Very little can be said to them or done with them, for they all of are of today’s apostate mentality that is of the conviction that the Bible never really means what it says. Rather, you will hear them say again and again about Bible passage after Bible passage, “It could mean this, and then again it could mean that, or it could even mean this.”
And they will almost always fulfill Bible prophecy concerning Christ’s eminent return by saying what the Bible prophecy says they would say in II Peter 3:3-4,
“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their
mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the
promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all
continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’”
I have had discussions with my own near and dear relatives who voice those exact sentiments. It is so painful and sad to my heart that the most that they can do in their response, when pressed on the fact that Jesus is indeed coming back and soon, is to give a token affirming nod like inner city mission street people who utter their insincere “Amens” to the mission preacher’s sermon for a meal and a comfortable bed.
THE SEISMIC FACTS
We live in a time when there are great quakes everywhere and it would seem in every dimension and on every front. Everything that can be shaken is being shaken. For instance, we are living in a time of great political quakes the likes of which we have never seen before inside America. Huge 10.0 quakes that are shaking this nation to its core.
As Mike Opppenheimer points out, “The Obama Administration captures our enemies on the battlefields, and gives them US Citizen Rights and makes what they do a crime instead of taking them and trying them as prisoners of war. It’s hard to find any logic being practiced in our government when it is practicing a new set of laws separated from its original structure in the constitution.”
And then there are the geo-political quakes that are shaking America’s friendship with Israel. Writes Oppenheimer, “According to the New York Times recently, our President declined to have dinner with Netanyahu and instead dined in private which was viewed by Jerusalem as a humiliation. ‘The Prime Minister leaves America disgraced, isolated and altogether weaker than when he came,’ the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz said.” Unthinkable, but our relationships with our strongest ally are being undermined and shaken. A huge quake of massive destructiveness.
And again, the cultural-education quakes that have been shaking for some time and are growing in seismic proportions. While Christmas is being obscured and diminished in schools, we now have the New Jersey Board of Education having voted to approve a list of religious holidays for the 2010-2011 school year – eight pagan Wiccam holidays or Sabbats. Judeo/Christian values are being diminished and other religious practices are more accepted in this new age of tolerance of false religions and witchcraft, and intolerance of Christianty.
Then there are the 10.0 religious earthquakes centered in the huge fault known as the Emergent Church Movement. Leonard Sweet is Rick Warren’s companion in the emergent church movement. In his book, Quantum Spirituality, Sweet writes, “New Light leaders are bearers of the divine fire, connectors of the divine energy…New light believers are a possessed people: possessed by a higher power, possessed by a Christ consciousness …New Lights are force fields of meaning through which the flow of energy takes the form of love and grace of God.”
Sweet continues, “New Light leaders are energy connectors, open systems, transformational vortices who allow themselves first to receive, then channel energies of love and truth into the planet. New Light embodiment means to be ‘in connection’ and ‘information’ with other faiths. One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of sacred in the followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna.”
All of that for another time at greater length, but now to the real issue at hand for this article on Great Quakes – Great Sorrows which are happening all over the world. I see Great Earthquakes – Great Sorrows coming to America in the near future as God’s answer to the man-made Anti-Semitic and Anti-Christian quakes just discussed that are destroying the world and this nation politically, educationally, and spiritually.
We read the words of our Lord in Luke 21:11,
“…and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and
famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven….”
One of the signs of the eminent return of Christ is the quickening and intensifying labor pains of great earthquakes. The word GREAT in the Greek is MEGAS from which we get English words as MEGADEATH and MEGATON. When labor pains become the GREATEST– MEGA MEGAS, that is hardest and closest together, the baby is about to come out. The fact is that Jesus is about to come back if we look at great earthquakes alone. The birthing of the great “Eschaton” has now dilated to 10.
There were hundreds of thousands of deaths in the great 9.1 Indonesia earthquake and tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004. There were hundreds of thousands more deaths in the great 7.0 Haiti earthquake of January 12, 2010. Now they are still counting the yet uncalculated tens of thousands of deaths in the recent great 9.0 Japanese earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. That is the unvarnished truth, but it represents only a small part of the violent shifting in the subterranean earth, and only a few cracks in the earth’s surface compared to the total seismic picture.
You see, it is happening in and on the earth constantly, but we don’t pay much serious attention to it because it doesn’t kill us. The facts are that there have been more earthquakes in the last 30 years than in the previous 200 years put together.
In the 1980s the world was being shaken 2000 times a day by earthquakes, some so small that they barely register on the Richter Magnitude Scale. Two decades later the number has risen to an unimaginable 3000 times a day. Not 3000 times a year, or even 3000 times a decade. Not 3000 times a month or even 3000 times a week. No, 3000 times a day. The earth is having ongoing and worsening daily, multiple, violent, and convulsive seizures.
Seismologists tell us that the average intensity of the earth’s tremors and quakes is going up. No surprise because that is the way it is with a mother or the earth in the travail of labor pains.
It may surprise many that there are more people killed today by tidal waves than by hurricanes, tornadoes, and typhoons put together. By the way, what are tidal waves (tsunamis) but the result of earthquakes on the ocean floors?
THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS
We read the words of our Lord in Mark 13:8 in the KJV,
“…and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be
famines and troubles: these things are
THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS.”
Striking and even strange when you think about it, that earthquakes and famines and troubles would be called “The Beginning of Sorrows.” Certainly there were and have been deep sorrows in the world long before and apart from earthquakes and mega-earthquakes. Sorrows began on earth the moment Adam and Eve fell into sin bringing every kind of pain and grief into the cosmos. Adam and Eve were the initial beginning of sorrows – the bite that keeps on biting.
But Jesus is talking about something else here in the natural world, a definite period of time, a specific super-painful era in earth’s history that He calls:
“THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS.”
But as it is with beginnings and endings, it is the ending that is the freshest and newest in our hearts and minds. It is not how something begins, but how it ends that grips our emotions and thoughts the strongest. So it will be with the period that Christ calls, “The Beginning of Sorrows!”
Jesus calls it in His earthly sojourn “The Beginning of Sorrows” in the sense that it is only the start. If you will, the beginning will be nothing compared to the maturing of sorrow and the culmination of sorrow. In other words, in comparison the beginning of sorrows will only be tears compared to the torrent of sorrow that is to come, and which I feel is already here.
It is going to progress and end in far greater and unimaginably painful and sorrowful ways than with which it began. This is sorrow and pain which will take us from the crisis stage to the crucible stage to the unspeakably catastrophic stage.
This agonizing of earth and nature, unlike man himself, will not at length weaken and then be dissolved. This is sorrow and pain that will grow and increase and then one day end in “The Perfect Storm.” I believe we have now entered the climactic and catastrophic stage of pain and sorrow on a global scale. We are there! Which means, thank God, that the “The End of Sorrows” for God’s holy and compassionate people will very soon be here.
THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS
Like Christ, His followers will have to go through bitter sorrows before we reach the glory of resurrection. We too will have to be led through this vale of tears to Heaven’s incomparable hallelujahs. If we could only separate in life the white of pure joy from the blood-red of sorrows and pain. But we cannot, for sorrow and joy mingle and color us and each other in ever changing hues.
What are we saying here? As the beginnings of sorrows matures into ever deeper and darker sorrow, mankind will no longer be able to find periods of pure, joyful respite free from aching sadness. If you will:
“JOY AND SORROW WILL NO LONGER REPLACE OR INTERCHANGE
WITH EACH OTHER. THE WORLD WILL NO LONGER BE ABLE TO
BE EITHER SAD OR SERENE. THE PERIOD KNOWN AS
THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS WILL MORE AND
MORE DOMINATE AND COLOR EVERY JOY.”
If you will:
“AS THE PERIOD KNOWN AS THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS FERMENTS,
UNLIKE BEFORE, WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PREACH OUR SERMONS
ON THE MOUNTAINS AND LIVE OUR LIVES IN THE VALLEYS. WE
WILL MORE AND MORE PREACH AND LIVE IN THE WORLD’S
VALLEY OF SORROWS.“
That is why Jesus did not say that this period is:
“THE BEGINNING OF JOYS.”
If the world ever needed the message of Christ and the hope of Heaven, it will be in this “Age of Deepening Sorrows.” There will be no more opportune moment in the history of the world for the Gospel. Why? Because:
“TRUEST JOY IS ALWAYS BIRTHED FROM GREATEST SORROW.”
“THE AGE OF SORROWS WILL NOT JUST PERIODICALLY DUMP A FEW
CUPS OF COLD WATER UPON MAN’S JOY. NO, IT WILL MORE AND
MORE DUMP TSUNAMIS OF SORROW UPON MAN’S JOY THAT
NO AMOUNT OF SEX OR BOOZE WILL BE ABLE TO EASE
The greatest time for the Gospel is here and now!!!
The Greek word for SORROWS in Mark 13:8 is ODIN which can mean SORROW – LABOR – PAIN. (It is interesting that Odin was the mythical Nordic god of war, and the god of those killed in wars.) The “Beginning of Sorrows” is sorrow – pain – labor – pains that mature with ever increasing intensity across the world in diverse places, so that it brings screaming pain to human bodies and unbearable agony to human hearts.
If earthquakes are the beginning of sorrows, great earthquakes are the very culminating depths of sorrow and pain. Like the tsunamis themselves, which first break with sudden walls of water upon humanity, and then swell over, sweep away, and bury mankind.
I can only imagine the wailing agony across the land of Japan this day, a weeping that brings no relief for it cannot bring back the tens of thousands of loved ones from their watery and stony graves. Entire homes, families, communities, and even cities are wiped out as thousands of homeless and orphans are again thrown into the dark dungeon of an obliterated and forsaken earth. Not to mention the nuclear plants’ radiation fall-out that threatens millions more.
This is sorrow that relentlessly flows from the heart of man to the very depths of his bowels, and then it rebounds back to the heart from where it came. Like a tsunami, this is sorrow that sweeps you away and then sucks you back in again and again into deeper depths of agony. As we read in the words of our Lord in Psalm 77:2,
“My soul refused to be comforted.”
Without slighting our Lord’s suffering, I am reminded of His words in Matthew 26:38,
“My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death….”
How awesome it is for Christians to know that in all of this, history is not a blind force or an act of sheer, senseless power. There is the all-wise, powerful hand of our Almighty God and loving Heavenly Father at work in all of it. (Ephesians 1:11)
There is a great story about Saint Francis of Assisi. One winter night there was a raging blizzard, and the man who was supposed to wake up every couple of hours and keep the fire going at the monastery was unable to find Francis. So he went outside into the storm and found Francis kneeling at the side of a hill wearing his ordinary clothing. His arms were outstretched; he was praying, oblivious to the wind and the biting cold and blinding snow.
SENSATIONALIZING AND THEOLOGIZING SORROW
There is an ancient story about a botanist who was studying the “Heather Bell” found in the highlands of Scotland. While looking through the microscope at this beautiful flower, he was approached by a shepherd who asked what he was doing. Rather than trying to explain, the botanist invited the shepherd to peer through his microscope and observe for himself. When the shepherd saw the wonder of the “Heather Bell” flower, he suddenly exclaimed, “My God, I have been trampling on them all of my life.” God forgive me for theologically and eschatologically and analytically and statistically trampling upon the beautiful, precious, suffering peoples of the world.
We forget that the multiplied hundreds of thousands of victims of earthquakes and tsunamis are not statistics, but living, breathing, sweating, precious fellow human beings who live, breathe, and sweat no longer. And how can we forget that when camera crews from every major news agency in the world are there on location televising the chaos, carnage and catastrophes day and night? And yet we are so far away, and therefore it all seems so surreal.
Then what is our response? Do we simply comment in momentary shock, “Unbelievable?” Or do we question God and say, “It isn’t fair!” And then leave it at that. Our Lord doesn’t have time for our one-liners or our questionings. God asks the questions, and the questions of our Lord remain in Matthew 25, “How many naked have you clothed? How many hungry have you fed? How many thirsty have you given drink? How many homeless strangers have you taken in?”
The Lord’s question are the real issues for Christians and they are final. God put us here for that reason. He told us the reason. He will return for that reason. We cannot fool God and He will not fool us.
It all seems so little, but my wife and I are, along with our prayers, giving to the Japan Relief Fund of the Assemblies of God. It is the least we can do. I was so blessed to hear that Franklin Graham and Samaritan’s Purse have workers that are going to Japan to bring whatever relief they can in the midst of harsh, dangerous conditions. Franklin gave them the option to stay home if they were afraid and wanted to protect themselves from radiation. Not one of them stayed home here in America. Not one worker backed out. They will accompany 90 tons of relief supplies to the hardest hit areas.
Before I could conclude this article, the Lord has just spoken to my heart in a most definitive and gripping way. We live in a very modest, small chalet, which means that we have very large triangular windows at the top of the main room. Just a moment ago, a birdie flew headlong into one of those windows with a very loud thud, broke its neck, fell to the outside deck and died. Within a second or two, two other birdies flew down and landed right next to their dead friend to see if there was anything they could do. Only after examining, circling, and sensing that their friend was gone did they fly away to nearby branches. I can see them from here, they are still viewing and lamenting.
Not one bird falls to the ground without our Heavenly Father’s knowledge. Are not our suffering and dying fellow human beings of much more value than they? God has just spoken! I have nothing more to say. God has concluded this reflection on Japan and our times.