Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
All these things are the beginning of birth pains (Matthew 24:8, NIV).
A Natural View
As I keep meditating on Jesus’ use of pregnancy and childbirth to help believers understand the chronology of the “end of the age” it occurs to me that there is another analogous event (besides the topics I’ve covered*): when the mother’s “water” “breaks”.
According to Mayo Clinic Online, during pregnancy the baby is surrounded and cushioned by a fluid-filled membrane called the amniotic sac through which the baby has been protected and fed. The membrane breaks usually at the onset of labor but sometimes later.
This is the stage that the mother knows for sure labor and delivery is imminent and, medically, must come soon, for now that the protective sac is gone there is danger of infection if things go on too long.
Although the mother might be aware of and anticipating this event, it still comes as somewhat of a surprise, especially with the first baby. When her “water breaks” she may become anxious about what comes next–the pain of harder labor and delivery–but she is also glad that very soon the baby will be here. The end of the pain is nigh; a new beginning awaits.
Spiritually speaking, I believe several comparisons can be made to help us comprehend what may well be ahead prophetically as the “spiritual childbirth process” continues.
A Spiritual View
Water in both its natural and figurative representations in the Scriptures is symbolic of many things including growth, cleansing, judgement, and deliverance. Here is a good summary.
But for the purposes of the analogy Jesus used, I believe what follows is pertinent to the stage of prophecy, i.e., the “end of the Church Age,” many scholars believe we are in just now, and what comes after. Consider:
- Just as there is a definite time period involved in pregnancy from start to finish, there are time periods, beginnings and endings, involved in the histories of spiritual eras as well. This helps resolve one theory on the Church Age era that presumes that things will more or less go on just as they always have.
- Although there are “quieter times” during pregnancy, the end of it includes several sudden, perhaps surprising, but definitely transitional events no one can deny such as the break of the amniotic sac and the “urge to bear down”or “push,” about which I’ve written prior. Spiritually speaking, prophecy scholars would point to certain geopolitical alignments that have not occurred before in history that indicate where we might be in this stage of the Age as well as the undeniable observation that, generally speaking, “many false prophets” have arisen to “mislead many,” and “because of the multiplication of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:11-12). These last observations are increasingly noted in the secular world as well.
- To my final comparison of water breaking in pregnancy and events involving water as illustrative of God’s work in His dealing with mankind, I believe we can glean two distinct parallels, one symbolic and the other literal, concerning the “water of judgement,” and the “water of deliverance”. Consider the water of judgement in Noah’s day when it was time for the remnant consisting of his family alone to board the Ark before the waters broke, or as Scripture details it: “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 6:11-12). Deliverance, both literal and figurative, for Noah and his family occurred on board the Ark that sustained them and carried them to safety and to the next epoch in historical and spiritual history. Judgement was upon the people outside who had ignored or mocked Noah’s message for all of the years he and his sons built the Ark. In the story of the Hebrews’ flight from Egypt across the parted Red Sea (their) deliverance was from Pharoah’s army while judgement in this case flooded, as it were, over Pharaoh’s henchmen when the waters were loosed back on the dry ground after The Hebrews had passed through (story summary, here). In this story as well, one era ends and another begins.
Analogous to today’s events that many Bible scholars agree point to sudden and pivotal events of both cataclysmic and spiritual import, consider:
- IF we are at that stage of “pregnancy” where such events are imminent, and
- IF Jesus’ “pregnancy pattern” applies,
- Then a kind of deliverance and a kind of judgement will follow. Deliverance, many believers agree, would occur in the form of some kind of “protecting and preserving” event such as the Rapture before God’s wrath (let the reader decide if he or she subscribes to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine; it’s controversial). Judgement for the world would then ensue as in the events outlined in the book of Revelation, chapters 4 and on, detail.
To summarize, considering the pregnancy analogy Jesus offered, if the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is correct, our deliverance from God’s judgement in these terrible times may be very nigh considering the “birth pains” we are lately experiencing on the geopolitical scene, in the environment, and in people’s hearts.
We may well be close to an event like the breaking of the amniotic fluid that ushers new life (note: “judgment” here relates to the painful stage prior), like Noah’s Ark transporting God’s people over troubled waters to a refreshed earth, and like the safe passage through the waters of the Red Sea and away from the pursuing enemy that began the Hebrews’ trek to the Promised Land.
Metaphorically and, I believe, literally speaking, this event will also suddenly, surprisingly–but surely–rescue God’s people today from what’s to come.
A Literary View: When the Waters Speak…
Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.
When I ponder the literary–reflecting the real–artistry in thought, word, and deed, of God’ masterpiece called creation, I am also haunted (but in a good way) by the “words underneath the rocks,” in the spiritual sense, from God’s own “basement of time” “(in) the beginning“.
I ponder His Word on the start of all things where He knew whose were/would be His by their eventual, personal rescue through Jesus’ blood and water shed at Calvary where, by faith placed in Him as Savior and Lord, all believers pass from death to life, old to new, lost to redeemed.
I meditate on God’s provision in that story of deliverance and redemption, too, for then, now, and days to come.
I marvel at His perfect timing in all things and His prophetic promises (many of which have become true despite the odds) that include, to wrap back to Jesus’ childbirth analogy, that He has prepared also for us a new place of life, refreshment, and in this case, eternal deliverance from what suffering now prevails.
A place where, in Christ, all will merge into one, even as we are here, yet hidden–like the babe in the womb–until the fullness of this prophetic time.
The pattern, I believe, shows this.
And by faith, reveals.
And again I say, “Thank You, Jesus”.
Here’s a little background music: