The Bible on the Birth of the Kingdom

The prophet Isaiah wrote extensively about the birth of the Kingdom of God.  Below are several passages from Isaiah which present the coming of the Kingdom in terms of a woman’s birth pains.

Isaiah describes the coming of God's Kingdom on earth in connection to the coming of the Day of the LORD (technically The Day of Yahweh). The Day of Yahweh is when the Messiah the King returns and establishes His Kingdom on earth.  It will be His day – the Day of Yahweh.

Wail, for the day of Yahweh is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man's heart will melt. Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame. See, the day of Yahweh is coming --a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger-- to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins (Isaiah 13:6-11).

Below, Isaiah describes the birth pains in connection with the resurrection of the dead.

You have enlarged the nation, O Yahweh; you have enlarged the nation. You have gained glory for yourself; you have extended all the borders of the land.  Yahweh, they came to you in their distress; when you disciplined them, they could barely whisper a prayer.  As a woman with child and about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we in your presence, O Yahweh.  We were with child, we writhed in pain, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth; we have not given birth to people of the world.  But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead (Isaiah 26:15-19).

Below, Isaiah relates childbirth to Yahweh’s coming in power to deliver His people.

Let them give glory to Yahweh and proclaim his praise in the islands. Yahweh will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies. "For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant. I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn rivers into islands and dry up the pools. I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them (Isaiah 42:12-16).

Below, Isaiah describes the birth of the Kingdom and its suddenness.

"Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says Yahweh. "Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?" says your God. "Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her. For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance." For this is what Yahweh says: "I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem." When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of Yahweh will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes (Isaiah 66:7-14).

Below, Jeremiah describes the birth pains which will overtake Babylon (Mystery Babylon) as Yahweh's Kingdom approaches.

The king of Babylon has heard reports about them, and his hands hang limp. Anguish has gripped him, pain like that of a woman in labor. Like a lion coming up from Jordan's thickets to a rich pastureland, I will chase Babylon from its land in an instant. Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this? Who is like me and who can challenge me? And what shepherd can stand against me?" Therefore, hear what Yahweh has planned against Babylon, what he has purposed against the land of the Babylonians: The young of the flock will be dragged away; he will completely destroy their pasture because of them. At the sound of Babylon's capture the earth will tremble; its cry will resound among the nations (Jeremiah 50:43-46).

Below, Micah writes that when Israel is no longer abandoned the time of the Kingdom’s birth will be approaching.   Note, Israel stopped being abandoned in 1948 when she once again became a nation after almost 1,800 years of being abandoned.

Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites (Micah 5:3).

Below, Hosea, connects the coming of the Kingdom and the Resurrection of the dead. 

So in my anger I gave you a king, and in my wrath I took him away. The guilt of Ephraim is stored up, his sins are kept on record. Pains as of a woman in childbirth come to him, but he is a child without wisdom; when the time arrives, he does not come to the opening of the womb. "I will ransom them from the power of the grave ; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? (Hosea 13:11-14)

Below, the Apostle Paul quoted from Hosea above, in describing the resurrection of the dead and the living.

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:51-55)

When the birth occurs the sons of God will be transformed into immortal bodies. As God reveals in Romans below - their bodies will be redeemed from death.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently (Romans 8:20-25).

Jesus identified the early warning signs of the coming Kingdom when He told His followers about “the beginning of birth pains.”

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains (Matthew 24:7-8).

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains (Mark 21:8).

Paul, also wrote that the followers of Christ will know when the Kingdom is near. They will not be surprised or caught off guard, like the world.  Paul also connects the Kingdom’s arrival to the Day of Yahweh, also known as the Day of the Lord.

Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5)

John contrasts birth pain to the great joy which comes with birth of the Kingdom.

I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.  A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name (John 16:20-23).

The Bible presents a clear and consistent picture of the coming Kingdom in terms of childbirth. 

Wake Up, Keep Watch, that the Day of Yahweh will not surprise you like a thief.

Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you (Revelation 3:3).

Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake (Revelation 16:15)

Richard H Perry