Matthew 24:8

All these are the beginning of sorrows.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Ep. 199. 25: To this enquiry of the disciples the Lord makes answer, declaring all things which were to come to pass from that time forwards, whether relating to the destruction of Jerusalem, which had given occasion to their enquiry; orto His coming through the Church, in which He ceases not to come to the end of time; for He is acknowledged as coming among His own, while new members are daily born to Him; or relating to the end itself when He shall appear to judge the quick and the dead. When then He describes the signs which shall attend these three events, we must carefully consider which signs belong to which events, lest perchance we refer to one that which belongs to another.

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
All these . . . of sorrows; Gr. ω̉δίνων, parturition pangs, as S. Jerome renders in his comment. That is to say, the greatest possible pains, such as women suffer in childbirth, and from which many die. For like as it is in people about to die, disease and pain increase gradually until the time of death; so did wars, famine, pestilence increase until the final destruction of Jerusalem, as we know from Josephus. Thus also shall it be before the end of the world. Says S. Ambrose, "Because we are in the last times, diseases of the world shall go before." (in Luke 21:9).


AD 420
That is, Think not that the day of judgment is at hand, but that it is reserved against another time; the sign of which is plainly put in what follows, “Fornation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.”. Figuratively; Kingdom rising against kingdom and pestilence of that discourse which spreadeth, as a plague-spot, and hunger of hearing the word of God, and commotion throughout the earth, and separation from the true faith, may berather understood of the heretics, who fighting among themselves give the victory to the Church. “These all are the beginnings Of sorrows,” is better understood of pains of labour, as it were the conception of the coming of Antichrist, and not of the birth.

John Chrysostom

AD 407
By “wars and rumors of wars” he refers to the troubles that are coming upon them. They supposed after that war the end would come. But see how he warns them: “But the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” He speaks of the preludes to the troubles of the Jews. “All this is but the beginning of the birth pangs,” that is, of the troubles that will befall them. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death.” This was the season for being candid about what was to come, in order that they might strengthen one another in facing their common miseries. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily

John Chrysostom

AD 407
that is, of those that befall them. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you.

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Here He speaks of the battles which should be fought at Jerusalem; when He says, “Ye shall hear wars, and rumours of wars.”. And because this might alarm the disciples, He continues, “See that ye be not troubled.” And because they supposed that the end of the world would follow immediately after the war in which Jerusalem should be destroyed, He corrects their suspicions concerning this, “These things must come to pass, but the endis not yet.”. And to show that He also should fight against the Jews, He tells them not only of wars, but of calamities inflicted by Providence, “And there shall be pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes in divers places.”. And these things shall not happen according to the order of nature before established among men, but shall come of wrath from heaven, and therefore He said not that they should come only, or come suddenly, but adds significantly, "These all are the beginnings of troubles,” that is, of the Jewish troubles.

Rabanus Maurus

AD 856
“Nation shall rise against nation,” shows the disquietude of men’s minds; "pestilences,” the affliction of their bodies; “famines,” the barrenness of the soil; “earthquakes in divers places,” wrath from heaven above.

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
He is speaking of the wars conducted by the Romans in Jerusalem. Not only does He say that there will be wars, but famines and plagues as well, showing that the wrath directed against the Jews is sent by God. For while it can be said that wars are caused by the violence of men, famines and plagues have no other cause than God. Then He says, lest they think that the world will come to an end before they have preached the Gospel, "Be not troubled, the end is not yet." For the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the whole world will not be at the same time. But "nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom," He says, on account of the calamities soon to befall the Jews. And these calamities are the beginning of the pangs of labor; for just as the expectant mother goes into labor but does not give birth yet, so too this present age will first suffer turmoil and wars and then give birth to the things that shall be.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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