"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."- Matthew 24:4-8.

People tend to dismiss these prophecies by assuming that Jesus is only referring to "generic" wars, which have always occurred since the beginning of human history. But is this really the case?

  • It is clear from the Revelation of Jesus Christ (The Apocalypse) that you are correct in your question. (+1).
    – Nigel J
    Apr 9 '20 at 9:13

Are the wars meant to be global in Matthew 24?

People tend to dismiss these prophecies by assuming that Jesus is only referring to "generic" wars, which have always occurred since the beginning of human history. But is this really the case?

The Wars are meant to be Global.

True, since the beginning of human history, there had been wars, earthquakes, food shortages and epidemics. However, nothing previously to 1914 can be compared with what has taken place since then, for example, note the enormous number of deaths in WW1, WW2 and the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. (from Google) Other major conflicts were the cold war, the Korean and Vietnam wars. The figures do not include deaths from pestilences and food shortages that followed.

WW 1 Casualties

The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I, was around 40 million. There were 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded. The total number of deaths includes 9.7 million military personnel and about 10 million civilians.

WW 2 Casualties.

An estimated total of 70–85 million people perished, which was about 3% of the 1940 world population (est. 2.3 billion). The tables below give a detailed country-by-country count of human losses. World War II fatality statistics vary, with estimates of total deaths ranging from 70 million to 85 million.

Spanish flue casualties.

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide, about one-third of the planet's population, and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans.

The Apostle John who received the Revelation confirmed it, and was commanded to write about" the things which must soon take place."

Revelation 1:1(NASB)

The Revelation of Jesus Christ

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John.

In chapter 6 of the Revelation John confirms all the above in the account of what has been called the ride of "four horsemen of the Apocalypse."

The Rider on White Horse: (REV 6:1-2)

The rider of the first horse with a crown is Jesus and has been authorized to destroy his enemies.

6: 2 NASB "I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.

Psalm 2:1-12 (ASV)

The reign of Jehovah’s anointed.

1 Why do the nations rage, And the peoples meditate a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against Jehovah, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bonds asunder, And cast away their cords from us.4 He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh: The Lord will have them in derision. 5 Then will he speak unto them in his wrath, And [b]vex them in his sore displeasure:

6 Yet I have set my king Upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my son; This day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. 10 Now therefore be wise, O ye kings: Be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve Jehovah with fear, And rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, For his wrath [c]will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.

The second rider on Red Horse.

This rider was given a great sword, a symbol of weapons and wars. 6: 4 NASB " And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him."

The third rider on a Black Horse.

This rider was given a pair of scales, representing famines and food shortages, and the scales to measure basic food supplies at inflated prices.

6: 5-6 I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A [d]quart of wheat for a [e]denarius, and three [f]quarts of barley for a [g]denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

The fourth rider on a Pale Green Horse.

This rider has been given authority to kill with the sword, famines, by means of deadly plagues, and by the wild beasts of the earth. (For the identity of the wild beasts read the prophecy of Daniel chapter seven)

6: 8 NASB " I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death;" and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.


IMHO, the question to your answer depends on the time frame of which Jesus was speaking. I take that time frame to be the current generation; that is, the time leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70. In that case, there were no "world wars." Others look at this as a prediction of the end of the world, in which case Jesus was talking about much larger conflicts, like those that we have experienced in the 20th century.

So, the answer depends on your interpretation of what "end" Jesus was talking about.


I think the key to this question lies in the context of the chapter, and the surrounding verses you shared. Jesus is saying that in the end times, not only will there be wars (and rumors of wars), there will also be famine, earthquake, etc. Verse 9 speaks about persecution against believers. Verse 10 shows that many will fall away from the faith, verse 11 talks about false prophets rising to deceive many, and verse 12 notably states that many people who once loved the Lord will lose the “fire” and passion of that love.

When we see verses 6-12 together, we see that Jesus is not talking about any of these things in isolation (ex. wars alone), but rather an amalgamation of all these things coming together to create utter chaos, desperation, and despair. NOT just in the world at large (verses 6-8) but also within the church. Jesus is describing the hopeless state the world will be in — both physically, humanistically, and spiritually — before He returns.

It is supposed to be so bad that:

Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. — Matthew 24:22


Are the wars meant to be global in Matthew 24?

Jesus was speaking here during the sixteenth year of Emperor Tiberius' reign. Tiberius had been victorious in the "final" war with the king of the South that was fiercely waged under Augustus. This left the Roman Empire mostly without adversaries capable of making war against this powerful "world order". At this time, there was instead, a world-wide period of calmness--no nation against nation battles. The Jews still had access to their City of Jerusalem that had been rebuilt, as prophesied, specifically for Messiah's entrance leading up to this conversation. They were admiring those "buildings of the temple" that they were so passionately proud of.

This message by Jesus was that soon--during their lifetimes--these very same disciples that He was speaking to would hear of "wars and rumors of wars." They were not at that time in a panic of war. They were not searching the city for 'bomb bunkers'--so to speak. They were simply asking the question, "when?".

Mat. 24:3: And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? KJV

On that very day of relative peace among the world order of nations, Jesus was telling them of a period of division and sorrows which would begin just "after two days." (Mat. 26:1-2):

And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Jesus spoke to them about these wars and rumors of wars that, "ye shall hear of"--those men themselves would hear of. In Mark 13:5-8, this very conversation is also described as being, "the beginnings of sorrows", but, "the end shall not be yet":

And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

After Jesus was crucified, yet while those disciples--now apostles--were living, that old Roman Empire "world order" began to have cracks in its foundation. civil wars broke out among the several nations of that old world order and Rome's assault against the "church" increased greatly under Nero. The "three plucked up horns" prophesied in Daniel 7:8--Galba, Otho, and Vitellius--were each "plucked up" after only very short reigns--all three in total ruling between June of 68 A.D. and December of 69 A.D.

After these three horns were plucked up, in the days leading up to 70 A.D., Rome, under a "raiser of taxes"--Vespasian--used that "little horn"--Titus--to destroy the city and the temple that the disciples were admiring at the time of this question.

Yes, Rome continued on after that time, but never was a solid world order like it was under Julius Caesar and the first ten emperors of Rome (including the three plucked-up ones).

We have never had a true world order since that time being at relative peace as during the time of Matthew 24. This is what is so intriguing about Rome being the "resurrected" world order under the "resurrected" beast and "resurrected" false prophet (it is appointed unto man once to die, then after that, the judgment). That little horn became Romes eleventh horn of Daniel, being of the ten horns before him, yet was also the eighth horn of Revelation, being of the seven horns before him (when you exclude the three plucked up horns of Daniel that are now gone--plucked up).

Wars and rumors of wars between nations have occurred now for approximately for two-thousand years, but the end is not yet.

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