World Wars

In the Olivet discourse Jesus Christ told us to watch for certain signs that would indicate when the end times would occur. One of the key signs is that “nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:6-7).

The Interpretation

EgyptThe only other place in the Bible where similar language is used is in Isaiah 19:2:

And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, [and] kingdom against kingdom. (Isaiah 19:2)

Matthew Henry’s Bible commentary and John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible provide evidence that a civil war did occur in Egypt to fulfill this prophecy.

World mapEnd times events will happen throughout the world, so using Isaiah 19:2 as precedent, Jesus is describing a war that will impact the entire world. The first world war was fought between 1914-1918.

A Closer Look

Looking more closely at Matthew 24:6-7 Jesus mentions “wars and rumours of wars” in general terms, and uses the conjunction “For” to link verses 6 and 7. “Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” more specifically describes “wars and rumours of wars”.

Jesus also said not to be “troubled” or “terrified” by these types of wars (plural). As this video describes, World War I (WWI) was the first war that used technology like airplanes, tanks, Gatling guns, submarines, and chemical warfare on a massive scale. World War II (WWII) used atomic weapons that killed at least 115,000 people instantly. Wars have been fought for millennia, but WWI and WWII were different and could be very “troubling” and “terrifying”.

Jesus also said that these wars must first take place. All three Gospel writers mention “nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom” first. Earthquakes, famines, and pestilences follow, and in a different order depending on what Gospel account you read. (Luke 21:9-11; Matthew 24:7, Mark 13:8)