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Does God Control The Weather? Why Does God Allow Natural Disasters?
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2Chron:7:14
Something Is Seriously Wrong With the Weather!
Anyone who has been paying attention will note that large-scale nature-related disasters are increasing.
Every few weeks it seems, Earth unleashes devastating violence of some sort or other. An earthquake---a tornado--a tsunami---a massive storm---a flood---a drought---a rash of wildfires. It levels property, destroys homes, decimates crops, claims lives. And another constellation of survivors are left breathless in its wake, tasked with trying to piece their shattered lives back together.
It is a dreadful reminder of an awesome and important reality.
In our modern world, industrialization has done much to insulate a great many of us from the elements. We have paved over our land. We have abandoned our farms in favor of climate-controlled homes, offices and malls. Concrete, steel and glass shield us from routine rain, hail, sleet, snow, heat, chill. These former crop-killers, for most of us, are now mere inconveniences.
Its only when nature gets really nasty---when rains turn to floods, when snows stop our planes, when droughts demand water restrictions, when a temblor topples infrastructure---that we even think to acknowledge the power it still holds over us. It dwarfs us. Impressive as our Tower of Babel society is, it remains awkwardly vulnerable to the sheer elemental power of the planet in its fury.
History shows, in fact, that whole societies have risen or fallen because of favorable or foul forces of nature.
And in recent times, violent outbursts of those forces have been speeding up in tempo.
Yes, Nature Is Actually Getting Nastier
During the past century or so, global surface temperatures have increased slightly. At first mankind benefitted. That subtle warming trend, coupled with a 50--year meteorological lull from 1910 to 1960, helped produce greater worldwide agricultural yields at the start of the 20th century. By the mid-1950s, output had reached record levels. The 1960s saw the birth of the so-called Green Revolution, spurred on by new hybrid seed, expanded irrigation, and chemical fertilizers and pesticides that promised to alleviate world hunger.
But then something unexpected happened. World climates became more volatile. Floods followed droughts. With growing frequency, indiscriminate tornadoes ripped through cities and farmlands. Hailstorms thrashed crops, and hurricanes lashed coastlines.
This shift did more than merely becloud the promises of nonstop bumper crops underpinned by the agricultural miracles of the 1960s. It exacted steep costs in terms of economic losses, injuries and deaths. And statistics show that this troubling trend has continued to get worse, particularly since the end of the 1980s.
Within the United States, for example, the Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that in the 37 years between 1953 and 1989, an average of 23 major disasters were declared per year. In the 1990s, that average nearly doubled---to 42.
Then, the decade that followed, from 2000 to 2009---besides seeing that annual figure leap up yet again, to 56---brought some of the most destructive natural disasters in recorded history across the globe! Earthquakes alone killed more than 780,000 people and affected more than 2 billion others. Globally, the number of catastrophic events more than doubled since the 1980s, the Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters said in January 2010.
Insurance companies and meteorologists generally accept that the weather is becoming progressively more unstable. Human efforts to improve farming methods, forecast and even manipulate the weather have redoubled. Yet, in the end, these efforts are of no avail.
What is going on here? Is it all just an accident of nature?
Whatever the cause, the trend has only gotten worse in the early part of the current decade!
More Recently ...
The year 2010 began in horrifying fashion with a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti on January 12 that killed hundreds of thousands of people and left over a million homeless. Deadly quakes also hit China, Indonesia, Chile and Turkey. A typical year sees 16 earthquakes of at least magnitude 7.0. But 2010---one of the most seismically violent in decades---saw 22.
In the United States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (fema) declared more disasters in 2010 than ever---nearly 2½ times the annual average. The "peaceful" years of 23 major disaster declarations in the U.S. look to be over: 2010 saw 81 of them---a major disaster every 4½ days! "The term '100-year event' really lost its meaning this year," said Craig Fugate, head of fema.
A weather system that summer swept through Asia, claiming nearly 17,000 lives with a killer heat wave in Russia and epic flooding in Pakistan. The year ended with eastern Australia drowning under its worst flooding ever (the leading newspaper there called it a biblical disaster), millions fleeing floods and landslides in Colombia and Venezuela, record-breaking winter storms in Europe and North America that left many dead and homeless, and wildfires in Israel that were considered the worst natural disaster in that nations history. The worlds biggest reinsurer, Swiss Re, estimated that worldwide, disasters in 2010 cost three times more than the year before, totaling nearly a quarter trillion dollars!
"This was the year the Earth struck back," wrote the Associated Press. More than a quarter million people perished in nature-related disastersmore lives than terrorism claimed in the previous 40 years combined.
Astoundingly, though, this grisly trend of record-breaking disasters only got worse in 2011! January saw four huge earthquakes, in Argentina, Japan, Pakistan and Chile. Floods in Brazil caused mudslides that left tens of thousands homeless and killed more than 700 people. In February, Queensland, Australia---still shell-shocked from flooding---got walloped by a massive cyclone.
Then on February 22, an exceptionally violent trembler leveled much of Christchurch, New Zealand. Scientists say this severe of a quake strikes an average of once every thousand years. Not even three weeks later, a 9.0 quake hit near Japan, creating a killer tsunami that killed tens of thousands of people and caused a nuclear disaster. The geopolitical effects of that tragedy may change Asia permanently.
In April, more than 600 tornadoes shredded the U.S., shattering the previous April record of 267. Three hundred and twelve of them came in a single 24-hour period, the worst of which was 20 times normal size: It tore a scar one mile wide and a record 300 miles long across Alabama and Georgia. Meanwhile, severe flooding deluged other parts of the country---even as Texas was suffering its worst drought since 1895, creating perfect conditions for thousands of wildfires. Thus, wheat crops withered in Texas while farms drowned in Missouri.
On and on the list goes. "Unprecedented" and "record" disasters are happening at a quickening pace. "History making" events are becoming commonplace!
We need to be concerned!
What is wrong with the weather? You have to have blinders on not to at least be asking the question. Why are these once-in-a-lifetime, where-did-this-come-from, never-before-witnessed calamities piling up on top of one another?
Such catastrophes should in fact challenge our thinking. They force us to contemplate the fragility of man. They demand that we consider some of the deeper questions we can all-too-easily ignore in more prosperous and peaceful times.
Sadly, most people glean no wisdom from such events. Sometimes, moving stories of heroism amid tragedy emerge, and some people use those to exalt the goodness, the supposed righteousness, of human beings. Others simply dig themselves out, curse the random cruelty of nature, and move on. Scientists, for their part, are searching for explanations within the natural world itself, particularly as disasters increase in their frequency and lethality.
Looking for Lessons
One thing that is clear is that never before has there been such potential for human suffering due to climatic disasters. In times past, when severe weather continually affected a particular area of the world, people simply migrated somewhere else. Now, because of fixed borders and population growth, little new land is available. The increasing population density has placed more people at risk when an extreme weather event occurs. Rapid growth in coastal populations puts more people in harms way when hurricanes or tropical storms strike. Swelling numbers of homes and businesses in flood plains increases the risk and frequency of high-cost flooding events.
Take the 2010 Haiti quake. Striking within a few miles of crowded, poverty-stricken Port-au-Prince, it claimed a staggering 320,000 lives. Just 25 years before, the same area housed only a third as many people, in far fewer unstable shanties. Richard Olson, director of disaster risk reduction at Florida International University, told the Associated Press that the same quake in 1985 would have had a death toll closer to 80,000.
Quakes of greater magnitude have hit elsewhere; in fact, the earthquake that rocked Chile the same year was an incredible 500 times stronger than Haitis. But because it struck a less populated, more prosperous and better-constructed area, it killed fewer than a thousand people.
Thus, conclude some, the problem isnt the planet, but the people. Its a form of suicide, isnt it? said Roger Bilham, a geological science professor at the University of Colorado. We build houses that kill ourselves [in earthquakes]. We build houses in flood zones that drown ourselves. Its our fault for not anticipating these things. You know, this is the Earth doing its thing.
Its an interesting pointthough a hard lesson to apply. Its difficult to suggest viable solutions to the poor-quality construction in impoverished regions. And the regions we might label danger zones seem to be proliferating. On top of that, this theory would explain higher death tolls, but it wouldnt explain the increasing volume of catastrophes.
For that, many scientists point to climate change. To account for everything climate-relatedcold fronts, freakish blizzards, flooding rains, hurricanes and a host of other dangersmany of them blame greenhouse gases, injected into the atmosphere via human activity like deforestation and burning of fossil fuels. Thus, the lesson they draw from calamities is that man needs to stop producing carbon dioxide.
There is evidence that smog from industrial activity, smoke from slash-and-burn deforestation in developing countries, widespread replacement of green and open land surfaces by pavement, asphalt and buildings, and the exhaust of jets, cars, trucks, trains and ships have contributed to climatic variation. Other suspected weather-modifying agents include crop irrigation and the creation of man-made lakes. The influence of diverted rivers, dams, drained swamps and underground aquifers may be significant too because of the effect the water-versus-land ratio has on the heat balance. There is abundant evidence that mankind has abused, polluted, tarnished and ruined nearly everything our hands have touched on Earth.
However, it is scientifically impossible to attribute the scale of the increase in dramatic nature-related phenomena to such human endeavors. This is a hot-button issue clouded by politicsand quite a bit of conflicting data. Meteorologists do not know the extent to which climatic changes or variability may be accurately predicted in the long term, nor do they know why major global-impacting weather forces, such as high-altitude jet streams or powerful ocean currents, shift as they do.
Weather experts are only able to rely on scientific observation, experimentation and reasonphysical evidenceto forecast weather in the short term. But this tells only part of the story.
Gods Unlimited Broadcasting Station
There was a time when people, intellectuals even, would look at nature and see God.
I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in, wrote George Washington Carver, the distinguished 20th-century scientist. Ralph Waldo Emerson believed that the glory of the omnipresent God bursts through everywhere in nature.
More and more people today, however, are quite removed from nature. Living in cities and in suburbs, we see nature as Animal Planet, or the dog barking across the street, or the lone tree along the sidewalk that gets in the way. Nature is recreationa grassy field to play on, a lake to stroll by, something beautiful to admire, a place to go for serenity.
We have thus lost sight of the fact that our very existence depends on nature. Take rain. To the average city-dweller, rain has little bearing on day-to-day life; in fact, its often an inconvenience. But to the farmer, rain is life. It nourishes his crops and the pastures on which his herds graze. The farmer sees nature, and all its component parts, for what it ultimately is: the complex, interconnected, vitally important machine that sustains life!
This connection with nature tends to point us back to our worlds masterful Maker.
The earliest chapters of the Bible depict God creating the oceans and landmasses, the atmosphere and weather patterns, the various species of plants and animals, the ecosystemsand the vast host of laws that govern natures successful operation. These chapters describe God constructing the complex machine by which He would sustain mankind.
The Bible teaches that not only is nature the creation of Gods mind, it is, in fact, a vital instrument through which He communicates with us.
This Bookwhich most people have on their bookshelf, but few understandgives us the other side of the picture, which all of the best scientific instruments cannot!
These days, any person bold enough to consider nature Gods unlimited broadcasting station is mocked as a religious crackpot. This is too bad. Because the Bible actually claims to pinpoint the causes of weather cataclysms, and to forecast long-term weather trends!
Could it be that God is indeed employing nature as His unlimited broadcasting station? That He is cursing our weather patterns and increasing the destructiveness of natural circumstances in an attempt to communicate with us? The Bible shows that this is exactly what He is doing. It shows that He is currently delivering a message via nature that we all desperately need to hear and respond to!
The disasters we see increasing are in fact a tool that the Creator of the natural world has reserved for Himself, to use at His pleasurein order to speak with us! After all, we dont tend to listen very well. But severe natural phenomena are impossible to ignore.
Yet for most people, even as our planet is coming apart, the message is still not resonating.
The question is, are you prepared to listen?
Why Does God Allow Suffering?
Natural disasters can create unfathomable suffering. Staring into the faceless brutality of such catastrophes can be deeply shocking and sobering to all of us.
But often, the tragedy in the death and destruction is matched by another tragedyand that is, how ministers respond.
Many times, very prominent priests and theologians will say it is not Gods will that such things happen. Some of them even question the existence of God! That is a tragedy.
After the Asian tsunami in December 2004 that snuffed out more than 225,000 lives, the Sunday Telegraph printed this headline: Archbishop of Canterbury Admits: This Makes Me Doubt the Existence of God. At the time, this man led 70 million Anglicans! And the tsunami diminished his faith.
The article paraphrased the archbishop, Dr. Rowan Williams, as saying, The Asian tsunami disaster should make all Christians question the existence of God (emphasis ours throughout).
That is a terribly false statement! If you understand the truth, such disasters should increase your faithnot decrease it! In this sermon we want to show why such disasters should strengthen everyones belief in God, according to your Bible.
That article said, Prayer, [the archbishop] admits, provides no magical solutions and most of the stock Christian answers to human suffering do not go very far in helping us... with the intolerable grief and devastation in front of us. If thats the way our prayers are, something is wrong. And if these stock answers, as he called them, dont really satisfy anybody, something is wrong. Something is terribly wrong with that religion!
We cannot be careless about something so critical. We are talking about the state of our eternal lives!
In his own article, the archbishop wrote, Every single random, accidental death is something that should upset a faith bound up with comfort and ready answers... The question: How can you believe in a God who permits suffering on this scale? is therefore very much around at the moment, and it would be surprising if it werentindeed, it would be wrong if it werent. That is not the kind of statement that builds peoples faith.
The traditional answers will get us only so far, the archbishop continued. If some religious genius did come up with an explanation of exactly why all these deaths made sense, would we feel happier or safer or more confident in God? Wouldnt we feel something of a chill at the prospect of a God who deliberately plans a program that involves a certain level of casualties?
That is a rather dangerous statement. He is scoffing at the idea that anyone could have an explanation. But Jesus Christ has an explanation! Its there in the Bible. Christ is a religious genius, and He has the answers. Is the archbishop familiar with Matthew 24?
This man is destroying peoples faithexactly the opposite of what a spiritual shepherd is supposed to do for his flock.
Here is how theologian David Hart responded to the same disaster in the Wall Street Journal: When confronted by the sheer savage immensity of worldly sufferingwhen we see the entire littoral rim of the Indian Ocean strewn with tens of thousands of corpses, a third of them childrensno Christian is licensed to utter odious banalities about Gods inscrutable counsels or blasphemous suggestions that all this mysteriously serves Gods good ends. We are permitted only to hate death and waste and the imbecile forces of chance that shatter living souls, to believe that creation is in agony in its bonds, to see this world as divided between two kingdomsknowing all the while that it is only charity that can sustain us against fate, and that must do so until the end of days.
That view is eloquently stated. But it is laced with desperation and hopelessnessand it disagrees with the Bible!
Paul Stenhouse, a Catholic priest, responded to the same event this way: Christianity does not teach that God causes natural disasters; nor does it teach that God causes them in order to punish the wickedness of the victims. This view is unsatisfying because it leaves unanswered an obvious question: Why would God allow disasters? Certainly an all-powerful God could stop them before they happened. Why doesnt He? Could He possibly be that callous to such an incalculable level of human suffering? The natural mind struggles to understand.
Yet the religious elite of the world offer no real explanationand no hope! Are these religious leaders willing to look at the Bible and simply believe God?
The regrettable reality is, most people do not accept the God who reveals Himself in the Holy Bible! They are worshiping a god of their own creation.
Gods Word does explainin explicit detailwhy such events happen. Their causes are spelled out from the first book of the Bible to the last.
How is it that so many people claim to believe in God, yet vehemently dismiss any notion that God has any connection to nature-related disasters?
If you believe in God, what sort of God is He? Are natural disasters beyond His control? Is He unable to prevent them? Or, on the other hand, does He delight in watching people suffer?
Philosophizing and concocting our own ideas to answer these questions will never satisfy. Instead, we must let God speak for Himselfand look to the plain revelation that God provides in His inspired Word!
There is meaning. There is a lesson, a profound lesson, wrapped within the loss of life and breadth of desolation of such eventsone that each of us must consider deeply. The truthcontained within the occasional deadly events unleashed by the natural worldis filled with living hope!
Whose World Is This?
Contrast the reality of disasters and personal suffering you see all around the globe with this prophecy coinciding with the return of Jesus Christ: And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away (Isaiah 35:10). Has that prophecy been fulfilled? The world around us is filled with sorrow and sighing! Clearly, Jesus Christ has not returned, causing such things to flee away. This is only one of many such biblical prophecies describing utopian conditions to prevail on this Earth once Christ comes to establish His rule as King of kings, and Lord of lords. This world is a far cry from experiencing widespread joy and gladness under Gods benevolent government.
Rather, we see what the Apostle Paul described in Galatians 1:4, when he referred to the age in which we live as this present evil world.
This present evil world is not yet Gods world! So thenwhose world is it now?
Ezekiel 28 describes a magnificent archangel, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty (verse 12). Isaiah 14:13 tells us this being called Lucifer tried to exalt his own thronea position of authority over the Earthabove Gods throne. God cast Lucifer, now called Satan (meaning adversary), back down to Earth. Elsewhere, Paul referred to Satan the devil as the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). In Revelation 12:9, the Apostle John says that Satan deceiveth the whole world.
Think about that! The Bible reveals that, at present, this world is ruled not by God, but by a malevolent spirit being who is the source of all evil!
It also reveals how the devil gained control of mankindand why God allows that to this day. This truth has everything to do with Gods purpose for youyour incredible human potential.
This takes us right back to the first book in the Bible.
The Two Trees
Most people are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve but have never understood its true significance. It is not about two fruit treesit is about two ways of life. And what happened in the Garden of Eden has shaped every aspect of mans civilization!
Consider the opportunity the first two human beings had. At the beginning of human existence, God created Adam and Eve at the very pinnacle of the material world. He cast them in His very likeness: Unlike the animals, human beings look like their Maker. God intended that they care for and rule benevolently over the rest of creation (Genesis 1:26-31). He endowed them with intellectual and creative powers, enabling them to grow into Gods own image, or character. Earth was the training ground so that these two, and the family of man that would spring from them, could eventually fulfill their fullest potential as eternal children of God.
True character must be developed through right decisions, so God made Adam and Eve free moral agents. He then gave them a choice. On one hand, they could have followed Gods instructions and chosen the tree of life, which represents Gods Holy Spirit and the path to eternal life. Romans 8:10 even refers to Gods Spirit as life. This spirit-life comes only as a gift from God (Romans 6:23). Had Adam and Eve made that choice, they would have continued to live under Gods protection; they would have developed a relationship with God, learning to think like Him and to live His way of give.
God would have removed Satan from his position of power on the Earth and given that authority to Adam. God wanted to fulfill His purpose in Adam and Eve.
Instead, the first two people trusted in themselves, succumbed to the temptations of Satan the devil, and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which represented Satans way of life. That rebellion, that sin against God, is the origin of all human suffering.
To comprehend the disasters we see ravaging our world today, we must grasp the implications of this fateful moment in human history.
A World Cut Off From God
Genesis 3:16-19 show that because of Adam and Eves decision, God removed His protection and guidance, and pronounced upon them certain curses; then He banished them from the Garden and cut off their access to the tree of life (verses 22-24).
This was not a quick-tempered outburst: God, to preserve the exalted potential of man, had to seal off the tree of life. To bring the first two humans into His eternal Family while they were making choices contrary to His commandmentsopposing His lovewould have produced eternal division and misery. So instead, God took the occasion to teach Adam and Eve, and all those who would follow them, an enormous lesson.
So what God, in essence, told Adam: You have made the decision for yourself and the world that shall spring from you. You have rejected me as the basic source of knowledgeyou have rejected power from me through my Spirit to live the righteous wayyou have rebelled against my command and my governmentyou have chosen the getting, taking way of Satan. Therefore I sentence you and the world you shall beget to 6,000 years of being cut off from access to me and my Spiritexcept for the exceedingly few I shall specially call. And that few shall be called for special service preparatory for the Kingdom of God. They shall be required to do what you have failed to doreject, resist and overcome Satan and his ways, and follow the ways of my spiritual law.
Go, therefore, Adam, and all your progeny that shall form the world, produce your own fund of knowledge. Decide for yourself what is good and what is evil. Produce your own educational systems and means of disseminating knowledge, as your god Satan shall mislead you. Form your own concepts of what is god, your own religions, your own governments, your own lifestyles and forms of society and civilization. In all this Satan will deceive your world with his attitude of self-centerednesswith vanity, lust and greed, jealousy and envy, competition and strife and violence and wars, rebellion against me and my law of love.
After the world of your descendants has written the lesson in 6,000 years of human suffering, anguish, frustration, defeat and deathafter the world that shall spring from you shall have been brought to confess the utter hopelessness of the way of life you have chosenI will supernaturally intervene.... During this 6,000 years, when I myself shall cut them off from me, they shall not be eternally judged. Only, as they sow during their lifetimes, they shall reap
Realize this: Every aspect of our society has been affected because Adam and Eve defied their Creator! This fatal choice at the beginning of human history made necessary the writing of that lesson in human suffering: the 6,000-year period of which mankind is now nearing the end. This great epoch during which man has been essentially cut off from direct contact with God is almost over. Soon God will remove Satan from the scene and open the human mind to receive the wonderful truth about humankinds incredible potential. But not before man learns some powerful lessons.
We referred to this difficult 6,000-year lesson man is recording by his own experience as aversion therapy. Some clinics still employ this method to help people overcome addictions. If a person is an alcoholic, for instance, he would be forced to drink alcohol until it made him so sick that he would never want another drink!
In a sense, that is what God is doing with this world. Though He is not forcing us to go the way of Satan, He certainly is permitting us to fill our minds full of Satans way of life. God is allowing it to bring us to the point where we will absolutely loathe and abhor this present evil world. He is allowing man to go his own way so we might see the fruits of living contrary to Gods law of love.
In 1982, in a sermon titled Aversion Therapy, which was referring to this time where God has largely kept His hands off the affairs of this world. He said, I am getting so sick of sin that I want to be at the place where I cant sin anymore. I hope you do, too. This is the state God wants the entire world to reacha state where we are ready to live His way of life!
Right now, all of mankind remains under the malicious influence of the devil. People continue to choose the wrong tree and reap the same results with every new generation. Swayed by Satan, without God in our life, each of us is hostile toward God, even if only passively and unwittingly (Romans 8:7-8). We are carnal. Naturally, we hate Gods law.
In order to restore to us the exalted human potential that our first parents turned their backs on, God seeks to convert the heart of every carnal person in the worldto help us recognize the error in going the wrong way, and to instill in us a deep love for Gods way of life. As the Apostle Peter explained, The Lord is ... not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). That is a tremendous ambition, given the mountainous obstacle that each heart presents. God is not doing this on a mass scale today, but His overarching plan, once fulfilled, does include everyone willing to come to repentance.
True repentance bridges the gap between an individual and God. Thus, the very first step toward real and everlasting happiness is a genuine, deep, complete repentance.
To recognize our own helplessness, unhappiness and inadequacy apart from God is the most fundamental lesson any of us can learn.
Whenever God begins working with someone, He begins by humbling that individual. As it says in Proverbs 15:33, The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. God wants to give each of us phenomenal honorbut the humility, rooted in a deep respect for the Creator, must come first.
The curses God imposed upon Adam and his seed were intended to teach this lesson. The suffering that saturates this present world, cut off from God, is intended to teach this lesson.
This returns us to the matter of nature-related disasters.
The Weather Is No Accident!
The Bible reveals that God has set spiritual and physical laws in motion, and that He is presently allowing humans to develop their own ways of livingcontrary to His lawsand to reap the natural consequences that result from those ways, including weather upsets. To be sure, some of the suffering we experience today is our simply reaping the results of our own mistakes, mismanagement and sin.
God has given to us liberally manifold physical blessings. Yet, we have raped our environment through godless monoculture on a massive scale, poisoned our food and water with body- and mind-destroying chemicals, polluted our air and created a huge high-cost medical-pharmaceutical-hospital industry to busily try to treat the massive life-destroying sicknesses and diseases of mind and body that our so-called culture has generated!
The Bible also shows that God, in His great purpose, permits Satan the devilthe current (and temporary) unseen ruler of this worldto interfere with its weather patterns and to have a role in producing catastrophic weather, for mans ultimate learning (see, for example, Job 1).
But there is an even more important dimension to recognize, revealed by Scripture. It shows that, even during this 6,000 years of mankind, in general, being cut off from its Creator, God is still actively involved in events in order to ensure that they unfold according to His ultimate purposes!
The God of the Bible claims that He controls the weather and natural phenomena! He says He causes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. He sends the snow and ice as well as drought and heat.
The author of Psalm 148 understood Gods power over the elements. He wrote in verse 8 about Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word.
Considering how dependant we are on favorable natural conditions, this is certainly a way that the Power who can create such conditions can demonstrate His benevolence and favor to us. In fact, Scripture is full of promises from God to bless people with good climatic conditions. Open the Book and read them for yourself! In Leviticus 26:4-5, for example, He promises a mild climate, seasonal rain and bumper crops. In Deuteronomy 28:11-12 He makes similar promises.
Incidentally, these two chapters, Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, are the pivot points on which all Old Testament prophecies turn. Anciently, God made these conditional promises to the people of Israel. When the Israelites turned from God in rebellion, God sent prophets to warn them of the consequences for disobedience: curses and captivity. This is the context we need in order to grasp what is recorded in the writings of the major and minor prophets.
The thing is, many of these ancient prophetic warnings were written and recorded after the Israelites had already been taken captive as slaves. Daniel, for instance, wrote his book after the people of both Israel and Judah had been uprooted from their homeland and carted off as slaves. There is no way he could have delivered his message to captive slaves. Besides that, he wrote at the end of his own book that he himself did not understand the prophecies he received, and that the message was closed up and sealed till the time of the end (Daniel 12:9).
God told the Prophet Ezekiel to deliver his message to the house of Israel. Yet Ezekiel wrote his book a full 130 years after Israel had been overrun by Gentiles! By the time of Ezekiels ministry, Israel had been lost from world view!
So who are these messages for primarily, if not ancient Israel?
We know they are for the end time. We also know they are addressed to a people called Israel. And so all that remains to be discovered, then, is the identity of ancient Israels modern descendants. That means this message in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 is directed primarily to our Christian/Jewish peoples.
Look at those promises again! Rain in due season, weather favorable for abundant crops and so on. Looking at our simultaneously parched and flooded lands, seeing our battered farms and wasted crops, shouldnt we be asking, Where is this God?
God has as much control over natural phenomena today as He did then. In His omnipotence He can stop the elemental forces that so often wreak havoc in our modern world; after all, Jesus Christ stilled a storm with just a few words (Mark 4:39).
But notice again the context of those promises. They come with a condition: If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them (Leviticus 26:3).
Ah! This begins to reveal the crucial dimension in this issue that so many people want to ignore.
Why God Brings Rain
Obedience to God is prerequisite to receiving the blessings of favorable weather and environmental conditions, according to passages like Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. On the other hand, disobey God, and, He says, I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits (Leviticus 26:19-20).
Job 38:28 reveals God as the father of rain. He is able to command storm clouds to serve His purposes: Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy (Job 37:11-13).
Yes, sometimes God bathes the earth with gentle rain to show His loving concern and mercyand other times God uses the weather to correct people!
Do you believe in that God?
King Solomon knew this truth: When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them; then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants ... (2 Chronicles 6:26).
Continuing with the conditional promises of these pivotal prophecies, God says in Leviticus 26:14, But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandmentsif we dont obey God, it says, then He will bring upon us ever intensifying curses, the likes of which this world has never seen! (verses 16-25).
The God of the Bible is not impotent. He wields the punitive sword of flood and mildewand also that of drought (Deuteronomy 28:22; 11:17). Sometimes He uses both at the same time in order to heighten their corrective power: And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered (Amos 4:7). Noticethis is God talking through His Prophet Amos. God causes these weather disasters! In one region God sends a droughtin another region, floodsand it all happens right before harvest time. And why? God causes it because we havent returned to Him (verse 8). Amos is trying to help us see the connection between extreme weather upsets and human sin.
In verse 9, God says, I have smitten you with blasting and mildew .... The International Critical Commentary (icc) says this blasting refers to a scorching east wind. Most commentaries say this is a hot blast of drought that wipes out crops, but the fact that the word is paired with mildew (as in Deuteronomy 28:22) might give this verse a broader application. The icc says this mildew is caused by dampness and heat, having a yellow appearance. This certainly could describe the aftermath of the summer hurricanes that lash Americas coastlines.
Realize: The book of Amos is another message directed at Israel in this end time (Amos 8:2).
The book of Nahum is another end-time book, although its message is primarily directed at the modern-day descendants of ancient Assyria. Even still, the prophet begins by drawing attention to the command God has over disastrous weather. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet (Nahum 1:3). In todays language, this is speaking of hurricanes and tornadoes. Again, just as in Amos, it says God sends stormsand these storms result in flooding and destruction.
He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth (verse 4). Anciently, Bashan, Carmel and Lebanon possessed some of the most fertile farmland in the world. But God dried the rivers with droughts, and all the abundance of those regions just withered away.
God wants this world to learn that He controls nature. Many so-called natural disasters are anything but natural! Soon, arrogant men will learn this lesson very deeply.
God controls the weather. And in these many biblical passages, He reveals that there is a direct connection between the weather we experience and how we are living.
Apparently, most people simply do not believe these scriptures. Many believe in a God of love who would never do anything as horrible as those prophecies suggest.
Those who believe such a thing, however, fail to recognize an extremely important aspect of this issue.
Yes, God is all-powerful. Yes, He could prevent disasters if He chose to. Yes, at times God actually causes those disasters! And yes, the occurrence of natural disasters does reflect a side of Gods character that many people dont want to face.
But no, no, no a thousand times to the notion that God is a cruel, merciless being who enjoys witnessing the suffering of human beings!
We must humble ourselves enough to appreciate the full, awesome biblical revelation on this crucial point!
An Expression of Love
Almighty God tells us that the real cause of our upset natural conditions involves sinwhich is the breaking of His laws (see 1 John 3:4). God uses weather to correct and discipline His creationto help us realize the error in our ways!
Almighty God created humankind, and thus knows human nature. He also well knows the powerful, malevolent forces at work that seek to deny man the fulfillment of his incredible human potential!
As our heavenly Father, God knows how to deal with His children!
He inspired one of the basic laws of effective child rearing to be embedded in Scripture: The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame (Proverbs 29:15). That same principle applies to the way our Creator deals with His offspring (Genesis 1:27) when we go astray. Surely we can comprehend that God, the One who formed man of the dust of the ground, knows best how to get mans attention! That is Gods desire for mankind in this end time.
God declares that we are like sheep that have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). Out of an overwhelming love for us, the Eternal God reproves those who break His law. Much of that punishment comes in the form of so-called natural catastrophes. God will continue to bring such penalties on His people to draw their attention to the reality that they are out of step with His will. And He will do this until repentance occurs and they turn to Him for help.
According to the Bible, nature provides a means of measuring whether or not God is pleased with us!
Why calamities? To gain peoples attentionthat they might question whether their own selfish way of life may be the reason for such catastrophes befalling them, and that they might be motivated to take the action that will actually save their life and the life of their loved ones from further calamity!
Are natural disasters Gods will? Well, that depends on how you look at it. It isnt His will that people have to suffer like thatbut if they reject His message or turn away from Him, then thats another matter. Then He wants to correct them so He can bring them into His Family for all eternity.
God hates to see suffering! What parent actually enjoys administering punishment to a child, necessary though it is at times? In all this, the great mercy of an all-wise and all-loving God is summed up in His plea to His people: Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11; see also Ezekiel 18:32).
God takes no pleasure in seeing people die! He wants us to turn to Him in obedience with our whole hearts so we dont have to suffer and die.
These intensifying disasters are not Gods fault. They are our fault. National tragedies are upon us, and will increase a hundredfold because of our disobedience to Gods law and our rebellion against His authority.
The essential truth of the Bible is that God is deeply concerned about helping human beings overcome sin, and the ways that lead to unhappiness, misery, strife and suffering. This world has chosen to reject His authority. And now Godlike any parent who loves a child that is rebellingis correcting us in order to bring us back to Him!
The Bible is clear that Gods judgment and Gods correction are expressions of Gods love!
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote, For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth (Hebrews 12:6). Jesus Christ Himself says, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent (Revelation 3:19).
How well do you know this God?
While in the flesh, Jesus flipped over tables in order to drive out mercenaries who were polluting His Fathers house. He gave stern tongue-lashings to unrepentant people. He rebuked and chastened. He demanded repentancenot because He hated people, but because He loved them.
To the Phariseeswhom He unceremoniously called hypocrites, serpents and vipersHe said, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate (Matthew 23:37-38). Their severe punishment was necessitated by their rebellion against Gods messengers, their rejection of Gods love.
If we understand the beautiful purpose of Gods law, then the application of rebuke and chastening for disobedience makes perfect sense. God always aims it at redirecting our errant steps in order to guide us back onto the path of lawkeeping that results in blessings. Yes, God gets angrybut He remains controlled and never punishes beyond what is deserved. Gods anger is not contrary to His love, but a product of it.
Notice how Christ concluded His correction in that passage with hope: For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord (verse 39). Yes, once those murderersbrought back to life in a resurrectionhumble themselves and accept Gods messengers, then even they will see Christ again!
The God of Judgment
It seems that whenever a major disaster hits, there are those eager to roundly condemn anyone who would deign to suggest that the disaster was part of Gods warning that judgment is coming. Bringing a God of judgment into the picture is widely viewed as self-righteous, sanctimonious, even blasphemous.
But do those who would so quickly dismiss such a suggestion know the God of the Bible? The God who blesses for obedience and punishes for disobedience?
Obviously, to families mourning the loss of loved ones, to communities that have been demolished, it does little good to offer platitudes and bromides. Understandably in such bleak circumstances, the cliché that God loves you is difficult to swallow.
But can we recognize the love in Gods correction?
It is true that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). But just what is that love? It is Gods giving way of life, manifested, for example, in God giving His only begotten Son to the world (John 3:16). That love is defined by and expressed in Gods commandments: For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments ... (1 John 5:3).
Doesnt God love us? is perhaps a common question after a disaster. But shouldnt we ask the more piercing question: Is it possible that we dont love God? Might that be the problem?
Something is deeply flawed with the notion that no matter how much evil is perpetrated, no matter what we do, God is obligated to shower only blessings upon us. Ponder these profound words of the Prophet Malachi: Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment? (Malachi 2:17).
Do we know this God? Do we really have the proper fear of God? Are we willing to accept this plain truth from the Bible?
Remember, Scripture plainly speaks of a natural disaster of unparalleled proportionsexponentially more destructive than any we have seen recentlythat demolished entire villages and cities filled with peopleall over the Earth! Read it yourself in Genesis 7. The Flood came by the hand of God and wiped out every inhabitant of the Earth, save only eight peopleNoah and his family.
Is the Bible your authority?
When He has to, God does bring evil upon people. In the book of Daniel, which is for the end time (Daniel 12:4, 9), the prophet said, [A]ll this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice (Daniel 9:13-14). God allows evil, and sometimes He brings it upon us. But why? That we might turn from our lawlessness!
Repeatedly Scripture describes Gods judgment on the nations and on His own people. Read of the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19. Read Gods judgment against Egypt in Exodus 12:29-30, and against Israel in Amos 4:10.
Should we be so shocked when we see such calamities today? To say that God would never cause such sufferingthat it could not be His willis to admit frankly that we dont know God.
Why Do Some Die and Not Others?
However, this raises an important question.
Considering that natural disasters are correction from God, why then do they seem so random, so arbitrary, in their violence and savagery? An entire family is wiped out in a tsunamiexcept for a now-orphaned little girl. A tornado completely levels a townexcept for a lone home left standing on its outskirts.
Do those who suffer from or die within such disasters deserve their fate more than those who survive? At times, such events seem practically to beg the question.
Did you realize that this crucial question was actually posed to Jesus Christ Himself?
His answer dispels a misconception that can easily surface when we contemplate these vital issues.
Some people from Galilee had been killed by Pilate in an especially gruesome manner. A few of Jesuss followers told Him about the incident, clearly troubled by the issue of whether or not, by reason of their sin, they had deserved their fate. Were they evil? Was God exacting vengeance on them?
Here is what Christ told them: Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish (Luke 13:2-3).
Christ followed up with an example that expanded the discussion. Eighteen people had been crushed by the collapse of a toweran accidental and tragic death. They too bore no particular guilt above anyone else around them who was spared. But again Jesus followed up with the statement: [T]hink ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish (verses 4-5).
Jesus Christ knew that these men werent killed for their unrighteousness. Ecclesiastes 9:11 tells us that time and chance happen to all in this world.
This is a deeply important truth to recognize. No one can impute wickedness on the people who die in an accident or natural disaster. Their deaths offer no proof of their being any more sinful than those who surviveor anyone else in the world. Romans 3:23 explains that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
But still: Could those 18 have been protected from the tower in Siloam?
Jesuss answer was yes. And He said the key for such protection is repentance!
Christ was saying that the disasters that befall others should serve as a warning to usthat we will be subject to the same fate unless we repent of our sins! God protects those who repent and turn to Him in obedience.
God Seeks Repentance
Think seriously about Christs strong warning to the Jews in that passage. God was telling them that they must repentor the whole Jewish nation would die in the same violent way! That is precisely what happened to the Jewish nation in a.d. 70! Only Gods loyal remnant escaped to Pella. They were the only ones who heeded Christs warning!
Here is what makes this so relevant to us today. What happened to the Jewish nation is only a type of what is to happen to Israel in this end timemainly the Christian/Jewish peoples. Jewish historian Josephus recorded that many catastrophes were rapidly intensifying in the period before the Jewish nation was destroyed in a.d. 70. Today, we see the same scenario in end-time Israel. Horrifying events are becoming common for us today. It is all leading to the total destruction of our nations! These disasters are the strongest kind of warning from God.
Yet tragically, the nations of Israel and the rest of the world are beyond the point of repentance.
Biblical prophecy shows that this world absolutely will become a victim of the very worst of the disasters it describes!
Howeverjust as in Noahs day, in a time of universal sin that would culminate in universal destructionGod does offer protection for those individuals, few though they may be, who turn to Him in repentance and obedience!
This is an iron-clad promise from your Bible!
Sidebar: God on Death
To understand how correction through calamity can actually be an expression of love, one must have Gods perspective on human life. Human death means nothing to God except a temporary sleep (1 Corinthians 15:51-55) because He is able to resurrect humans from the grave!
One of the greatest, most hope-filled truths in Scripture is that of the resurrection of the dead. Hebrews 6:1-2 list the resurrection as being one of the foundational doctrines of your Bible. Scripture actually refers to three separate resurrections, each serving a unique purpose . In Gods immense wisdom and mercy, every individual who has ever lived will be given one genuine chance to choose eternal life or eternal death. The vast majority in this Satan-gripped world have not yet been given that choice and are not yet judged (Hebrews 9:27).
Those who die in disasters on this Earth will be raised again! God has promised it! That is a message of hope. Those who grieve for their loved ones need to understand this. Those now dead will be resurrected in a future utopian world, ruled by Godone far kinder than the world fraught with nightmares that we now inhabit. At that time they will receive, for the first time, the opportunity to understand Gods precious truth and apply it in their lives.
Gods perspective is very different from ours. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). It is not cruelty that leads Him to correcteven to allow some to die. It is rather His lightning-bolt message to those still livingthe Creators call to repentance.
Are You Ready for the End of the World as we know it?
In the last 100 years, life in the First World has gotten a whole lot easier. Weve built an impressive infrastructure to mass-produce and distribute food, water, electricity and anything else we can dream up.
In the process, we have become extraordinarily dependent on the grid. Every aspect of modern life hinges on the smooth-flowing, uninterrupted operation of a number of intricate and interrelated systems.
This labyrinthine complexity makes our high-tech civilization extremely vulnerable to disruption.
A multitude of unfavorable factors is hurting global food production. In the global grain-growing industry, land devoted to cultivating wheat and barley has been declining for a generation. Demand is rapidly overtaking supply in our grain markets. Adverse weather conditions have destroyed farms; outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and bluetongue virus have hit prime breeding stock for the meat and dairy industries.
To add to the emerging global agricultural crisis, food aid to less-developed nations is being curtailed. Its not only donor fatigue that is harming the world food aid effort; its the failure of those nations that have given the most aid in the past to maintain their usual production levels.
Right now, most of our planets arable land is already under production, and 35 percent of that land is seriously degraded because of the intensive chemically based farming practices in widespread use since World War II. Add to this the increasing dependence of the agriculture industry on hybrid varieties that have no capacity to replenish themselves (thanks to the rapacious designs of corporate entities like Monsanto Chemicals) plus the continuing escalation of energy prices, and you have a recipe for agricultural disaster.
And now, as a result of ignorance and greed practiced by our agriculture industries over the past two or three generations, crops are failing, reserve stocks are shrinking, and prices are rising worldwide. Add to this the increasing flight from the dollar, with China potentially cashing in U.S. bonds; oil contracts, traditionally carried out in dollars, now increasingly being written in euros, rubles and yenand the inescapable reality becomes clear. The worlds systems of agriculture and commerce stand on the brink of disaster.
What would you eat if the grocery stores and restaurants were empty? Today, less than 2 percent of the First World population is feeding the other 98 percent. Most of us get our food from hundreds or thousands of miles away, and have only about a weeks worth of groceries in the pantry.
What would you do if your town lost power? In most places, drinking water would soon dry up; plumbing would stop. Sanitation would quickly deteriorate, particularly within cities. Communications would fail; phone systems would shut down within a week.
Considering the number and variety of possible events that could create such conditions, it would be irrational to ignore their likelihood. And the probability of several of them happening is high and growing. Weather disasters, earthquakes or other natural phenomena destroying infrastructure or wiping out food production. Deepening economic depression. A collapse in the value of money, through deflation, hyperinflation, or monetary manipulation. A disease pandemic. An energy embargo. Terrorist strikes or an attack by another country. The unleashing of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
Most of us simply dont seriously consider such scenarios. We enjoy them for summer popcorn movie farethen continue to depend on the grid as if it will keep clicking in well-oiled perfection forever. But is that realistic? Not even a little bit.
Brace Yourself for the modern Survivalist movement
A growing number of people are concerned. A swelling minority are proactively bracing for the worst. They recognize the signs, and believe their best defense is physical preparedness.
Popular survivalist expert James Wesley Rawles, a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer, advocates creating a survival retreat at least 300 miles from the nearest city. In his books and on his website, he gives detailed information on increasing your self-sufficiency in matters such as water retrieval and purification, food production and storage, security and self-defense and so onin anticipation of what he calls teotwawki: the end of the world as we know it.
To give a colorful single example, in assembling first-aid/minor surgery supplies for your retreat, Rawles advises,
[C]onsider your neighborhood going for many months without power, extensive use of open flames, and sentries standing picket shifts exposed to the elements. Then consider axes, chain saws, and tractors being wielded by newbies, and a greater likelihood of gunshot wounds. With all of this, add the possibility of no access to doctors or high-tech medical diagnostic equipment (How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It).
Survivalist thinking is often associated with paramilitary activities, racism and religious extremism. But as global stability deteriorates and threats to civilization increase, it is becoming more mainstream. For his part, Rawles is avowedly anti-racist, and apparently moderate in his religion. He emphasizes preparing in a way that enables a person to fulfill the moral imperative of charity, giving to the needy in times of crisis.
There is something to be admired in the clear-eyed pragmatism of those taking steps to face calamity. Unlike the far more common head-in-the-sand approach, it acknowledges the seriousness of the times, and recognizes the need to do somethingto work while it is day, since the night is coming.
Take Heed to Yourselves
For the greater part of the 20th century and now into the 21st, the people have been warned of the very state that the worldin particular the English-speaking nationshas now entered intoits later than you think!
Yes, time is running out on us, fast, and were too sound asleep in deception to realize it!
Our peoples will continue only a few more years in comparative economic prosperity. This very prosperity is our fatal curse! Because our people are setting their hearts on it, seeking ease and leisure, becoming soft and decadent and weak!
Were going the way of ancient Rometo a greater fall, because were bigger and more prosperous, and have farther to fall!
Then, suddenly, before we realize it, well find ourselves in the throes of famine, and uncontrollable epidemics of disease. Already were in the beginning of a terrible famine and we dont know ita famine of needed minerals and vitamins in our foods. Our peoples have ignored Gods agricultural laws. Not all the land has been permitted to rest every seventh year. The land has been overworked. Today, the soil is worn out. And food factories, in the interest of larger profits, are removing much of what minerals and vitamins remainwhile a new profit-making vitamin industry deludes the people into believing they can obtain these precious elements from pills and capsules purchased in drug stores and health food stores!
Watching global conditions, the Bibles detailed descriptions of great tribulation to befall the world just before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ are unmistakably increasing in relevance and urgency. In fact, the disasters for which some few are bracing themselves arent just likely scenarios based on current trendsthey are specifically prophesied in Scripture to claim the lives of an enormous number of people in the developed world and beyond.
We need to condition our minds for catastrophes, because they are coming.
Often, meteorologists will issue early-warning calls for action in anticipation of major disasters like hurricanes. In severe cases, people are instructed to evacuate the area in order to protect themselves from the death and destruction hurtling toward them.
And in every case, there are some people who dismiss or defy the warnings and refuse to budge.
Perhaps there are many reasons for that seemingly illogical behavior. But the fact is, there is a strong tendency in human naturecommon to all of usthat makes us want to pretend that if we just keep doing what we are doing, everything will turn out just fine in the end.
All humans have the proclivity to ignore terror!
It is because of this human tendency that Jesus Christ warned, [T]ake heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that daythat is, the period of destruction just ahead of uscome upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth (Luke 21:34-35).
Heeding this warning will ensure that day wont come on us unawares. Christ definitely advocated preparedness.
Does that mean we should stock up a survivalist bunker in the wilds, in hopes of riding out an end of the world scenario?
Is that why Jesus gave us this prophecy? Is that why He warned in advance of the terrifying and tumultuous events that are beginning to unfold in this modern age? So we could invest our time, treasure, energy and hearts into stockpiling food and ammunition within physical fortresses?
The Right Kind of Preparation
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, Christ instructed. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:19-21).
In this and several other passages, the preparedness Christ urged was spiritual.
Gods challenge with each one of us is to teach us to put our trust and confidence in Him rather than in ourselves or any other human being (e.g. Psalm 118:8; Jeremiah 17:5-7). He supernaturally fed the Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness to teach them faiththat man doesnt live by bread alone, but by every word of God (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Jesus supported this principle. He taught that we should pray each day for our daily bread, and warned against faithless anxiety and fretting over tomorrows problems (Matthew 6:11, 25, 31-34). He was not an advocate of hoarding food. For whosoever will save his life [or seek to maintain his physical life at all costs] shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it, He said (Luke 9:24).
God actually wants us to recognize and overcome our tendency to trust ourselves. He is measuring the coming destruction of America and other nations because of our sin, our faithlessness, our self-reliance, our ignorance of Him and our belittling of His power. And if you understand the Bibles prophecies about the severity of that destructionwhich you can read more about in the next chapter of this sermon you realize that no private bunker will be safe for long. No one is going to escape the coming tribulationdescending on America and other nations because of Gods wraththrough survivalist moxie.
Those who plan to weather the coming storms through their own foresight and ingenuity are underestimating the savageness of the time ahead. More importantly, they are misplacing their faith.
In a 1966 article called Dont Store Up Large Quantities of Food, we read, Do not spend extra money on foodstuffs above your normal supplies and perhaps some few staples which could carry you through a temporary food shortage on a vastly curtailed and reduced diet, in a severe and temporary emergency, for only a few WEEKS! ... If you ever store more food than the normal laying up in summer for winteryoure hoarding, and God Almighty may well withdraw His protection from you!
The fact is, until man gets it right with his Maker, the troubling signs that we see impacting humanity more and more week by week will only accelerate into untold disaster of global proportions. Biblical prophecy guarantees that! And that word is much more sure than the word of any human expert or commentator!
Very soon, we will desperately need Gods protection! Can you guarantee that you will have it?
How to Be Protected
There was a very sinful metropolis in the ancient world that did find a way to protect itself from Gods wrath. Note this remarkable example.
When Jonah came with Gods warning, Nineveh was just 40 days away from total destruction (Jonah 3:4). Just this one time in biblical history, an entire citys inhabitants, under the direction of their leaders, humbled themselves in sackcloth and ashes, fasted before God, and truly repented. The city was spared the horrible fate it had been warned about. This wasand remains to this daythe only time in history that a Gentile city repented before God.
What an example of hope it left for our time today. What beautiful results the warning God sent had in Nineveh. The nations of the world today are in the same situation that the city of Nineveh was in nearly 2,800 years agofilled with sin and on the brink of destruction. The warning is being delivered. But the world has, unhappily, become so immoral that it has gone beyond the possibility of turning away from its present course of destruction!
But what about you?
While the Bible gives only one example like that of Nineveh, it is filled with examples of individual repentance and individual protection. If we repent, God can protect us just as surely as He protected Daniel from the jaws of the lions. Not one hair was singed when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were cast into the fiery furnace. The ancient prophets survived multiple disasters and intense persecution. Gods true Church received divine protection throughout the centuries, when His people remained faithful to Him. God can bless us and be a shield in our individual lives just as He was for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and so many others.
The Apostle Peter wrote that the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment (2 Peter 2:9; Revised Standard Version). This lesson permeates the Bible: God protects righteous, obedient people who seek His protection!
Finding a safe place to escape to today may seem impossible. But this is a matter of faith in Gods Wordfaith in the sure promises of God. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways (Psalm 91:9-11).
Consider the previous worldwide cataclysmthe largest flood in history. Surely with floodwaters covering even the tallest mountains on the planet, nobody would be safe! But God gave Noah advance warning, as well as explicit instructions on how to be protected: by building an ark. Noah believed Godhe had faith in Gods word. There was no physical evidence that what God warned of would come to pass; Noah simply had to believe. And then he had to act on that faith, obediently and precisely following Gods instructions.
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith (Hebrews 11:7).
The same is true today. God has given us explicit warnings of the coming destruction. And He has also given us promises that we can be protected from itand instructions on how to be protected!
Will you believe God?
Seek God While He May Be Found
God is trumpeting His end-time warning message to this world through this Work, literally fulfilling His prophecy in Isaiah 58:1: Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
God is going to bring us to repentance through words, or through mind-numbing disasters! This is a warning of hope! If you heed Gods words and turn to God now, you will receive relief from His curses. He will forgive upon repentance and show you how to fill your life with blessings! Why let pride keep you from responding?
When trouble comes, some will finally cry out to God for His intervention in their lives. But physically, they may be too late! We must seek God while he may be found (Isaiah 55:6). We must heed Gods warning before time runs out! At some pointa time when the world is saying peace and safetysudden destruction will come (1 Thessalonians 5:3). We need to take action while the warning is still going out, not when calamity is already here! God promises to protect each person who repents. Why wait until the Great Tribulation to respond?
Our continuing prayer will be for Almighty God to have mercy on those who cry out for understanding as to the reasons for the devastation that is increasingly afflicting our nations.
Amid every disaster, you see stories of people who are spared, sometimes in very unusual ways. Undoubtedly many of these occur according to simple time and chance. But you can know you will be spared in the terrible times ahead! God has promised protection for those who hear His warning and turn to Him in repentance. Then, we can claim Gods absolute promise in Psalm 91:7 that [a] thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
Are you ready for the end of this current world age? You need to start preparing by repenting before God. Above all, God seeks repentance. And to those who turn to Him with supple hearts, He offers individual protectionescapefrom the worst of the coming storms (e.g. Luke 21:36). That is the only sure place to invest our faith. If ever there was a need for you to seek and find refuge in God, surely it is now.
An End to All Natural Disasters!
You know its bad when leading voices start using biblical language. msnbc called it an Armageddon-like atmosphere. The governor of Arkansas said it was actually equivalent to Armageddonthat it was apocalyptic in nature. Dozens of media outlets said it was a disaster of biblical proportions.
Not that you can fault them for making such comparisons. Hurricane Katrina was, after all, Americas worst weather-related disaster ever. But such comparisons, while understandable in the midst of a human tragedy of such magnitude, nevertheless revealed a certain degree of biblical ignorance.
Armageddon is a Hebrew word mentioned just once in the Bible (Revelation 16:16). It means fortified hill of Megiddo. It is just a place on Earth, located about 70 miles northwest of Jerusalem. It does happen to be the staging ground for multiple-million-man armies to gather together before triggering the war to end all warsagainst Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. But the Bible refers to that as the battle of that great day of God AlmightyAt the valley of Har Mageddo (see verse 14). If, by using the term Armageddon, commentators mean to equate some natural disaster to the final climactic battle of the agesof mankind against Christthen it is actually a huge exaggeration.
The flood following that end-of-the-world battle will overflow from Har Mageddo out and into Jerusalems Kidron Valley, filling a ravine stretching across Israel for 180 miles (Revelation 14:20). Picture a 6-foot flood flowing through all of New Orleans, then east along Interstate 10 where the eyewall of Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, blanketing Gulfport, Biloxi and Mobileeven reaching the western edge of the Florida panhandle. And, like New Orleans after Katrina in 2005, this prophesied flood will also be a toxic dump of human waste, animal carcasses and man-made pollutants. There is, however, one key differencethis prophesied flood wont be one of water breaking through crumbling leveesbut of blood flowing out of millions of slain soldiers.
Calling nature-caused destruction an apocalypse is another odd comparison, technically speaking. Apocalypse is a Greek word that means revelation or disclosure. According to Websters Dictionary, revelation means something that is revealed by God to humans. Surely that isnt the idea news commentators mean to communicate when using the word. There is, however, a book in the Bible called the Apocalypse in Greek manuscriptsor, as it is translated in English, the book of Revelation. And because of certain dire prophecies recorded in that book, its Greek name has become a euphemism for tragic events.
Its not that there is anything wrong with journalists and politicians using terms like Armageddon and apocalypse to describe such catastrophes. Surely the times warrant more such comparisons! But why not take it a step further and actually open the Bible to see what it has to say about our increasingly frequent and intensifying natural disasters?
We live in perilous times! It is not enough to merely refer to Gods Wordor to compare tragic events with those described in the Bible. We must look into the Bible and accept what God says!
What Jesus Prophesied
In Matthew 24, Jesus Christ was asked by His disciples about what signs would precede His Second Coming and the end of this present world. He responded with the pivotal prophecy of His earthly ministry: the Olivet prophecy. Every end-time Bible prophecy revolves around it. A red-letter Bible shows that these are all Christs own words.
Christ spoke about the end timethe time we live in right now. In verse 14, He gave us the major sign of His return: the gospel being preached around the world. If you know the history of Gods Church, you know this has happened. In verses 21-22, Christ said there is a time coming when no flesh would be saved alive if He didnt return and prevent it! We must realize that in todays age of weapons of mass destruction, this is a very realistic scenario. This is speaking of World War IIIa 3½-year bloodbath that will culminate in the battle of that great day of God Almighty. These are obviously end-time prophecies.
But before all thisbefore the battle of mankind against Christbefore the European beast power and the Asiatic kings of the east square offbefore Europe destroys the nations of Israelbefore Europe surrounds Jerusalem with armiesbefore the European Union comes against the Islamic king of the south like a whirlwindbefore Arabs capture East Jerusalemjust before all of this happens, Jesus prophesied of specific signs we should watch for!
Notice verses 4-5: And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I [Christ] am Christ; and shall deceive many.
This is the first warning Christ gaveit is the major warning sign we need to look out for. He warned that people would come in Christs name, but they wouldnt believe Christs message. And He said that these false ministers would deceive many!
The faithless approach that most religious leaders take in responding to natural disasters is certainly a fulfillment of that prophecy!
Christ continued by giving another important sign of the end time: weather patterns and other natural phenomena taking a violent turn for the worse! And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars ...For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in [different] places (verses 6-7). Notice, in addition to the wars and rumours of warssurely an apt description of the current state of international relationsJesus told His disciples that His return would be preceded by an uptick in natural disasters. Lukes account of the same prophecy reads, And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven (Luke 21:11).
In fact, Christ stated specifically that before His return there would be earthquakes in different places. It is true that there have always been earthquakes. But for Christ to give this as a sign of the imminence of His return tells you that we should watch for and expect a change from the norma notable, measurable increase in the frequency and ferocity of quakes, and perhaps their occurring in unexpected places. What a mistake it would be, then, to dismiss the fact that this is exactly what we are seeing today!
Notice also, Jesus told His disciples that faminea shortage of food and waterand then pestilences, or disease epidemics, would accompany these natural disasters.
The word famines needs to be examined in the context of not only the wars mentioned herewhich do tend to produce faminesbut also the natural disasters that are mentioned! Droughts and floods on the scale we are beginning to see today have a tremendous impact on food production! The Greek word for famines can mean a scarcity of harvest. And we are seeing that in the news all the time!
Christs words recall these chilling words from the Prophet Isaiah: For behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, Takes away from Jerusalem and from Judah The stock and the store, The whole supply of bread and the whole supply of water (Isaiah 3:1; New King James Version). Jerusalem anciently was the capital of Israel, and is often used in end-time prophecy as a type of all the end-time nations of Israel. God says that because of our sins, He is going to take away our food and water!
In Hosea, another end-time book, God indicts the nations of Israel with this charge: For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal (Hosea 2:8). We have forgotten that we owe thanks for our abundance to God! He has given us the greatest blessings any nation in human history has ever receivedand we have turned our backs on Him. He continues, Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness (verse 9).
We need to expect weather disasters to cause famines! God warned us through His prophetsand even Christ Himself!
Christs reference to pestilences is talking about the diseases that often follow in the wake of such disasters. But in Acts 24:5, that same word is translated a pestilent fellow; that adds another dimension to this prophecy! What happens when scarce harvests threaten food supplies and create famines? That causes a societal breakdown! Americans are the most heavily armed people in the world. They are also probably the most heavily doped, drugged and indebted. With the economy breaking down, an explosive cocktail could be brewing. We have already seen looting and riots at times on a small scale within the nations of Israeland here is a prophecy from Jesus Christ Himself that indicates it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
These are the days we are living in right now! We are experiencing the outer edges of a storm that is about to inflict the worst suffering mankind has ever known. Jesus said so. Weather disasters, as they increase in frequency and intensity, are actually fulfilling biblical prophecy. They are among the signs Christ gave of the end of the world we now knowand the beginning of a beautiful new world we can hardly even imagine.
Can we ignore Christs words? Why wont religious leaders believe these crucial signs of the end? Why wont so-called Christians simply believe Christ?
But the prophecy gets even more shocking.
The Beginning of Sorrows
In the very next verse, Christ tells us, All these are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:8).
The point at which we find ourselves today, Christ told us, is only the beginning of sorrows!
Where are we in Bible prophecy? We are at the beginning of sorrows! The disasters occurring before our eyes are just the beginning. They are going to get much worse.
In times of extreme calamity, people sometimes talk about the end of the world. In a way that is right. It is the beginning of the end of the world as we know it!
About the phrase the beginning of sorrows, the Anchor Bible says, Literally, it means the beginnings of birth-pains, an almost technical term for the sufferings which would immediately precede a new age ... [t]he age of the Messiahs reign. Think about that! Christ was giving us a picture of a woman about to give birth to a child. This world is going to go through some birth painssome very difficult lessonsbut in the end, we will give birth to a new age! Jesus Christ is about to usher in a new worlda world without natural disasters or any such troubles! When Christ governs Earth, it will be an absolute paradise. The Bible is full of prophecies about that.
The problem now is, most men are not ruled by Christ. They may say He rules them, but for most of them, that statement simply will not stand the test of the Scriptures.
Last Days Scoffers
The evils of our present generation are not unlike those of Noahs day. Genesis 6:5 says that every imagination of the thoughts of man was only evil continually.
The Bible prophesies that those same immoral conditions would be widespread in this end time: But as the days of Noe [Noah] were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be (Matthew 24:37). In Noahs day, the masses mocked Gods warnings until the floodwaters came and took them all away (verse 39).
In this end time, the majority of mankind will again ridicule Gods warning messagejust as they did in the days before Noahs Flood, and as they did before God rained fire from heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Jesus said there would be those who scoff.
There will always be deceivers who insist that we are in no special danger today. Weve always had storms and disasters. Weve always bounced back. Weve always rebuilt. People say that everything is moving in accordance with Mother Natures plan. Its a natural, normal cycle, they say.
Othersincluding prominent religious leadersare saying, in effect, God created usHe sends blessingsHe continues blessing the United States of Americabut He cant stop a storm. Poor GodHes just not strong enough to stop Mother Nature.
That is not the truth of the Bible!
Here is how God responds to the scoffers: But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13). As evil worsens, so does Gods punishment. Paul is addressing those of us living in the last days. This know also, that in the last days perilous [or dangerous] times shall come (verse 1). People deceive themselves by thinking there is no special danger right nowthat the world has always been like this. While it is true that human nature has always been hostile to Gods law (Romans 8:7), the Bible says that Satan-influenced nature would wax worse and worse as the day of Christs return approached. Satan has been cast down to this Earth, it says in Revelation 12:9. Add to that this stark reality: Not until these latter days has mans rebellious nature gained possession of weaponry powerful enough to annihilate himself. And add to that this frightening fact: God is against us! (Ezekiel 5:8).
These are not normal times. The Bible says earthquakes, droughts, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and tsunamis are anything but normal. They are curses man has brought upon himself as a result of disobedience to Gods laws. And the Bible says that, in the modern nations of Israel, these curses are about to explodethey are about to get so bad that they might legitimately be compared to the events described in the pages of the Holy Bible!
We must tell you thisnot because we derive some kind of sick pleasure from seeing people sufferbut because God says we must warn!
God, in His mercy, is trying to shake our peoples out of their drunken stupor before the real Armageddon-like events hit home! For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [the Moffatt translation says saved alive]: but for the elects sake those days shall be shortened (Matthew 24:21-22).
This will be the end result of mans rebellion against God, which began in the Garden of Eden nearly 6,000 years ago. All flesh would be destroyed if Jesus Christ didnt come back to this Earth and stop it from happening!
Now, Christ didnt bring those nuclear bombs into this world. He didnt invent the terrible weapons of mass destruction we possess today. Man did that, in violation of Gods law. Will we blame God for all of thislike we do so often for natural disasters?
God is going to put the people of this world through great tribulation until they know that, without Him, there is no hope at alltheres nothing man can do. People will be brought to the point where they have to rely on God! So often, an alcoholic has to hit rock bottom before hell say, Im wrong and I want to change. That is the way mankind tends to be.
The two hardest things in the world for people to do are, first, to admit theyre wrong, and second, to believe God.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (verse 24). False prophets are going to appear who will actually be able to show signs and wonders. Do you know the difference between a false prophet and a true one? You must, or you will be deceived.
But Gods very elect cannot be deceived. Do you know why? Its because they simply believe Christ. They hold on to what He said and will not let go.
Jesus Christ was the greatest newscaster ever. If you doubt that, just watch what happens. Compare what He said with what so many ministers in this world are saying. Learn Christs prophecies, and then watch. Every single one of them will be fulfilled. And then, right on the heels of all these catastrophes, He will return.
Heed the Warning!
We have already seen some almost unimaginably devastating catastrophes. But think about this: At times there have been indications that God has held off the worst of the destructive potential of some violent natural phenomena!
For example, when Hurricane Katrina hit, it was steamrolling across the Gulf of Mexico a monstrous Category 5, with New Orleans directly in its road. Yet the next morning, just before it hit landfall, a puff of Midwestern dry air weakened it to a Category 4 and nudged its eyewall ever so slightly to the east. Thus, the coast of Mississippi and Alabama withstood the storms fiercest wrath, whereas the much larger, below-sea-level, critical U.S. port of New Orleans barely escaped a direct hit. Residents of the city and commentators alike collectively breathed a sigh of relief as New Orleans had been spared. Of course, the nightmare that followed was brought about by two breaches the storm surge had punched in the citys levees.
But think about how much worse it could have been if a Category 5 had hit New Orleans dead onespecially considering the number of city residents who did not evacuate. We saw what a Category 4 did to the Mississippi coast. What if the homes, hotels, businesses and office buildings in New Orleans had been leveled like the structures in Biloxi?
Of course, its normal for a puff of dry air to come billowing out of the Midwest right at the point of contact between Katrina and the coast.
Or maybejust maybeGod mercifully spared America from something that could have been much more deadly and destructive. There are, after all, end-time prophecies in the Bible that speak of entire cities being left without inhabitant (Isaiah 6:11; Jeremiah 2:15). Most of New Orleanss residents were sparedeither by fleeing before the storm or by being rescued out of it.
God is giving advance news of the storm that will soon strike all of America, Britain, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and eventually all the nations of the world! and the Jewish nationjust like those meteorologists warned about Katrina before it struck, enabling residents to take preparatory action.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees in His day because they had become quite good at making weather predictions. You can discern the face of the sky, He told them, but you cant discern the signs of the times! (Matthew 16:3). Besides weather predictions, these religious zealots were also quite good at reciting Scripture, pointing to significant biblical events, even comparing the events of their day with those of old, as referred to in Gods Word. But they didnt obey Christ. And they disregarded His repeated warnings. They could not discern the many signsadvance warningsof the times in which they lived.
What about you? Will you discern the signs of the times? Will you heed Jesus Christs warning? Or ignore it?
How Bad Will It Get?
What is the Bibles weather forecast for the near future? The answer to that question is directly related to the moral and spiritual state of the world. Because that is prophesied to decaya reality we vividly see around usso too is the state of our weather.
The disasters we have experienced in recent decades will soon seem tame by comparison. The Bible prophesies of a timeand it is sooner than you may thinkwhen catastrophes will escalate dramatically. The weather will go completely haywire.
Notice what Jesus prophesied would happen after the nightmares of the Great Tribulation. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken (Matthew 24:29). Now compare how the Prophet Joel describes these same heavenly signs: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come (Joel 2:31).
After that, yet more powerfully destructive natural forces will be unleashed upon a disobedient world to bring it to its knees in repentance (see Revelation 6:5-8; 8:4-12).
We should consider the worsening disasters a warning from Almighty Goda warning to the nations today to turn from materialism, false religions and all the sins that are leading us away from the true path of peace and abundant living. We can expect our weather to get worse until we acknowledge our Creator, get down on our knees and pray that God would grant us repentance and give us the power necessary to keep His law. He is going to increase the pressure to such an overwhelming degree that all peoples will reach the point where they are willing to repent! (e.g. Isaiah 45:22-25).
The Almighty God is determined to focus mans attention!
In order to attract the nations to His final end-time warning message, God will raise up two prophets and charge them with the responsibility to deliver it. To them He will give the power to control weather patterns! (Revelation 11:3-6). They will literally be able to cause disasters in order to fix the nations concentration onto Gods final message to mankind before His great punishment descends upon them for their sins!
That final punishment is spelled out in Revelation 16. Read the prophecies of the plagues God will rain down upon this world!
However, that is not the end of the storynot even close.
What It All Points To!
Remember the context of Christs prophecy in Matthew 24. God wants us to be warned, but He also wants us to realize that we are on a countdown. When you see these savagely destructive disasterswhen you recognize that we are in what Christ called the beginning of the birth painsthen remember that this is a sign that we are on a countdown to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!
That is the best possible news this world could ever hear!
For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be (Matthew 24:27). Wow! Christ is going to return, and this is what it will look like. Change is on the way like this world has never known!
The Final Generation!
So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled (verses 33-34). Christs return is right at the doorsit is almost upon us! We are that final end time Generation! True, we dont know the exact day or the hour (verse 36)but Christ said we should know when it is at the doors. And we can be certain that everything He prophesied will be fulfilledboth the bad news, and the best possible news! ( See Revealing The Earth's Final Generation)
Do you believe that? Can you begin to see the hope in the tragic events we see in our world today? The earthquakes and other catastrophes point to this prophecy from nearly 2,000 years ago, and they are a sign that Jesus Christ is about to return!
That is what Jesus Himself prophesied. When we understand and believe the Bible, natural disasters take on added significance. While our hearts ache for the victims, such tragedy stirs a renewed hope and confidence in the Second Coming.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (verse 35). You can always trust Christs words of life. They will never fail.
This is why your faith should actually be strengthened by natural disasters! These earthquakes and tsunamis and other catastrophes were prophesied by Jesus Christ, and everything is coming to pass precisely as He said!
Remember the instruction from Christs own mouth: Natural disasters are a sign that this present evil world is about to end. In the rubble of these catastrophes lies invigorating hope. Emotionally, they are gut wrenching. Prophetically, however, they are a sign that the most exciting event ever to occur in the age of man is imminent!
We must build our faithand prepare for a rocky future until Christ gets here. Yes, God brings evil upon us. But He also shows us how to turn away from our sinful way of life so we will receive nothing but blessings on top of blessings!
Very soon now, Jesus Christ is going to return and bring this Earth physical abundance, peace and joy. Thank God for this gloriously good news.
A Promise to Heal the Land
Here is a wonderful promise from God: If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).
When God makes a promise, we can stake our lives on it!
We will certainly witness the fulfillment of this promise once Christ returns and begins to rule the nations.
But realize that God has repeatedly proved throughout human history that He will fulfill that promise even today, if men will only do their part!
Look at one example. In 2007, southeastern Australia was suffering from a crushing decade-long drought. The regions agriculture was particularly hard hit. What did Prime Minister John Howard do about it? Its very serious, its unprecedented in my lifetime and I really feel very deeply for the people affected, he said. So we should all, literally and without any irony, pray for rain over the next six to eight weeks.
He directed the nation to pray for divine intervention in the weather! How unusual in our deeply secularist world! But what happened?
The following week, the 10-year drought broke!
One third-generation sheep and grain farmer said, This is the best opening autumn-break rain we have had for 10 to 12 years.
Though the weather bureau commented that April traditionally brought seasonal rains, the timing of these drought-breaking rains following a record dry stint led others to think theres a greater force at work (Herald Sun, April 28, 2007).
Even then, Prime Minister Howard urged his countrymen to continue looking to that greater force for intervention in the weather, and keep praying for rain. The rains continued.
Was there a greater force at work here? Did a greater force mercifully intervene because a nations leader exhorted his people to prayer in time of crisis? Well, similar coincidences following national leaders calling their nations to prayer have happened before, tracking clear back to biblical times. It is interesting to think upon.
If my people shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
This is more than a promise from God. It is a heartfelt expression of Gods earnest desire to see the suffering of this present evil world come to an end.
When that day finally comes, the 6,000-year-long aversion therapy will be over. Everyone on Earth will have seen the futility of partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Mankind will be completely fed up with this sin-sick world! People will never want to turn to that way of life again. More than simply being sick of doing the wrong, most will be ready to do what is right, and to live the way of peace, joy and happiness that God offered Adam and Eve 6,000 years ago.
That will mean the dawning of a new age. Satan the devil will be removed, and Jesus Christwho qualified to replace Satan as ruler of all the Earthwill reign over the greatest period of prosperity that has ever been.
Under the wonderful release from bondage that will occur at His return, Jesus Christ will set up Gods government of love, peace and joy. Israel will return, a repentant remnant, to rebuild the waste places. With all mankind walking in Gods statutes, keeping His commandments and doing them, the promises in Leviticus 26 of rain in due season and that the land shall yield her increase will be realized all over the planet! This world will be blessed with beautiful weather and stable climates. There will be no anxiety over crop failures and famine, no fear of being killed in a severe weather event.
With obedience to God will come abundance in the land, and a way of living that produces the peace and happiness that mankind has ever desired, leading ultimately to abundant life, eternally! Finally, with Gods benevolent government in place, the hope of the resurrection will become reality, and everyone who has ever livedincluding all those who have perished in the disasters and cataclysms that have afflicted our worldwill be raised into a world where the right choice has been made, where, as the Prophet Isaiah said, the knowledge of the Eternal covers the Earth as the waters cover the sea.
This plan offers tremendous hope to everyone! After all, who hasnt wondered about the ultimate fate of a loved one who has died? These people, resurrected to physical life, will have a choice to make: to follow Gods way of lifeor to continue to live a lifestyle that everyone on Earth has seen fail abysmally, a lifestyle that caused the suffering for which so many blame God. People of every religion, every type of sinner, every type of person who has ever livedincluding friends and relatives of yours who have died not yet having received a chance at the abundant life only God can offerwill be given the opportunity to learn Gods way of life. They will gain the knowledge of their own potential.
God the Father wants to fulfill His purpose in us. And when He finally does come down to Earthwhen the incredible potential He has given to every human is fulfilledeveryone will understand why the Apostle Paul was inspired to write in Romans 8:18: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us!
You Can Escape these perilous times coming on the Earth simply turn yourself over to the loving Savior our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let Us Pray Together--
PRAY: "God be merciful to me a sinner. Receive me now for Christ's sake. Cleanse me from my sin by your precious blood, shed on the cross for me; lead me to be Baptized and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Teach me to pray each day; to read Your will for my life from your word, the Bible; and help me to worship and serve You in the fellowship of your church. I thank you Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN!