The recent earthquakes in Japan & New Zealand (not to mention the quakes elsewhere in recent years - Pakistan, Iran, Peru...) can't but help to prompt thoughts on the Second Coming - which is of course exactly what they're supposed to do...
There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matt 24:7-8)
Such thoughts are all the more pointed in the light of a 'superswarm' of quakes reported by geologists. The Times (13/3/11) reported that there has been an increase in the number of earthquakes registering between 7 and 7.9, with 21 occurring in 2010 (there was only 10 in 2006). That some scientists think the 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra in 2004, which killed 230,000 people, may have caused the entire world to shake slightly as it has been followed by an unusually number of other large quakes.
The point of such events (in terms of the End Times) is the ongoing reminder that we inhabit a world that is 'groaning and travailing' as it waits for God's final intervention. Below are a few notes from a sermon I preached last year on the 'Signs of the Times' in Matthew 24 (Second Coming Part 2, see podcasts above).
1. Wars / Rumours & Natural Disasters (v6-8)
There will be an ongoing cycle of conflict & catastrophes
The hallmarks of a world – out of joint with God – groaning & travailing
Notice – Jesus describes these things as ‘birth pangs’ (v8)
Like birth pangs – those contractions – every one – signal an arrival
They are warning shocks of coming judgement – of Christ’s own arrival
We live in that world – in such days...
Rather than frighten us, cow us or make us despair they are to focus us...
Every news story of conflict / every disaster
Every turn of the screw on Christian freedom / every new attempt to twist the Gospel
Should flash up before our eyes – 'The Bridegroom is coming!'
Pakistan floods – a spur to try & witness to our friends
The latest Terror Alert – a reminder to keep ourselves pure
The popularity of ‘The Shack’ – a call to ‘stand firm’ on Biblical truth
Christian Foster parents rejected – a prompt to invest all the more in the Kingdom to come
My old Pastor – used to have a parting comment: ‘Keep looking up’
That 2000yrs have passed has not taken Scripture by surprise
That Jesus is coming back - should not take us by surprise
The concern of the Bible – in giving us these Sign of the Times
is not to furnish us with a detailed timetable – or to distract us from living our lives
but that we might observe this world with a heavenly perspective –
and thus be focused us & motivated – in living fully for Christ now.