As we continue to watch the devastation unfold in Japan, I think it’s good for us to have some biblical perspective. When we look at Jesus’ descriptions of what the situation on earth would be like before His return, He clearly describes natural disasters being more frequent. ” …in various places there will be famines and earthquake.” –Matt 24:7 (NASB) & “there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.” –Luke 21:11 (NASB)” Jesus referred to these events like “birth pangs.”
Anyone who has watched the process of childbirth understands this term.
Birth pangs begin suddenly, when you don’t necessarily expect them, they usually begin mildly and increase in both frequency as well as intensity, until the child is born. There is a moment when the child is just about to be pushed out through the birth canal that is referred to as “the ring of fire.”
(Guys, when your wife gets to this point in labor, be very careful about what you say or do, this is when you could get hurt) 🙂
According to the eschatological timeline I believe in, the coming of the Lord will happen at the beginning of what is referred to as the “great tribulation” – a seven year period of time in which God will judge an unbelieving world. Some believe that this tribulation is what happened to Jerusalem in A.D. 70. One of the problems with that view, in my opinion, is the language that Jesus used in discussing the great tribulation that was to come: “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. –Matt 24:21 (NASB) According to Jesus, the trouble that is coming is something that the world has never seen, and will never see again!
According to the book of Revelation, the distress that is coming on the world, is entirely unprecedented in human history. Here is a partial list of what is expected:
• Every Island and mountain will be moved out of it’s place –Revelation 6:14
• 1/3 of the earth will be burned up. –Revelation 8:7
• 1/3 of the sea will become blood. – Revelation 8:8
• 1/3 of the sea creatures will be destroyed –Revelation 8:9
• 1/3 of the fresh water will become poisoned. –Revelation 8:10,11
• 1/3 of the moon and stars will be darkened. –Revelation 8:12
• 1/3 of mankind will be killed by plagues –Revelation 9:18
• Everything in the sea will be killed –Revelation 16:3
• Men will be scorched by the sun (it will intensify) –Revelation 6:8,9
Folks, the things that are going to happen on this planet will make the earthquakes (tsunami) in Japan, and Katrina (hurricane), look like child’s play.
As we look at these things happening, we should understand,… they are birth pangs,… meaning- the “child” is on His way. Jesus is coming back.
It’s weird to contemplate these things with hope, great trouble is coming… yet when these things are discussed in scripture, there is a great hope that belongs to believers. Peter says: “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless” –2 Peter 3:14 (NASB)
For the believer in Jesus Christ, His coming is going to be a glorious event that we are looking forward to. According to 1 Thessalonians 1:10 & 5:9, believers in Jesus are going to escape this great trouble referred to as “wrath.” That is not our future.
The only way a person can have real security, is to be trusting in Jesus for salvation.
Skeptics would say at this point, “well Jesus is like a get out of jail card, or just some way to get out of trouble.” “He’s like a crutch!” … Yes!
He is the only answer for sin, and He is the only hope for the future.
While believers around the world pray for the people of Japan, my hope is that millions come to faith in Christ as they contemplate their own mortality.