Jan 3, 2005
A Deluge of Birth Pangs
I'm sure the vast majority of you folks have heard of the massive disaster
that has occurred in southern Asia. The destruction was so wide-scale and
intense it has taken authorities several days to get a grasp of the
situation. I've been amazed at how the death toll just keeps rising hour
The exact number of people who died from the earthquake-generated tsunamis
may never be known. Several islands near the epicenter had thousands of
people living on them, and aerial reconnaissance indicates that these
islands have been nearly swept clean of all life.
No other example in history compares to this disaster. A tsunami triggered
by the explosion of the volcano on the island of Krakatoa had been the
previous example of calamity; that event killed 36,000 people. The
December 26 tsunami killed at least 200,000 people.
Whenever a major disaster occurs somewhere in the world, the question is
often raised: "Is this part of the end-time birth pangs?" Jesus said the
indication of His return would be calamities occurring like the
contractions a woman experiences during childbirth. In both cases, the greater the number, the closer we are to the point of the delivery.
"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There
will be earthquakes in various places. There will be famines and troubles.
These things are the beginning of birth pains" (Mar. 13:8).
There has been a great deal of debate over whether earthquakes are
increasing in number. Because this site has been featured by several media
outlets, Terry and I have received several emails from people who don't
believe that we are seeing more calamities. The day of the Indonesian
quake, I had the option of answering these types of attacks by telling the note
writers to turn on CNN or Fox News.
When it comes to measuring the prophetic significance of various
disasters, many factors need to be taken into consideration. Because
earthquakes are a natural part of the movement of the tectonic plates, a
single quake does not automatically imply a trend. Other calamities like
floods and hurricanes are also naturally occurring events.
I have found that one of the best ways to determine whether disasters are
increasing is to use historic records. When scanning the news, I look for
time references such as "worst ever" or "worst in 100, 500, or 1000
years." If you have a 500-year-flood, you would expect to be in the clear for a
least a couple of centuries. Unfortunately, newly set records are often
surpassed by later calamities of greater magnitude.
In 2004, Japan had its worst typhoon season on record; it was visited by
an unprecedented 10 typhoons. The previous record of six typhoons was set in
1990. The state of Florida also had a record year: It was hit by a record
number of four hurricanes. Who knows how long that record will stand?
Compared to the massive devastation brought on by the Indonesian
earthquake and the topical storms, the fact that Texas, New Jersey, Canada, and
Europe had 100- to 1000-year floods seems insignificant. But because all these
events play a key role in the bigger picture, none of them should be
I think it's obvious that disasters are going to continue to increase in
frequency. The only mystery is whether any significant portion of mankind
will realize what is happening. We already know from prophecy that most
In the days that followed the tsunami, several videos from the region made
their way to the internet. Much of the footage showed people just standing
there as the tidal waves overtook them. Their lack of understanding and of
action reminded me of Jesus' description of the lack of spiritual
awareness that will cause many to perish in the last days:
"They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in
marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and >
destroyed them all (Lk. 17:27).
How Should Prophecy-Minded Christians React To Calamity?
Many years ago I realized there is a natural conflict between Bible
prophecy and the humanitarian crises its fulfillment often generates. For most
people there is nothing positive about things like war, famine, and pestilence.
But because these events are foretold as an indication of the nearness of the
Lord Jesus' return, many Christians view such events in a positive way.
The tsunami that struck southern Asia has created misery on a gigantic
scale. Millions of people have lost nearly everything they owned. Many of
the victims who died in the flood waters were the very the young and the
very old. It would seem sadistic for anyone to be happy about this type of
The best way to keep from falling into a blood-lust mentality is to
maintain a business-like attitude about all things related to prophecy. When
tragedy strikes, there are things we should be doing.
When I realized the enormity of the disaster, I determined that the business of
helping my fellow mankind needed to be first on the agenda. Terry and I
decided that we should donate to the Christian charity organization
Samaritan's Purse (samaritanspurse.org). This group specializes in helping
victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine "with the
purpose of sharing God's love through His Son, Jesus Christ."
Another thing Christians need to do is allow the tragedy to motivate them
to a new sense of urgency in reaching the lost. Having been reminded that
this world is progressing towards destruction, we should be doubling our
efforts to save souls.
The unsaved need to use the tragedy as a motivation to consider their own
mortality. The main reason God allows disasters to strike is to create an
opportunity for men to repent. A few will heed the call, but
unfortunately, the vast majority will continue to ignore all the warning
"The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent
of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of
gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot either see or hear
or walk" (Rev. 9:21). -- Todd
Peering Into 2005
While fortune telling and other forms of soothsaying are expressly forbidden by the Word of God, we are nonetheless exhorted by the Lord Jesus Christ to discern the times in which we live. Jesus scathingly admonished the pious Jewish leaders for their complete lack of discernment concerning His first coming:
“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matt. 16:1-3).
Jesus said the religious leaders were deliberately ignorant of the signals that led to His first coming. They refused to recognize the time of their visitation by the promised Deliverer –the Messiah.
It is with the determination not to be put in the same classification as those hypocritical people that we always strive, as good servants of Christ, to discern the signs of our times relative to the Lord’s second visitation to Planet Earth. And, as anyone who prayerfully observes signals happening around us understands, under the magnifying glass of God’s Holy Word He continues to provide tremendous revelation that these times are very near His Son’s return to this violently troubled world.
So, as the new year 2005 begins, we will address some key prophetic indicators, with an eye toward discerning what might await this year.
Despite sporadic suicide bombs and attacks from Islamic terrorists there seems, with the elections for new Palestinian leadership, to be a serious effort to keep the Roadmap to Peace on track. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has the endorsement –for the time-being at least—of the most powerful Mid-Eastern leader, President Hosni Mubarek of Egypt.
Very interesting is the talk of Sharon possibly acquiescing to a new Palestinian state, whose capital would be Jerusalem. This is hard to fathom, but it is the conjecture within the international community of diplomats. It is certainly not hard to imagine that such a slap to God’s face, combined with a covenant with the enemies of God (Daniel 9: 26-27), could be the catalyst for bringing great wrath from Heaven.
Look for talk of such an arrangement to continue to develop as 2005 progresses.
Powerful movement is afoot within the reviving version of the empire of the people of the “prince that shall come” (Daniel 9: 26). The EU’s monetary unit –the euro—is currently worth $1.35 against the US dollar. Prospects are that unless swift and dramatic adjustments are made, the dollar will fall further against the EU currency. With the nations of the ancient Roman Empire coalescing into an economic power bloc that obviously intends to dominate world economics, other regions are looking toward similar rearrangements. The Americas--for example, Canada on the north, the United States, Mexico, Central and South America--are exploring possible advantages of their coming together economically.
Some prophecy scholars have maintained for some time that the one-world economic power structure as given in Revelation 17: 12-13 will consist of 10 such power blocs. Certainly, advances in global technologies that permit ever-faster communications and linkages through electronic funds transfers means that the one-world beast state over which Antichrist will hold sway is within view right now.
The EU is developing an army distinctively its own, absorbing many of NATO’s forces. How long before we see these forces moving in to assist and possibly replace much extended US military forces? These are possibilities well worth observing as the world moves deeper into 2005.
These three are intertwined through nuclear and missile delivery systems technologies. Russia has equipped Iran with much of its nuclear capability –technology the Ayatollah-controlled regime continues to work toward turning into nuclear weapons. China, having gotten much of America’s missile technologies through bribes, theft, and purchases, has provided Iran its vehicles to deliver the nuclear warheads to points as far distant as central Europe.
Most who view Russia and a Russian leader as the nucleus of the Gog-Magog attack of Ezekiel 38 and 39 believe it is more than mere coincidence that “Persia” (Iran’s ancient name) is mentioned as a key nation that will one day come with many other nations against Israel. The current Russian president, Vladimir Putin, demonstrated recently with his attempted interference into the Ukrainian elections that he hasn’t given up his old Soviet KGB ways in dealing with those he intends to dominate. It will be more than interesting to watch Putin’s continuing efforts to bring despotism back into the political process of that region which will, Bible prophecy says, be aligned against God’s chosen nation, Israel, in the latter days. The year 2005 could be significant in this regard.
Without meaning to be overly speculative, one must look hard at the way nature seems to have revved up its violence during the year just past. Todd has written above about this phenomenal increase in destructive weather and earthquake activities. Tornadoes in record numbers occurring in the US in 2004, eclipsing the previous record number occurring in 1998. Hurricanes, one after another, in the Atlantic. Typhoons, some of the most destructive ever recorded, in the Pacific. And one of the most powerful earthquakes in recorded history in the Indian Ocean just before year’s end, causing tidal waves that killed possibly as many as a quarter of a million people. These are disasters of near-biblical proportion, even according to secular media news commentators. These upheavals of nature, taken in to consideration with every other prophetic indicator on the horizon of history while we enter the year 2005, makes us ask whether this is the time Jesus spoke of when He said: “…When you see all these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your head, for your redemption draweth nigh” (Lk. 21:28).