Current world events whether earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, cyclones, or typhoons may be warning signs that we should heed. We have ample evidence that Divine Intervention can be in the form of flood, pestilence, war, or catastrophic earthquake or volcanic devastation. Our God has always shown the virtue of forbearance - patience and tolerance in the face of provocation. Eventually when human behaviour has become intolerable the punishment has been just and often terrifying. However he has often shown mercy to those who finally repent even at the proverbial last minute. Examples in Jonah 4:11 where God spared the mighty city of Ninevah; also 1 Kings 21:29 where God delayed a punishment for the house of King Ahab to the next generation.
Events in late 2011 and now continuing are occuring at such a rate that it is challenging to be aware of them all and to also to understand their severity.
1. Sudden brief weather events - storms and deluges - have been disrupting the activities of international figures with the Pope and the new French president Francois Hollande being two of those affected. Queen Elizabeth's jubilee experienced a thorough drenching.
The meteorite blazing across the Russian sky February 2013 was a once in a hundred year event - brief but highly visible. But within a very short period an asteroid came frighteningly close to earth - again a rare event - with another more massive one very close in May. And at the same time there was a lightning strikes St Peter's Basilica in Rome after the Pope's resignation. Were these signs? We do not know but taking all these events together we can but wonder.
2. The US east coast earthquake 23rd August 2011 was a rare event and the most powerful on the east coast since 1897.
We have the prophecy of earthquakes in diverse places and in recent times such locations have included Nepal, Turkey, outback Australia, and Mexico.
3. Hurricane Irene. God rules over the raging of the seas - Psalm 89:9. The power of God to control the weather for storm, flood, and drought has been witnessed in the Bible for thousands of years. Hurricane Irene was remarkable in being of sufficient size to deluge the east coast with rain and to maintain its strength as it moved slowly north. The the centre tracked a line with a population of 65 million people.
4. Tropical storm Lee caused havoc due to floods as it moved slowly from up US east coast. Being confined by Hurricane Katia it contributed rainfall totals together with Irene of up to 100cm over a period of 40 days.
The nature of US weather events has been to cause significant economic damage and personal disruption by being prolonged rather than just severe.
The severity has been increasing with Hurricane Sandy causing massive devastation and disruption with its remarkable timing, size, coincidence with an east moving weather event, and peak tides. And it came at a critical time in the US presidential elections late in 2012. Fatalities totalled 253 and damage was estimated at $US74 billion - the second highest on record.
5. Wild fires have ravaged Texas and Colarado. We see them increasing worldwide in Russia, Spain, France, Greece, and elsewhere.
Much of the US is in severe drought with significant crop losses. As at mid 2012 grain prices worldwide have increased sharply. A world food price crisis is expected in 2013.
6. All time record breaking snow storms disrupted power to 3 million users in NE USA. The timing and intensity of this October 2011 event was remarkable. In February 2013 we have another major snow storm in the NE states just six months after the same area was devastated by tropical storm Lee.
A report from global insurance underwriter Munich Re states that "Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America. The study shows a nearly quintupled number of weather-related loss events in North America for the past three decades, compared with an increase factor of 4 in Asia, 2.5 in Africa, 2 in Europe and 1.5 in South America."
7. Apart from the US we see significant climate events in other parts of the world. As at September 2011 in Japan Typhoon Talas took 100 lives followed by Roke which brought floods.
Typhoon Nesat caused major damage and fatalities in the Philippines. Nesat arrived exactly two years after Ketsana with over 500 lives lost in this Catholic dominated nation. Within a week it was followed by Typhoon Nalgae. And in December 2011 tropical storm Washi took another terrible death toll. As at January 2013 the country has been subject to months of ongoing weather events sufficient to cause major floods.
Floods have isolated 2 million people in India and devastated Pakistan yet again. Angola, China, Brazil, and Colombia are other flood affected countries. Australian Queensland, NSW, and Victorian floods have now been repeated in some areas in successive seasons with slow moving Cyclone Oswald causing major flood damage to Queensland again in early 2013.
Melting glaciers have the potential to cause a catastrophe in the Himalayas with glacial lakes at the tipping point.
Thailand was hit by the worst floods in 50 years with more than 400 flood related deaths. Rice exports from this major supplier may be halved in 2012. Thailand is a major electronics and motor vehicle parts manufacturing country and a significant impact happening worldwide due to submerged industrial parks.
And we have seen very severe winter conditions causing serious loss of life in Europe in February 2012. By April we have unprecedented water restrctions due to drought in the U.K. But England has also been experiencing serious flooding which is very rare in that country.
Severe natural catastrophes were at an all time record worldwide in 2011 with the estimated cost of US$380 billion being two thirds higher than the previous record year of 2005. One reason was that events such as the Japanese Tsunami, the Thailand floods, and the New Zealand earthquake occurred in locations where the damage cost is very high.
Crop losses may lead to malnutrition which together with waterborne diseases can be devastating. The Black Plague of the mid 1300's is an example of a climate event related pandemic. It is estimated to have killed 30-60% of Europeans and a quarter of the world population.
8. Apart from natural disasters we find governments with domestic and regional political gridlock (e.g. USA, Japan, Germany, Greece, Australia) hampering attempts to avert a potential worldwide economic collapse. To quote the Governor of the Bank of England "This is the most serious financial crisis we have seen at least since the 1930s, if not ever..."
The warnings continue with the World Bank stating in January 2012 that the world had "entered a very difficult phase characterised by significant downside risks and fragility...governments should be preparing for a downturn as bad as that which followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers..."An escalation of the crisis would spare no one..."
Very significant in Biblical prophecy is a centralised European 'government' managing the affairs of a reduced number of EU member states. We expect the Vatican to be very influencial in this. Already key positions are held by Jesuit educated politicians and economists.
9. The Middle East appears to be heading towards the conflict that will draw in the major powers who are now preparing urgently for this eventuality. This is prophecied in the Bible, particularly in Ezekial chapters 38 and 39. Syria appears to be descending into civil war Russia opposing any intervention in the country. As at December 2012 Russia is supplying Syria with new ground attack missiles too fast for Patriot missile defence systems to destroy and is also maintaining a naval fleet nearby with the prospect of evacuating its citizens.
Syrian has stockpiles of chemical weapons and it is believed that some have been transferred to terrorist groups outside the country.
When you see Damascus a "ruinous heap" and Israel weakened prepare for a conflict that will include many nations. Christ will overcome those who come up against Jerusalem and will ultimately establish his Kingdom. Those who resist will perish.
Increasing turmoil in Egypt may well see the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 19:2 "And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, each against another and each against his neighbour, city against city, kingdom against kingdom." (ESV).
The New York based United Nations is the centre of ongoing Palestinian attempts to use the UN and its agencies to support the establishment of a separate state. God will execute judgement on those who divide the land of Israel. See Joel 3:1-2 "I will gather all nations and...I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance...for they...divided up my land". (NIV).
Those who seek to use the division of the Israel and Jerusalem as a tool for peace and others who likewise deny God's sovereignty in the Promised Land risk incurring his wrath.
Same-sex marriages are an abhorrence to God. See Romans 1:26-27. They were legalised in New York July 24th 2011. Washington DC and six eastern US states allow same-sex marriages. With the ravages of the Mississippi floods, severe winter storms, and now Hurricane Irene with tropical storm Lee they have all endured one or more major calamities in recent times.
President Obama's accommodation of same-sex marriage has been accompanied by severe storms in Washington DC and extreme summer temperatures with major power outages. Storms have continued and extended to New York where rare tornados were experienced 9th September 2012 and successive tornados caused damage and fatalities in Oaklahoma in 2013.
Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans occurred at a time when President Bush endorsed the withdrawl of Israelis from settlements in the Gaza strip and approved payments to the Palestinian Authority for new construction work.
The New Orleans 34th Annual gay, lesbian and transgender "Southern Decadence" Labor Day gala was to be held from August 31st to September 5th. Hurricane Katrina arrived August 29th.
Since 2001, eleven countries and several internal states of other countries allow same-sex couples to marry. Bills legalizing same-sex are under consideration in other countries including the UK. Norway being one of the former was stunned by the 2011 massacre, together with Spain which has seen economic collapse.
New Zealand's same-sex marriage laws took effect in August 2013. We can but wonder that in the same month the nation experienced an economic disaster in the form of dairy export contamination. The capital Wellington suffered an earthquake in July 2013 and again in August.
Biblical history also shows us how God will take actions that may have their eventual effects many years into the future. It is not for us to know. However we are told what the warning signs of the final days before the Lord Jesus Christ's return will include. Matthew 24:14-31 is among NT and OT references to these times.
As at August 2014 we can reflect on the major events of the year and they are now coming with extraordinary rapidity. We have the Ukraine crisis, Russia and the USA moving back to cold war relationships, the Gaza crisis, and the ISIS terrorists in Iraq. Ebola has emerged as a serious threat and weather events are becoming more extreme with very serious drought in the western states of the US.
Russia's ambitions appear to be regional domination and this is underlined by major investments being made in its armed forces. The increase in oil and gas resources elsewhere have added an economic imperitive to the establish something akin to the USSR of previous years.
We can but observe that the US is being weakened by apparently unrelated events but there may be a bigger purpose. The industrial powerhouse of Japan is also being weakened with continuing "natural" disasters including the flooding of the southern island of the country in July 2012.
Major events are increasingly intense and happening at an ever more rapid pace. Is this the beginning of the birth pangs or beginning of sorrows prophecied in Matthew 24:8? They are diverse in nature including slow moving storms causing great economic losses. And we now have the prospect of 'pestilence' in the form of Ebola.
For those ignoring the final warnings the outcome is plainly prophecied. God has a plan and purpose with the world and we are at the end of the time of the Gentiles. Those who ignore what is now evident risk being counted among the foolish virgins portrayed in the parable in Matthew 25:1-13.
If you would like to know more we would be happy to provide relevant written and video information. Just ask by email, phone, or write - we do not call. There is no charge Or come to one of our Sunday night presentations. We are in Heathmont, Victoria, Australia but if you are far away there are Christadelphian ecclesiae worldwide who also have weekly presentations.
You will understand we as do all Christians have a duty to preach and every person receiving the Gospel message has a choice that they alone can make. Mark 16:15,16