Worldwide Tribulation Begins

“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you , and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name. And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come” (Matt. 24:9-14, emphasis added).

Again, had you asked those who originally heard Jesus that day, “Do you expect that you will be alive to see the fulfillment of these things?” they would have certainly answered in the affirmative. Jesus kept using the personal pronoun you.

As we just read, after the “birth pangs” will come an event that certainly has not yet occurred, a time of unprecedented, worldwide persecution of Christians. We will be hated by “all nations,” or literally, “all ethnic groups and tribes.” Jesus was speaking of a certain specific time when that would occur, not a general time over hundreds of years, because He said in the very next sentence, “And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another.”

His statement obviously speaks of the falling away of Christian believers who will then hate other believers, as non-believers can’t “fall away,” and they already hate one another. Thus, when worldwide persecution begins, the result will be a great apostasy of many who claim to be followers of Christ. Whether they are genuine or false believers, sheep or goats, many will fall away, and they in turn will reveal the identities of the other believers to the persecuting authorities, hating those they once professed to love. The result will be the purification of the church all over the world.

Then there will also be a rise of false prophets, one of whom is prominently featured in the book of Revelation as the antichrist’s accomplice (see Rev. 13:11-18; 19:20; 20:10). Lawlessness will increase to the degree of draining what little love remains in people’s hearts, and sinners will become utterly heartless.