4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
This verse begins the Olivet Discourse proper. Jesus answers questions about “the sign of Your coming” and “the end of the age” from verses 4 through 44. This section deals with the Tribulation. The Tribulation is the 70th week of Daniel (Dan 9:27).
The first three-and-a-half years of the Tribulation run from verses 4 to 14. The last three-and-a-half years are the Great Tribulation, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jer 30:7). The latter is a time of unprecedented tribulation on earth.
And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives [leads astray] you.
Jesus warned His disciples about premature claims of His coming. There will be a difference between the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and His Second Coming. We need to distinguish between a partial fulfillment and full fulfillment prophetically. There will be many fakers claiming to be the Messiah. There are many false teachers today as well:
2 Pe 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
It will not be a few but “many” who will pretend to be the Messiah in the Tribulation. There will be an explosion of false Messiahs. Many will fall for their claims.
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.
War always raises prophetical questions. The time of the Tribulation and general tribulation are two different things. God’s people will always suffer tribulation (Jn 16:33), but during the Tribulation, there will be constant talk of war. No one will be exempt from either looming war or war itself.
See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
The word “see” means beware. Jesus warns against vulnerability to false teaching.
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
Wars in themselves do not necessarily signal the end of the age. There will be unprecedented world wars in the Tribulation.
And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
Famines occur today but they will pale compared to those of the Tribulation. Diseases such as AIDS will run rampant. Earthquakes will greatly increase over those presently occurring in the world, and natural disasters will strike everywhere. All this will take place “in various places,” indicating that tribulation will be widespread.
All these are the beginning of sorrows [birth pangs].
The “beginning of sorrows” is the first half of the Tribulation. The greater sorrows will occur in the last half of the Tribulation.
The time of the end is in God’s control.
All Christians suffer tribulation. We can count on that, as Jesus said:
Jn 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
There is no need for the Christian to worry about the future. It is all in God’s hands. In His sovereign providence His timing is exquisite. Nothing could ever be out of control with Him. We can place our future in His hands.