I’ve heard a lot of people talk about the recent earthquakes. There have been several notable earthquakes in the last few months. The fact that they are so widespread and not limited to one locale has many people speculating (or proclaiming) how this could be a sign of the end of the world; or if they are Christians, a sign of the coming of Jesus Christ. I’ve heard many people say that these earthquakes were mentioned by Jesus as a sign of His coming. Is that so? Let’s see what the text states.
Matthew 24:3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
Jesus here is clarifying to the disciples what NOT to be alarmed about. All these things that Jesus describes are only the beginning of birth pangs, not signs of the end. Since these earthquakes will be a part of history until the end of the age, we should not point out how they are signs that precede the coming of Jesus. When these earthquakes occur, what is to be our response?
I think we should take advantage of these opportunities. If someone is willing to talk about the end of the age, and earthquakes is the bridge that opens up that conversation, then go for it. The average person only has a vague idea of what the Bible says on these subjects. My recommendation is, don’t come across like you are trying to correct someone. The people that I have heard mention that earthquakes are signs of the coming of Christ are usually Bible believing Christians who are living their lives for the LORD. Let the mention of earthquakes be a bridge into meaningful conversation, not a chance to show how much you know about the Bible. When talking with those who are non-Christians, throw in a line and see if you get a bite. Show your own interest and enthusiasm about the subject. If someone mentions being a bit scared or apprehensive about how earthquakes are becoming more commonplace and growing in intensity, share your excitement with having just read a little something in the Bible about that. If they respond positively, proceed a little further. If they don’t, maybe you planted a seed for later.
I have a couple of theories about this latest set of earthquakes which has occurred this year. Since the Haiti earthquake, they are getting a bit more exposure in the press. Yet even with that there are so many more that go unreported every day. But the fact remains, earthquakes are growing in frequency and intensity. One theory that I have is that this is a temporary apex which we are currently experiencing in earthquake activity. We all know that the continents are adrift which causes friction on a level that we don’t completely understand. If we did understand it, earthquakes would be able to be predicted. Perhaps the continents are experiencing a temporary grind. They are acclimatizing to a new arrangement which will take a few quakes, tremors, and even some volcanic activity to which they must adjust. A second theory is that this is only a fraction of how earthquakes will occur in the future. Right now we think magnitude 7.0 is harsh. What if that becomes the standard? What if seismic activity increases so much that we are experiencing 8.0 somewhere on the planet every other day? I prefer the first theory, but would have to live with the second if it became reality. Either one of these theories distances the idea that an increase in earthquakes is a sign of the return of Christ.
Remember that Jesus said NOT to be alarmed. The idea of that word in the Greek is to cry aloud or to be frightened. Those who do not believe in Christ have reasons to be frightened. But we as Christians do not have a reason to be frightened.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman