Once in a while, though admittedly not frequently, one notices that even the world recognizes that something is happening in this world of our – something which causes them to sit up and take notice. I observed this as I read Time of June 15, 1970, which presented the account of the terrible earthquake in Peru. The account of this earthquake began with these striking paragraphs:
“This year, as always, the world’s attention has been focused more often on the catastrophes wrought by man than on those caused by nature. It may be that because wars are man-made and therefore avoidable, they are more horrifying than erupting mountains and flooding rivers, over which man has virtually no control. Yet this year natural disasters have claimed far more lives than the fighting in Indochina and the Middle East. As many as 200 Europeans perished in avalanches; 1, 100 Turks in an earthquake along the Anatolian Fault; 800 Indians in a searing heat wave; 200 Rumanians in the worst floods in the country’s history.
“Last week an event took place that far overshadows any of these disasters, and in fact any in the past several decades. In his 1927 novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Thornton Wilder wrote: “Those catastrophes which lawyers shockingly call the “acts of God” were more than usually frequent. Tidal waves were continually washing away cities; earthquakes arrived every week and towers fell upon good men and women all the time.” He was writing of Peru.”
The article in Time continues by describing that destructive earthquake in Peru. It points out even the reaction of many who lived through it – they raised their fists toward heaven and cursed God. How striking is the account – and the recognition of man that these are terrible events! Only one thing, the important thing, is lacking in the account – man refuses to recognize in this the judgment of God, nor sees this as one important sign of the end of time.
Do we read and understand?
Jesus said in Matthew 24:7, “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers placed.”
Again, among the various passages in Revelation which speaks of seals, trumpets, and vials, there is the section of Rev. 9:17 – 21, “And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that say on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk; neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”
The fulfillment of the prophecies of Scripture is so clearly evident that none can deny it. The signs of the end of time are being realized before our very eyes. Every headline in the newspaper shows this anew each day. Have we eyes to see? Have we ears to hear?
The end is not yet – though it cannot be far away. More “natural” disasters will take place. Some of these are going to touch the United States of America too. Scientists forecast the probability of a terrible earthquake on our own west coast. Only last year we heard of the most terrible hurricane ever to hit this country. We can expect to hear more of these.
Natural man will give logical explanations to all these “disasters.” He might curse and swear – shaking his fist towards the heavens. But he will not believe that God sends these. He refuses to see these events as signs of the end of time. He continues and develops in his wickedness – until the end arrives.
How have you observed all these events, young people? Sometimes, I fear, young people regard any reference to end-of-time signs as being “scare tactics.” Reference to these seem to be means, they believe, for compelling them to think more of spiritual things. These young people refuse to be “scared.” They will go on their own willful way as though all things always remain the same.
Others insist that though there are disasters in our day, these have always taken place. These consider the events of our day to be but ordinary occurrences. Some young people have come to accept wars, disasters, etc. as though these are normal. These too refuse to see any “sign” in the events of our age.
But we have the clear testimony of Scripture – with striking confirmation in the news-reports in magazines and papers. The end of this age is upon us. There must yet arise the antichrist with attendant persecutions. This will shortly come to pass.
Does it mean anything to you, young people? It seems to me that if we are indeed observant, we will also be very faithful. Now, as never before, it is our calling and duty to apply ourselves to the study of God’s Word. Now, as never before, we are to know that which God has revealed to us in the Scriptures. We must know what we believe – and why.
When a soldier is about to enter into terrible battle, would he not be spending the time immediately preceding in preparation? Should we do less?
When a farmer observes that the time of planting is at hand, does he not diligently prepare his equipment and obtain his seed? Should we do less?
When the athlete is about to enter a contest, does he not spend his time wholly in preparation for the impending event? Should we do less?
When we see that the night is far spend, that the day of salvation is at hand, ought we to be so concerned about what can be seen on television, or so concerned about the world’s latest novel;, or so concerned about new cars or clothing? We ought to be more concerned about the new heavens and new earth which shall soon appear. Our concern must be reflected in our words; in our action; in our thoughts.
To do otherwise is to live the life of the blind fool whose end is destruction.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 30 No. 5 August September 1970