Within the last two weeks, we have witnessed some very tragic events that have occurred in the world. It was not long ago, on December 26, 2004, when a Tsunami in Indonesia caused more casualties than any other in recorded history. More than 150,000 people were killed, 25,000 were missing and over 1,000,000 were displaced in South Asia and East Africa.
Now, there are reports of nearly 50,000 people that may be buried alive in China after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake that occurred in China’s Sichuan province just a few days ago. 100,000 people may be feared dead in Myanmar too, after a ruinous cyclone ripped through this small Indonesian country, formally known as Burma. Do you recall the devastating floods that happened last summer in Ohio? How about the severe drought in Georgia last summer too? There have been devastating tornadoes in the central states and fears of famine in North Korea too.
Click here to view the list of natural disasters from Fox News.
We may be baffled by the tragic casualties of war and feel compassion for those who have been devastated by these disastrous events that have occurred recently, but are we really paying attention to what we are seeing? These are not the workings of “Mother Nature” either.
Are these the signs that God is giving us pertaining to the imminent return of His Son Jesus Christ?
I am not a doom and gloom type of person when it comes things such as this that are biblical, but there have been an increased frequency of these types of events occurring lately and these signs should not be taken lightly or ignored. I am a firm believer in bringing good news to people, but I cannot withhold speaking the bad news that we should all know about too, which does make the good news, very good news indeed.
Surely, we have experienced natural disasters like this in the past, so why are these events any different?
How many times?
I do not believe it is a matter of receiving only one warning to prepare for the return of Jesus Christ. We have been receiving multiple warnings that only seem to increase in frequency. Nevertheless, when the last warning has been issued, when the final trump of God has sounded (1 Corinthians 15:52, Revelation 11:15-19), it will be too late for many because God’s judgment will be carried out at that very moment for failing to heed His warning signs and His word.
David Wilkerson (1998) writes, “I’ve scoured the scriptures, and I can’t find a single instance when the Lord judged a people without first giving them warning in plenty of time to repent. Moreover, with every warning God sent, he clearly revealed where people could go to find protection from destruction. Our Lord has always provided refuge for anyone who’s willing to honor his word by heeding and obeying it.” (p. 80, read Exodus chapter 9 also).
Reading verse 7 again, Jesus said, “there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.” These words, famines, pestilences and earthquakes are plural and He said they would happen in various places, not just in one particular part of the world. These would be global events.
Did you know that the Greek word for earthquake is seismos? (σεισμός, G4578). Seismos is derived from the Greek word seiō (σείω, G4579) and this word means primarily to rock (vibrate, properly sideways or to and fro), that is, (generally) to agitate (in any direction; cause to tremble); figuratively to throw into a tremor (of fear or concern): - move, quake, shake.
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:25-29, emphasis mine)What will be shaken here on earth? Aside from the obvious, such as buildings and other structures, it may also be governments, military powers, financial institutions, global economies, political lobbyist groups (particularly those with personal agendas) and even the church, especially the leaders of churches who have been severely abusing their role as church leaders and the people whom they have deceived with false teaching. Carnal living Christians will even be exposed for the frauds they have been. It will all come crashing down one day and will leave an innumerable number of people utterly astonished and bewildered.
We should not discount what is written in the Old Testament concerning warnings through calamities such as we have been experiencing. The Old Testament provides many examples of events that were realized in the New Testament and events that will take place in the future.
In the Old Testament book of Jeremiah chapter 6, the prophet of God spoke a warning to the people of Jerusalem, of God’s forthcoming judgment because of their rebellion against God’s commandments and the way the people had been oppressed and mistreated.
Are you listening?
“For thus the Lord of hosts said: “To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot give heed. Behold the word of the Lord is a reproach to them; they have no delight in it.” (Jeremiah 6:6, 10).
Ezekiel was an Old Testament prophet, who was established as a watchman for God over the house of Israel and he was instructed to declare a similar warning to the people because of their wickedness. God told Ezekiel to go and speak to the people, “whether they hear, or whether they refuse.” (Ezekiel 3:11).
Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. "Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul."" (Ezekiel 3:16-21, emphasis mine).
Why is it that people only want to hear of God’s gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ but not hear the consequences of their sin? The two cannot be separated, especially when that is what the Scripture says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
As a doctor would say to a patient who is a smoker, “Unless you quit smoking, you are going to die,” so Jesus has said, “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5).
IF THEN ELSE
Do you remember the IF THEN ELSE used in computer programming, maybe in math? If the condition is true, the statements following Then are executed. If the condition is false, then the Else condition is executed. The same would apply to our spiritual lives also.
IF THEN ELSE Statement: (IF) God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, (THEN) whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life, (ELSE) he who does not believe the son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:16, 36).
Verse 19 of Jeremiah 6 says, “Hear, O earth! Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people – the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not heeded My words nor My law, but rejected it.”
Isn’t this true today! Don’t we see the foundation of moral law, the Ten Commandments, disregarded from public places? When confronted about it, it is a reproach to people and they certainly take no delight in it either and feel rather offended. Will anyone be able to say to God on their judgment day that His law was offensive to them and He should feel guilty about it? Should we expect God’s judgment not to come because of such contemptuous behavior? No, we should!
So what should we do?
The disciples wanted to know from Jesus what would be the sign of His return, when in the future, would the end of the age be? This has been a common question that I am sure is on the mind of many people too.
Interestingly, Jesus did not say to them when He would establish his kingdom, but said that they should not be deceived by people who say that they are the Christ (Matthew 24:4-5). Unfortunately, many will be deceived though because they failed to listen, they failed to recognize the warning signs; they failed to heed His word.
Jesus said that no one knows the hour when He will return, not even He knows, none of the angels know, but only God the Father knows the day and the hour when that will be (Matthew 24:36).
And the Lord says that we should be ready for His unexpected arrival and ready we must be! Now is a good time, for every person, to examine themselves and see if they are called one of God's children (2 Corinthians 13:5, John 1:12).
Luke’s gospel, chapter 21:36, records more specifically what we should do, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:25-28.
Note: What has been written in this post, is not an edited transcript of the sermon from Pastor David Wilkerson below.
Related sermon – To Whom Shall I Give Warning, Pastor David Wilkerson, July 31, 2005. PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS SERMON.
Geology.com. Retrieved May 13, 2008, from http://geology.com/articles/tsunami-map.shtml
Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computersoftware].
Scripture taken from the New King JamesVersion. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Wilkerson, D. (1998). God’s plan to protect his people in the coming depression. Texas. Wilkerson Trust Publications.