SPECIAL TOPIC: BIRTH PAINS
The full idiom is "birth pangs of the new age" (cf. Isa. 13:8; 26:17; Jer. 30:6-7; Micah 4:9-10; Matt. 24:8; Mark 13:8; Acts 2:24; 1 Thess. 5:3). This reflects the Jewish belief in the intensification of evil before the new age of righteousness (cf. Mark 13:19-20 and the Book of Jubilees 23:18 along with the Apocalypse of Baruch 27-29). The Jews believed in two ages: the current evil age, characterized by sin and rebellion against God, and the "age to come." The New Age would be inaugurated by the coming of the Messiah (cf. Psalm 2). It would be a time of righteousness and fidelity to God. Although the Jewish view was partially true, it did not take into account the two comings of the Messiah. We live in the overlapping of these two ages: the "already" and "not yet" of the kingdom of God! See the Special Topic: This Age and the Age to Come.
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