My heart goes out to those who are affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I want to share my thoughts as I consider this great tragedy.
It is popular in some circles to jump on every crisis to declare the coming end of the world or end of this age. And while I agree that these kinds of disasters will herald the end of the age, care must be taken not to use natural catastrophes to preach hate messages disguised as religious warnings.
Throughout history there have been many natural disasters, some as severe as what has happened in Japan. In fact, in Matthew 24 Jesus warned us not to conclude that the end is here when we see them, or when we see famines and wars.
However, this same passage, combined with a few other prophetic messages, implies we will see an upsurge in wars, famines, and disasters as the end of the age draws near. We have seen an unusual number of major disasters over the last several years. In addition, many other last days prophesies are being fulfilled, such as a liberal, anything-goes, christianity (small c intended) and the rise of many false teachers within the church, and the push for a global economy and global government, among others. Those who keep Christ’s command to watch cannot help but be convinced by these signs that Christ’s Second Coming is near, at the very doors.
In fact, in Matt 24 Jesus concluded with the warning that the generation of those who see all these things happening together as the end approaches would not pass away until all was fulfilled. In other words, there will be perhaps up to a 40 year period, a biblical generation, during which we should expect an increase in wars, disasters, and famines just before Christ returns.
That is exactly the kind of things we see going on today. Most of the world is on the verge of economic collapse, which would produce a famine like that described in Revelation 6. Earth’s climate is shifting and changing – not necessarily global warming or that it is directly caused by man’s pollution, but it is clear that there are changes – causing some disruptions in the world food supply. Wars and rumors of wars abound, and could easily result in another world war. I could continue in this line, but let me go on to a related topic.
As I look at the results of the disasters in Japan, I am reminded of the events of the Day of the Lord as recorded in Scripture. Hebrews 12 says once more God is going to arise and shake the earth utterly, so that everything which can be shaken will be shaken and only that which cannot be shaken will remain.
Revelation 6:12-17; Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13; Luke 21; Joel 2 and a host of other passages describe the shaking. Joel warns of blood, fire, vapor of smoke, the sun darkened and the moon appearing red just as the Day of the Lord, the Day of God’s wrath on earth, begins. Revelation says every mountain and island will be moved out of its place. In Luke 21 Jesus warned of roaring waves, tsunamis that dwarf the imagination.
The earthquake in Japan moved the island 8 feet. The earthquake in Haiti also move that island some distance. If you watch the news, you have seen the images of the devastating results of just a single island nation experiencing such a catastrophe.
Now imagine all the hot earthquake zones triggered on the same day, moving every island, shaking the whole of the earth. Picture Japan on a worldwide scope. Rightly Jesus said men’s hearts will melt and fail in fear of the things which are coming on the earth. Revelation says man will run to the mountains and hide in the rocks at the sixth seal to hide from God’s implacable wrath.
Isaiah warns that on the Day of the Lord every idolatry, every work of man, will be cast down. The Lord will exalt Himself on that Day, and only He will be exalted. Mankind will largely still rebel – but like a spanked child, will be set down in their futile rebellion.
God’s wrath will continue to pour out on mankind for perhaps as long as one year. Prophecy calls The Day of the Lord the Year of Recompense. During this time the trumpet and bowl judgments will fall upon the earth (Revelation 7, 8, 16).
But God has promised that true believers will not face this time period. In 1Thessalonians 5 we are told believers are not appointed to go through the Day of the Lord wrath, but for deliverance. We are also told that those believers who are watching should see the signs of the approaching Day of the Lord.
In 1Thessalonians 4 we discover the means of that deliverance, the event which is often called the rapture of the church. The criterion for being in this number who are to be resurrected and caught up to the Lord is simple: have a living, active faith in Christ for salvation.
There are several theories concerning the rapture/resurrection of the church, but it is not the purpose of this article to address these.
We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We all deserve God’s wrath, for we have all knowingly done things which we knew were wrong. And we have all violated God’s moral law. God, in His mercy and love, has provided a way of escape from His anger and wrath. He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. Jesus bore the penalty that was rightly yours and mine when He was crucified on the cross.
Make the decision to trust in Him for salvation, to live for Him, and you will be saved. It is not a system of beliefs and doctrines, nor a set of religious practices or good works which saves you. It is solely through faith in Christ. Now genuine faith should produce works which demonstrate the faith, but works do not save you.
If you realize you need salvation or have backslidden and realize you need to repent, do not harden your heart and reject the call of God. Today is the day of salvation, and God does not promise to give you another opportunity tomorrow to get right with Him.
Cry out to Him from your heart. The exact words do not matter, just acknowledge Him, acknowledge your need of salvation, your sin. Repent, determine to seek Him and turn away from sin. Take a stand for Jesus in your life and you will be saved!