Making Sense of Natural Disasters
You have probably noticed that Planet Earth appears to be ripping apart at the seams these days. Almost every week we hear fresh reports of yet another earthquake, fire, flood, or tornado sweeping thousands, or tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands into death’s icy grip—and into eternity. It’s heartbreaking. “International mayhem increases at every turn,” moaned Tina Brown, Newsweek’s Editor in Chief. “Has the world gone crazy?” she wondered.1
We won’t discover the true answer on CNN or Fox News. Only in the Bible will we find up-to-the-minute, 100% reliable information showing why such horrendous catastrophes seem to be daily increasing around the globe. This ancient book’s cryptic prophecies describe our generation.
The last book of the Bible, Revelation, portrays disasters immediately preceding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Heavenly angels hold back global desolation: “After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads’” (Revelation 7:1-3).
“The four winds of the earth” represent worldwide conflict, war, and natural disasters. The “four angels” restraining these winds are the benevolent forces of a loving Creator who is even now preventing all hell from breaking loose. As we get closer to “the great day” of God Almighty (Revelation 6:17), these heavenly sentinels finally begin to loosen their grip over pent up—and often satanically inspired—forces of death and destruction. For this reason deadly disasters are increasing.
One insightful Christian writer commented: “The restraining Spirit of God is even now being withdrawn from the world. Hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, follow each other in quick succession. Science seeks to explain all these. The signs thickening around us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause. Men cannot discern the sentinel angels restraining the four winds that they shall not blow until the servants of God are sealed; but when God shall bid His angels loose the winds, there will be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture.” 2
University trained scientists offer various explanations, but the truth is that increasing “disasters by sea and by land” reveal that “the restraining Spirit of God is even now being withdrawn from the world.” But why? What is humanity doing to cause the Maker of heaven and earth to withdraw His protection from those He created, loves, and seeks to save? The answer is startling, yet simple. On every continent, in every smog-polluted city, and on every tropical island across the deep blue sea, the vast majority of earth’s teeming inhabitants are now openly, recklessly, and persistently—without fear of eternal consequences—breaking the Ten Commandments, which the Bible states were originally “written with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18) on two tablets of solid rock. “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,” wrote Paul in Ephesians 4:30. Yet today’s irreligious, happy-go-lucky, party-loving multitudes are doing exactly that 24-7. This is the true reason why God is withdrawing His hand.
Essentially, here are God’s Ten Commandments in plain language:
- Put God first
- Do not worship idols
- Respect God’s name
- Keep the seventh day holy
- Honor your parents
- Do not murder
- Do not commit adultery
- Do not steal
- Do not lie
- Do not covet (readExodus 20:3-17)
According to God’s book, breaking the Ten Commandments is sin. “Sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4), affirmed John. Yet “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16) to endure the full penalty of this broken law on a cruel cross in our place. “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3) is Heaven’s good news. If we are willing to repent, confess, and have faith in Jesus as our Savior, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Those who accept Jesus in these end times—showing their loyalty to each of the Ten Commandments—will receive “the seal of the living God . . . on their foreheads” (Revelation 7:2-3). They will also be perfectly protected when “the four winds” are fully loosed and Satan takes full control.
Getting Our Attention
As cruel and devastating as massive earthquakes, killer tsunamis, unstoppable fires, overflowing floods, and horrific tornadoes are, God nevertheless has a purpose in allowing these nightmares to decimate His world. He is desperately trying to get our attention. “Repent!” is His urgent plea in the middle of the storm. Yet few listen. The book of Revelation implies that sincere yet misguided religious leaders will eventually misinterpret these events and claim that God is directly punishing human beings for their refusal to keep Sunday sacred, even though the Ten Commandments plainly identify “the seventh day” (Saturday) as the true day of rest. If you should ever hear such an interpretation of current events, don’t be fooled by such reasoning. Read Exodus 20:8-11 and Revelation 14:12.
On Sunday night, October 8, 1871, the famous evangelist D.L. Moody was preaching to an immense crowd in Chicago about the importance of sinners making commitments to Jesus Christ. “Call for decisions now!” was the urgent impression of the Holy Spirit to the preacher. But Moody hesitated. Instead, he told his spellbound hearers that he would call for decisions next week. That crowd never returned. During the closing song the loud sirens of fire trucks declared that the Great Chicago Fire had begun. It blazed for two days, killing hundreds. Oh how Moody later wished he had made that appeal!
Dear reader, deadly disasters can strike at any moment. Tomorrow, we may be dead. Yet in the middle of heartache and loss of life, God suffers too, just as He did when His own Son died on a cross. For our encouragement, His word promises that someday—when the foul odor of sin vanishes forever—there will be “no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). Above all, make sure you don’t miss heaven. Choose Jesus Christ today!
Making Sense of Natural Disasters
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