The Time of Calamities
It is estimated that at the time of Christ 200 million people lived on planet earth. It took 1650 years before the population reached 500 million. Then, in less than 200 years the population reached one billion, and in another 100 years it was two billion. Thirty more years brought it to four billion. Twenty-five more years and it was six billion. Today, eleven years later, the seven billion mark has been reached.
In less than 400 years we have gone from 500 million to seven billion people.
Crunched into a very brief period of time of three and a half years, lying just ahead, we are faced with bringing not only the gospel but a convicting gospel to seven plus billion people before the end comes (Matthew 24:14).
How is it all going to happen?
- God says, “Not by might, nor by power [speaking of man] but by my Spirit saith the Lord of host” (Zechariah 4:6).
- The Bible says that it will occur in 1260 days (Revelation 11:3) (unequivocally literal time!). How?
We have precedence from twelve men who electrified the world. They merged with the promise: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judeaand Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”(Acts 1:8).
Paul, reflecting on the birth of the Thessalonica church, said: “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake” (I Thessalonians 1:5).
God’s remnant people will soon be empowered with that same Spirit. With solemn warning, only a few people will be receptacles capable of receiving such power! A remnant.
Before that message begins to penetrate the world’s populace, God has another design for planet earth.
- Seven billion people must sense some form of helplessness or urgent need.
- Seven billion people must be startled out of lethargy and begin to think seriously.
- Seven billion people need to suddenly and collectively question: “What is going on?” “What does all this mean?” “What must I do?”
God’s “wake-up” call:
“From the pulpits of the popular churches will be heard the statement that the world is
being punished because Sunday is not honored as it should be.”
“Men in responsible positions will … point to calamities on land and sea – to the storms of wind, the floods, the earthquakes, the destruction by fire – as judgments indicating God's displeasure because Sunday is not sacredly observed.”
That is the exact sensitivity that God wants to see developed! Every inhabitant will be faced with spiritual introspection. No one will be void of confronting some moral decision. We must shortly anticipate helpless devastation on earth.
Jesus talked about a collective series of events that would precede the little time of trouble.
- Watch for collective wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences and signs in the sky (tornadoes, hurricanes and cyclones).
- He also added two insightful clues that help us to know if it is in our time.
- They would be so severe that it would be like a lady in birth pains.
- They would be timed like birth pains, coming more frequently and becoming more severe (Matthew 24:8)!
Expositor White correctly echoed this state:
“In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous.”
Jesus said that when these things begin to come to pass (collectively), “Lift up your heads because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:11 – NKJV).
- He also noted that the events would occur or be completed within one generation.
- One generation is 40 years Biblically (see “One Generation – Forty Years," under “Articles” – endtimeissues.com).
We’re nearing the end of that generation. Jesus is about to come. How do we know? Notice the next two graphs. Exponential curves established a distinct trend, which began in the1976–1978 period.
Looking at the number of people affected (severity), a pattern of the natural disasters Jesus alluded to was in evidence between 1976 and1978 (wars, per se, are dealt with in PowerPoint studies soon to be released).
Objective evidence suggests that we are getting close to the end of that generation!
What does this all mean to you and me?
- A lady in her twenties, while preparing for her mission in life, noted:
- “I was pointed to the remnant on the earth. ‘... Get ready, get ready, get ready. Ye must have a greater preparation than ye now have, for the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate and to destroy the sinners thereof out of it. Sacrifice all to God. Lay all upon His altar – self, property, and all, a living sacrifice. It will take all to enter glory.’”
There is a point in time when God demands that we notice when the observable signs intersect with spiritual concerns. We are at that time!
- When we see objective prophetic signs
- We are to lift up our heads.
- That is now past due.
It is time to prepare!
2010 was the deadliest year for natural disasters in over a generation. Most of the devastation occurred throughout the world – the United States being spared.
2011 became a different story. The United States was included in those trends – not from the number of deaths but in the severity of the events. As of October of this year there were more billion-dollar natural disasters than any year on record.
On August 29, 2011, an editorial in the newsletter Infowars raised some interesting questions, beginning with: “What in the world is happening to America?
- We are having a “major disaster” almost every month.
- Has the United States ever had a year with so many major disasters?
- Is there a reason why this is all occurring?
What did occur in just the first two thirds of 2011?
Hurricane Irene (August 20-29, 2011)
This was one of the most damaging hurricanes in U.S. history.
- 4 million people were adversely affected.
- Contrary to such storms, floods caused the most damage in a giant sweep up the east coast.
- This even affected Philadelphia, PA, and Manhattan and Statan Island, NY.
- Significant water damage went north as far as Vermont (where some small towns were totally under water). 35 bridges were destroyed.
- It is among the ten most costly natural disasters to hit the United States estimated at $13 billion.
Once-in-a-Century Earthquakes Hit the U.S.
These focused on two areas that were not known for large earthquakes:
- Colorado/New Mexico border (August 23, 2011) – then another:
- Virginia (August 28, 2011)
The number of earthquakes is on an exponential rise:
- During the last decade there was an average of 1361 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.0 or greater per year.
- This year (2011), that is expected to reach 3000.
The Colorado/New Mexico quake was only 5.3 and created minimal damage but was in an
unusual location. The Virginia quake was totally different:
- It had a magnitude of 5.9.
- It was in an area usually devoid of earthquakes (“Craton” plate).
- Most earthquakes are 30-50 miles deep.
- This was only 528 feet deep (estimate).
- The seismograph readings were abrupt and massive, and then dissipated.
- Normally they crescendo and then decrescendo.
- This began with a jolt, then quickly decrescendoed.
- Most earthquakes are not significantly felt beyond 50 miles from the epicenter.
- This quake was felt 500 miles away.
- There were few aftershocks.
“The time is now come when one moment we may be on solid earth, the next the earth may be heaving beneath our feet. Earthquakes will take place where least expected.”
“Earthquakes in various places have been felt, but these disturbances have been very limited…. Terrible shocks will come upon the earth, and the lordly palaces erected at great expense will certainly become heaps of ruins.”
“Calamities, earthquakes, floods, disasters by land and by sea, will increase. God is looking upon the world today as he looked upon it in Noah's time. He is sending his message to people today as he sent it in the days of Noah.”
In April of 2011 there were 700 tornadoes in the U.S. in a 30-day period. This was called the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina.
- Joplin, Missouri, was basically wiped off the map.
- It was hit by a twister one mile wide, and it moved on the ground for six miles.
- One series of tornadoes hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which had wind exceeding 260 mph.
- Tornado damage in the Southeast alone exceeded $3 billion.
By May 2011 the United States had upward of $45 billion in damages from natural disasters.
Historic Flooding (April–May 2011):
The Mississippi River floods in April and May 2011 were among the largest and most damaging recorded along the U.S. waterway in the past century.
States along the Mississippi itself experiencing flooding included Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. For the first time in 37 years, the Morganza Spillway was opened on May 14, deliberately flooding 4,600 square miles of rural Louisiana farmland to save most of Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
The agricultural cost alone is exceeding a billion dollars. Prices of eggs, meat, rice and wheat are rising because of this flood.
Drought – October 2010 – June 2011:
This is the third worst drought Texas has ever experienced.
- 30% of the wheat fields were lost.
- Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma are included.
A spinoff has been massive – dust storms in Phoenix.
- This is what usually happens in the Middle East – not the U.S.
- The Ogallala Aquifer is a giant lake of 174,000 square miles that irrigates America’s central plains.
- It is drying up.
Texas – as of October 2, 2011
- 3,852,000 acres of land were burned
- 2,842 homes were destroyed
- 4800 other buildings were destroyed
Arizona – as of June 30
- 1,200 square miles of the state were burned.
- Some of the State’s most pristine mountainous areas were destroyed.
- Fighting the fires alone cost $400,000,000.
- Damage costs are still unknown.
Besides all these natural disasters in the United States, we can’t forget the Fukushima, Japan,
disaster of 2011!
- The earthquake – 8.9 on the Richter Scale
- A tidal wave followed:
- 16,000 lives were lost.
- Radiation leaks from nuclear plants were equivalent to 168 Hiroshima atomic bombs
What does all this mean?
A review of the Old Testament reveals a distinct pattern that God follows when people defy His name.
- An ideal plan for mankind/a nation/a people becomes known.
- He warns that desolation (utter destruction) will come if His will isn’t followed.
- He identifies a prophet or messenger to warn of impending doom.
- He permits a time of mercy.
- Destruction then comes.
This pattern was followed for planet earth before the flood, before Israel’s destruction by Assyria, before Judah’s destruction by Babylon and before the Hebrew destruction in 70 A.D. by the Romans.
The Bible is filled with accounts of instructive destructive events:
“And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the landof Egypt” (Exodus 9:23).
“I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD” (Haggai 2:17).
“Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand” (Isaiah 28:2).
For us today, we are warned:
“The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashanlanguisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanonlanguisheth. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies” (Nahum
“Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked” (Jeremiah 23:19).
The Roman Catholic Church is also saying that God is doing this for “purification;” the Protestants say to bring a “revival.”
- To you and me – the warning signs are beginning to show that a final period of repentance is just ahead.
- God has begun to choose His messengers.
The Muslim World is noting: “These great tragedies and collective punishments that are wiping out villages, towns, cities and even entire countries, are Allah’s punishments of the people of these countries, even if they are Muslims.”
Saudi professor says that sinful acts are the causes of disaster.
These events are tied to chastisement and warnings! “Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?” (Isaiah 29:16).
Another important issue we must not miss:
- As sin is reaching its peak, the entire world is moving out of order. Chaos is taking control of the human mind.
- Darkness is in the heart of mankind:
- It is “evil continually” (Genesis 6:5)
- “The transgressors are come in full” (Daniel 8:23)
- Satan knows that his time is “short” (Revelation 12:12) – his “last opportunity” has arrived.
God is crying out, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5).
- Tragedies are a wakeup call to repent.
- God’s mercy has a limit.
- Soon God will bring to an end the colossal crises engulfing this planet. He wants to bring deliverance to the few:
“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:19-22).
Jesus said that desolation – total destruction – will be the final end of earth’s rebellion:
“For the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27b).
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)” (Matthew 24:15).
Three series of calamities are predicted in the Bible at the end:
- The “time of sorrows” – which is soon to peak
- The SevenTrumpets of Revelation 8–10
- The Seven Vials of Revelation 16; the sixth Seal earthquake – Revelation 6
When #3 ends, planet earth will be desolate.
The challenge for you and me:
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (II Peter 3:11, 13-14).
“More and more, as the days go by, it is becoming apparent that God's judgments are in the world. In fire and flood and earthquake He is warning the inhabitants of this earth of His near approach. The time is nearing when the great crisis in the history of the world will have come, when every movement in the government of God will be watched with intense interest and inexpressible apprehension. In quick succession the judgments of God will follow one another – fire and flood and earthquake, with war and bloodshed.”
We don’t have much time left. Preparation time has urgently arrived. Soon seven billion people will be wondering, “What does this all mean?” God will rely on a distinct group “who really know the answer!” That means understanding end-time prophecy – with precision.
Get ready, prepare, pray for heaven’s Spirit and plead for wisdom to know so you can objectively share!
Franklin S. Fowler, Jr., M.D.; Prophecy Research Initiative © 2011
EndTime Issues…, Number 131, December 1, 2011