A Time of Sorrows
Matthew 24:4-14 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. ”
This is the first of his warnings. We have already seen many come claiming to be Christ, a Christ, or Have his anointing in authority. The point he is making is that they are deceiving people on a massive scale.
v.6 “ And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
World wars began early in the 20th century and we have had wars taking place all over the globe in various sizes. Since World War 2, there have been over 200 conflicts.
V.7 “ For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.”
Conflict of nations will become the norm. What Jesus is expressing are worldwide increases. Famines will be on a scale not seen before. Earthquakes will be seen in various places it was not before and will increase in frequency and strength. One thing to note in the Matthew account is that the word pestilence (diseases, virus’) is not found in this manuscript, according to the interlinear Bible it was added. It was probably added because it was recorded by Luke who was a doctor and would certainly make sure this was included if this was spoken as he recorded the same account.
Luke 21:11 (Gr) Limoi kai loimoi (Interlinear Transliterated Bible)
These are two similar words of the same root. Luke 21:11 Famines and pestilences limoi (NT:3001) kai (NT:2498) limoi (NT:3001). A play on the two words pronounced just alike in the Koine (an itacism). (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)
Matt 24:7 Famines follow pestilences or vice versa. As food becomes scarce epidemics, increased diseases pervade.
A pestilence according to the Bible definition is a plague or a pervasive disease. We have had waves of these take place over the span of centuries.
For example, pestilence was in Babylonia, 40 A.D. (Josephus, Antiq. xviii. 9. 8); also in Italy, 66 A.D. (Tacitus 16. 13). Both of these took place before the destruction of Jerusalem. (from Barnes' Notes)
Antonine Plague (165 AD) the Cause is unknown, it is thought to be either Smallpox or Measles. It affected Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece, and Italy where 5 million died.
The pestilence of 302 A.D., the plague was followed by famine. The people resorted to eating grass, deaths from the famine were near those dying from disease.
The Plague of Justinian originated in Africa and spread to Europe through infected rats on merchant ships. It reached the Byzantine capital of Constantinople in 541 A.D., and was soon claiming up to 10,000 lives per day with a toll of 25 million deaths.
During the Bubonic plague (Black Death) in the early to mid1300’s, it killed between 50 to 200 million people—more than half the population of Europe. The population of Europe had outrun the food supply, and in a few years, the poor were eating cats, dogs, and other animals. It took 200 years for Europe to recover to the level prior to this epidemic.
In 1629 the Italian Plague, which many think was a continuance of the Bubonic plague began in the Italian city of Mantua. It killed some 280,000 people, including over half the residents of Verona. The Republic of Venice, lost nearly a third of its population of 140,000. They eventually burned their clothes and possessions to prevent the spread of infection.
Great Plague of London in 1665-1666 The authorities quarantined the infected them in their homes, which they marked with a red cross. 8,000 people were dying each week, in the end the total deaths were somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000 people.
The Persian plague in 1772–1773 was related to Bubonic plague. Starting in the Persian Empire, claimed around 2 million lives in total.
1855 in the Chinese province of Yunnan infected rats traveling on steamships carried this to six continents. The worldwide outbreak lasted several decades, claiming 15 million lives before disappearing out in the 1950’s. Most of the devastation took place in China and India, It is believed bites from rat fleas were the main way the infection spread to humans.
6th Cholera Pandemic (1910-1911) 800,000+dying across the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia. This became the last American outbreak of Cholera with 11 deaths
The Spanish Flu Between 1918 and 1920 500 million people infected 25 million deaths in the first half year having a mortality rate of 2.5 percent.
Asian flu (1956-1958) A pandemic outbreak of Influenza A of the H2N2 subtype, that originated in China lasting 2 years. Began in the Chinese province of Guizhou came to Singapore, Hong Kong, and then the United States. The World Health Organization places the final death toll at approximately 2 million deaths, 69,800 in the US.
What is named as the “the Hong Kong Flu,” 1968 a flu pandemic was caused by the H3N2 strain of the Influenza A virus, first reported case was in Hong Kong, within three months it had spread to The Philippines, India, Australia, Europe, and the United States. More than a million people, 500,000 residents of Hong Kong, approximately 15% of its population at the time.
In 2012, the MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) virus emerged, and to this day, it has infected 2,442 people and killed 843, a high mortality rate.
This list is not exhaustive but only shows that we have been dealing with this throughout our history. However, what we have seen in the last thirty years several viral outbreaks. HIV, SARS, H5N1, Bird Flu Threat H7N9. H1N1 and now Covid19. Former outbreaks have not been treated the same as what we are experiencing worldwide today. The nation's of the world see this as far more threatening than the flu. This is only just beginning, we do not know what this will become as it spreads.
V. 8 “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
Gr. Oodinoon (NT:5538), travailing pains. Describes a woman in grievous travail as she is giving birth .
The longer a woman has labor pains, they become more intense and more frequent. This is what Jesus is describing what these events will be like. They will be seen closer and closer together until they all culminate in the end. (pestilences, famines, earthquakes, tidal waves Lk. 21:25, volcanic eruptions etc.)
Prophecies of the last days must be fulfilled to the letter and yet there is more to come, along with a Tribulation period after all this.
When we put both Matthew and Luke’s accounts of Jesus’ warning of the end there are some similarities and some unique statements Luke makes.
Luke 21:25 records Jesus saying, " And upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity… " Nations, the leaders will be distress because they have no solutions to what is taking place, they will be dumbfounded.
He then says, men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth.”
Dismay, hopelessness and even heart attacks will occur by what is taking place.
Yet with all this happening Jesus said “ Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27-28)
For those who have Christ as their life, do not fret; do not panic like the world does. Be concerned, be prudent but do not be overwhelmed with emotion and fear. This way you can be a help to others in this trying time. Stay in touch with your friends and loved ones.
It is a time for Christian's to pray, to step up and be a representative of the one whom we serve, to bring peace to a chaotic and seemingly despairing situation.
Be careful what you hear and believe. No, this is not the seals being open, we are not in the Tribulation as some are claiming, these things are to take place first before the rider on the white horse in Rev.6. The Tribulation will be a lot worse, swifter and more severe judgments will occur from the seals being open in succession.
As Jesus previously instructed, “ See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet .”
It’s a time for people to repent, to turn toward the one who loves them and wants to care for them. Now more than ever we need to show them the way. I can tell you this birth pain will get worse before it gets better. Yes it is the time of sorrows but there is hope in Jesus no matter what happens.