Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shaking the Nations


With the massive earthquake and tsunami hitting Japan less than a month after the destructive quake in New Zealand, you have to begin to wonder: is it just a coincidence that these things seem to be happening with more and mor e frequen cy and intensity, or are we seeing a fulfillment of what the prophets said would precede the second coming of Christ?
I personally think it is the latter. Listen to the words of Haggai who prophesied around 520 BC.
For thus says the LORD of host: “Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations. …” (Haggai 2:6-7).
This prophecy seems to be being fulfilled both figuratively and literally right before our very eyes. We see the figurative fulfillment in the shaking up of the social structures of the nations, most notably across the Middle East; but we’ve also seen similar things across Europe and even in the U.S. as of late, i.e. the protests in Wisconsin, Indiana, New Jersey, etc.
The literal fulfillment is in the increased number and destructive nature of these catastrophes especially, but not exclusively earthquakes and tsunamis.
The following is a chronology of major earthquakes and tsunamis and their death tolls in recent years:
New Zealand: February 22, 2011, A powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand, killing at least 166 people.
China: April 14, 2010, A quake of between 6.9 and 7.1 magnitude killed at least 2,039 people and devastated rural homes in remote Yushu county, Qinghai province, 2,500km west of Beijing.
Chile: February 27, 2010, A magnitude 8.8 earthquake hits central Chile, about 91km north-east of the city of Concepcion and 317km south-west of the capital, Santiago, killing more than 400 people.
Haiti: January 12, 2010, A magnitude 7.0 earthquake hits the capital Port-au-Prince, demolishing buildings across the city, killing more than 200,000.
Sumatra, Indonesia: September 30, 2009, Magnitude 7.6 earthquake hits the city of Padang and surrounding areas, killing more than 1,100 people.
Samoan islands: September 29, 2009, A magnitude 8 to 8.3 quake hit between the islands of Samoa and American Samoa, triggering a powerful series of tsunamis. At least 186 people are killed.
Italy: April 6, 2009, A 6.3 magnitude quake struck the city of L'Aquila, in the mountainous Abruzzo region, east of Rome, killing at least 292 people.
China: May 12, 2008, More than 70,000 people were killed in Sichuan province after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the region.
Pakistan: October 8, 2005, At least 73,000 people were killed by a 7.6 magnitude quake that struck about 95km northeast of Islamabad. The quake also rocked Indian-administered Kashmir, killing 1,244 people there.
Aceh, Indonesia: December 26, 2004, A massive 9.1 magnitude quake strikes off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggering a series of deadly tsunamis that sweep across the Indian Ocean. Around 230,000 people are killed, with Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand among the worst-hit countries.
Iran: December 26, 2003, A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck the historic city of Bam, 1,000km southeast of Tehran. More than 30,000 were killed.
Algeria: May 21, 2003, A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Algiers and nearby towns to the east, killing 2,251 and injuring 10,243.
India: January 26, 2001, An earthquake of magnitude 7.7 struck the western state of Gujarat killing at least 19,700 people and causing damage in neighboring Pakistan. The quake affected 15.9 million people in 7,904 villages.
There were at least five other major quakes measuring around or above 7.0 that I omitted for purposes of space. That gives a number of around 20 major quakes since 2000. When you add up the death toll, the numbers are pretty staggering!
Notice the other part of the prophecy though. The shaking of the nations results in a coming to the “Desire of All Nations.” What does that mean? Some believe the Desire of All Nations is a reference to the Messiah, who we know to be Jesus Christ.
This is exactly what we have been seeing. As the nations are being shaken, people are turning to Christ by the droves. This was the case in Asia after the massive tsunami at the end of 2004. This has certainly been the case in Haiti, and I believe this will be the case in Japan as well. Not to mention the numbers of men and women in the Muslim world coming to Christ as they see their nations shaken by terrorism and by social and political unrest.
We ourselves should not necessarily expect things to get better socially, politically, economically, or even morally. Perhaps they will, but even if they don’t, we shouldn’t be dismayed because God does His greatest work in times of distress.
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29).