By Roy Burner - Minister of the Gospel


The beginning of sorrows is highlighted in God's Word; as a sign of the second coming of Christ.  A Bible commentary noted: These events mark only the beginning of sorrows, or birth pangs.  This is followed by martyrdom, the rise of false prophets, and abounding of iniquity (or lawlessness).

Scripture reveals:  You shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you 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 (or various) places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:6-8).

Beginning of Sorrows

Famine is a severe shortage of food resulting in hunger, starvation, and death.  It is first mentioned in Scripture of being so grievous as to compel Abraham to go down to the land of Egypt.  It happened in the days of Isaac, causing him to go elsewhere to escape its devastation.

But the most remarkable of all was the famine in Egypt, in the days of Joseph, which lasted seven years.  In that famine God made a provision for the Egyptians and Israel to survive those years.


Pestilence is any epidemic disease with a high death rate.  It can also be related  to the moral character of great numbers; or a influence that is hard to get rid of; such as racism is a pestilence at the heart of a nation.

The world has experienced many pestilences in the past and presence; some still ongoing or lingering in the background.  There are many pestilences that have had a massive death rate; and even the spreading of a worldwide pestilence.  Are these leading up to end-time events, the beginning of sorrows, or set in order as things happening without explanation?


Earthquakes are the result of shaking and vibration of the surface of the earth from underground movement along a fault or from volcanic activity.  The wave of shock can sometimes cover half a hemisphere, destroying cities and many thousands of lives.

The first earthquake, mentioned in Scriptures, happened in the reign of King Ahab.  Another took place in the days of Uzziah, King of Judah.  The most memorable earthquake is reported in the New Testament times at the crucifixion of our Lord.

Additional Signs of End Times

Scripture reveals: There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars: and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea, and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken (Luke 22:25-26).

There are noticeable traits of end times that are beginning to come to fruition that previously were non-existence.  Those listed as the beginning of sorrows have been around for a long time but the severity of such is becoming more noticeable.

Be Not Troubled

You shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you be not troubled, for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. A Bible commentary noted:  Jesus foretells of wars and great commotions among the nations which comes from refusing the Gospel message.  If they will not hear the messengers of peace, they shall be made to hear the messengers of war.  Is it possible to hear such news, and be not troubled?  Yet, when the heart is fixed, trusting in God, it is kept in peace, and is not afraid, not even evil tidings of wars and rumors of wars. 

We must not be troubled for two reasons:  We are told to expect this and to expect even worse; for at the end of one affliction will be but the beginning of another.  If troubled in hearing of wars and rumors of wars; what will become of you when the famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes come, in the magnitude spoken of?

Persecution - General Decay of Religion

Great destruction has been received though famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, described as the beginning of sorrows, having been the death of many, and the terror of more.  They are spoken of as dreadful judgments, and yet are but the beginning of sorrows, of travailing pains, quick, and violent.

A Bible commentary noted: End-time events foretells of the persecution of God's people and ministers, and a general decay in religion.  When famines and pestilences prevail, then they shall impute them to the Christians, and make that pretense for persecuting them (just as Christians were blamed for Rome being set on fire). 

Those words should nourish a real concern for Christianity becoming a target (as it already is), by not grasping hold of the truths of God's Word; and by allowing a secular culture to override godliness in the land.

Perilous Days Ahead

Scripture reveals:  This know, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent (or without self-control), fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady (or reckless), high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

We are seeing the unfolding of these characteristics prominently displayed in our society; with the godliness of man being deemed as inappropriate and not to be sought after.  Scripture reveals:  Evil men and seducers will wax (or grow) worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13).

Reverse of Godliness

Scripture reveals:  Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!  Woe to them that are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight (Isaiah 5:20-21).  Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him (Isaiah 5:23).

This could play into the beginning of sorrows concept because we are seeing this played out in the society of today!  There is in influx of the term "hate speech" directed at Christianity; particularly if one steadfastly adheres to God's Unadulterated Word.  Christianity is under attack in many lands; some more than others, but is coming more frequent than every before!

The influence of the ungodly can escalate into troublesome times; just as the beginning of sorrows, goes far beyond the initial concept, as silence plays into the picture on the part of Christianity.  Napoleon, the French Emperor, stated:  The World suffers not because of the violence done by the wicked but because the righteous keep silent.

Quotes Concerning Sorrow

A day of sorrow is longer than a month of joy (Chinese proverb).  A heart that trusts in God's goodness is armed against sorrow (Hrosvitha).  Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal (Thomas Moore).  Sorrow seems sent for our instruction (Jean Paul).

Where is sorrow, there is holy ground (Oscar Wilde).  Sorrow is addressed in Job's dilemma:  Then shall you lift up your face without spot; you shall be steadfast, and shall not fear; because you shall forget your misery, and remember it as waters that pass away (Job 11:15-16).

This Will Pass Away

The beginning of sorrows concept could be found in a poem titled: "This too will Pass Away" by an unknown author:  If I can endure for this minute whatever is happening to me, no matter how heavy my heart is or now dark the moment may be.  If If can remain calm and quiet with my entire world crashing about me secure in the knowledge God loves me.

If I can keep on believing what I know in my heart to be true that darkness will fade with the morning and that this will pass away too; then nothing in life can defeat me.  For as long as this knowledge remains I can suffer whatever is happening, for I know God will break all the chains that are binding me tight in the darkness trying to fill me with fear.  For there is no night, without dawning and I know that my morning is near.

Rest from Sorrow

The prophet Isaiah addressed sorrow: And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear, and from the hard bondage wherein you was made to serve (Isaiah 14:3).

The beginning of sorrow, for the people of Israel, was 400 years of bondage, at the hand of the taskmasters of Egypt; later being carried into captivity to Babylon for seven years.  There are many once godly nations that have fallen into this category; facing a beginning of sorrows for having withdrawn from God!

Godly Sorrow Works Repentance

The apostle Paul addressed sorrow and repentance in saying:  Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance; for you were made sorry after (or according to) a godly manner, that you might receive (or suffer lost from) damage by us in nothing.  For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of (or regretted) but the sorrow of the world works death (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).  Scripture gives the antidote:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

A Bible commentary noted:  While this promise was originally given to King Solomon regarding the people of Israel, it is certainly applicable to all who will call on the Lord in repentance and faith.  This verse stands as a high expression of God's loving readiness to hear the prayers of a repentant people.

Escalation of Beginning of Sorrows

Beginning of sorrows can escalate as nations continue to drift away from godly influences towards the sinfulness of man.  A Sunday school commentary noted: All around us are the signs that modern man refuses to accept the fact that sin is his problem. Many no longer call homosexuality a sin but an alternate lifestyle.  Adultery is now viewed by some a merely a relationship.  Abortion is now considered an expression of a woman's right.  

The beginning of sorrows leads to more serious escalations as foretold in God's Word.  The Church, in these latter days, can be a consoling factor to those who are perishing through a lack of the truth of God's Word, or it can allow itself to be drawn into the last days concept by becoming polluted itself!

The Lord's second coming will be a day of reckoning that far exceeds the beginning of sorrows that are possibly being felt even in our present day setting. Scripture reveals:  He (or the Lord Jesus Christ) comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail (or mourn) became of him (Revelation 1:7).  For the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall (or be able) to stand (Revelation 6:17).

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