Merely the beginning of Birth Pangs By George Stroh March 14, 2011
You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs." (Matthew 24:6-7)
As I write this, there are reports that there was a major earthquake today. This is the largest recorded ( 8.9 magnitude) earthquake ever to hit Japan. A friend sent me a text message; "Got your robe pressed and ready to go?" He was humorously insinuating that this major earthquake may be another sign that the "rapture" of the Church is near. I responded, "I'm ready!" To which he replied; "Me too!"
Now neither my friend or I are predicting a specific date or time for the rapture. But the recent political upheavals in the middle east, world-wide monetary issues and major natural events like this earthquake, remind us again of what the Lord Jesus Christ said would be signs of his second coming. The Bible tells us that the rapture of the Church could happen at anytime. Jesus will come in the air and all true believers (His Church) will be bodily caught up (raptured) to Him (See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11). This amazing event will be followed by a seven year period on earth called "the tribulation", a time when God will pour out His wrath on those left behind on earth who have rejected the salvation provided by Jesus Christ.
During the early months and years of the tribulation there will be many wars and rumors of wars, great famines and numerous earthquakes. Jesus told His disciples that; "All these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs." He was saying that the frequency and intensity of these tribulations will increase until He himself returns to earth with His Church following the seven years of tribulation.
To be sure, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake is certainly a significant event, resulting in many lost lives, much devastation and great fear. But we haven't seen anything yet; "And there were flashes of lighting and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty." (Revelation 16:18)
Jesus said; "See to it that you are not frightened...". Those of us that have believe the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ have nothing to fear. If He tarries and we die, we immediately go to be with Jesus. Or if remain alive, we immediately go to be with Him at the rapture of His Church. And that may be very soon! We watch the events of the world unfold, not with fear, but excitement and the expectation that "He is near, right at the door." Maranatha!