Why Hurricanes and Disasters?
Social media and the news are filled with reports with respect to catastrophic hurricanes, threats of war, political prophecies, wildfires, floods, alignments of planets, moons, and all kinds of other accounts that make many anxious! At the same time, many claim that these cataclysmic events are God’s judgement. That the end-times are upon us! Is this all just hype and scare-tactics? We could truly ask, what in the world is going on! Let us seek to make sense of these things now.
End time Warnings
Today there seems to be an endless stream of “Doomsday warnings” in social media. Many today claim that the end-times are upon us! Is it true? Now, these types of alarmist propaganda are not new. We read of such a case back in the New Testament already! It reads, Do “not be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes the seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:2-4)
So then, we can see that these types of false warnings are very old! So let us not be alarmed when people speak of planets lining up, of moons, and such. For, in reality, these kinds of prophecies are not even found in the Scriptures, but are fanciful man-made concepts! However, we do know that certain end time events are to come! Yet, before the dark days of the great tribulation fall upon the whole world, a certain one must come to rule – a world ruler! Now, some say that it is Catholicism as a whole, or that it will be a certain pope. However, we see that Scripture says, “the man.” This is singular, and not a system. Also, this one will set up “in the temple.” We see that the pope does not rule from a Jewish temple. Now, this is not to say that Catholicism does not behave as an antichrist! As the Scriptures testify, “As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.” (1 John 2:18) Yes, many antichrists have come, but thee antichrist is still to come!
Why is it that so many shocking events like hurricanes, earthquakes, and such like happen? We could ask, why does God allow such things to occur? There is essentially one answer. We have rebelled against our Creator-God and are reaping the consequences! A better question may well be, Why is God so patient with us and not utterly wiping us out, despite our prolonged rebellion against Him? The Psalmist answers these things well. Let us read together these words.
“O LORD, God of vengeance,
O God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O judge of the earth;
Repay to the proud what they
O LORD, how long shall the wicked,
How long shall the wicked exult?
They pour out their arrogant words;
All the evildoers boast.
They crush your people, O LORD,
And afflict your heritage…
And they say, The LORD does not see;
The God of Jacob does not perceive.
Understand, O dullest of people!
Fools, when will you be wise?
He who planted the ear, does he not
He who formed the eye, does not he not
He who disciplines nations, does
He not rebuke?”
Yes, indeed, we have defied the living God! We want to live life on own terms! We think we know better than God does! We want to sit in judgement of God! Do we really think that we can defy the living God, and that He will merely wink at our rebellion and never repay? Surely we are reaping what we have sown! In unequivocal speech, God warns us, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)
Ever since the first two God created made a decision to revolt against God, as Satan also had done, this world has been living under a curse. Even as it is written, “Because you…have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…” (Genesis 3:17-18)
Perhaps one asks, “In what way have we sinned against God?” Again, in the plainest of words, it is recorded, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does resist you.” (James 5:1-6)
Indeed, we are simply reaping that which we have sown! For at every turn we reject God! Again and again, we promote that which God has emphatically called sin, and do we think God does not take notice? Surely He has, and will repay! Most decidedly we ought to have a change of mind and seek the face of God in humility! For let us read a most remarkable historical account: “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” “Jonah began to cry out, Yet forty days, and Nineveh will be overthrown! And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.” Therefore, “God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.” (Jonah 1:2, 3:4-5, 10)
God Doesn’t Delight to Punish
We read, from God’s heart, these words, “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the LORD God; so turn, and live.” (Ezekiel 18:32) In a similar vein we also read in the New Testament, “God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4) And once more, “[The] Lord does not delay his promise, as some account of delay, but is longsuffering towards you, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (~2 Peter 3:9)
Much rather, God provided the way for us to be placed back into a right relationship with Himself! Indeed, God provided the solution for us to be freed from death and receive eternal life! Yes, God showed us His love, in that He sent His uniquely born Son, Jesus, to be our substitute. In fact, God debited Him with all our sin, and credited us with Christ’s righteousness! This, that justice would still be served, for our holy God cannot overlook sin, but must bring down punishment! How incredibly gracious Jesus was to willingly take our place and be punished for our wrongdoing! Oh, no wonder the Word of God says, “For by grace you have been saved”! (Ephesians 2:8) Yes, God calls salvation, “The gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) Wow! Are you counting on God’s gift to enter God’s holy Heaven? For those who place their confidence wholly in Christ, and not at all in self, we read, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified [freed from all guilt forever] by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” (Romans 5:9) Yes, God has provided a way of escape for us all! However, we can only avail ourselves of this gift by faith. That is, we must place our confidence 100% in Christ to save us, and not in our own efforts!
Think of the marvelous good news, “The gospel…that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Yes, Jesus died for your sins! Not some. Not most. Rather, Jesus died for them all – past and future too! It is the only payment that is acceptable to our holy God. Approximately 2000 years ago, these words came true: “The LORD laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) And Jesus, the Lamb of God, cried in victory from the altar of the cross, “It is finished”! (John 19:30) Listen to this incredible substitutionary truth! “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous.” (1 Peter 3:18) We hear God speak with the plainest of speech, “We have been sanctified [made holy/righteous] through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)
Never, no, never, is our salvation dependent on what self does! Much rather, we look away from self to the 100% satisfactory work of Christ to save us! He alone is the Savior! Let us not demean the work of Christ by offering our “filthy rags”! We have nothing to offer of any worth! Christ is the worthy One! He does not need our help! Indeed, “He saved us, not because of works of righteousness, but according to his own mercy.” (Titus 3:5) You see, Jesus did not come to save “good people,” but the “ungodly”! Good people think they can help with turning from sin and living a life of obedience. However, it is sinners Jesus came to save. This is why the prostitutes and such like were entering the kingdom of God ahead of the religious crowd! It is hard for a “good person” to admit that they can’t do anything at all for salvation! We are required to place our confidence 100% in the Savior to save us and 0% in self! It is God who makes us holy, not self. As it is written, “I have taken your iniquity away from you,” and, “He has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” (Zechariah 3:4/Isaiah 61:10)
As it still stands, “The whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” (Romans 8:22) However, “According to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13) Where do you figure in? For it is written, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only [uniquely born] Son of God.” (John 3:18) “Believes” carries a much stronger meaning in the Greek than to merely believe in His existence. It has the concept of placing one’s confidence in such a one. In this case, as the Savior. That is, we see in this One the absolute ability to save me! I therefore count on Him to do just that! It does not merely mean that I believe apples are good for me, but that I am eating apples because they’re good for me! There is quite a difference! We are not saved by mere head-knowledge, but by actually, personally, placing one’s confidence in Christ to save me! Where is your confidence placed? Hear then God’s promise to those who place their confidence in Him: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) Are you saved? Will you escape the wrath of God to come? Where do you stand? What will you do with respect to the crucified One?
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36)
Victor J. Reimer
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Photo credit: “Irma” by Cayobo
*Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), copyrighted © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
~Darby Bible Translation