Do the birth pangs described by Jesus in Matthew 24 include the seal and trumpet judgments, or are they intended to precede Daniel’s 70th week? To me, the birth pangs described by Jesus are general enough that they are not exclusive of the seal and trumpet judgments. If we truly are in the throes of labor and labor includes the seal and trumpet judgments, this is one labor for the record books.
Scholars are divided as to whether the birth pangs begin before Daniel’s 70th week or whether they’re meant to represent the seal judgments. I think this is due to the fact that the first specific sign of the end times the Lord gave us is the abomination that causes desolation (Matt. 24:15) which won’t appear until the middle of the 70th Week.
Personally I think the birth pangs were intended to begin before the 70th Week because in Matt. 24: 6 Jesus said not to be alarmed by the news of wars and rumors of war because the end is still to come. Then He added the rise of nation against nation, famines and earthquakes in various places saying these are the beginning of birth pangs (Matt. 24:8).
Since both the Lord and Paul compared the end times signs to a woman’s labor, let me continue in that vein by comparing the three stages of labor to the end times signs.
The first stage is called early labor. It’s the longest and least intense of the three stages. This is when a woman first concludes her time of labor is beginning. In my opinion this is what Jesus was describing as wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, etc. I think this is where the world is now.
In the second stage, called active labor, things become more serious. A woman’s contractions become much stronger and more frequent. I believe this stage will begin after the Church is gone, with the introduction of the anti-Christ as the rider on the white horse (Rev. 6:2) followed by the seal and trumpet judgments. This is the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week, the beginning of the time of God’s wrath.
The third stage is called transitional labor. It’s the last, shortest, and most intensive part of a woman’s labor. I believe transitional labor can be compared to the Great Tribulation where the world will experience the bowl judgments which will bring the time of God’s wrath to a conclusion (Rev. 15:1) and set the stage for the Second Coming.