The Beginning Of The Birth Pangs
"As He sat on The Mount Of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the close of the age?" And Jesus answered them, "Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in My Name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray [see False Christs and Anti-Christs]. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs." (Matthew 24:3-8 RSV)
A Wonderful New World Is Coming
As the old saying goes, "there is good news, and there is bad news." The "good" news, the very good news (Gospel means good news), is that Jesus Christ is coming back - not to be sacrificed, but to rule. The world will know wonderful peace and true justice for all. The "bad" news is that the times just prior to Christ's return are going to see worldwide troubles the likes of which have never been seen before, and, thankfully, will be never be seen again. A new world is coming, but its labor and birth are going to be extremely traumatic, for the earth, and everyone on it.
Old Testament Prophecies
The Prophets of the Old Testament knew and wrote of it, each describing the same "never before, never again" time that Jesus Christ and the New testament prophets described. Examples from Daniel and Jeremiah:
"At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt [see Resurrections]. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." (Daniel 12:1-4 RSV)
"Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child? Why then do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale? Alas! that day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it. And it shall come to pass in that day, says The Lord of hosts, that I will break the yoke from off their neck, and I will burst their bonds, and strangers shall no more make servants of them. But they shall serve The Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them." (Jeremiah 30:6-9 RSV)
New Testament Prophecies
"For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of The Elect those days will be shortened." (Matthew 24:21-22 RSV)
"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places [see Earthquake!], there will be famines; this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs."
"But take heed to yourselves; for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, to bear testimony before them. And the Gospel must first be preached to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit."
"And brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for My Name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved."
"But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be, let the reader understand, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything away; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle. And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! Pray that it may not happen in winter. For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be. And if The Lord had not shortened the days, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days."
"And then if any one says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it. False christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But take heed; I have told you all things beforehand."
"But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken." [see Signs In The Heavens]
"And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory [see The Return Of Jesus Christ]. And then He will send out the angels, and gather His elect from the four winds [see When Will You Be Judged?], from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven." (Mark 13:8-27 RSV)
Fact Finder: Why will the world not joyfully and peacefully accept the rule of Jesus Christ when He returns?
See Who Still Rules The World Today?