Summary: Dealing with world catastrophies
January 2, 2005 AM
The Coming of the Lord
This past week we have witnessed what is probably the most horrific disaster of our lifetime.
While we have seen the news reports of earthquakes, and wars, and other atrocities, we have not seen a disaster of this magnitude.
Adding to the impact on us are the near instantaneous photos, videos and even satellite images that bombard our eyes and minds.
It is unlikely that anyone in America has escaped the graphic visuals of this catastrophe from one source or another.
For the 4 or 5 generations that are currently alive this is indeed the worst disaster to hit the world in our lifetimes.
Sadly within hours of the devastation people began posting their view points on various internet web sights.
Many attributing the authorship of this catastrophe to the hand of God.
Some decrying it is His judgment on sin,
Others linking it to the end of world.
And others, sensationalizing it by showing how and why it is the very definition of and the defining moment of certain Bible verses.
This morning the events of this past week are most certainly the topic of more sermons than any other subject.
As your pastor I felt I needed to say a few things.
1) Don’t be mislead as to the Biblical significance of this disaster.
I’m going to read some scriptures in a moment that I hope will help us to view the big picture, not the sensationalism of the moment
While the Word does say that in the end times there will be earthquakes – please note that earthquakes of this magnitude have hit the earth for 1000’s of years.
In the year 69 an earthquake hit the region of Pompeii – followed by a volcanic eruption that destroyed numerous villages and killing over 20,000 people.
In 476 AD an earthquake hit Rome which all but decimated the city.
In 526 250,000 people were killed in an earthquake in what is now known as Turkey.
In January of 1556 over 830,000 people were killed in an earthquake in China.
In 1703 an earthquake in Tokyo killed 200,000
History records an earthquake in India in 1737, was responsible for 300,000 fatalities.
In 1868 a Tsunami hit the coast of Peru with such force the waves reached 3 miles inland – tens of thousands were killed.
In 1923 Tokyo lost 140,000 people to an earthquake.
In 1935 India lost 50,000 to a quake.
In 1976 in China 240,000 people died during an earthquake in Tangshan.
Church, throughout recorded history earthquakes and tsunamis have taken hundreds of thousands of lives.
Any earthquake, or for that matter any disaster, in and of itself cannot be pointed to as the fulfillment of any scripture or prophecy.
I was raised hearing how every thing that hit the newspaper was this scripture or that scripture being fulfilled.
And it wasn’t.
And people who accept Christ out of fear seldom remain believers.
And they are far more difficult to ever reach for Christ again.
We cannot know with any certainty or accuracy that any earthly event fulfills a certain prophecy.
Until – after the rapture and we look back in hindsight.
Don’t be mislead by those who try to sensationalize currents events and squeeze them into their prophecy box.
2) Second – don’t get caught up in the wave of teaching that this is some how the judgment or wrath of God.
Granted – in the Old Testament God did use plagues and diseases to deal with people.
But that was before the resurrection of Christ.
The truth is – countless plagues and diseases have hit mankind throughout all of history.
In the 1300’s, Europe lost up to 75% of it’s people to the bubonic plague.
There were actually three major plague epidemics - in the 6th, 14th, and 17th centuries.
The death toll totaled some 137 million people.
As a result, the plague is considered to be the worst epidemic of all time.
At its worst, the bubonic plague killed 2 million victims a year.
This is certainly a bad situation, but there is one that is worse.
The out break of influenza in 1918-1919, killed 25 million people world wide in 1 year.
Nearly twenty million cases were reported in the United States alone, accounting for almost one million deaths.
The point is – to proclaim such things as God’s judgment, or God’s wrath is cruel to the godly people who have suffered loss and injury.
In Old Testament times, when God sent judgment he always removed the godly people first,
Or in some way protected the godly people from harm.
In the flood – God spared Noah and his family.
Sodom and Gomorrah – God spared Lot and his family.