>> Another “sign in the sun, moon and stars” – lunar eclipse to occur on Monday night…last one like this was in 1638….”A rare drama will play out in tonight’s skies: a full lunar eclipse on the winter solstice.”
As the year comes to an end, I am intrigued by this story, written by two Associated Press reporters and picked up by newspapers all over the world: “2010’s WORLD GONE WILD: QUAKES, FLOODS, BLIZZARDS.”
“This was the year the Earth struck back,” reported the AP. “Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter million people in 2010 — the deadliest year in more than a generation. More people were killed worldwide by natural disasters this year than have been killed in terrorism attacks in the past 40 years combined. ‘It just seemed like it was back-to-back and it came in waves,’ said Craig Fugate, who heads the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. It handled a record number of disasters in 2010.”
Are we seeing End Times Bible prophecies come to pass? It’s an interesting question. When the disciples asked Jesus of Nazareth what signs they should expect in the “last days” before His return, the Lord described wars and rumors of wars, persecution of the believers, the rise of lawlessness, apostasy and other severe troubles. He also warned them that, “There will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven….There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (Luke 21:11,25-26)
[UPDATE AT 5PM EASTERN: A 6.5 magnitude earthquake has just hit southeastern Iran. I just learned this from a friend, who wrote: "Starting to sound a lot like your novel, The Twelfth Imam."]
That said, consider how serious and bizarre this year’s natural disasters were, according to the AP story:
- “Through Nov. 30, nearly 260,000 people died in natural disasters in 2010, compared to 15,000 in 2009, according to Swiss Re [a global reinsurance company]….By comparison, deaths from terrorism from 1968 to 2009 were less than 115,000, according to reports by the U.S. State Department and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.”
- Some 220,000 people died in the earthquake in Haiti alone.
- “Disasters caused $222 billion in economic losses in 2010 — more than Hong Kong’s economy — according to Swiss Re.”
- “While the Haitian earthquake, Russian heat wave, and Pakistani flooding were the biggest killers, deadly quakes also struck Chile, Turkey, China and Indonesia in one of the most active seismic years in decades. Through mid-December there have been 20 earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or higher, compared to the normal 16.”
- “This year is tied for the most big quakes since 1970“
- “In the summer, one weather system caused oppressive heat in Russia, while farther south it caused flooding in Pakistan that inundated 62,000 square miles, about the size of Wisconsin. That single heat-and-storm system killed almost 17,000 people, more people than all the worldwide airplane crashes in the past 15 years combined.”
- “A volcano in Iceland paralyzed air traffic for days in Europe, disrupting travel for more than 7 million people. Other volcanoes in the Congo, Guatemala, Ecuador, the Philippines and Indonesia sent people scurrying for safety. New York City had a rare tornado.”
- The AP story didn’t mention it, but I should noted that 2010 was also the year of the worst fires in Israel’s modern history.
I believe we are, in fact, seeing events that are fulfilling Bible prophecy.
The critical question, in my view, is: How then shall we live in light of such things?
To unbelievers, Jesus said in Luke 21:34-36: “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day [of the Rapture, when followers of Christ are taken to heaven and unbelievers face "the Great Tribulation" on earth] will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” [To read a concise explanation of the gospel and how you can receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, be forgiven of your sins, and be ready for His return, and be able to stand before the Son of Man on that day, please click here.]
To His faithful disciples, Jesus said in Luke 21:28: “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
In other words, the Lord wants true believers in Him to get ready and be prepared for His return. He doesn’t want us to be surprised or caught off guard. He doesn’t want us to be doing things for which we would be ashamed when He comes back for us. This Christmas season, therefore, let us rededicate ourselves to living lives worthy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ — lives of holiness, prayer, worship, sharing the gospel message, making disciples, caring for the poor and needy, and blessing Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, according to Genesis 12:1-3.
May the Lord bless you as you draw near to Him and prepare your heart and your lifestyle for His return!
>> GIVE A GIFT TO ISRAEL FOR CHRISTMAS BY INVESTING IN THE JOSHUA FUND— Please prayerfully considering helping The Joshua Fund raise $1.5 million December so we can stay on track with the projects we are engaged in to educate and mobilize Christians around the world about God’s love and plan Israel and her neighbors, and to continue distributing food, clothing, medical supplies and other humanitarian relief to the poor and needy, and to those affected by the recent fires.
>> PRICES REDUCED! — GIVE THE GIFT OF ISRAEL TO YOUR LOVED ONES THIS CHRISTMAS: Come with The Joshua Fund to Israel and the Epicenter Conference next May, and bring a loved one. Prices from several gateway cities have been reduced by several hundred dollars. See full details — including a video describing the tour — by clicking here.