The Beginning of Sorrows

The year 2004 was quite an interesting one in regard to pre-Tribulation events spoken of by Christ for the end-time. We experienced flooding in the Philippines, droughts in parts of the United States and Africa, starvation and genocide in the Sudan, hurricanes in Florida, earthquakes in diverse places, and — to top off the year — a huge earthquake and subsequent tsunamis causing over 150,000 fatalities in South-East Asia. We also heard of continual conflicts, terrorist attacks and bombings in Israel, Iraq, and other parts of the world.

What can we expect for 2005? Unfortunately, more of the same, according to what the Bible says, and possibly even in increasing and progressively worse proportions, as we approach the final stages of Satan’s rule over this earth.

We must always bear in mind the truth and reality that Satan is the present ruler over this world. As outlined in Matthew 4:8-9, Satan offered the kingdoms of this world to Christ, if He would bow down and worship him. He could not have offered them to Christ, if they were not his to give. You will notice that Christ did not challenge this issue. We also know that Satan deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9) — that is the reason why most don’t recognize the fact about who really rules over this earth.

Unfortunately, all those curses which we experienced in 2004 are the result of disobedience to God and His laws. They are the direct result of sin.

The recent earthquake in Asia is nothing compared to what we will encounter going forward. Yet, man’s general attitude will continue to be one of defiance. Let us notice this prophecy in Revelation 6:12-14: “I looked when he opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake… Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.”

It is hard for us to imagine the magnitude of an earthquake that will move every mountain and island out of its place. Still, we don’t find that man will repent. Rather, they will try to hide themselves from God (verses 15-16), as Adam and Eve tried to do, after they had sinned.

Further events are described in Revelation 16:18-21, talking about another great earthquake; in fact, it will be such “a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth” (verse 18). We read that “the great city [modern Babylon or Rome] was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell” (verse 19). In addition, “every island fled away, and the mountains were not found” (verse 20). This unprecedented earthquake will be so powerful that islands will disappear and great mountains will become small hills. We cannot really imagine such an event. In addition, we are told that “great hail from heaven fell upon men” (verse 21). Still, man won’t repent. Rather, we read in the same verse that “Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since the plague was exceedingly great.”

However, we do read, in Revelation 11:13, about another “great earthquake, and a tenth of the city [of Jerusalem] fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.” While most people won’t repent, some will, as these terrible tragedies continue to strike.

Christ told us that these things, which we are experiencing right now, are just the “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). It will get much worse. It is critical that we are maintaining a close relationship with God, so that we can be protected by Him in the years ahead.

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