End Time Tribulation: What the Bible Says About the Beginning of Sorrows
by Betty Miller
The “beginning of sorrows” was spoken of by Jesus in the Bible and refers to the time just preceding the “great tribulation.” The tribulation will be a time of plowing up wickedness in preparation for the coming of the Lord Jesus as He ushers in the Millennium reign of Christ. The millennium will be when Christ restores the earth and His kingdom shall reign supreme for a 1,000 years. All wars and sorrows will cease and it will be a time of rest for the earth, as it returns to the state that God originally created in the garden of Eden.
The Travail of Spiritual Birth Pains
Many ministers believe we have now entered into this period of time called the “beginning of sorrows” as it is a time when troubles and tribulations in the world begin to increase as like a woman in travail who is in labor and about to give birth to her child. She will have one hard labor pain and then it will subside, only to be followed by more and harder pains until the baby is born. The Bible mentions this analogy as compared to the time of the end.
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3
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
In the scripture below, the body of Christ is a type of spiritual Israel, so this would mean there is a time in the future that God’s people will experience a time that will not be peaceful, but will cause fear and trembling because of all the troubles that they will be encountering. This time in the Bible is spoken of as “Jacob’s trouble.” However, those who are totally committed to Jesus will be saved.
And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. Jeremiah 30:4-7
Perilous Signs of the Times
We have seen in huge earthquakes in China, the earthquake-triggered tsunami in Japan, a cyclone in Myanmar (Burma), and floods, tornados and fires in the USA, all during the same time period. These events together affected millions of people. This is an example of the earth experiencing compounded pain compressed into a short time similar to a “labor pain.” This pattern will now increase until the coming of the Lord so we must all press into a place in God where we find our refuge and safety in Him because He is our spiritual ark.
The perilous times we live in should move all Christians to love and support one another so that we can overcome the tribulations of our day through our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible outlines how people in the world will be acting in the last days before Christ returns and tells us to turn away from these actions ourselves, so that we can endure to the end and be saved.
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. 2 Timothy 3:1-4
There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men. Proverbs 30:11-14
Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Isaiah 1:4
Violence and Corruption in the Earth
From these scriptures we also see that the Bible speaks of a generation of youth who will be a curse to their parents because of the abounding sin in the world. When sin is not dealt with in any society, the result of those sins will always produce violence. The generation (which included young and old) living in the days of Noah was similar to our day, a day of violence and corruption. The Bible tells us that these kind of conditions will exist at the time Jesus Christ returns to this earth to judge the wicked and the righteous. Jesus warned us to be watchful when we began to see these things happening.
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Genesis 6:11-13
And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. Luke 17: 26-30
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.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 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 24:4-8, 10-14
What are we to do when each day the news agencies report ever increasing threats of terror, hurricanes, cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, fires, floods, famines, pestilences and wars in our world? Jesus gave us His advice in the verses of Matthew 24. Here is a condensed version of it.
The Advice and Warnings Of Jesus To Prepare Us for This Time
The book of Matthew in chapter 24 records the words of Jesus about the end times. Get your Bible and look up these verses.:
- Verses 4-5 ,11, 24 – LET NO MAN DECEIVE YOU – The very first thing Jesus tells us is to be extra careful about not being deceived in spiritual matters by men because many false prophets and those professing they are of Christ will deceive many (as they are deceived themselves). (Notice Jesus said MANY. This could include being careful not to attend meetings were a false anointing is in operation as the word, “Christ” means “the anointed one.” We can know if something is false or true by seeing if it lines up with the Word of God. If it does not agree with the Word of God, and if it does not reflect the nature of Jesus then it is not from God.)
- Verse 14 – THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM SHALL BE PREACHED UNTO THE WHOLE WORLD – Jesus told us that prior to His coming there would be a great emphasis on evangelism that stressed kingdom living and that it would spread to the whole world. God wants to use all Christians in this endeavor so that we will be witnesses of His love, salvation, and be able to demonstrate His Kingdom authority over all the powers of darkness. We are to share this Kingdom message with the lost.
- Verse 6 – DO NOT YIELD TO FEAR AND WORRY – Do not be troubled. (We are not to worry or be fearful, but trust Jesus. He will keep us safe and guide us if we stay close to Him and remain committed and obedient to do His will). Ask the Lord to give you faith to overcome all fear when we see these things coming upon the earth. He is our protection. Read Psalm 91.
- Verse 14 – ASK JESUS FOR COURAGE & ENDURANCE – Ask Jesus to help you endure hardships and troubles because all of us will need endurance to make it to the end (the coming of the Lord.)
- Verses 15-21 – BE READY TO FLEE IF NEEDED – Be ready to flee from your locale when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies because there will be great tribulation such as the world has never known right before Christ’s return (could be atomic bomb attacks because it produces desolation to an area and also with Jesus’ warning to pregnant mothers radiation is especially harmful to unborn babies resulting in deformities). Do not hold on to any material possession if the Lord tells you to move or leave an area. This could apply to other areas as well because of terrorist threats. We must all get close enough to Jesus to hear his instructions to each of us as individuals. This is not meant to create fear, but the Holy Spirit does warn those who are listening to God, even as He sent an angel to warn Joseph and Mary to flee Bethlehem because of the coming massacre of the children slaughtered at King Herod’s order. I believe because God is no respecter of men that others in Bethlehem could have fled also if they were close enough to God to hear His instructions. There were sad stories of many Christians and Jews during World War II who were warned in prophecies to leave their homes and businesses behind and flee, but their material things had such a grip on them they could not leave and they ended up being killed or endured tremendous suffering.
- Verse 23 – DO NOT RUN TO PLACES TO SEEK CHRIST’S PRESENCE – Do not go to any place men say Christ’s presence will be, not to the desert, nor to any secret place. Christ’s coming will be seen by all. If we are totally committed to God and filled with the Holy Spirit, we have His presence within us to guide us and we do not have to seek Him in geographic places. We just need to be in His will and that is the safest place of all.
- Verse 24 – BE CAREFUL NOT TO BELIEVE ALL SIGNS AND WONDERS DONE IN THE NAME OF JESUS – False Christs and false prophets will perform lying signs and wonders that will be so deceptive that even the very “elect” or God’s own people will think they are from God. The Bible tells us these lying signs and wonders in the end times will exist along with God’s true signs and wonders. We must understand that all things done in the name of Jesus are not from Him because Satan can counterfeit the things of God. How do we tell the difference? We are told to “Prove All Things” which means we are to “test” them to see if they line up with the Word of God and if they witness to our spirit by the Holy Spirit within. We are to see if the actions and the character of those demonstrating those miracles line up with the character of God. Would the Jesus we know be acting that way? Many times if we are uneasy about something, it is the Holy Spirit trying to reveal to us why we are feeling that way. The Lord never minds us asking Him if something is of Him or is not of Him. In fact, that is why we are admonished with these words in 1 Thessalonians 5:21: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” We should seek Him in prayer as to what He is saying. There are two sources of supernatural power: (1) The power of God and (2) The power of the devil. Man will operate out of one of these sources when it comes to miracles. We must ask God to help us discern which source they are coming from. There can also be a “mixture.” Sometimes men operate in the flesh which really is the devil influencing them, but not necessarily the supernatural operations of the devil. Because the age old battle of good against evil, God against the devil, true miracles as opposed to false miracles, true prophets as opposed to false prophets, we will find this same battle going on in our churches and meetings. Some people can be operating under the influence of the Holy Spirit at times and at other times they can be operating under Satan’s influence. They can speak things of God and also speak things from the devil. The Bible says this ought not to be so, but it does happen, and that is why God wants us to be discerning. James 3 is very clear that if we do not deal with the things in the flesh it can contaminate and destroy the whole body.
Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. James 3:10-13
In the Old Testament in Numbers 11, there is an account of a “mixed multitude” in the ranks of Israel when they came out of Egypt which enjoyed the deliverance and blessings that Israel obtained. However, because they were not whole heartedly committed they fell to lusting and were eventually destroyed. Let us pray for God to cleanse our hearts so that we are totally committed to do God’s will at all costs. We can also ask Him to show us if something came from Him or if perhaps there is a mixture because of someone yielded to the flesh. We must not get caught up in something that is not of God by allowing people who have a mixed heart to impart that mixture to us and then we pass it on to others.
Keep Order in Services
Let us ask God to give us discernment in meetings to know if something is from God, the devil or is just a person’s flesh. Many of the Charismatic meetings of today have all three operating. Many times this happens in the middle of a true move of God because the leadership does not have the discernment to know the difference. Sometimes, they think certain things are of God and they hesitate to stop them because they are fearful of quenching the Holy Spirit, however, things that do not line up with the Word of God should be stopped or else the enemy will gain a stronghold and destroy the meetings altogether. Leaders need to use the authority God gave them to maintain order in meetings and not allow those in the flesh, or under the influence of the devil to exhibit ungodly manifestations that are not scriptural. One example would be allow people to bark like dogs or baa like a sheep. These kinds of manifestations are a sign that the person needs deliverance. These are animist spirits. We have seen them many times in people who need deliverance, especially in foreign lands. It is not a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. I cannot picture my Jesus barking like a dog in a service and crawling around on his all fours as he ministered. Every time Jesus ministered it was out of a total heart of compassion, love and perfect order. And even in John 6:15 when disorder erupted and the crowd wanted to take Him by force and make Him king, He quickly withdrew to the mountain by Himself. Let us stay scriptural and do all things decently and in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40, “Let all things be done decently and in order.”
Warning About Hoaxes and Scams on the Internet (Deception will be widespread.)
Being in an Internet ministry I think of the many precious Christians that are fooled by things circulating on the Internet that look good and sounded like it was true because people used the name of God and they sounded sincere, when in fact, were at the best, hoaxes made up, or at the worst, were scams designed to rob people of their money. They never check the source of these e-mails but because they were so wonderful sounding, they would send them to everyone on their mailing lists, thus virally spreading lies that assumed where the truth and later were embarrassed to find out they had been deceived. Should you be interested in an article we have posted on the Bible Answers section of our site that exposes many of these hoaxes and scams, you can click here to read it: Warning About Viruses, Hoaxes, Urban Legends & Scams.
Just as a virus in the natural is spread, the same thing can happen spiritually if we come into contact with, or stay in an environment where error and deception exist, that is why the Lord warns us to “beware of men” because all men are not sent from God and all doctrines and teachings are not Biblical. False doctrine is as deadly as any disease because what we believe will deliver us or destroy us. That is why we must use the Bible as our gauge. We must guard our hearts and minds as the Lord admonishes us in: 1 Thessalonians 5:21-23: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Verses 32-39 – WATCH AND PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD – Watch and be ready by being a faithful and wise servant because the Lord will come suddenly when most will not be expecting him. Know when these things God mentions in this chapter start to come to pass that Christ’s return is very close. The violence and indulgence that existed during the days of Noah will once again exist just prior to the coming of the Lord. We can escape the destruction by walking in faith and love and by wearing the whole armor of God spoken of in Ephesians 6.
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-9
- Verses 42-47 – WATCH AND PRAY AND PREPARE SO YOU WILL NOT BE LACKING IN THIS HOUR –Jesus told us about the evil that would be in the world right before He would come back to this earth a second time and He told us we would need to “endure.” Endurance is indicative of suffering some hardship.Matthew 24:13 “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”Many Christians do not think it is spiritual to store food as they sincerely believe the Lord will take care of them. God created us with a body that needs food (except when we are to fast and pray) so He also will provide for us. Yes, God promises to take care of us, but if we do not prepare for ourselves, who will He use to get food to us? Somebody will have to feed the unprepared.
Proverbs 22:3 “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.”
Proverbs 6:6-8 “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”
In the Old Testament Bible, the Lord raised up Joseph in the time of famine so that the Israelites had food to keep them alive in that time. He also created manna to feed the Israelites in the wilderness. In the New Testament, Paul instructed the churches to take offerings in order to help their brothers and sisters in the other churches who were suffering and in need. God will make a way to feed us, but one of those ways can be for us to be responsible and store up some emergency food.
However, the most important preparation is spiritual preparation. Without an understanding of the Word of God and committing and obeying God in all things, all the food you may have stored up will be in vain.
- Verses 48-51 – DO NOT ATTACK OTHER SERVANTS OF GOD – Do not attack fellow Christian workers (there is a Biblical protocol for dealing with Christian leaders who are in error that we should follow, but attacking them openly is not scriptural. This does not mean when we see error in one of God’s servants that we cannot hold them accountable for their un-Biblical actions or doctrine, but we are not to receive accusations against elders except in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses.) We are also to refrain from gluttony and drunkenness and indulging in drunken parties with those in the world.
Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure. 1 Timothy 5:19-22
Let us all stay in prayer and ask God to purify our hearts and to keep us from the deception of this hour so that we will be ready for His coming! As overcomers we have the victory.
To delve into further details concerning this topic we suggest reading the additional articles by Betty Miller
End Times Deception: How to Keep from Being Deceived
End Times: Interpretation of Revelation
End Time Warnings (Should We Heed Them?)
End Time Preparation – Overcoming 12 End time Events Now in Progress
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Topic: What the Bible Says about the Beginning of Sorrows
Related Topics: What The Bible Says about End Time Warnings; False Prophets; Lying Signs & Wonders; False Religions & Cults; Forgiveness; Repentance; Healing; Scripture Prayer for Healing; Scriptural Prayer for Protection