Although it has been more than half a century, I still remember when we were expecting our first child and my wife Kathy was well past her “due date.” We were eagerly awaiting those “labor pains” to begin to let us know the time was near for delivery. Well, they finally began, but close to a month late, and we were blessed with a beautiful, very healthy 9 1/2 pound baby girl Heidi, already with a good start on life!
One day when Jesus had been with His disciples at the temple in Jerusalem, He told them that a day was coming when that temple would be destroyed and “not one stone shall be left upon another” (Mt. 24:2). Curious as to when this might happen, Jesus’ disciples “came to Him privately (while He was sitting on the Mount of Olives) saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?'” (v. 3). Jesus went on to speak of how there would be many false Christs who would come and deceive people and that there would be wars and rumors of wars and nations rising up against nations and famines and earthquakes. And then He added, “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs” (vv. 5-8). Jesus continued listing conditions which will precede His return, including strong persecution of believers, a falling away from true faith, deceptive false teachers, lawlessness, love growing cold (vv. 9-12).
The Apostle Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, also spoke of how in “later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience…” (I Tim. 4:1,2). In his second letter to Timothy, Paul again speaks of conditions (“birth pangs”) that will intensify as Christ’s return draws near: “…in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power… always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Tim. 4:1-5). Wow, if that doesn’t sound like today’s news headlines!
Other prophetic Scriptures speak of a false messiah who will come on the scene, the “beast out of the sea” spoken of in Revelation 11:7 and 13:1-8. He is called “the Antichrist” by John in I Jn. 2:18 and “the man of lawlessness…the son of destruction” in II Thes. 2:3, where Paul indicates that he won’t be revealed until “he who now restrains will be taken out of the way” (probably a reference to the Holy Spirit indwelling the Church, which would imply that the rapture must take place before the Antichrist is revealed). This lawless one will be empowered by Satan and will perform signs and wonders (II Tim. 2:9 cf Rev. 13:1,2). He will apparently suffer a fatal wound which is healed, causing many throughout the world to follow and to worship him and the one empowering him, Satan (Rev. 13:2-4). A world religious leader, “the beast out of the earth” (probably a reference to Israel, and thus of Jewish descent), also empowered by Satan to do signs and miracles, will use his authority to cause people to worship the Antichrist, requiring that in order to buy or sell, people must take the “mark of the beast (the Antichrist)” either on their right hand or on their forehead (Rev. 13:11-17). This second “beast” will also make, animate and give ability to speak to an image of Antichrist(vv. 14,15). There will be a one-world government and religion–worship of the beast. Those who don’t comply by taking the “mark of the beast” and worshiping him will be killed.
As you think about what changes the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the world, with all the increased government control and pressure to be “vaccinated” in order to travel, attend events, etc, and the distortion of the truth in the process, not to mention the fear among people that has been promoted by leaders world wide, and the increased push for globalism and “open borders,” etc., what a “setting of the stage” for this world leader to arrive on the scene. Oh, he will also work out a much-needed peace plan for Israel’s protection from all the nations that are vowing to remove her from the map. His peace pact will be for seven years, but in the middle of that time he will break his promise (cf Dan. 9:26,27) and lead the nations of the world against that little nation of Israel (the size of the state of New Jersey!).
And speaking of the animated image of the Antichrist, have you seen in the news about “The Giant.” Entrepreneur Paddy Dunning of Ireland has designed and is building giants. They stand more than ten stories high and are programmable and capable of speaking, singing and moving their heads and arms. They also shape-shift, assuming the forms of people. For example, in an instant, a Giant can look like Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, or even you–or even the Antichrist! Dunning’s “The Giant Company” hopes to install 21 of these statues in 21 cities around the world. (For a mere $18-24 million you could have your own!). Check out the website: thegiantcompany.ie.
When a woman starts experiencing “birth pangs,” it means the baby is soon on the way. Jesus and the apostles (as well as the prophets of the Old Testament) gave us a number of things to tell us when Jesus’ coming is drawing near. We are definitely seeing those things come to pass–with increased intensity. Are you ready for the Lord to come? Have you trusted Him for eternal life? If not, I plead with you to do so soon–you may not have much time. If you know Christ as Savior, “abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming” (I Jn. 2:28).
Forever His and looking forward to His Coming,