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The Beginning of Sorrows

Source: Art Sadlier, Sunday September 4th 2011

Mark tells us that at the end of this present age, prior to the return of Christ, there will be a time of troubles and sorrows. “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows” (Mark 13:8).

Luke refers to that day in chapter 21 verse 28, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

Notice, Luke refers to the beginning of these signs, not the consummation of them. He cannot be referring to the end of the tribulation period. At that time the signs will not be beginning, they will have been consummated. Luke here has to be referring to the rapture which will take place prior to the tribulation period.

Matthew also tells us about some beginning signs that will take place prior to the tribulation period. Matthew refers to them as the beginning sorrows, “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8).

In verses 4-8, Matthew describes the time immediately prior to the tribulation period, the time of the beginning of sorrows.  From verse 9-20, Matthew describes the first half of the tribulation period, from verse, 21-26 he describes the last half of the tribulation period. In verse 27 he describes the second coming of Christ.

It seems to me we are now living in Matthew 24:4-8, the time of the beginning of sorrows.

Let me summarize some of the news of just one day this week, September 13.

Italy's finance minister met with the head of China's largest sovereign wealth fund CIC last week as Rome tries to bring down soaring borrowing interest rates, a ministry spokesman said Tuesday. Italy along with a number of other EU countries is in danger of collapsing under the weight of high interest rates on their excessively large debt. Italians are in distress over their country's future.

A volcano has erupted on Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia's Far East, with ash rising to an altitude of 10 km above sea level, RIA Novosti news agency reported Tuesday. During the eruption, a crevice with a depth of about 30 meters was formed on top of the volcano. An earthquake that lasted seven minutes was also recorded. The volcano's 10-km ash column was the highest during the past month, breaking the record of 8200 meters. If this were an isolated incident it would not be cause for concern, but these natural disasters are multiplying at an alarming rate.

Texas is suffering the worst one-year drought in its history. The state has received just 7.33 inches of rain this year until August, the lowest amount in four decades, state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon says. Temperatures, meanwhile, have hit record highs. Texas' June-through-August average of 86.8 degrees was the hottest summer for any state in U.S. history. This is another historic event.

"China keeps our admirals up at night. And for good reason," said McKeon in his speech at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a Washington-based think-tank. "Any historian worth his salt knows that massive military build-ups and chest-thumping speeches about national destiny is a dangerous combination," he said, referring to a recent Pentagon report on Chinese military build-up. "The Pentagon report outlined a country that is emboldened with new found military might and drunk with economic power. The Chinese are convinced that they have been given an opening with our current financial crisis," he said. He said that for the first time in history Beijing believes it can achieve military parity with the United States. We have another historic event.

There were only 1.75 full-time private-sector workers in the United States last year for each person receiving benefits from Social Security, according to data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics and the Social Security board of trustees. That means that for each husband and wife who worked full-time in the private sector last year there was a Social Security recipient somewhere in the country taking benefits from the federal government. This is an unsustainable situation that warns of coming disaster.

The prospects for President Barack Obama's $447 billion jobs plan grew dimmer Monday as he unveiled the fine print of how it would be paid for—primarily through tax increases that Republicans said would destroy jobs, not create them. At a crisis hour in US history a conflict of political philosophy is threatening to prevent solutions.

Taliban suicide fighters launched an attack on central Kabul on Tuesday, taking over a multi-storey building under construction near the diplomatic district in the Afghan capital and firing rockets in the direction of several embassy and NATO compounds. The assault was the second major Taliban attack in the city in under a month after suicide bombers targeted the British Council headquarters in mid-August, killing nine. More war and strife.

Pakistan's commercial capital, Karachi, has been paralysed by floods as torrential rain continues to lash southern Sindh province. Schools have shut down, many markets were forced to close and commuters had to abandon their vehicles as rain water flooded the streets. Villages across the province have been inundated as canals have been breached and water has not adequately drained.

Major French banking stocks were pummelled on Monday on the back of persistent worries that Greece is on the verge of defaulting on its loans. Societe Generale, particularly badly hit, slid 10.8 percent while other European financial stocks emerged in little better shape. BNP Paribas was down 11 percent at one point in the day.

Al Qaida has released a message in which Osama bin Laden's successor as the group's leader, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, said al Qaida supported the Arab Spring. The hour-long video was released to mark the 10th anniversary of al Qaida's Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Turkey's Military Electronic Industry developed a new identification system for its F-16 fighter jets that will allow it to attack Israeli targets, according to a Tuesday report by the Turkish Star Gazete. The previous US system automatically classified all Israeli targets as "friend" and disallowed any attacks on them. The new system will allow Turkey to determine whether or not a target should be considered "friend."

Smaller corn surplus could push food prices higher. U.S. government estimates of a smaller corn surplus, could drive food prices higher in 2012. Add this to the existing threat of world famine.

The above items are just some of the news headlines for one day. I believe we are living in the days Matthew referred to as the beginning of sorrows.