April 16, 2014- 8:49pm
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Great Signs From Heaven

When the calendar flips to the month of June, many people who live along the southern and eastern coasts of the United States begin to think and prepare for hurricane season. What causes these and other “natural disasters”? Are they a haphazard force of nature with no plausible explanation, or could they be the result of a power directed by the will of Almighty God used to speak to man – bringing judgment on some and calling others to repentance? Satan has caused such blindness and deception to bring unbelief and hardness of heart to the world, that if anyone in the public arena today suggests that some force of nature is a sign from God, he is immediately branded by the media as part of the “radical religious right.” His comments are scoffed at and belittled in such a way as to make anyone who would agree with such an idea appear to have a mental problem with no ability to think rationally. Yet, the Bible clearly shows this truth from beginning to end, and the evidence of such a principle at work in our world today is unmistakable. Ironically, insurance companies even term such disasters “acts of God.”

In Genesis 3, God’s judgment on the very first sin involved nature – the serpent was changed, childbirth was affected, and the ground from which man would derive much of his food was cursed. Just three chapters later in Genesis 6, God dealt with the sin of the whole world by the great flood of Noah’s day. In the second book of the Bible, Exodus, God brought judgment on the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart by national disasters in Egypt that touched the people’s water supply, their crops, their living quarters, their personal bodies, and even their children. The nation of Israel was often the subject of national calamities as God called His chosen people to repentance using fiery serpents (Numbers 21), wind storms (Isaiah 28), and drought, famine, plague, blight, mildew, locusts, and grasshoppers (1 Kings 8:35-40). God also used many of these same disasters to destroy Israel’s enemies giving deliverance and victory to His people.

The pattern continues in the New Testament as Jesus’ life begins and ends with “great signs” in the heavens. At his birth a special star appeared (Matthew 2), and at his death darkness enveloped the land and an earthquake hit that was so strong, it split rocks and broke open tombs (Matt. 27:45-54).

The Bible predicts much more to come. The culmination of it all is described in Revelation 16:17-21 when an earthquake unequalled in history will take place at the end of the Great Tribulation. It will be so devastating that mountains and islands will disappear, and it will be accompanied by hailstones of about 100 pounds each.

What about today? In comparison to the ages of the earth’s history, we are surely living in the “last days” before the glorious return of Jesus Christ to the earth. Jesus Himself said that some of the signs that would take place just before His coming would be great natural disasters like “famines and earthquakes in various places.” He described them as the “beginning of birth pains.” (Matt. 24:7-8) The apostle Paul concurs in his letter to the Romans. He states that the whole of creation has been awaiting its redemption from the curse, groaning with the pains of childbirth even during his time. (Rom. 8:19-23) Any mother can tell you that pains increase dramatically in frequency and intensity up to the actual time of childbirth. That is what we see happening in our world today – “great signs” from heaven (widespread natural disasters) are happening in increasing numbers and greater intensity. Some would discount that truth, saying that our greater abilities in communication and technology today only make us more aware of such calamities, but the facts are undeniable.

According to the National Earthquake Information Center, in the U.S. alone, earthquakes of the most common magnitudes (3.0 to 4.9 on the Richter Scale) more than doubled just in the last decade. As for earthquakes in unusual places, remember that Alabama was hit with a fairly strong 4.9 quake in April of this year. Before that, the only other earthquake of that magnitude in the southeast U.S. was in 1916, centered in Alabama, and felt in seven states in a 100,000 square mile area.

Before 1800, the only great national famine on record was one in Egypt in 1200-02 A.D. Since then, at least six great famines have devastated people in different corners of the globe. A famine in Ireland in 1845 destroyed the potato crop and killed 1.5 million people. Two famines hit Russia – one in 1921 which resulted in a failure of 20% of the nation’s crops and in the deaths of 5.1 million people. The second hit Russia in 1932-33 when 7 million died. In more recent times present-day Nigeria, Africa was razed by a famine in 1959-61 and Northern China experienced a 1067-69 disaster.

The news media was jammed with articles of the great Dust Bowl drought of the 1930’s in the central plains of the United States that also brought on a famine in one of the world’s richest nations. That was followed by another severe drought in the 1950’s, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now predicting that climatic changes indicate even more severe droughts possible in the next century in the U.S. Meanwhile, other areas of our country have been inundated with just the opposite in severe weather – flooding. In the great flood of 1993, excess rains in the Mississippi River basin caused 17 million acres of land to be covered with water. It was described as the worse flood in this country in 100 years. And Texans will not soon forget the hail storms that hit the Dallas area in 1997 causing over $2 billion in damages.

Satellite technology in recent years certainly has drastically changed the record keeping of hurricanes and other cyclonic wind storms. However, the most significant change in that type of potential natural disaster may be in the forecast for the future. USA Today reports that the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), a group of international scientists, are very concerned about the effect of general global warming on cyclonic wind storms. That group says that hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones are very likely to produce higher winds than in past years in specific areas with global warming. They also warn that with oceanic temperatures generally rising, we will likely see more tropical-type storms farther north than we ever have seen before.

As the Bible shows, God has always spoken to man through calamities in nature, and He will continue to do so on an increasingly frequent basis. As believers, we would do well to give heed to God’s voice in whatever manner it comes to us – and to encourage others to do the same.

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