|By: Dr. Renald Showers; ©1996|
|Bible Prophecy Questions Answered by Leading Christian Scholars.|
Dr. Renald Showers: The impression is that Jesus here is spelling out things in chronological order for this future period of time. The abomination of desolation takes place in the middle of the 70th week. That’s followed by the three and a half year Great Tribulation, but He’s saying here—at least the implication is—before the abomination of desolation in the 70th week, what Jesus called "the beginning of sorrows," literally, the beginning of birth pangs, will have transpired in the world. And He’s saying here the things that will be involved in the beginning of birth pangs. You will have false messiahs, those who will appear upon the world scene saying, "I’m the Messiah." In addition, the earth will experience wars and rumors of wars. You’ll have nation rising against nation, kingdom against kingdom. The earth will experience famines, pestilences, earthquakes in many different places. Jesus says all those are the beginning of birth pangs. The impression is that that’s what will be transpiring on the face of the earth before the abomination of desolation in the middle of the 70th week. So the implication is these beginning of birth pangs will be taking place during the first half of the 70th week. In other words, during the first three and a half years. Now, the interesting thing is, when you go to the Old Testament, you have references there to these kinds of things which will happen in the future and you have Hebrew words which are the parallel of our English word tribulation, even the parallel of the Greek word for tribulation. So the implication is that these beginning of birth pangs are also descriptive of what you could call tribulation.
Now, notice an interesting implication here. He talks here about the beginning of birth pangs. That very expression indicates that there will be more birth pangs coming after: the beginning of birth pangs and then there will be later birth pangs. He’s drawing a metaphor with the birth cycle of birth pangs of a woman as she’s about to deliver a new life into the world. She has birth pangs at the beginning. They’re severe, they cause pain. But, there will be more severe birth pangs, what we often call hard labor birth pangs, after her beginning birth pangs.
So Jesus is saying that during the first half of the 70th week you have severe things going on in the world but not as severe as the things that are going to come later on. In the beginning, in the first half of the 70th week, you have the beginning birth pangs or tribulation, but in the second half you’re going to have great tribulation, much more intense agony than with just tribulation of the first half and therefore in the second half, the great tribulation, also means that’s when you have the severe, hard labor birth pangs transpiring here on planet Earth.
Now, so that this seven-year period of time, whether you call it the Tribulation Period, since you have tribulation the first half and great tribulation the second half, or whether you choose to call it the 70th week of Daniel 9 from Daniel 9:27, either way, we’re talking about this seven-year period of time immediately before the glorious Second Coming of Christ back to planet Earth to set up God’s Millennial Kingdom while we’re here on planet Earth.