Two deadly tornadoes demolished a town yesterday in northeast Nebraska killing a five-year-old and injuring nineteen others. Half of the town was destroyed. The twisters were about one mile apart wreaking havoc through a small town north of Omaha. One eye-witness said, “It was like God dragged two fingernails across the land.”
Has this type of destruction been normal throughout history or has it been on the increase in recent years? As I think back in my life, I do not remember experiencing natural disasters in such frequency as we have in recent years. It is possible that I was just not aware of it as a young adult or as a child, but I am very aware it now. My family and I were at home late one night in 2011 when a tornado hit our home, so I know that experience has heightened my awareness of tornadoes. Studies regarding the increase of tornadoes are inconclusive due to changes in the method of record keeping. However, it still seems to me that there are more deadly storms than ever in the past. My question is, “Does this have any bearing on whether or not we are living in the last days?”
Matthew 24:7-8 says, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” Jesus predicted that not only wars would increase as time was drawing to an end, but also there would be great natural disasters: famines and earthquakes. The word “earthquake” comes from the Greek word seismos. We get our English word seismology (the study of earthquakes) from this word. It is interesting to note that the same Greek word that is translated earthquake in Matthew 24 is used in Matthew 8:24 where the New American Standard Version of the New Testament translates it as “a great storm.” While the word can certainly be translated as earthquake, I think there is a broader concept that can be applied that involves a meteorological disturbance. I believe Jesus was pointing to changes in the weather and an increase in all types of storms. These disturbances will be a sign, and Jesus said it is the beginning of birth pains. This means that they will grow in intensity as Christ’s return draws ever closer. The Tribulation Period will be filled with horrific events, but I believe that even before the Great Tribulation starts, the birth pains will continue to grow ever more pronounced. What does this mean for us? We can anticipate disasters to be on the rise and tornadoes and earthquakes to be commonplace. Jesus is giving us warnings, and He is calling us to be on the alert. This means we should be actively sharing our faith, following His Word, and living by faith. Not only must we face such disasters with faith and not fear, but we must comfort one another with the reality that Jesus is coming again.
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