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Do recent catastrophes have a divine origin?

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Question:   I've been an avid reader of your site for sometime now. I would like to hear your thoughts on the recent current events . . . i.e., earthquake, tsunami, avalanches, mud-slides, odd weather patterns. How do you feel that these events plays into end times? Thank you for your time and for all the knowledge you share.

Response:  This is an interesting and important point you make. As you are probably aware, my reading of what the Bible has to say about the specifics of tribulational signs suggests that we will definitely know when the Tribulation begins, but that there are no specific, biblically prophesied signs or events that take place before its actual inception (see in CT2B: "Signs of the Coming Tribulation").

That said, you certainly have something. For, on the other hand, nothing happens in life (ours in particular or in the world in general) that is not supervised by the hand of God. Tragedies and disasters in particular, the sort of thing that always have people asking, "Why, God?", are definitely meant to get us thinking about the big picture, and about our spiritual status, both individual and collective (and how much more is that not then true for us upon whom the end times have nearly come?):

Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? Does a lion roar in the thicket when he has no prey? Does he growl in his den when he has caught nothing? Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground where no snare has been set? Does a trap spring up from the earth when there is nothing to catch? When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?
Amos 3:3-6  NIV

Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come? Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins?
Lamentations 3:37-39  NIV

I have certainly noticed the same trends to which you refer, and, given the nearness of the chronology of the Tribulation, I would have to agree that there is something to all this. Certainly, God is graciously doing things to get our attention, but are we responding? Perhaps the dual trend I find the most disturbing in the aftermath of recent disasters (9/11, the Tsunami, and Katrina being among the most egregious examples), is, on the one hand, a complete lack of willingness even to consider any divine displeasure behind these events (indeed, those who have done so have been rapidly and ruthlessly silenced), and, on the other, an exceptionally arrogant notion that we will make it all better by our own human means apart from any turning back to God.

. . . . . [Those people] who say with pride and arrogance of heart, "The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars."
Isaiah 9:9b-10  NIV

Neither our nation nor the pagan nations of the world will be made safe by any military or humanitarian efforts, no matter how extreme, apart from humbly seeking God and His will. At the very least, I would agree with you and say that all such catastrophes should, for all of us who are truly trying to serve the Lord, serve to focus our attention upon the nearness of the difficult times to come, and cause us to realize and put into practice now the principle of complete reliance upon Him (as opposed to our own feeble strength and resources).

Please see also:  "Katrina" in Some Sensitive Topics III

Thank you for your question and for your encouraging remarks.

In our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill


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