Famines, Pestilences, Earthquakes
By William T. James
Almighty God's seismograph far exceeds in capability any instrument human
scientists have or ever will devise. It forecasts the single greatest earthquake
this planet will ever suffer and forewarns of catastrophic geophysical and
astrophysical phenomena. Famines and pestilences of every description,
including plagues that produce terrible sores on human flesh, plagues that
involve supernatural insects that attack human beings, gigantic hailstones
and other huge objects from space that will impact earth causing the oceans
of earth to turn into a blood plasma-viscosity because all life in the seas will
die-God's seismograph predicts all these things and more. For example, God
forewarns us that the sun will apparently go nova, becoming dark while at
the same time heating the earth to many times hotter than normal and causing
the moon to appear blood red. According to God's Bible-God's seismograph-
there is coming a time when this planet will be totally engulfed by fire and
There is, however, no reason to be fearful of these coming calamities. The
great and loving God of heaven has provided a way to
escape these terrifying cataclysms. As a matter of fact, His way is the one and only way to avoid those terrors and the horrors of
hell. His name is Jesus Christ.
Scoffers and the Last Days
Prophecies given within God's Holy Word, the Bible, predicted precisely the mindset that will mark the generation alive at the very
end of the age. Second Peter 3:3,4 says,
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the
promise of his coming?" Words of mockery and derision
from scoffers blast at fundamentalist, premillennial truth from every quarter. The primary hue and cry of late against rapture
teaching, and pretribulation rapture teaching in
particular, hisses in serpentlike fashion from the lips of those who speciously claim that "the rapture theory" was invented by a
woman in the early 1800s who claimed she was
given the doctrine in a vision.
In my involvement in interview programs around the nation, I've found, much to my sadness, accumulating evidence that scoffing at
the futurist view of biblical prophecy, and at
pretribulation rapture teaching in particular, is like a swelling tsunami that threatens to sweep the very heart of God's Word from
this generation. Thankfully that cannot happen.
No cataclysm, tidal wave or other force can quench the fire of God's Word. The Bible has stood the test at every critical point in
history, and it continues to stand great testing
today. Prophecies that are beginning to come to pass before the eyes of this generation continue to prove with every passing day
that interpreting the prophetic Word in an
absolutely literal way rather than allegorically, symbolically or, as the praetorists insist, as history already accomplished, is
the Holy Spirit-directed way.
Many people who question the legitimacy of the pretrib rapture view do so because they are genuinely concerned, confused and
searching for answers. Some ask earnest
questions with open minds despite their misdirected belief in a post-millennial, amillennial or other hybrid view. The scoffers do
not include these people, but
rather those whose voices first begin to refute rapture teaching with derisive laughter that quickly degenerates to hostility and
even anger when they are confronted with truth
from Holy Scripture.
Regardless of their best attempt at interpretation, gross error or heretical "walking after their own lusts," if those who scoff
have truly accepted Christ as their Savior and Lord,
they will be instantaneously delivered at the rapture from the wrath to come (read I Thessalonians 5). Those scoffers who truly
refuse to accept that Jesus Christ paid for their
sins on that cruel cross at Calvary will remain on earth to endure the most terrible period of human history mankind will ever
suffer. (See chapter 15, "Rapture Before Wrath" by
Thomas Ice, for an in-depth look at the rapture and all it will entail.)
Treasuring Up Wrath
No greater horrors occurring in the history of man can be imagined than those atrocities involved in the many genocidal purges that
have taken place on this fallen planet. Such
purges have been perpetrated upon many races and classes throughout the ages. Let us consider for the moment some of those that
have taken place just within the last 100
This quickly closing millennium contains a historical record filled with powerful testimony validating the truth in God's Word:
"Evil men and seducers shall become worse and
worse" (2 Timothy 3:13). Man's inhumanity to his fellow man continues to tramp bloody, murderous footprints across the unfolding
pages of our daily lives as witnessed by our
local, national and world news reports. Indeed, mankind today collectively demonstrates a hardened and impenitent heart. And God's
Word forebodingly warns, "...Thy hardness
and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God"
(Romans 2:5). God's warning states further, "But
unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and
anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil"
God spoke to all the beastly tyrants who have perpetrated their bloodthirsty genocide. His finger of condemnation seems to point
particularly at the dictators of the twentieth
century: "These, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their
conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts
the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to
my gospel" (Romans 2:14-16).
The world's foremost geopolitical scholars and historians readily acknowledge that the twentieth century has been the bloodiest of
all. Peter and Patti Lalonde write in their book
The Edge of Time, regarding Jimmy Carter's National Security Council director Zbigniew Brzezinski:
In the opening pages to his book Out of Control: Global Turmoil on the Eve of the 21st Century ... Brzezinski refers to the
twentieth century ... as the century of "megadeaths, mega
being a factor of 106. 11 fie explains that while the figures of megadeath he provides are estimates: "... what is important is the
scale and not the exact numbers. It is the scale-so
unprecedented that it becomes almost incomprehensible.... In brief, this century's wars extinguished no less than approximately
87,000,000 lives, with the numbers of wounded,
maimed or otherwise afflicted being beyond estimate." Mr. Brzezinski then proceeds to give figures in the millions for the
atrocious killings committed "in the name of doctrine"
by despots like Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao. In conclusion to his chapter, he calculated that 170 million human beings had lost
their lives as a result of war and genocide so far
in the twentieth century, an estimate that, in his own words, is "perhaps somewhat low."'
While most human beings on planet Earth would never desire to inflict genocidal atrocities on their fellow beings, such horrors
committed by the beasts among us through the
ages indicate just how deceitful and desperately wicked the human heart is and how far that wickedness will go if unchecked by
God's Holy Spirit. The unbridled conscience of
man inevitably leads to an insatiable thirst for blood. Is it any wonder that when the Holy Spirit is "taken out of the way" (2
Thessalonians 2:7), the last great dictator of human
history will bring mankind to the point of total annihilation at Armageddon?
The cup of God's indignation and wrath certainly must be very near full to overflowing, even just considering twentieth-century
man's inhumanity to man. And remember, people
get the kind of leadership they allow and, therefore, the kind of leadership they deserve. This is true of any people during any
Christ Unseals the Scrolls
John the apostle suddenly found himself in the throne room of God witnessing what surely must of been the most spectacular scene
ever observed by human eyes. He was
summoned by Christ Himself: "After this I looked and, behold, a door was open in heaven: and the first voice that I heard was as it
were of a trumpet talking with me; which said,
Come up here, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter" (Revelation 4:1).
The old prophet was awed by what he saw as reported through his account of God's throne room and the astonishing heavenly activity
(see Revelation 4). A book was brought
forward by an angel who looked in vain to find one who could unseal the scroll. John was greatly saddened and distressed because no
one could be found to unseal the book
and he wept bitterly. Then one of the heavenly elders comforted John and said, "Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah,
the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the
book, and to loose the seven seals thereof" (Revelation 5:5).
Jesus Christ then took the scroll from God the Father and all in heaven bowed before the Son of God and worshiped Him and praised
Him alone as worthy to break the seal and
open the book (Revelation 5).
The Wrath of God Unleashed
The fullness of God's wrath now begins to overflow His cup of indignation. Christ's bride, the church-all born-again believers in
Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation-has
been removed from planet Earth. Christians of the Church Age now fall down before the
Lamb of God with all other heavenly beings while Jesus opens the book of
the apocalypse. Keep in mind that this is the unfolding of God's wrath upon
a wicked and rebellious generation of earth dwellers right from the first seal
Christ opens. Twenty-one judgments follow in a series of seven seals, seven
trumpets and seven vials or bowls over a period of seven earthly years. This
truth is essential to an understanding that Christians of the Church Age will
be taken home to the Father's house before this last seven years of
judgment and wrath begins (read John 14).
The Lord prophesied during His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25) shortly
before His crucifixion about this terrifying time on planet Earth. Some argue
that the first three-and-one-half years of this seven-year period will be
mankind's own doing. However, mankind can do nothing if God does not
allow it. When the Almighty takes His hand off this world-when the
restrainer of 2 Thessalonians 2:7 is removed from His present office of
restraint wicked man will have his own willful way. The result will be anarchy,
chaos and the most powerful terrorizing the weak. Man will get his wish in
establishing a world based upon the hellish evolutionary theory. It will
indeed be the survival of the fittest-or, perhaps more correctly stated, the
survival of the most vicious.
Nature, too, will go wildly uncontrolled as the very stones cry out against
man's refusal to acknowledge Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of
lords. Thus, that first three-and-one-half years of the apocalypse will be as
much God's wrath as will the last three-and-one-half years when His wrath
falls from the cup of His indignation with more profusion and greater
Jesus addressed His disciples' question, "What shall be the sign of thy
coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3): "Jesus answered and
said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in
my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of
wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things
must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against
nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and
earthquakes, in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows"
Jesus was speaking of a specific time-the time of sorrows. This, I believe,
refers to the beginning of the apocalypse or the tribulation. Ed Hindson and
Daymond Duck dealt with false christs, false prophets, great deception and
wars and rumors of wars in the first two chapters of this book. Let us now
look at famines, pestilences and earthquakes in terms of what we see
happening today-the foreshadows of the coming wrath-and what God's
Word warns about the wrath itself.
It is perhaps good to further emphasize a few facts about the unsealing of
the book. Dr. John Walvoord, the preeminent prophecy scholar of our day,
gives us a good basis from which to consider matters concerning God's
unfolding wrath. The Son of God, introduced as a Lamb that had been slain,
holds in His hands a book having seven seals (Revelation 5). "This," Dr.
Walvoord says, "will be the important means of revelation of future events
in Chapter 6." This book, Dr. Walvoord explains,
... is not a book such as is common in our modern civilization, but rather is a scroll
rolled on a roller such as they used at that time. In the vision, this roll of parchment
is represented as having writing on both sides. On the edges of the roll, there are
seals so placed that as it is unrolled it is necessary to break the seals one at a time.
As each seal is broken, the scroll reveals another event that is prophetic of the
coming time of Tribulation.
"As chapter six begins," Dr. Walvoord continues, "the apostle John ... sees
the lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, opening one of the seals. When the first
seal is opened it begins a tremendously significant series of events. They
picture a period of time of unprecedented trouble for the entire world. 113
Dr. Walvoord, in answering the question concerning what the seals refer to
and what events are here portrayed, states further:
Many expositors of the book of Revelation believe that the next event in the
prophetic program of the present age will be the coming of the
Lord for His church. This is called the Rapture, or the translation, of the Church.
This could occur at any time.
After the rapture of the church has taken place, the last seven years of Israel's
program described in Daniel 9 will unfold. This future period of approximately seven
years will be climaxed by Christ's returning in power and glory to establish His
kingdom in the world.
This coming of Christ is pictured in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of
Revelation. The seven years between the Rapture and the time that Christ comes
back to the earth is the period which is before us in this book of Revelation beginning in Chapter 6.
As the seals are broken and the parchment is unrolled, the events to be fulfilled are
revealed in graphic detail. The question might well be asked at this point why one
should study this portion of Scripture. If, as a matter of fact, the saints will be in
glory as Christians, why should we study this Scripture predicting a period that
does not directly relate to us?
The answer is this: God has given this revelation by way of warning and informs us
how this present age is going to end. As we study these terrible judgments as they
are unfolded in the book of Revelation, they present to us God's prophetic foreview of the great climax of world history as it will take place in the terrible year just
before Christ comes back in power and glory.
Dr. Walvoord then presents an interesting analogy that might give us a clue as to
why this present generation is witnessing an increase of frequency and intensity of
unusual phenomena on many fronts:
As the first seal is opened, John in his vision hears the noise of thunder. It seems
that the noise of thunder is a symbolic presentation of a coming storm. On a warm
summer day, one can hear thunder in the distance even though the sun is still shining
where he is. On the distant horizon, however, the dark clouds can be seen. The roar
of thunder in the distance is the beginning of a storm. That seems to be the
symbolism here. For the passage speaks of the noise of the
God's seismograph forewarned nearly 2,000 years ago of the endtime quaking we are
beginning to experience today. The many upheavals are already progressing like a
degenerative disease in most all areas of human affairs, whether considering
socioeconomic, geopolitical, religious or technological matters, whether involving
things pertaining to the geophysical and astrophysical, or maybe even what the New Agers call the paranormal.
To bring it back for a moment to Dr. Walvoord's analogy, the storm front is
approaching and we hear the rumbling. Dr. J. Vernon McGee, in analyzing
Revelation 8, which pictures a time of "silence in heaven" following the storm front
that initially slams planet Earth following the rapture of the church, brings into focus
for us how the distant rumblings we hear now, or if you will, these prewrath tremors
we feel at present, will eventually affect mankind.
He says that this "heavenly hush" is but a brief lull in judgment activity indicating
not the exhausted patience of God but rather the carefully measured reluctance of
God, who is slow to anger, slow to judge: "This silence marks the transition from
grace to judgment .......
We are not at this present hour in the midst of the lull just before the seventh seal is
opened, of course. That time of silence is scheduled to take place within the great
apocalyptic storm itself, the tribulation period. We are, however, in a lull of sorts. A
calm or stillness that permits this generation to hear the distant thunder warning of
that approaching end-time storm. I am convinced we are in the midst of a time when
God is gently, lovingly, trying to get the attention of mankind. Through His great,
though not infinite, patience He is letting this generation feel the vibration of His
righteous anger in order to call every person to repentance.
Last Days "Seismic" Activity
Global warming, "El Nino," a hole in the ozone layer, destruction of the rain forests,
and many other ominous-sounding words and phrases have recently been made part
of contemporary lexicon.
Although much of the furor around these issues are the rantings and
ravings of environmental fanatics who want the American government to
throw billions of dollars their direction so they can build power bases to
influence people, it cannot be denied that there are portentous signals all
Few scenes on television are more troubling than those showing tiny
children in the throes of starvation. Many of us, if we are honest, admit that
we've hurriedly changed channels and tried to erase from our minds the
pictures of the little ones whose bellies are distended and whose skeletons,
through emaciation, strain against ulcerated skin. America as a land of
plenty is far removed from these distant places of deadly famine, and we
prefer to keep it that way. There is coming, God's Word says, a time of such
tragedy that it will afflict every area and most every person on the planet.
Following the first two horsemen of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, we
And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see.
And I beheld, and, lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in
his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat
for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil
and the wine (Revelation 6:5,6).
Considering that Jesus, in His Olivet Discourse, said that this time of future
tribulation would be the most terrible that earth dwellers would ever suffer,
this third horseman account of famine during the apocalyptic era is indeed
terrifying. People alive at the time will not be able to simply change channels
or look the other way. They will be experiencing it in every sense. No matter
where they live, it will be their tiny children with distended stomachs, pasty
skin and emaciated bodies who will be looking up at them for food that
cannot be found. This will be no ordinary famine-if there
is such a thing-but starvation on a scale beyond our ability to imagine.
The first two riders of the apocalypse will have set the stage for this, the
greatest famine in human history. Antichrist, who will have come on the
scene promising peace and prosperity, will under satanic direction make life
more miserable than ever for all of those who inhabit the earth. The red horse
of war will prove once and for all man's absolute inability to institute world
peace. The aftermath of the unprecedented devastation caused by the many
conflicts raging around the globe will cause agricultural production to fall off
and the resultant shortages will make prices inflate astronomically.
Dr. John Walvoord, in commenting on this era, states that in order to
understand the vision of verses 5 and 6, we must first realize the worth of
"penny," translated in the NIV, NKJV and NASB as denarius. Walvoord
In the wage scale of that time, it was nothing uncommon for a person to receive one
denarius for an entire day's work. In other words, it was that which a common
laborer would receive for a day's toil. For such a coin, one measure of wheat, or three
measures of barley, could be purchased. The explanation seems to be this: A measure
of wheat is approximately what a laboring man would eat in one meal. If he uses his
penny to buy barley, which is cheaper grain, he would have enough within an entire
day's wages to buy three good meals of barley. If he bought wheat, which is a more
precious grain, he would then be only able to buy enough for one meal. He would not
have enough left to buy either oil or wine. Oil and wine were considered essential in
biblical times. The oil was used for shortening and the wine was a common beverage.
To put it in ordinary language, the situation would be about the same as predicted.
That one would have to spend a day's wages for a loaf of bread, and that one would
not have enough money left to buy even an inexpensive beverage. What is portrayed
here is a time of famine when life will be reduced to the barest necessities. Famine is
almost always the aftermath of war.'
The third horseman riding the black horse of famine, then, sets up the
horrible scene that follows-the pale horse of Revelation
6:8-when literally billions die while the wrath of God falls on incorrigible
All the famines of past generations will seem as nothing compared to this
horrible era. The fourth horseman account says that many more will die by
the violent acts of their fellow human beings, by beasts of the earth and
simply by death (presumably mass starvation).
God's Word has much to say about famine. For example, see Genesis
chapters 12 and 41; Ruth 1:1; 2 Samuel 21:1; 1 Kings 18:2; 2 Kings 6:25 and
chapter 7; and Luke 4:25. However, we do not have to go back to biblical
times to examine the terror within the human condition termed famine.
A Reuters news service story recently reported that the results of the 15-
year Sudanese civil war threatens more than 700,000 people of southern
Sudan with starvation.
Hundreds of thousands of people in southern Sudan are facing severe
famine. The rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army has made military
progress against government forces this spring and the hostilities have
made farming difficult. Relief agencies warn they are under funded and
ill-equipped to deliver food to an area the size of western Europe. Hundreds of
people have died, and without urgent help, thousands more will perish, aid
Hoofbeats of the black horse upon which rides the horseman of famine
precariously balancing the scales already send seismic shock waves across
vast areas of our globe. One recent story reports prices of staple goods in
Indonesia rising 50, 70, even 200 percent, and a lime magazine article reports:
Vietnam faces a stagnant economy, rebellious farmers, soured foreign
investors, a rapidly expanding labor pool, and even the ravages of El Nino.
Predictions of drought in some parts of the country, flooding in others, have
farmers scurrying to pagodas to pray for spiritual intervention. "This is our
most serious crisis within a decade," says reform-minded economist Li Dang
Droughts, floods, fires and smoke-related damage have adversely affected
hundreds of thousands of agricultural areas in Asia. These
and collateral problems caused by rebellious, angry people in the areas
affected are taking their toll on food production across the world. Even the
Americas are now on the verge of what seems to be a precursor period to
the third horseman judgment of the apocalypse. Wildfires are, as of this
writing, destroying vast rainforests of Central America and Mexico and
sending destructive choking smoke to our nation, and the resultant effects
People become dangerously desperate when they are threatened by food
shortages. One interesting observation along these lines in the southern
state where I live at least is seeing what happens during the months of
January and February when the weather forecasters warn of ice storms or
even snow. The moment the forecasts are issued, people rush to the
supermarkets to gather food to see them through, even though ice storms
and snow storms in this area last only a few days at most. People become
outright hostile and threatening to their neighbors in these situations, and
grocery shopping becomes a rather risky business during these times.
If such a small, almost insignificant problem can cause such a crisis whereby
people go temporarily insane and fight each other in supermarkets, what
might a truly monumental food shortage crisis do to our so-called
Jesus said in Matthew 24:7 that the tribulation period will be marked by
pestilence. I believe the Lord, when prophesying pestilence during the great
tribulation, meant that the coming pestilence will far exceed in dimension and
virulence any such tragedy that has ever afflicted previous generations.
Since, as we have been analyzing, indicators of our day strongly point to the
fact that we are sensing other prewrath seismic activity, it should be
interesting to note whether pestilence might be included in the quaking.
Just as famines in Jesus' Matthew 24 prophecy apparently coincide with the
third rider who rides the black horse of Revelation 6:5, pestilence coincides
with the rider on the fourth horse. Dr. Walvoord analyzes:
In verses seven and eight, the fourth seal is opened, and the voice of the
fourth beast is heard to say, "come and see." John writes, "And I looked,
and behold, a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Death and Hell
followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of
the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the
beasts of the earth."
This is a very important step in the prophetic unfolding, for here is a terrible
divine judgment on the world. The horse described as pale in color is more
accurately pictured as a livid green horse. The rider on this horse is called
Death and Hades, the abode of the dead, follows after him. Power is given to
this rider over a fourth part of the earth to kill with the sword with hunger
and with death and with the beasts of the earth ......
These judgments are truly awesome if we consider today's world population.
Well over 1 billion people would die in that terrible era of future judgment if
today's world population figures remained the same. Dr. Walvoord further
If one-fourth of the earth's population were destroyed in a single judgment
from God, it would represent something far more terrible than anything this
world has ever known since the time of the flood when God destroyed the
whole human race with the exception of Noah and his family .... The fourth
seal of the book of Revelation makes clear that the prophecy does not deal
with trivial things. But it is describing a period of world history that is awful
beyond any word. It is prophesying a time when God is going to bring
judgment on the world as He has never brought judgment on the world to
this hour. It is a time of unprecedented judgment."
One-fourth of the world's population at that time will perish by sword (war
and homicide), hunger (famine), death (apparently by aging and every other
cause), and by beasts of the earth. It is the latter death-dealing term that
presents some fascinating possibilities regarding Jesus' prophecy about
The fourth horse upon which the horsemen of death and hell ride is aptly
called pale. Actually, it denotes a chloros, a sickly green color like that of
human corpses if left unattended by mortuary science. When the pale horse
gallops across the world scene literally billions of people will have already
died because of the preceding judgments. Undoubtedly the decomposing,
uninterred bodies will themselves contribute greatly to millions and millions
of additional deaths when the fourth seal is broken.
"Beasts of the earth," including domesticated pets and other animals, will
devour the corpses and scatter them as well as attack and kill many helpless,
half-alive human beings. However, the term "beasts of the earth," according
to some astute observers, might harbor an even more ominous connotation.
Noted author, lecturer and Bible teacher Chuck Missler notes, "... This
fourth horseman, although he is generally viewed as [indicating pestilence]
... may reflect far more than just conventional diseases. Don't assume that
the beasts of the earth are necessarily large enough to be seen with the
naked eye." Missler also points out the fact that the four horsemen of
Revelation 6 seem to closely parallel Jesus' prophecies in Matthew 24-wars
and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes and so on. And when
Jesus states that if He did not
return at the time of Armageddon "there should no flesh be saved," the Lord
could have been referring to, in addition to other things, a frightening plague
running rampant upon the planet.
Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, said shortly before He was crucified
that earthquakes will be a significant sign of the great tribulation. The Lord
obviously meant earthquakes of unprecedented seismological dimension.
The apostle John, awed in the presence of God and the heavenly hosts,
watched as the glorified Christ, who alone was worthy to do so, unsealed the
sixth seal. John recorded, "And I beheld, when he had opened the sixth seal
and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became as black as
sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven
fell unto the earth..." (Revelation 6:12,13).
God's wrath at that future time of judgment will be obvious even to the most
hardened rebel. No doubt the great earthquakes of the time will open fissures
when God Himself applies pressure to the tectonic plates crushing against
one another. The prophecy in Revelation 6 forewarns of one specific
earthquake of unparalleled magnitude. Most likely, that earthquake will
cause a rift within the planet that will unleash tremendous volcanic activity.
The sun becomes dark, the moon turns blood red and heavenly bodies fall to
earth. This is a tremendous time of geophysical and astrophysical
catastrophes combining to constitute the greatest judgment yet to befall
incorrigibly wicked mankind. Ash and sulfuric dioxide gases undoubtedly
will explode into earth's atmosphere. Life on earth will become increasingly
tenuous and the atmosphere will choke all creatures who draw breath while
they stumble through a supernaturally darkened world.
Earthquakes we see and hear reported today, as devastating as they are in
many cases, will seem as nothing compared to the quakes of the apocalypse.
However, just as God is giving mankind today a hint of His coming wrath in
every area of human affairs, He
is also, through the intensity and frequency of earthquakes taking place,
calling lost people to turn their hearts toward Him.
Seismic activity around the globe has exploded over the past two decades.
Of course, part of this eruption stems from the fact that reporting earth
tremors has improved and proliferated. The truth remains that seismologists
continue to document increasing numbers of earthquakes. It is as if Jesus'
words, "There shall be ... earthquakes in divers [various] places" (Matthew
24:7), were given to those alive at the end of the twentieth century as a
foreshadowing of things to come.
Since the 1906 San Francisco quake, the intensity and frequency of tremors
continue to mount. Reports of tremblers come in almost hourly. It seems no
geographical area is immune from earthquakes these days. The following
assessment by prophecy scholar Jack Van Impe presents some fascinating
statistics on earthquake activity in history:
History shows that the number of killer quakes remained fairly constant until
the 1950s, averaging between two to four per decade. In the 1950s, there were
nine, in the 1960s, there were 13, in the 1970s, there were 51, in the 1980s,
there were 86. From 1990-1996, there have been more than 150.
While increased seismological monitoring has made it appear that
earthquake activity is on the rise, it is equally accurate to say that this
generation has witnessed more earthquake activity than any other
generation. Jesus' prophecy predicting that there will be mounting evidence
that will indicate "a time of sorrows" (birth pangs) has been absolutely
validated in our time. Jesus, by and for whom all things were created,
prophesied through the prophet John two future earthquakes of staggering
magnitude. The first of those yet future quakes will, despite its devastation,
have a positive effect: "And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and
the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven
thousand; and the remnant were terrified, and gave glory to the God of
heaven" (Revelation 11:13).
God will apparently use that future earthquake to manifest the truth of who He is. While 7,000 men-and that apparently refers to men
of great reputation-will die as a result of the
quake, many others will turn their hearts toward God in repentance. God's love is plainly shown even through His terrible wrath. He
still calls rebellious people to repentance
during this time of horrendous judgment.
The Quantum Quake
God's seismograph, through His omniscience, has registered prophetically the earthquake of all earthquakes. From the Bible we learn
that this future quake will have instant
worldwide ramifications and bring in its wake the full measure of God's wrath upon blasphemous mankind:
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air, and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne,
saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and
lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities
of the nations fell.... And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of
heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent [perhaps 100
pounds]; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague was exceeding great (Revelation 16:17-21).
Dr. John Walvoord says of this most powerful quake:
The cities of the world fall, their magnificent structures being reduced to rubble. Great changes take place in the topography of
the world at large. Every island is described as fleeing away, and
mountains disappear. On top of this wholesale destruction visited upon the entire world, there comes a great hail out of heaven....
If this verse is interpreted literally, it pictures a desolation by
this hail of that which remains from the destruction of the earthquakes. In spite of this great judgment, men still blaspheme God
and fail to repent.
The destruction described in the seven vials of the wrath of God to be poured upon the earth at the climax of the tribulation is
beginning, however. The whole world is to be brought to the bar of justice before the King of kings and Lord of lords as He returns
to rule. The dramatic presentation is designed to impress the
reader with the fact that there is no safety apart from salvation in Christ, there is no escape of divine judgment apart from
receiving the One who bore the judgment of sinners when He died for
them on the Cross.
The study of these terrible judgments of divine wrath upon a wicked world should point us to the wonder of the grace of God who can
take those who are sinners by nature and by choice and yet
wonderfully save them and deliver them and make them fit objects for the grace and blessing of God.
The Word of God is plain: Salvation is the divine offer for all those who will trust in Christ, and judgment must be the lot of
those who spurn divine grace."
Those Not Subject to God's Wrath
Plainly, the things we have looked at involve the wrath of God Almighty, which will be fully poured out during that future time of
apocalypse. Dr. Walvoord's - commentary precisely points to God's one and only plan to keep you and me from that future time of righteous judgment. God's Word says in 1
Thessalonians 5:3: "For when they shall say,
peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
The entire world at present is crying "peace and safety." The journalistic and diplomatic eyes of the world are on that little city
called Jerusalem and on Israel because the
powers-that-be blame that nation for refusing to give in to the Palestinian Liberation Organization's (PLO) demand that Israel give
up more and more land for peace. Note the
pronoun used in this prophecy: "When they shall cry peace and safety." The Scripture here, I believe, separates the lost,
unbelieving world from those who believe in Christ.
When "they" cry peace and safety, then sudden destruction comes upon "them" and "they" shall not escape. Notice the pronoun usage
in verses 4 and 5 of 1 Thessalonians 5:
"But ye, brethren, are not in
darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief, Ye are all the children of light, and
children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness." And now look at verse 9:
"For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus
Christ." "We" Christians of the Church Age are saved by the marvelous grace of God.
We will not come under His wrath either during the tribulation period or following the
great white throne judgment (during which time the awesome judgment of God will be
Some who believe that the rapture of the church will take place at midtribulation rather
than in the pretribulation era base their theory on the premise that God's wrath doesn't
begin falling until three-and-a-half years into the apocalypse. But Jesus Christ, the Lion
of the tribe of Judah, opens the seals, one through seven, as depicted in Revelation 6.
Because Jesus Christ is God, the judgments that flow from those seals are God's
judgments, thus His wrath. Since Christians, as is plainly stated in 1 Thessalonians 5:9,
are not appointed to wrath, but to salvation through Jesus Christ, they will escape the
time of the apocalypse-all of it (see Revelation 3:10).
The famines, pestilences and earthquakes of our daily headlines foreshadow that
unimaginable time of God's wrath. The birth pangs that will produce the apocalypse
convulse this world hourly. Therefore, it is more important now than ever before that we
who are God's children through His grace gift, Jesus Christ, work to bring lost people to
the Lord while at the same time looking for "that blessed hope, and the glorious
appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:1