Jesus told his disciples that the temple would be destroyed and it was destroyed by the hands of the Romans in 70 AD. Between Jesus departure and his return there would be wars and rumors of wars; there would be natural disasters in various places; there will be famines. He said that these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. He was using the imagery of a woman giving birth as a metaphor for this present age and its difficulties. However, these things are only the beginning of difficulties, for the world is not yet in full labor. During this present age and the many years that proceeded us, followers of Christ have been persecuted and will continue to be persecuted until the end. What are they persecuted for?Jesus said, that the gospel must be preached to all the nations. He did not say if they arrest you, but when they arrest you, do not worry beforehand about what to say, say whatever is given to you during that hour. He promises the Holy Spirit to speak through the witness for Christ. The Holy Spirit is given in evangelism and a trial for persecution is evangelism. He told his disciples that it would be members of their own families who would betray them. He warned them that they would be hated because of his name but he encouraged them to endure to the end, for they would be saved. He warns the Christian to not turn back but to keep pressing forward to the end. These signs have proceeded our current day and are still going on to this very day. Remember that these are but birth pangs, a time of great tribulation is coming such as has not occurred since the beginning of creation. Using the metaphor of child birth, he is speaking of full on labor; the birth of the new heaven and new earth which is yet to come. He promises that it will be shortened for the sake of the elect. Jesus warned his disciples to not believe when someone says that he has returned because between his ascension and return there will be false Christ and false prophets attempting to lead the elect of God astray. We are to press on and preach the gospel to all nations!
The Return of Christ
The return of Christ will be obvious. We will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. He will gather his elect from the earth; those who proceeded the current generation and the current generation alike. No man knows the day and hour of Christ return. If someone tells you that they know, they are one of the false prophets that he warned would arise during these difficult times. Do not listen to them! He described the signs being like the signs of the seasons seen in the annual cycle of a fig tree. We should be able to see in the signs, that the time is near, but only the Father God knows the day and hour of Christ’s return. Jesus warns the church to always be on the alert because no man knows when he will return. We are his servants and the business that the Lord Jesus Christ has given us is to preach the gospel, until our death, or he returns.