For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be hunger, and pestilence, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7b)
Look at the recent earth shaking evidence for “earthquakes in various places!” Wednesday, April 13, 2016 a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck the nation of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. There were no deaths reported, but dozens of injuries. The next day, southwestern Japan experienced a magnitude 6.2 earthquake. A little more than 24 hours later a second quake, magnitude 7.0 again rocked Japan. The two quakes killed at least 41 people. Late Saturday, April 16, 2016, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook Ecuador, the death toll is still rising but at last estimate more than 230 people and over 1,500 injured. This was followed by more than 130 aftershocks. As of writing this article, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, there have been 28 magnitude 2.5+ earthquakes in the world in the last 24 hours! What is going on?
Jesus was right on when He said there would be earthquakes in various places. However, He did so in the context of saying that earthquakes are normal, natural occurrences, that will continue to happen until the end. In regard to such things as earthquakes, wars, rumors of wars, pestilence, and famines, Jesus said,
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See to it that you are not troubled. For all this must take place, but it is not yet the end. (Matthew 24: 6)
You can read Jesus’ words regarding His return, and the end of the age, in the Olivet Discourse recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. Jesus started off that talk by warning His disciples about end-of-the-age related deception. He knew that people would associate natural catastrophes and severe human hardships with the “end of the world.” So, immediately following His warning about deception, He warned that things like earthquakes are normal and will not serve as a signal of His return. Earthquakes have been around since the beginning of the Earth’s history, and per usual, will continue to contribute to the planet’s ever changing geologic record and geography up until Jesus’ return. It would be far more unusual if the earthquakes stopped!
Jesus went on in The Olivet Discourse to inform His disciples about the things that would indicate His return to earth was near. He talked about the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by the Prophet Daniel, a great falling away from the faith, and wide spread persecution of those who identify themselves with Him (Christians). The Apostle Paul wrote about these same things (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). By utilizing the Olivet Discourse passage along with the scripture in Daniel, which Jesus cited, as well as other prophecies in the Old and New Testaments, we can put together a list of events that will be unmistakable for those who know about, and are watchful for them.
Many authors, pastors, and commentators have weighed in with their opinions that earthquakes will serve as a sign that the end of the age will occur soon. I personally have witnessed such false claims for the last 40 years. In his book, The Apocalypse Code, well known Pop-Christian culture, end times author, Hal Lindsey, implies that we are near the end of the age, when he cites “experts” who say the frequency of earthquakes are increasing; but, are we really seeing a trend today of more earthquakes?
I began seriously watching earthquake data almost 20 years ago. During one check of the U.S. Geological web-site in 1997 I recorded that the Mammoth Lake area in California experienced 944 quakes up to a magnitude of 3.8 in one weekend! In December of 2005 I recorded 21 earthquakes ranging from magnitude 2.7 to 6.1 throughout the world in a 24-hour period. When I checked in August 23, 2015, I recorded that there had been 28 earthquakes over a magnitude 2.5 in the preceding 24 hours.
There truly are a lot of earthquakes in “diverse places!” However, contrary to Mr. Lindsey’s claims, at this point, according to the real experts, earthquakes have not increased. Only our awareness and the media’s sensationalism of earthquakes has increased. Here is the answer to a “frequently asked question” found on the National Geological Survey’s website:
Question: Why are we having so many earthquakes? Has earthquake activity been increasing?
Answer: Although it may seem that we are having more earthquakes, earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have remained fairly constant throughout this century and, according to our records, have actually seemed to decrease in recent years.
Science and historical data tells us that many modern day prophecy teachers and commentators are giving us alarming and false information. They are contributing to the very deception of which Jesus warned. Pointing to earthquakes, wars, rumors of wars, pestilence (disease), and civil disturbances as signs of the soon return of Jesus is a misunderstanding and misuse of Bible Prophecy. 180 degrees off, these teachers have taken things that Jesus warned would not serve as a signs, and claimed that they do serve as signs.
Wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, etc., all rightfully sound like yesterday’s headlines. It is because they have been in yesterday’s headlines since there have been headlines. Even with the best of intentions, many pastors, teachers, authors, and commentators, have perpetually used such news to sensationalize whatever it is they are “selling.” Well intended or not, through engaging in this “shell game,” they are aiding and abetting the enemy in distracting and deceiving followers of Jesus into watching the wrong events in the world. It is as though they believe that in order to keep people interested in the return of Jesus, they need to hype it up a bit. Seriously? The real return of Jesus will be spectacular enough and does not need to be sensationalized!
It certainly was the “end of the world” for those who died in the recent earthquakes. However, the geological record, as well as countless ruins from antiquity, stand as memorials to the fact that big earthquakes, like wars, famines, and pestilence, have been occurring for a long, long time, and Jesus has not yet returned. So, what’s the answer to the question, “what is going on?” As tragic as these earthquakes have been for those living in Ecuador, Japan and Myanmar and the families abroad that have lost loved ones, it is still just another day on a planet that is “groaning and travailing,” as it has since creation.
There are a few, very significant earthquakes that will occur in association with the return of Jesus. The first of these biblical sized earthquakes will immediately precede the return of Jesus, and will shake the entire world. Every “mountain and island” will be moved “from their place.” It will cause the seas to “roar,” and will occur at the same time, or close to the same time, that the “sun will go dark,” the “moon will turn blood red,” and the stars will “appear to fall from the sky” (see Revelation 6:12-16, Matthew 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-27, Luke 21:25-28). None of us will probably be sitting around blogging about such a quake a few days after it happens. In fact, if you are an elect of God, saved by the blood of Jesus, and such a quake occurs, “look up” because Jesus is about ready to appear, and you are in for the ride of your life!
No one knows the day or hour when Jesus will return. Like sin and deception, earthquakes, wars, famine, disease, and terrorism will continue to routinely vex the world up until He returns. Those who are waiting on that return must know the scriptures well in order to guard against deception. Tragically, even from within the Church. The watchful will remain alert and awake, while they patiently wait for the real signs which Jesus gave. Those signs alone will truly indicate that His return is near.
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