading. Jesus began with the vague prophecy of wars and rumors of wars. He wasn't kidding. From that point on the Roman Empire made a deliberate attempt to conquer all of the known world. They had managed to succeed in many nations and yet those nations rebelled. Jesus said that his disciples shouldn't be alarmed because such things must happen. And then he enters that tiny word. 'But'. A word that changes the tone of any writing. When you see the word 'but' you know that there will be a mood shift. He tells the disciples the end is still off in the future and with that statement he begins the description of the distant future time when his kingdom would come.
During this time period North America was unknown. Britain was only a vague island at the far outskirts of the Roman Empire. Almost every known nation was under the might of the Roman Empire. It was unfathomable that nation would rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. Jesus knew, as he made that statement, that there would come a time when the kingdoms of the world would rise up against one another--that war would envelope the world. And since North America wasn't on the map until Columbus, the end couldn't come. Because his salvation was meant to cover the earth so was his kingdom. But that couldn't happen until all nations became known.
It was no surprise when WWI started that many theologians began to declare the end of the world. After all, two key elements to Jesus' prophecy in Matthew 24 had been fulfilled. All the nations were known--or at least the continents were--and they were all prepared to go to war against each other. But something was missing. Something held back his return. It was the rest of the prophecy that many chose to ignore. The earthquakes and famines. Even when WWII hit, the world hadn't yet experienced world wide famine and earthquakes. And now according to the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) in a report released in 2004 natural disasters are on the rise globally. It is blamed on global warming as though man is still in control--as though it is all centered around us. Is there historical precidence for it? Apparently not. History records isolated disasters but no where is there a record of world wide natural trauma such as we have seen over the past five years. Does that mean we're at the end yet? No. We are only beginning to enter into the birth pangs according to Jesus' words. Stay tuned.