“The thunder, lightning and hail is over,” I told a co-worker yesterday after a strong storm moved through. “Up next is the fire and brimstone.” She thought I was joking. That’s funny. Actually, with the recent severe weather in the Southeast U.S. and Midwest, I’m sure few would have been surprised if fire and brimstone rained down. After all, they say the Yellowstone supervolcano might blow soon, with soon being… well, we don’t know. But it could happen! Much like the rapture and apocalypse. Saturday night Harold Camping thought the rapture of the church was going to happen. At six PM, he swore, happening by time zones and accompanied by a massive earthquake in New Zealand that would spawn a tsunami that would destroy much of the earth. When the rapture didn’t happen, Camping locked himself inside his home. He now says he missed a mathematical clue and it’ll happen on October 21st. It was his third prediction of the end. Third time’s the charm, right? Never mind that he misses the whole tribulation and millennium.
After all, with earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes and wildfires, it sure seems like the end is upon us. But is it? Yes, and, I don’t know. You see, biblically, the end times started when Jesus ascended into heaven. From that moment in history, a divine clock has been ticking down in God the Father’s head, the final tick unknown to all but Him. So for the past 2,000 years we’ve been living in the end. What about the earthquakes and tsunamis? Scientists say the number of earthquakes each year hasn’t changed since recorded history began. Every now and then there are bigger ones recorded, like Chile and Japan, but the only reason we know about the other ones deals more with advanced scientific technology than apocalyptic imminence. Whether that’s true or not I’m not sure, but one thing I will confess is that natural disasters have plagued mankind for thousands of years. And they used to kill a LOT more people. Think Haiti. Every quake.
Jesus said in Matthew 24 that the Day of the Lord (judgment day) will come like a thief in the night. Somehow, He doesn’t even know the exact time. It’s a mystery. But God the Father will tell the Son when it’s time to go collect the Church and that’s when the rapture will happen. Then the “Apocalypse” will start. It will end at the Great White Throne, when wickedness is given its final sentence followed by final punishment. A new heaven and new earth will be created by God and the old ones will go away. And all shall be well.
But for now all is not well. The world is still falling apart. Tornadoes are killing hundreds of people and ruining lives. Unkind words are destroying relationships. And the need for healing is still just as great today as it was 100 years ago, 200 years ago or 2,000 years ago. And the only permanent healing still comes in the person and work of Jesus Christ. His arms are open wide for the hurting to run to Him and take shelter in his arms. Spiritually, emotionally and mentally. And who isn’t hurting?
Hang on to Him. And hold on tight.