By Nathan Jones
Is an increase in the number of natural disasters a sign of the end times?
On Saturday, April 9, 2011, I was interviewed by host Brian Thomas of the Blessings to Israel Ministries Saturday podcast show. During the hour long interview we took a look at twelve major end times signs in an attempt to raise the awareness of people concerning the numerous things going on in the world currently, how they relate to Bible prophecy, and the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
#3) Natural Disasters
Brian Thomas: I want to speak now on earthquakes. Wow! We have seen so many destructive earthquakes going on just over the last two years. The world witnessed the significant earthquake that hit and flooded northern Japan followed by frequent aftershocks. Japan had the big 9.0 earthquake just this year. We have seen major earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. There have been so many of these earthquakes that they are literally reshaping the earth. In terms of physical land masses, the countries are actually moving several inches and even in some cases maybe even a couple of feet.
In Matthew 24:7, Jesus Christ spoke of earthquakes when He stated, "Nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places." Have we arrived today to the point that Jesus Christ was speaking of concerning these earthquakes happening in various places?
Nathan Jones: Certainly, one of the biggest signs of the end times and the definitely the most noticeable sign is natural disasters.
Concerning the catastrophic earthquake in Japan, it is interesting that the mayor of Tokyo being a Buddhist said something like, "I think God is trying to get our attention." He quickly recanted his statement later on, but even people who don't believe that there is a God as in the God of the Bible are noticing that He is trying to get our attention.
Many people including Christians will look at all these natural disasters and say, "Oh, you know, this is just nature happening." Or, they will pass the cause of these natural disasters off as Global Warning or some man-made event. But, God all throughout the Bible demonstrated that He uses natural disasters to wake people up from their spiritual apathy so they will ask for forgiveness and will turn to Jesus in repentance. Judgment brings repentance.
A British charity called Oxfam went through Red Cross data and found that the earth is currently experiencing approximately 500 natural disasters per year. There was only 120 per year back in 1980. The number of weather related disasters in 2006 was 240, while there was only 60 back in 1980. Between 1985-1994 they found there were 174 million people affected by these disasters each year. This figure has increased today to 70% or 254 million per year. These statistics are about three years old, but the latest statistics that have come out say that we are having so many major devastating earthquakes that we can expect one big one to occur every 45 days. Can you imagine an earthquake like in Japan happening every 45 days?
Earthquakes and other natural disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity. This is leading up to the point which the Bible talks about in Revelation 6:12-14 and 11:13 and 16:17-21, that there will be a number of ultra-devastating earthquakes which will happen during the Tribulation. As a matter of fact, there will be one so bad that the Bible says it will level the mountains across the planet. So, all these disasters that we are feeling now are working their way up to the particular judgments that God has planned for the earth and where a super earthquake will finally totally ravage the face of the earth.
The result to the earth's landscape from this coming super earthquake we can also read about in the Bible. During the Millennial Kingdom when Jesus is back and ruling the planet, we are told in Zechariah 14:10 and Micah 4:1 that Jerusalem will be raised up as the highest point on the earth. The remainder of the earth will remain a flattened plain. The earth will be flat. I live in Texas and it is as flat as a board. I'm going to miss visiting mountains. Imagine all of the people living in mountainous areas like Switzerland and in the Rocky Mountains having their mountains tumble down around them and the resulting amount of death that will unfortunately come of that.
So, yes, all these natural disasters are continuing in frequency and intensity working their way up to the super earthquake which will flatten the world during the Tribulation.
Brian Thomas: From what the Bible says and it's hard to fathom, but what we are witnessing with today's earthquakes can only be thought of as little more than tremors in comparison to the earthquake that is going to come during the Tribulation. That is really amazing!
The nay-sayers out there who believe earthquakes have been going on for thousands of years and are no different now have to run up against the statistics that show they are happening with more frequency and more intensity. Natural disasters are a "labor pains" sign that Christ spoke of in Matthew 24. The world can easily see these things are happening closer together and with more intensity. No doubt exists that we are definitely seeing these things happening today.
Nathan Jones: Definitely! The resulting tsunamis are due to the underground seismic activity, and Luke 21:25 also points out that in the end times there will be the tossing of the seas.
The Bible also talks about signs in the sun and the moon and the stars. Astronomers have been very perplexed lately because the sun seems so very inactive, and then for a bit there got suddenly very active. The Bible particularly talks about the moon becoming in appearance like sackcloth and like blood. "Blood moons" are what we call it today, where the moon because of our atmosphere looks red. There are a series of these blood moons coming. The Bible talks about the stars just disappearing out of the sky.
A lot of these astronomical signs I believe we are not quite seeing the fulfillment of just yet. During the Tribulation, especially during the last part under what are called the Vial or Bowl Judgments, the sun will scorch the earth and the stars will appear to have fallen out of the sky. The full fulfillment of those celestial signs will happen during the Tribulation. But, we are starting to see just the very beginnings of these signs, like say the tossing of the seas in these great tsunamis that have been wiping out so many countries. The partial fulfillment of natural disasters we are already beginning to see fulfilled in this day and age.
Brian Thomas: The tsunami we saw this year in Japan because of the massive earthquake, it was just amazing footage to sit there and watch on television. The videos showed this consuming ocean wave coming in and literally picking up over 50 to 100 cars in places. It just totally obliterated everything in its path. When I saw that, scripture like Luke 21:25 was the first thing that came into my mind. It concerns the seas and the waves roaring. Just a few years earlier in 2004 in the Indian Ocean, we witnessed another tsunami that killed tens of thousands of people. When we see these disasters happening it sounds like we should expect them to occur even more as we approach the Tribulation, and then during the Tribulation period these things will increase even more in frequency and intensity.
Nathan Jones: Oh, definitely. Look at between 1991 and 2004, just 13 years of American history. Nine out of the ten largest insurance-related natural disasters happened. Nine of the ten greatest FEMA relief costs were incurred. Five of the costliest hurricanes in history struck the U.S., and we suffered under four of the largest tornado swarms in history, the worst being the record number of tornados which struck this year. That's all happened just during the last two decades!
The statistics show that we are in an incredible exponential curve of increasing natural disasters that are pointing to the Lord's soon return.
Brian Thomas: Jesus Christ is letting us know. The signs are all around us. He is letting us know that He is coming soon and to get ready.
Nathan Jones: Amen! Isn't it great about the personality of God? For example, when we read in Ezekiel 38-39 about the Gog-Magog Battle — a group of Islamic nations along with Russia that come against Israel in the end times and try to conquer it — it says there a few times that God lets the world know ahead of time that this event is going to happen. Isn't it great that God didn't just leave us in the dark? If we get into the Bible and read, we can understand that the Lord is telling us, "I am coming back soon." He wants us to know. He wants us to be prepared. It's like when Jesus used the story of the virgins waiting for a wedding. They are just sitting waiting keeping their lamps lighted for when Jesus comes. Well, it is that close. Jesus is coming just so soon that we need to keep our lamps lit, so to speak. We need to keep our lives in tune to serving the Lord with the time we have remaining in anticipation of His return.
Brian Thomas: Absolutely! You are so right on that. God didn't have to tell us. He didn't have to warn us at all. He could have just said, "Be ready." And yet, He did warn us to get ready because He let us know what the signs would be that would let us know when it is about to happen.
Nathan Jones: It's just so sad that it takes these kinds of intense natural disasters to get our attention. We are just that stiff-necked and close-minded and self-focused on our own lives that God has to go to this length to bring us to finally admit there is a God and I'd better get to know Him and get my life right with Him.
The next end times sign we'll look at is the growing apostasy in the Church.