Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
Many prophecy watchers believe we are indeed in that/this time, as do many rank and file believers like me. See what you think.
Speaking as one who has gone through childbirth twice, I offer some perspectives now on the final stage of the process, a stage that is quite different “experienced” than studied, and perhaps the stage we are now fast approaching, prophetically speaking.
Regarding the childbirth analogy, it occurs to me that we may well be “transitioning” to what is called the “second stage” of labor, more commonly known as the “pushing” stage which is anywhere from a few hours to up to a few days after the first stage, or “active labor” begins. The second stage ends with the baby’s birth, but just prior, a phenomenon they used to call “the urge to bear down” occurs (aka “the urge to push”) that combines all the pain of earlier labor with a brand new pain sensation.
The comparison to prophecy implies we are also close to the return of Jesus, and the beginning of a new era in history, temporally and spiritually.
But back to childbirth.
When it comes to describing this stage of labor, educational venues choose words carefully. They cite the laboring mother’s possible “irritability” and “intense, self-focus” during this stage of the event. They recommend soft music and back rubs. They suggest certain breathing patterns and positions to help with the P A I N.
Of course, each woman’s experience is different. My mother, for example, went from zero to sixty in a total of just over two hours giving birth to her second baby, my older brother. My second daughter was born within 12 1/2 hours, total, only the last 2 1/2 in “hard labor.” My sister labored over fifty hours with my niece. And there is something called “Braxton Hicks” labor, too, aka false labor, that may come and go before the real event commences.
However, when it comes to the “pushing” stage, whatever the unique experience of the lead-up to it, there is no doubt about is going on.
But it comes as somewhat of a surprise, no matter one’s prior preparation.
I remember thinking at the exact moment of transition, “Oh! THIS must be the ‘urge to bear down’!”
I used that expression because pushing implies one’s prior consent and preparation; whereas what prompts the onset of this stage is an “urge” from somewhere else, as it were. Likely the place where the hormones gather, take complete control, and shout, “NOW!”
And a woman WANTS to bear down/push, despite the new kind of pain added to the rest!
One hears of stories where, for whatever reason, the staff in attendance wants her to “wait,” but despite the pain, that is a VERY difficult thing for her to do. Hormones are exceedingly demanding!
Although the pain factor increases exponentially (makes her irritable? Hahahahahah…). This is probably a good thing, as the other thing she wants to do is say, “Okay, that’s it. I’m done…”
But there is no going back, now. (Really never was, but the normalcy bias keeps a woman thinking she might have at least a little control…in the first, milder stages of labor…)
But, of course, whether one is successfully dealing with the pain or needs some medicinal help, there is the knowledge that the new life will soon emerge. Just one more push…
Fortunately, this stage of labor is shorter than the others.
I detail this to illustrate what is perhaps transitioning in the “birth pangs of prophecy” just now.
Like the analogy of the second stage of labor just before the birth, things are happening prophetically and played out temporally that are a) challenging the normalcy bias, b) challenging the idea that we are in control of it all, c) challenging the idea that we know everything that is going on “behind the scenes,” in the hidden places, as it were, and d) everything seems to be occurring faster and faster.
Child birth, of course, is not an enemy, but the pain, uncertainty, and intensity of the experience can SEEM like an “enemy” to the woman in the throes of it, though she knows the end result will be a brand new life.
In this regard, spiritually, of course, the analogy takes a side step because we understand that Satan and his minions–principal players in end times prophecies–are real enemies against which we war, at any stage and in every era, and they desire death. As to their true nature, Ephesians 6:12 offer this explanation:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
With flesh on, as it were, the real enemy of humankind crafts various and sundry weapons. There’s the usual shock and awe stuff on the surface level, but the subtleties are highly effective as well, particularly nowadays what with instant–and global–communication capabilities.
The arsenal now includes political correctness to obfuscate truth, and technology-enhanced mind- and emotion-control along with the usual sex, drugs, rock-n-roll. So it can be much harder to discern what psychological operation, along with traditional war craft, is at work overtaking critical thinking to cause many to call evil good and good evil.
And to many, just now, believers and non-believers alike, the world is just getting crazier and crazier.
At an exponential rate.
Many drop their jaws and shake their heads at the seemingly serious lack of logic, lack of compassion, and lack of common sense over the increasing global mayhem.
Others understand there might be an ideology behind collapsing nations from the top down, bottom up, and all degrees in between in order to better conquer and control the masses.
(And usher in a New World Order the people will crave because of, well, see the previous paragraph and read the latest headlines?)
Nevertheless, Jesus, at least, gave believers plenty of information in the Matthew text cited above (not to mention elsewhere in the chronicle of His life on earth and the lives of the early believers) to help us discern what the man behind the curtain is really up to. And there are still whistle-blowers and critical thinkers left elsewhere as well to help those fast succumbing to the cons and the conquistadors.
But my purpose in referencing Jesus’ analogy here is to offer some ways for getting through the stage of prophecy we may well be experiencing just now by discussing the parts of the analogy that do align further, specifically, the second stage of childbirth (pushing) where one is taken by surprise at both the intensity of the new pain converging with the increased frequency and duration of the ongoing contractions and the imminency of the end result: the birth of the child.
In the case of the prophecy corollary: the return of Jesus Christ.
Lest the “prophetic events” become overwhelming, may I offer some perspectives and encouragement from the “labor room events”.
END STAGE PERSPECTIVES AND ENCOURAGEMENT
- First, I offer the reminder that we are not in control of all aspects of the events, as much as we might believe we are. Spiritually, we can trust the One Who is in control, He Who knows the “end from the beginning” and Whose prophecies are fulfilled.*
- This stage of prophecy might “hurt” more than we can imagine (the wars and rumors thereof); however our Leader has promised to never leave nor forsake us throughout.
- We are designed both physically and spiritually to handle what comes. NOTE–re: childbirth, this one was BIG comfort for me the first time around. I reasoned that millions of women birth children successfully every day and there is help for the hard cases. I can do this, too. A woman’s body is designed to deliver. Spiritually, believers are also designed for deliverance. Many believe this includes deliverance from God’s wrath aka the Rapture, before the final stage of the birth pangs, as it were, often called the Seven Year (Great) Tribulation.
- Though the enemy might be formidable he is limited in scope and sequence. Although childbirth is not an enemy, the pain can seem like an enemy! However, it does not last forever. There is a conclusion. As per prophetic events, bad things, like all things on this plain in time, come to an end, too. Spiritually, Jesus also commented on that aspect of the analogy: For at that time there will be great tribulation, unmatched from the beginning of the world until now, and never to be seen again. If those days had not been cut short, nobody would be saved. But for the sake of the elect**, those days will be shortened (Matthew 4:21-22).
Friends, what lies ahead may be surprising, painful, and more intense than we can imagine, but we can still look up with joy, as our redemption draws nigh. For God will not allow the evil of the end of this era that is currently ramping up in both frequency and intensity to completely overwhelm all those who call upon the saving–and delivering–name of His Son, Jesus Christ.
And may I encourage you to do so now, if you haven’t already.
Because like the “push” event in childbirth that comes “as a surprise,” suddenly and with great intensity, the next prophetic stage might come as a surprise as well–and, when you least expect it.
*For a list of 353 prophecies already fulfilled about Jesus Christ alone, see here.
**Many Bible scholars translate this as the “chosen” elect of the Hebrew race. See what you think, here.