When Will Jesus Return?
Dr. Ray Pritchard
During a radio interview two days after an earthquake and tsunamis wreaked so much devastation, the host asked if this could be a sign of the Second Coming of Christ. It is a relevant question in light of what Jesus said in Matthew 24. When the disciples asked, "What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3), Jesus offered six "signs" of the Second Coming (Matthew 24:4-14). We can call the third one Natural Disasters (Matthew 24:7-8): "There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains."
When a woman is pregnant, she knows from the calendar the general time when the baby is due. Her body begins to send specific signals as the day approaches. Those signals are called labor pains. They begin with low intensity and low frequency. Sometimes they can go on for several days and then suddenly stop. They may start and stop several times (so-called "false labor"). But eventually the labor pains start in earnest. Even then the tempo is slow and steady. As time passes, the pains come more frequently and with greater intensity. In the end the pains come rapidly and finally in one great burst the baby is born.
Something like that will happen at the end of this age. The coming kingdom of Christ will be preceded by an unprecedented period of seven years of suffering and worldwide travail. The clearest picture of that seven-year period is found in Revelation 6.
The "signs" we see around us remind us that there is much evil in the world. And the picture of the "birth pangs" teaches us that there is a flow or tempo to world events that is controlled by our Heavenly Father. We simply cannot be certain how the current tragedy fits into the larger prophetic picture. To say "I don't know" may not satisfy our curiosity, but it is far better than pretending to know something that God alone knows.
Taken from "Earthquakes and the Second Coming" by Keep Believing Ministries (used by permission).
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