Why do the signs of nature that point to the Lord's soon return get so little respect?
The category of signs that point to the soon return of Jesus Christ that is least respected are the signs of nature. There are two reason why they have so little respect.
First of all is the conceptual reason. When you start talking about signs of nature, even believing Christians will come up and say, "Oh, come on, there have always been signs of nature. There's always been earthquakes, there's always been hurricanes, there's always been tsunami's, there's always been tornados. What else is new? Come on, let's get serious about this!"
When they say that, they ignore something. Jesus said in Matthew 24:8 that the signs of nature would be like birth pangs. I've never experienced those. I had to ask my wife what that was all about and she told me, "Well, dummy, the closer you get to the birth of a child, the birth pangs increase in two ways. They increase in frequency and they increase in intensity." They become more frequent and more intense. And, suddenly, it occurred to me that's what Jesus is saying here. There will be more earthquakes and they'll be more intense. There will be more hurricanes and they'll be more intense. There will be more tsunamis which are more intense. There will be more tornados and they'll become more intense, all as we get closer to the time of the Lord's return.
There's a more serious objection to the signs of nature. It's philosophical in nature, and that is that we in the Western world have been brainwashed by what I would call "Modern Scientific Rationalism." Scientific Rationalism says, "If you can't see it, if you can't weigh it, if you can't dissect it, if you can't measure it, it does not exist." We've bought into that hook, line and sinker!
The Bible teaches there's a whole realm of reality that cannot normally be perceived with the senses. It's the supernatural realm, the realm of demons, the realm of the angels, and the realm of the Holy Spirit. And, yes, sometimes it is manifested and we can see it with our senses, but most of the times we cannot. But, that realm is just as real as it can possibly be.
When you go to Asia, Africa, and Latin America and you talk about signs of nature and God working through signs of nature and signs of nature having some sort of supernatural importance or significance, they don't have any trouble with that at all. It's only in the Western world where we've been brainwashed by this scientific approach so that we have difficulty believing that God really works through signs of nature.
We need to face up to the fact that the Bible from beginning to end teaches that God often speaks through signs of nature. Sometimes He uses signs to underline and to emphasize a particular event. For example, the birth of Jesus — a special sign was given in the heavens. I believe it was the Shekinah Glory of God. But, a special sign was put in the heavens to emphasize and to underline the importance of this birth. When Jesus was crucified, there were three hours of darkness and a special earthquake. And, we are told that when Jesus returns there's going to be the greatest earthquake in all of history. We are told that every island will be moved, that every valley will be lifted up, that every mountain will be lowered, that the plane of the earth will be just as even as it can be, and that Jerusalem will be lifted up to be the highest point on planet earth. There will be a great, great earthquake to emphasize the importance of the return of Jesus.
In the next segment of this "God, Judgment and the Weather" series, we'll look at how and when God uses the Signs of Nature to call a nation to repentance.