Earthquakes, Prophecy And The Heart Of God

God is not the author of natural disasters, and He is not a remote spectator—rather, He is a God of love who is present with us in our suffering.

This past week we watched in horrified disbelief as the first news reports of Japan’s earthquake and resulting tsunami flashed across our screens.

As New Zealanders, my family is still reeling from news of the devastating Christchurch earthquake.

Some of the questions I muse over as I write today are:

  • Why are there natural disasters?
  • Where is God in the pain?
  • Should we look for prophetic meaning in the earthquakes and natural events?
  • Do earthquakes prove that we are in the end times?

Creation in Crisis

‘How could God allow natural disasters? Couldn’t He intervene and prevent the pain?’ My reflections take me back to the very beginning: the book of Genesis.

God created the earth to be perfectly in balance and to sustain life. The Fall that brought separation between humanity and God also affected creation—the earth itself. (Gen 1-2, 3:17)

Genesis reminds me that the imbalance in creation that causes natural disasters was not God’s plan, but the tragic outcome of sin.

In Romans 8, Paul tells me that creation is groaning in bondage, waiting for a future time when it will be set free. The earth is running a course that is parallel—and intrinsically connected to—the salvation of its people.

Turning to the last book in the Bible, I read that God’s plan for restoration climaxes in a new heaven and a new earth, where ‘There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ (Rev 21:1-4)

The reason for delay in the culmination of God’s plan is His mercy—the Father desires to give as many people as possible the opportunity to hear the Good News. (2 Peter 3:9)

I don’t have answers as to why disasters happen. [1] But I do believe that the Bible reveals:

  • God is not the author of natural disasters, and He is not a remote spectator—rather, He is a God of love who is present with us in our suffering.
  • Having participated in our suffering through Jesus’ death on the cross, He is at work to restore all things—including the earth we live in—to His original purpose.

Seeking Prophetic Meaning In Disasters

Should we look to see if there is any prophetic meaning in the earthquakes and other events that are taking place?

Two perspectives I have come across recently are:

  1. Natural disasters are the judgment of God on nations that refuse to repent of sin and
  2. Natural disasters are earthly signs of changes that are taking place in the spiritual realm.

Before embracing these, or any other viewpoints, we should ask, ‘What message are we sending out to those who are suffering?’

As a prophetic community, we need to view all insight through the lens of God’s love and mercy. All prophecy must be tested against the message of the Gospel. [2]

We must take the stance of Jesus, who said,

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

I believe that the most important prophetic insight to do with current events is that of Jesus’ own prophecy.

Are we in the End Times?

In Matthew 24, Jesus Himself prophesies, ‘There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.’ (Matt 24:7-8) [3]

According to Jesus, an increasing number of earthquakes and natural disasters is one sign of the end times. As He continues His discourse, we learn that there are even more tragedies and evil to befall us.

In this catalogue of darkness, Jesus shines a beacon of light:

‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.’ (Matt 24:14)

We cannot know for sure whether or not we are in the end times. (Acts 1:7)

One thing, however, is of primary importance to me:

Regardless of the Biblical era we live in, for our generation, it is the end of time.

This generation—alive on the earth right now—is never going to have another opportunity to learn about the love of God expressed through His Son Jesus.

We have had recent reminders of our vulnerability and our mortality.

Our consuming passion should be that of Jesus. Our vision should be that which the prophet Zephaniah spoke of:

‘The nations on every shore will worship him, every one in its own land.’ Zeph 2:11

The Banquet is Ready

Jesus told a parable about a man who prepared a great banquet. (Luke 14:16-24)

When the time of the banquet arrived, the man sent out his servants to those who had been invited. However many made excuses, saying they could not attend.

He sent out his servants again, this time urging,

‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ (Luke 14:21)

Finally, the servants returned, saying, ‘There is still room.’ The master sent out his servant one last time saying,

‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.’ Luke 14:23

Let’s pray earnestly for those who are suffering.

Let’s give extravagantly.

And let’s be a church on fire with an urgency to share the Gospel while we can, wherever we can, to reach whomever we can.

Because for this generation—time is running out.


Notes:

[1] Many people grapple with the question, ‘Why does God allow suffering?’ If you know of some helpful resources on this topic, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below this post. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.

[2] I urge Christians to weigh up what prophetic ministries are saying carefully before embracing and repeating their viewpoints. See my posts:

How To Weigh Up What The Prophets Are Saying Pt 1

How To Weigh Up What The Prophets Are Saying Pt 2

[3] Paul further explains the birth pains of creation in Romans 8:

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Rom 8:22-24


© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog – Enliven Ministries

In the David McCracken Ministries family

7 thoughts on “Earthquakes, Prophecy And The Heart Of God

  1. malcolm Calder

    Helen, I am gripped by what you have written here. So true what you say especially (despite what is happening all around us) this is the last days for this current generation. May we seek God and hear clearly what part we are to play and, do it!!

  2. irene Kyriacou

    Hi Helen, Thank You for Sharing TRUTH with US. I agree GOD is LOVE, and HIS Plan for Mankind is Salvation, Redemption and Restoration, HE is filled with Compassion and Mercy for the Lost. I Pray that Many will BELIEVE and CALL upon Our LORD JESUS CHRIST as their GOD and Saviour and Accept The Invitation to Salvation through Our LORD JESUS CHRIST.
    May the LORD use me to Impact my generation and bring Many to CHRIST. The following is a Poem I wrote recently, It gives me Great HOPE to know, JESUS WILL RETURN AGAIN,
    and Make ALL THINGS NEW.

    A day is Coming Soon
    The Brightest and the Best
    When JESUS will RETURN again
    And give to us Eternal Glorious Rest
    A day of Love, a day of Cheer, Our Day of Redemption is Drawing Near, do You have an ear to hear
    ARE YOU READY FOR HIS APPEARING
    ARE YOU READY FOR HIS REVEALING
    Holy Spirit open up my eyes to see
    JESUS CHRIST REVEALED IN ME
    A Reflection of HIS Glory
    A Reflection of HIS Grace
    A Mirror of HIS Face
    The Bride of CHRIST you see
    An Instrument of Purpose, Power, Prayer and Purity
    An Instrument to Bring Unity
    To the Body of CHRIST you see
    Clothed with the Garments of Purest White
    Shining ever so Bright
    FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE
    THE LOVE OF GOD FOR HUMANITY
    How Will I ever be able to Comprehend, The LOVE of GOD that has NO END
    Precious, Spotless, Sinless Lamb of GOD, Who Sacrificed HIS Life for Me
    Shed HIS Precious BLOOD on the CROSS at Calvary
    HE ROSE AGAIN TRIUMPHANTLY
    For ALL The World To See
    HE CONQUERED DEATH IN VICTORY
    This is My JESUS, This is My LORD
    HE ALONE Has The KEY
    To Open Heavens Door to Eternity
    HIS IS ALL AUTHORITY
    IN HEAVEN and EARTH for ALL ETERNITY

    The Whole Creation is Groaning and Waiting for The Manifestation of The Sons of GOD to be Revealed
    NO EYE HAS SEEN
    NO EAR HAS HEARD
    NOR has it entered into The Heart of Man
    The Things, GOD has Prepared for Those Who LOVE HIM
    Yet, HE has Revealed them to us by HIS Spirit
    LINE Upon LINE
    PRECEPT Upon PRECEPT
    HERE A LITTLE, and THERE A LITTLE
    HE has given us a Small Taste, of what is to Come

    THE BEST IS YET TO COME
    LET US RUN THIS RACE
    FULL OF GRACE
    UNTIL WE SEE HIM , FACE TO FACE
    FOREVER JESUS TO EMBRACE
    IN THE BEAUTY OF HIS GLORY and HIS GRACE

    Poem By Irene Kyriacou

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Thank you Irene, your wonderful poem reminds me of Hebrews 12:1-2. ‘Let us run with perseverance the race… For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured…Consider Him that you won’t grow weary’
      It is as we are eternally minded (for the joy set before us) that we can make a difference in the here and now.

  3. Barbara Savage

    Regarding earthquakes, isn’t one predicted for Jerusalem? I heard teaching that an earthquake would demolish the dome of the rock Moslem temple, which would pave the way for the final Jewish temple to be built. Ezekiel had the plans given to him by God. In this Jewish temple, the anti-Christ would one day desecrate the altar.

    News from Israel seems to indicate that the priests there are preparing the utensils and gear needed in the new temple, and recently the discovery of how to get the original blue dye (from mollusks) required for the priestly garments was announced.

    It seems that earthquakes are part of God’s prophecies. If so, is He not in control of them?

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Hi Barbara, thank you for your thoughts, this is certainly a topic that has a lot to consider, hasn’t it?
      I haven’t hear that particular teaching–is it based on a scripture?
      Yes, I believe that God is sovereign–and is ultimately in control of all things. I’m no theologian, but here are my immediate thoughts. I believe from Genesis and elsewhere in the scripture that God assigned the earth to humanity. E.g. Psalm 115:16 The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given [assigned] to mankind.’ When Adam and Eve sinned, God did not take back the authority over the earth He had already given, but has allowed sin and evil to run its course while He works out His plan of redemption. Much of this is mystery to us. To say that God is in control of earthquakes in our day is to infer that He is responsible for them and for choosing their times and places.
      However, prophecy does not always indicate intention to act: it can also be foreknowledge of an event that will take place. That’s why I have noted recently that prophecy of natural disasters could be used to help prepare and protect. See my post http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/2011/02/15/how-do-you-weigh-up-what-the-prophets-are-saying-pt-2/ for some very important thoughts about this.
      Hope this helps clarify, others may have some helpful thoughts on this too.

  4. Mark Butler

    Hi Helen… I’m a bit of a late-comer to this post, but I agree with what you’ve said in response to Barbara.

    I think its important to note (in particular because of some recent comments and teachings floating around) that saying God uses these events to judge people is inconsistent with scripture and what we know of God’s character.

    In Luke 13 Jesus talks about some events that had occurred recently where people had died, and implies that it was not a judgement on their sin. Similarly in John 9 when the disciples ask Jesus who sinned to cause a certain man to be blind, Jesus states that its not the sin that is important, but the fact that the Father was going to use the brokenness and tragedy of the circumstance to display His power and loving-kindness.

    I think saying a tragedy is linked to a specific sin or to some form of judgement is not consistent with what Christ did on the cross, and also what Christ taught in the gospels.

    Just a couple of thoughts 🙂

    1. Helen Calder Post author

      Thanks Mark, I appreciate your wise observation.
      I also want to encourage my readers to look up and reflect on these scriptures Mark refers to.

Comments are closed.