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 24:4-8)
The Third answer comes first, in Matthew 24. The Disciples asked Jesus, ‘What is the sign of the End of the Age’?
First of all Jesus warns us against deceit. There would always be false Messiahs, and much false speculation over the centuries because there would be many wars and desolations unto the end, as Daniel the prophet warned in Daniel 9.
The fact of wars over the centuries doesn’t mean the end has come yet, neither does the existence of false prophets and Messiahs. The Centuries would be littered with them.
The sign of the End of this present age, will be marked by a scale of war which will have been proven to be unprecedented. The expression “Nation shall rise against nation and Kingdom against Kingdom…” is a reference to World War.
I believe that the sign of the end of the Age was the outbreak of World War One, and all that followed, including World War 2, the founding of the State of Israel, the establishment of the United Nations, the colonial retreat and the decline of the Christian West.
The Evangelical Scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum also teaches that the expression “Nation shall rise against nation and Kingdom against Kingdom…” refers to something which only the scale of World War could match,
To understand what the idiom nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom means, it is necessary to return to the Jewish origin of these statements. This expression is a Hebrew idiom for a world war. Yeshua’s statement here is that when a world war occurs, rather than merely a local war, that world war would signal that the end of the age had begun.
This is quite in keeping with the Jewish writings of this same period. One Jewish source known as the Zohar Chadash states: “At that time wars shall be stirred up in the world. Nation shall be against nation and city against city; much distress shall be renewed against the enemies of the Israelites.”
Another Jewish source known as the Bereshit Rabbah states: “If you shall see the kingdoms rising against each other in turn, then give heed and note the footsteps of the Messiah (XLII:4).”
The rabbis clearly taught that a world-wide conflict would signal the coming of the Messiah. Yeshua corrected this idea slightly, for He said that when the world war occurs, while it does not signal the coming of the Messiah, it will signal that the end of the age has begun. These birth pangs that Yeshua talked about are the same as the “footsteps” that the rabbis talked about. The “footsteps of the Messiah” had to do with the series of events that will lead up to the coming of the Messiah. The title of the 500-page prophecy book, The Footsteps of the Messiah, is based on this Jewish concept, reflected in the Matthew account concerning nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom.
World War I, 1914-1918, was the fulfillment of this particular prophecy, for that was the First World War. As virtually all historians agree, World War II was merely a continuation of World War I. Furthermore, both world wars had a decisive impact on Jewish history. World War I gave impetus to the growth of the Zionist movement, and World War II led to the re-establishment of the Jewish State. Since World War I, history has entered the last days of the Church Age. However, the last days are an extended period of time.
The sign that the end of the age has begun is the world-wide conflict fulfilled by World War I and World War II.
Consider that the Western World has never recovered from World War One and its aftermath (WW2). The staggering loss in blood and treasure , as modern, confessedly Christians nations slaughtered each other on an industrial scale, bringing into the conflict their own colonial subjects, and commonwealth partners, changed the World forever.
One of the outcomes of the War was the post war infection and growth of the Communistic scourge, which eventually enslaved almost a third of the known world. Starting with once Orthodox Russia, the atheistic Revolution gutted and bankrupted one of the world’s great Christian empires.
The re-creation of the nation of Israel, after nearly two thousand years, the scattered Jews regathered, brought back into the land in a state of unbelief, and estrangement from God, as the Prophets foretold she would, is a direct outcome of World War 1 and it’s inevitable sequel, World War 2.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.” Isaiah 11:11.
“Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;(6) I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 43:5, 6.
“Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.
(9) They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel , and Ephraim is my firstborn.
(10) Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.” Jeremiah 31:8-10.
The First World War was used to seize the Levant from the hands of Ottoman Turks, and put it into the hands of British and French allies. The Holy land of Israel came into the hands of the British, who had promised a Jewish homeland to the Jews in the Balfour declaration.
The second World War was used to convince European and Russian Jewry, that they could never have a permanent home anywhere on earth, but in the Land God gave Abraham,Isaac and Jacob. In May 1948 the world witnessed a Biblical miracle for a Nation was born in a day, the Land of Israel emerged and has dominated international attention(mostly negative) ever since.