By Nathan Jones
What does it mean that the signs of the end times are escalating like labor pains?
I was recently interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we'll look at the second end times signs of wars found in Matthew 24:6-7.
The Nine Prophetic Wars
Vic: The Bible also tells us about prophetic wars that are coming soon, like the Psalm 83 War and the Ezekiel 38 and 39 War, right?
Nathan: Yes. There are actually nine end time wars that the Bible speaks about. Seven of them deal directly with the Tribulation. There are quite a number, and I can go through them, but hold onto your seat because there's some frightening stuff that's coming upon this world!
Vic: Yes, this is a very extensive topic. If you would share with us regarding some of those wars, I think that would really help people understand what we're referring to when we talk about the signs of the end times.
Nathan: Sure. Part of understanding these end time wars is that the wars and rumors of wars will come more frequently and more intensely and more painfully the closer we get to Jesus' return. As a matter a fact, when the Bible says that nation will rise against nation, the word "nation" really means "ethnic." It's saying ethnic group will rise up against ethnic group, so Jesus doesn't mean these wars have to be the United States versus Iran or Israel versus Lebanon or anything solely related to nations. It could also mean races against races.
I don't know about you, Pastor Vic, but for the Great American Melting Pot in our generation, we're color blind. And now lately, everybody's upset about each other's race. When did that happen? I thought we dropped the whole racism thing. Now all of the sudden racism's back, and not just in our country. You have the Iraq's against the Kurd's, and of course everybody against Israel. It's like all the sudden races just can't get along anymore. It's like someone dumped itching powder on all of us and we're getting real itchy with each other and angry.
If you really stop and think about it, you can see that this feuding is all part of the process of getting the world down to the end time wars so that God can bring His judgment on humanity for the evil they've done.
Vic: Yes. Nathan, you make a good point.
Satan's War Against the Saints
Vic: I have a news article here talking about a Nigerian Islamic terrorist group called Boko Haram. Among their many, many atrocities, in this article it reports the beheading of a six year old Christian boy. This is all part of these smaller internal wars, right, that are waging in our own time?
Nathan: That's right. Lamb & Lion Ministries supports a ministry led in northern Nigeria by a Christian named Standfast. He's a pastor in northern Nigeria where Boko Haram operates. This radical Islamic group is trying to like every radical Islamic group conquer the land for Allah. Boko Haram wants Nigeria, which used to be primarily a Christians nation, to wipe out all the Christians and send them south. They first had claimed northern Nigeria as their own, but now they want to take all of Nigeria.
Boko Haram are blood-thirsty monsters just like ISIS. Constantly truckloads of Boko Haram roll in to shoot up Christian villages. They use machetes to kill church members. One of Standfast's church members had his hand chopped off while he was protecting his head. They'll take kids and throw them down wells. Many of the Christians are hiding out in the woods.
You hear in the news about how Boko Haram came and stole all those teenage girls. They march them off and forced them to marry their captors. Just last week Standfast's village was burned to the ground. His library, relief efforts and everything are all gone. His people are now living in a tent in a refugee camp.
War against Christians is constantly what we're dealing with all around the world, because Satan hates Christians. Satan hates the Jews. He also hates God's work through us and wants us all destroyed.
We read that during the Tribulation there will be much persecution of believers in Christ. It won't be any of us because we will have been raptured off this planet before God's wrath comes to this earth and those wars begin, but it will be a terrible time for those who are left behind and then accept Jesus as Savior.
Vic: We pray for those people who are being persecuted for their faith. We know that Satan is deliberately going after believers in Christ.
Escalating Like Labor Pains
Vic: You make a great point regarding end times signs, comparing their coming to labor pains. Just like a woman before she gives labor, we see that these signs are going to intensify.
Nathan: It's kind of hard to make a comparison for us guys who haven't gone through labor, but for those husbands who've watched our wives go through labor, and God bless our wives, we can better understand the comparison than some other men who haven't.
Jesus compares the end time signs to a woman going into labor and her birth pains. When a woman goes into labor, it's uncomfortable, yet the contractions are far apart and infrequent. But, the closer the time comes to the baby being born, the more frequent and the more intense and the more painful the labor pains get, until eventually the baby comes.
So, when the Apostles were asking Jesus when would the Temple fall, and what were the signs of the end of the age, and what are the signs before His Second Coming, Jesus was able to tell them that the end time signs would grow more frequent and more intense over history.
Vic: These are incredible times we are living in. Wars are just going to intensify even more until Jesus returns. We're going to have general wars in our time which are going to escalate to some other wars that are going to lead through the time of the Tribulation and the end times.
For us living now in 2014-2015, what else might we expect from the Bible as far as wars continuing to escalate?
Nathan: Like you said, wars will continue to escalate. The world is shattering and falling apart, but that's necessary to get the world to a point where it will cry out for a one-world ruler to stop all of the chaos. The world has to get to the brink of its own destruction before it'll turn to a single ruler to lead them. They should naturally turn to Jesus Christ, but no, they will turn to a man that Daniel says will rise out of Europe, the European Union, and he will supposedly put an end to all the world wars.
Another end times sign Jesus gave tied to Revelation 13 would include a global economic collapse which will along with the wars help provide the impetus for the whole world to cry out for a one-world ruler.
Wars and other signs of the end times will come more frequently and more intensely. Weather disasters, wars and rumors of wars, economic chaos, social chaos — they'll continue to build and build to just before Jesus comes to rapture the Church away. After that, the earth will just be let loose. Mankind's inhibitions will be let loose and the wars of the Tribulation will cause the worst time in all of human history.
For believers in Christ today, we can be sure that if we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, that even though the storms rage around us, we can trust that Jesus will protect us and guide us and love us and give us a future past this life. Our hope is being with our Savior forever and not having to experience His wrath during the Tribulation.
Vic: Excellent! Those are wonderful words of encouragement.
In the fourth part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the end times sign of wars, we'll learn who we need to put our hope in during these scary times.