Thursday, October 14, 2021

Earthquakes and Such

When I was a new believer, books on the end-times were hot sellers. We were eager to know “when” we were on God’s prophetic clock, and what would be the “signs of the times” whereby we could know just how close the “end” was. After all, were we not members of the “last generation” that would see Jesus arrive “on the clouds of Heaven”?

Whenever end-time prophecy “experts” list the “signs of the times” to demonstrate just how near the “end” is, invariably, they begin by citing the words of Jesus concerning earthquakes, wars, and famines. We are told the increases in wars and earthquakes in recent decades confirm that we are in the “last days.

Earthquake - Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez on Unsplash
[Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez on Unsplash]

Did not Jesus declare that we would hear of “w
ars and rumors of wars”? Did he not teach his disciples that “nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines and earthquakes in different places?

Predictably, recent earthquakes in California and elsewhere have motivated popular preachers to claim they could be harbingers of something prophetic that is about to occur. However, this is the Standard Operating Procedure of the “experts” whenever a seismic event of any significance occurs anywhere in the world.

The problem is that multiple earthquakes occur daily somewhere in the world, especially in seismically active regions like the Pacific Rim. So, how do we determine which quakes are prophetically significant and which are not?

For that matter, where does the New Testament teach that earthquakes are tools that we can use to divine the future? All Jesus said was there would be “earthquakes in different places.” Nowhere did he say that one earthquake would be more prophetically significant than another, and nowhere did he predict that the frequency or intensity of seismic events or wars would increase in the “last days.” That is the popular interpretation, but it is no more than that.

He did not say that earthquakes, wars, or famines are signs of the “end.” He only stated that such things would occur, and we should not be “troubled” when they do since “the end is not yet”!

Jesus did give one definitive “sign” that will signal the imminence of the “end” - When “this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole habitable Earth for a testimony to all the nations, then the end will come.

Before his Ascension, Jesus gave us one mission, to preach the Gospel to all nations. Only when this mission is completed will the “Son of Man come in power and glory” and gather his “elect” to himself. The very fact that he has not done so is irrefutable evidence that the task remains incomplete.

Jesus did warn us of the “many” deceivers who would come bent on deceiving “the elect.” His warning stressed what the disciples would “hear”: Reports of wars and claims about earthquakes and famines “in different places.” These “deceivers” would be the ones spreading disinformation about wars, earthquakes, and famines, and so it is today.

How many times have we heard popular preachers issue such warnings over the last century or two, only to see our prophetic expectations dashed? If anything, the infiltration of our churches by “many deceivers” is a far more reliable “sign” of the end’s proximity than any earthquake or war.

None of this means he will not return soon. Perhaps he will, but catastrophes like wars and seismic events are not the criteria for determining this. His return in glory is dependent on us completing the one task assigned to us by our Lord.

  • Deceiving and being deceived - (The New Testament repeatedly warns of coming deceivers and false prophets who will cause many disciples to depart from the faith)
  • Apostasy and Misdirection - (Believers who are watching for apostasy outside the Church will be among the first who are overtaken by it as it operates in the Assembly)
  • Serpents in the Assembly - (The Spirit of Antichrist works to destroy the Body of Christ from within, especially through deceivers and false teachers)