When is the End?

157,000 plus people died in the Christmas quake of 2004. That means their world ended. Before we looked at the end of THE world--Earth in Luke 21, think for a moment about the end of YOUR world—you. What usually kills people? Have you thought about that? What are your probabilities of dying of a quake?

Globally, violence is a leading killer. It accounts for 14 percent of all deaths among males and 7 percent among females, according to a 2003 analysis by the World Heath Organization. On an average day, 1,424 people are murdered every day. Somebody commits suicide every 40 seconds. But for us who are U.S. residents, this morning it is probably heart disease that will end your world. According to all the government agencies that tabulate death and diseases, this is our most likely cause of physical death according the averages of the American population.

The devastation of the earthquake and tsunami in 2004—have given us a tiny insight into what the world will be like at the end of the age.

The world ended for at least one hundred and fifty thousand people that Sunday after Christmas. We should think about that event before it gets crowded out of our minds by the next event.

Three minutes. That is how long the ground shook, the earth quaked--and then the sea began to roar. We know now that a minimum of 150,000 immortal souls perished because of the waves and quakes. The energy unleashed was staggering. The reminder is priceless.

Jesus warned us that life is fragile, death is inevitable—but only He is the answer.

The Christmas Quake of 2004 will go down in history as another gracious reminder from the Lord of what we are really here on earth to do—seek God! Look again with me to the “gentile version” of Christ's sermon on the End of the World. Matthew and Mark record these words, and John writes a 22 chapter expansion on this sermon called the Revelation of Jesus Christ. But Luke 21 records an amazing version of Christ's words that are just right for us to reflect upon at the start this New Year.

It Was Not the Largest Quake on Record

First of all, before we read Christ's words, remember that this quake was not the biggest, it was number four. But it is the most deadly of modern history. The quakes of 1957, 1960, and 1964 were larger.

It was not the Deadliest Quakes on Record. That largest and deadliest quake is in Revelation 16:20 at the end of the world.

Revelation 16:17-20 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!” 18 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 . 19 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. 20 Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found .

Listen to Newsweek Magazine: “ What was the most awesome about this quake? Its biblical nature. Its biblical size. And that it spanned two continents. A large portion of the earth’s crust—1,000 km (620 miles) in length by 100 km (62 miles) in width running from Western Sumatra to Myanmarmoved.” 

Date

Location

Deaths

Magnitude

January 23, 1556

China , Shansi

830,000

Unknown

October 11, 1737

India , Calcutta*

300,000

Unknown

July 27, 1976

China , Tangshan

255,000**

8.0

August 9, 1138

Syria , Aleppo

230,000

Unknown

May 22, 1927

China , near Xining

200,000

8.3

December 22, 856

Iran , Damghan

200,000

Unknown

December 16, 1920

China , Gansu

200,000

8.6

The Waves Roared

What caught my attention as I watched the news over and over again replaying that tsunami was what one survivor reported. He said that they were drawn to the beach as the waters receded back so far that boulders the size of houses could be seen where the ocean had once stood. Then he heard it, like a roaring freight train—a wall of mud and water crashing towards him. His heart nearly stopped as he ran for his life and made it to a building where he climbed high enough to survive the waves of death.

Now, with that testimony of the waves roaring, follow along with me as we read Christ's sobering words about the end of the world, and then hear His commands to us who await His Coming! Luke 21:7-36.

What Is Christ's Command?

Pray!

This passage we just read was Christ's reply to His disciples’ questions about the future.   This chapter is also called “The Olivet Discourse,” the greatest prophetic sermon Jesus ever preached. Since Luke wrote with the Gentile reader in mind, he didn’t record some of the strong Jewish parts of the sermon.

What he records are the essential truths that we must consider and apply.

Remember that Israel and the Church are two separate and distinct parts of God’s plan—don’t confuse them.

  • Remember Luke 21 was written to explain to the Jews and the Nation of Israel what God has planned for them. Notice as I read that the message is to people living in Jerusalem, Judea and about Israel.
  • Jesus is not talking about the future of His Church but the destiny of His chosen people of Promise. Jesus wouldn’t be giving signs for His Coming for His Bride, for that can occur at any time and no signs need precede it (Jewish Wedding customs in Matthew 25, as well as 1 Corinthians 15:51–58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18).
  • Remember that God's Word says, “For the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22); but we, Christ's Church, have been instructed that we are not to look for any signs but for our Savior (Phil. 3:20–21). Luke 21 is an inside look at a stage of God’s program called “the Tribulation”. This period is when God pours out His wrath on the nations of the world.
  • Most prophetic scholars believe that the Tribulation begins after Christ comes in the air and takes His church to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:11). The Tribulation ends at Christ's Return in glory to the earth, when He crushes His foes and establishes His kingdom (Rev. 19:1–20:6).

What dangers does Jesus warn us of in Luke 21:8–19? Read tomorrow’s eNews and find out the dangers of the coming age.

Would you like to own all 31 messages in this series plus a 275 page study guide? Order your copy of the "What's Next for Planet Earth?" MP3 CD today!

 

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