And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them. “When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.” Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.Luke 21:8-11
Let’s take a detailed look at those things Jesus said would take place first and then the end would come, but not immediately.
Wars [polemos] and rumours of wars: – armed conflict between nations and or political groups within nations. Nation will rise against nation.
Disturbances, kingdoms or splinter groups within nations will rise against kingdom or splinter groups. In other words civil war. The word [akatastasia] refers to unruliness, tumults, disorder, revolutions or insurrections.
- Earthquakes [seismos] – shaking or seismic activity
- Plagues [loimos] plagues, pestilence or diseases. These days we witness the outbreaks of new and old diseases that we can’t seem to control.
- Famines [limos] with such affluence in the earth we still have famines and hunger to the point of starvation.
- Terrors [phobetron] – terrible or sights or events which trigger mass panic. (Many think these are linked to the signs from heaven which follow this in the list.)
- Signs in the heavens / sky – strange cosmic events – such as comets, meteors, eclipses or the like. I am sure there will be signs that we have not seen or heard of before still to come.
I commented yesterday that these signs are general by nature. Every generation has wars, earthquakes, plagues, famines, terrors and signs in the sky. Thus every generation feels they are entering the beginning of the end. Throw in weather patterns and global climate change, murder and general lawlessness and we have a societal mix that convinces us the “end is nigh”. But some argue that it has always been like this. The issue is not what is happening; the issue is that world wide media reports on every little thing happening on the planet in a way that has never happened before. It was happening with the same frequency in the past but not reported to the same degree. We just didn’t hear about it. Is that true?
Let’s take two indicators for which data is readily available: earthquakes and wars
How often do earthquakes occur?
It seems that we are always hearing of another earthquake somewhere in the world. Are earthquakes occurring more frequently or is that our imagination? I taught in past times in high school all about plate tectonics and what causes earthquakes. I told students the fault lines of the world are always in motion. The danger period is when earthquakes “stop” on a particular fault line or subduction zone of the earth’s crust. That indicates the plate has locked temporarily which will trigger a more violent earthquake at a later time. It is better for us to have a series of small incidental tremors than a massive earthquake.
The graph below gives you an idea of just how many earthquakes occur around the world at any one time. The bell curve of the blue data reveals we get over a million earthquakes per year recorded around the world. But most are slight as to be “felt” only by the most sophisticated equipment and having extremely low energy release.
Being a Kiwi and witnessing the frequency of earthquakes that hit Christchurch since the first series in September 2010 is shocking. For me it brings the message home. There were 12,494 tremors felt from Sept 4th 2010. There were 8,066 felt from February 22 2011, 4,124 from June 14 2011 and 2,200 tremors from Dec 23 2011. You can see the frequency graphically demonstrated on the Animated Quake Map http://www.christchurchquakemap.co.nz
The GeoNet project locates between 50 and 80 earthquakes each day, or about 20,000 a year.
But what about the big ones? Aren’t they growing in number? The statistics tell us they are.
There is ample evidence to demonstrate to you to that earthquakes are increasing in frequency. Simply click on the links I have provided for you for more comprehensive information.
How often do wars occur?
Over the last few years it seems that wars or insurrections are breaking out all over the globe: Africa, the Middle East, Asia. The world seems to have become a cauldron of political unrest and rebellion. Is that true. New research by Professors Mark Harrison from the University of Warwick and Nikolaus Wolf from Humboldt University has revealed:
“between 1870 and 2001 the frequency of wars between states increased steadily by 2% a year on average.
Between 1870 and 1913, the frequency of ‘pairwise’ conflicts (the numbers of pairs of countries involved in conflicts) increased on average by 6% per year. The frequency of wars increased by 17% per year in the period of the First and Second World Wars, and by 31% per year during the Cold War. In the 1990s, the frequency of wars between states rose by 36% per year.
Yes that feeling you have that earthquakes and wars are becoming more frequent is correct. Isn’t that the point of what Jesus is saying? That these indicators will all increase as we near the end of time until when the time of Great Tribulation hits it will be unbearable. If you think it is bad now, it will get worse.
But don’t despair because He holds the world in His hands and He is coming back for those who are His.Ian Vail
Don’t wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects.Roger Zelazny
They said the world is going to end this year…Pssh They can barely predict the weather.Anon
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.Richard Bach
When you think about it, the end of the world is a little bit like death: We all know it’s going to come eventually, and as we get older, we feel we see the signs more and more distinctly.John Hodgman
The end of the world as we know it, only heralds the beginning of the Age to Come.Ian Vail