“4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.” Mathew 24:4-8
This passage is known as the Fifth Great Discourse of Jesus and also called “The Olivet Discourse.” Jesus is giving us a glimpse into the future and things to come for Jerusalem, most of which was fulfilled in the destruction of the Temple, and He tells us why it will be destroyed. The Jewish leadership fell to hypocrisy and personal deeds, and the people followed like sheep. The Temple was destroyed by the Roman army in 70 A.D.; the Romans were the cause but not the reason. This passage also shows us what happens when we fail spiritually and refuse to repent, so that our sins add up, while God’s grace is seeking to resolve, heal, and bring us to Him.
Jesus is explaining to us the events in the first part of the Tribulation symbolically throughout the passage. This is not about one event but many to come when He returns to earth in power and glory. Jesus gives us some of the signs that will be warnings of things to come. The call is to watch and to be ready, but not be fearful or worried, because He is still in control. We are to look to Him, we are to trust in Him, and we are to put our faith in Him.