By Hal Lindsey
Throughout pregnancy, a woman’s body makes dramatic changes. But near the end, the release of an array of hormones puts those changes into hyperdrive. The changes come faster and with ever more profound results as her body prepares to deliver a child into the world. It is no accident that Jesus compared the state of the world in the last days to a woman at the last stages of pregnancy. In both instances, astounding changes take place at an ever-quickening pace.
Knowing that it’s all part of God’s plan does not lessen the pain of childbirth, but it gives the woman context. It tells her there is an end in sight — something glorious and beautiful.
By the time labor begins, the woman is already fatigued from sleepless nights. Her back aches from carrying this large extra burden in her body. She may suffer heartburn, shortness of breath, or any number of other discomforts as a result of the pregnancy. The knowledge that childbirth sometimes ends in tragedy adds to the stress. A first-time mom has heard stories about labor pains and actual birth, but she can only guess what it will feel like for her.
Jesus likened the events of the tribulation (also known as Daniel’s 70th week) to labor. This fits with 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (NKJV) which says, “For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.” “Peace and safety” will be the promise of Antichrist, and unlike the promises of most world leaders, people will believe him. According to Daniel 9, the tribulation period begins with Antichrist confirming a peace covenant with Israel.
We’re not there. In fact, if you are born again in Christ, you will be raptured before that event takes place. But what about the time before the tribulation? What about the changes that take place before actual labor pains? I believe that’s where we are right now. Heartburn, sleeplessness, and rapid change are all happening at this moment. Today’s Christians won’t be here for the worst of it, but we’re seeing a world in preparation for tribulation, much like a body preparing for labor.
So, what do we do? We do what Jesus said to do in Luke 21:28. We look up. We lift our heads. Why? Because redemption draws near. Christians have already been redeemed personally, but God’s going to redeem His creation. He’s going to radically remake the world.
And while we know that earthly pregnancies sometimes end in tragedy, this one will not. God has promised. Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”
With our future assured, some take the attitude that it’s time to kick back and relax. But just the opposite is true. In Mark 16:15, Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Those words are for all Christians of all time. They are for us. He did not say to retreat when things get bad. He said keep on preaching the Gospel all the way to the end.
The astounding changes in our world make for troubling times. But we know the context. There’s a new world coming!
In the meantime, He has called us to be “fishers of men.” Our fishing hook is shaped like a life preserver. The fishing line we use is a rescue rope. And in troubled waters, there is much to do because the shipwrecks are many. As the old hymn says, “Throw out the lifeline.”