The Beginning of Sorrows
Jesus speaks about the beginning of the sorrows in Matthew 24.
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
- Matthew 24:1-8 (KJV)
So from this we can see that the sorrows are:
- False christs
- Wars and rumours of wars
Sorrows are like birthing pains. They occur more and more frequently right at the end of the pregnancy just before giving birth.
A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.
- John 16:21 (KJV)
So, for example, we're not looking for an isolated earthquake as a sign, but rather we're looking for earthquakes to increase in frequency.
A bit like this:
And that's exactly what we're seeing today. The number of earthquakes has increased dramatically.
That's what "the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world" means, e.g. we see the signs, and then the end comes.
There have always been false christs, wars and rumours of wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, but never so frequent as now (more every year).
These signs are indicators that we are indeed approaching the end. That's what signs are for.
To think that the tribulation (for example) has already happened is very dangerous. It lures us into a false sense of security. No need to prepare for it any longer. It has already "happened".
Satan uses this tactic often, e.g. he will have you believe that the tribulation has already happened, or he will say that you will be "taken away" before the tribulation happens, or he will say that you will go through tribulation but that you will be be translated (no death) as part of the 144,000, and so on. It's all very deceptive.
When will the end come?
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
- Matthew 24:14 (KJV)
This hasn't happened yet. But we're pretty close. In fact, we're the only generation for which this has almost been fulfilled.
Tribulation is coming, and it's going to be hard.
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
- Matthew 24:21 (KJV)
Why is it so hard to believe that the worst is right at the end?
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
- Daniel 12:1 (KJV)