The Great Tribulation

 

EARTHQUAKES  IN  THE  END  TIME

 

Paul Wong

 

When the Lord Jesus Christ was asked by His disciples to reveal the sign of His Second Coming here is what He said:

"And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.  See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginnings of sorrows" (Mt. 24:6-8).


In the Book of Revelation God revealed to the apostle John:

"Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’ And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.  Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath" (Rev. 16:17-19).

 

GOD USES EARTHQUAKES TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSES

 

The Great Earthquake and Tsunami in the Indian Ocean

 

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake of moment magnitude 9.0 that struck the Indian Ocean off the western coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia on December 26, 2004 at 00:58:50 UTC (or 07:58:50 local time in Jakarta and Bangkok).  It was the largest earthquake on Earth since the 9.2-magnitude Good Friday Earthquake which struck Alaska, USA, on March 27, 1964, and the fourth largest since 1900. Tens of thousands were killed by the resulting tsunamis, which were as high as 10 m (33 ft) in some locations and struck within three hours of the quake.

The multiple tsunamis struck and ravaged coastal regions all over the Indian Ocean, devastating regions including the resort island of Phuket, Thailand, the Indonesian province of Aceh, the coast of Sri Lanka, coastal areas of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and even as far away as Somalia, 4,100 km (2,500 mi) west of the epicenter.

 

TSUNAMI

The word tsunami is made of two Japanese characters. “Tsu” means harbor and “nami” means wave.

·       Shortly before 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Christmas night, 6:58:50 a.m. local time on Sunday, December 26 2004, an 8.9-magnitude earthquake took place off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia.

·       Tsunamis occur when an earthquake or some other event disturbs the sea floor. This earthquake disturbed a 620-mile section along the boundary of huge geological plates.

·       Tsunamis can travel up to 600 miles-per-hour, the speed of a jet. This one probably traveled about 500 miles-per-hour, said Brian Atwater, geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

·       Once a tsunami is formed, it tends to decrease in speed but increase in height when it moves toward shallower water. This weekend’s tsunami sent waves up to 30-feet — about the height of a three-story building — crashing into countries in Asia and Africa.

Reported by Melanie Eversley USA TODAY. Sources: United States Geological Survey, The Associated Press.

 

A SIGN OF GOD’S ANGER

 

"Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, because He was angry" (Psm. 18:7).   Why was God angry?   "For they provoked Him to anger with their high places, and moved Him to jealousy with their carved images" (Psm. 78:58). "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." (Rom. 1:18)

 

We can understand the wrath of God a little bit better by looking at the false religions of the countries that were hit by the Tsunami on December 26, 2004.

 

1. Indonesia: Islam in its various forms is the predominant religion of Indonesia. It accounts for more than 87 percent of its population thereby, making Indonesia the largest Islamic community in the whole world.

2. Sri Lanka: Buddhism and Hinduism were introduced from India as early as the 3rd century bc. The Sinhalese established Buddhism as the official religion of their kingdoms in Sri Lanka. The Tamils were already Hindus by the time they migrated to the island in significant numbers.

Buddhism is the predominant religion in Sri Lanka. Its adherents, who are mostly Sinhalese, make up about 70 percent of the population.

3. India: Religion, an inseparable part of Indian life, permeates every aspect of life, from common-place daily chores to education and politics. Secular India is home to Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and other innumerable religious traditions with Hinduism being the dominant faith, practised by over 80 percent of the population.

 

4. Thailand: Around 95% of the Thai population profess themselves to Buddhism (Theravada Buddhism), which since the 11th century is the official religion of the country. There are approximately 250,000 Buddhist monks in Thailand and over 750,000 temples whereof around 30,000 are monastery temples.

5. Somalia: Restrictions on Religious Freedom

Local tradition and past law make proselytizing a crime for any religion except Islam. Proselytizing for any religion except Islam is prohibited by law in Puntland and Somaliland and effectively blocked by informal social consensus elsewhere in the country. Christian-based international relief organizations generally operate without interference, provided that they refrain from proselytizing.

6. Myanmar:  In Union of Myanmar majority of the population are Buddhist, Theravada Buddhism is professed widely. Religious intolerance or discrimination on grounds of religion is non-existence in the Union of Myanmar throughout it's long history. The main religions of present day Myanmar are Buddhism (89.20%), Christianity (5.05%), Muslims (3.78%), Hindus (0.55%), and Animism (1.27%) and other faiths such as Bahai Sikhs, Lipian fujianhal, Chinese, etc. (0.61%).

 

7. Malaysia: Islam is the official religion of Malaysia but Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and other religions are practiced. Islam is practiced predominantly by the Malays. Most of the Chinese believe in Buddhism and Taoism but a small number are Christians. Hinduism is mostly practiced by the region's Indian population.

 

8. Maldives: Islam is the focus of the Maldivian life in every respect, all being Sunni Muslims. Freedom of religion is restricted significantly. The 1997 Constitution designates Islam as the official state religion, and the Government interprets this provision to impose a requirement that citizens be Muslims. However, foreign residents are allowed to practice their religion if they do so privately and do not encourage citizens to participate.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom In July 2000, the President stated that no other religion should be allowed in the country.

 

9. Tanzania: Roughly one-third of the population is Muslim, another third professes Christianity, and the remainder is considered to hold animist beliefs. The division is usually not as clear as official statistics suggest, since many rural Tanzanians adhere to elements of their traditional animistic religions while practicing their Islamic or Christian faith.

10. Bangladesh: The official religion is Islam with approximately 83% of the population Sunni Muslims. This makes Bangladesh the second largest Islamic state in the world after Indonesia. The Muslim society is divided into three distinct classes, (1.) the Ashraf (better), (2.) the Ajlaf (lower) and the (3.) Arzal (lowest). Hindus account for 12% of the population and less than 1% are Buddhist, Christian or other.

 

11. Kenya: According to official government figures, Protestants are the largest religious group, representing approximately 38 percent of the population. Approximately 28 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. Seven percent of the population practices Islam, 1 percent practices Hinduism, and the remainder follows various traditional indigenous religions or offshoots of Christian religions. There are very few atheists. Muslim groups dispute government estimates; most often they claim to represent 15 to 20 percent of the population, sometimes even higher.

 

Disaster Toll of the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean

Note: Actual numbers will not be known until the final count is completed

S.No.

Country

Religion

Dead

Injured

Missing

1

Indonesia

Islam

173,981+

100,000

6,245+

2

Sri Lanka

Buddhism

38,195+

15,686

23,000+

3

India

Hinduism

10,744+

Unknown

5,669+

4

Thailand

Buddhism

5305+

8,457

4,999

5

Somalia

Islam

150+

Unknown

Unknown

6

Myanmar

Buddhism

59+

45

7,000

7

Malaysia

Islam

74+

299+

Unknown

8

Maldives

Islam

82+

Unknown

26

9

Tanzania

Mixture

10+

Unknown

Unknown

10

Bangladesh

Islam

2+

Unknown

Unknown

11

Kenya

Christian

1

Unknown

Unknown

Total

228,603+

124,487+

46,939+

 

 

Of the eleven countries that were hit by the tsunami which was caused by an earthquake on December 26, 2004, only Kenya has a population that is mostly Christian, and only one person has died. It is not known whether or not this person is a Christian. This is still a very small number compared to the other ten countries that are non Christians. “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain Salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thes. 5:9) The wrath of God is directed only to those who worship false gods and idols (Psm. 78:58; Rom. 1:18). The Almighty God says: "Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth will move out of her place, In the wrath of the LORD of hosts and in the day of His fierce anger" (Isa. 13:13).

 

 

 

SALVATION  THROUGH  AN  EARTHQUAKE

 

"Jesus, when He had cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks split . . . Now when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!" (Mt. 27:50-54).  

 

Many Christians will be surprised to learn the centurion Cornelius and his household were not the first Italian converts.   Here we read the centurion and his soldiers on Mount Calvary believed Jesus to be the Son of God.  It is amazing how God had used an earthquake to make those who came to crucify Jesus Christ to also believe in Him. We should demonstrate our Christian love to reach the unbelievers and win more souls for our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

LIBERATION THROUGH AN EARTHQUAKE

 

"But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed." (Acts 16:25-26). God had not only liberated His servants from the prison but had also convicted the jailor who asked them the important question, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." (Acts 16:30-31). As God had used earthquakes to lead souls to Himself in the past, He can also do the same in our day and age as we can see from the following testimony.

 

 

EARTHQUAKE  BROUGHT  HEATHENS  TO

BELIEVE  IN  THE  LORD  JESUS  CHRIST

 

I would like to testify to the almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ concerning an earthquake incident that occurred in Malaysia. The Chen family that consisted of a young couple with a baby boy and the wife’s sister were originally from our church in Ipoh, but had moved to a village near Taiping about 50 miles away. All three adults had been baptized with the Holy Spirit, and they prayed in the Spirit every morning. They lived in one of the row houses. On their right lived a Hindu devotee, and on their left was a heathen temple.  Since there was no church near their home, my wife and I used to visit them once a month. On our third visit we were surprised to see some new faces that included many children. We were introduced to Mrs. Ku who was the caretaker of the temple next door.

 

This is Mrs. Ku’s incredible story. She cleaned the heathen temple and its altar with idols before retiring every night, to prepare for the worshipers the following morning.  Recently there were earthquakes every morning, and all the idols would toppled down from the altar. After rearranging the idols the previous evening the temblors would knock them down to the floor again in the morning. She was puzzled by these strange incidents and was determined to find out why it happened. She suspected the Chen family might have something to do with the temblors since these incidents had occurred only after they had moved next door.

 

One early morning when the earth began to shake, Mrs. Ku quickly rushed to her neighbor’s home and peeped through the window. What she saw was even more puzzling. Brother Chen, his wife and the sister were kneeling down and praying in a strange language. She kept it to herself. The next morning she waited for the earth to shake, then rushed to the neighbor’s window. She saw the same thing. This time she really wanted to know the connection between the earthquake and her neighbor’s strange behavior, so she waited for them to finish their prayer before knocking on the door. When asked about the way they prayed the Chen family took the opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with Mrs. Ku. She told us, "Your Christian God is more powerful than the gods that I worship. I want to believe in Jesus Christ." We also learned the Hindu devotee, who was the Chen family’s other neighbor, was so scared of the earthquakes that he moved out of the house and went to live in the Hindu temple. "God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will." (Heb. 2:4).

 

[On my previous trip to Ipoh, Malaysia Brother and Sister Chen came to see me after the Sabbath Service on September 11, 1999. They looked wonderful. Praise God.]

 

May all glory and praise be given to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

 

May God bless you

 

 

This article is a presentation of Paul Wong

to the ARK Forum on December 28, 2004

 

For comments please write first to: arkpw@sbcglobal.net

 

Paul Wong is a Christian minister and the President of ARK International.
His ministry also serves as an architectural service company in
Houston.
The ARK Forum on the Internet is international and non-denominational.

 

 

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