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The End of the World?

by David Yeagley · March 14, 2011 · 62 Comments ·

It is an age of earthquakes. Upon us now is a terribly troubled time.

The recent Japanese earthquake is particulary alarming, not only because of its size and effects, but because Japan is a very sophisticated country. This speaks to the vulnerability of other advanced, industrial nations. It wasn’t like the tsunami that struck Sumatra (Indonesia) in 2004 and killed more than 300,000 people. Those third world southeast Asian environs are characterized by massive populations concentrated in areas of poverty, inadequate infrastructure, careless governments, and general ignorance and abuse. Such a catastrophe, there, is not so terrifying to the West as is this current disaster in Japan.


Tide of 1,000 bodies overwhelms Japan. By JAY ALABASTER and TODD PITMAN, Associated Press TAKAJO, Japan – A tide of bodies washed up along Japan’s coastline Monday, overwhelming crematoriums, exhausting supplies of body bags and adding to the spiraling humanitarian, economic and nuclear crisis after the massive earthquake and tsunami.

It seems devastation is closing in on the world like a long awaited enemy. Human government is powerless before Nature. This is a most unsettling prospect. It is proper to say, nonetheless, that the strength and scope of disaster, both human and natural, are increasing–in their impact and in their frequency. An age of anxiety is upon us, even a time of terror.

In ancient Hebrew cosmology, of course, the concept of sudden creation is accompanied by the counterpart of sudden destruction. The cataclysmic end of the world seems to have been in the vision of the prophets since the world’s beginning. Just consider these few verses:

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
For he spake and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. Psalm 33: 6, 9.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the hight; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with a fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. II Peter 3: 10.

It is a recurring theme throughout the Bible, Old and New Testament. There is no denying this apsect of scripture, whether one is disposed to interpret it literally, metaphorically, or otherwise.

Hollywood has certainly taken full advantage of the entertainment value of global terror, human or natural. mass disaster is a box office winner almost everytime. Movies like Independence Day (1996), Volcano (1997), the current blox office killer Battle Los Angeles 2011, and The Day After Tomorrow (2004) bring home the remarkable tragedy of cataclysmic ending to all we know.

Religion is certainly a benefactor of disaster as well. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between religion and entertainment. End of the world notions have always been the most profound of religious sentiments. Even the children’s move The Dark Crystal (1982) was able to combine religion and entertainment in a most convincing albeit mystical manoeuver. In the 19th century, literature had its take on the subject, but, unlike other writers, Edgar Allan Poe actually believed it. He took the religious basis of cataclysm completely seriously. My research as a Harvard graduate student resulted in a text, The End of the World in Poe (2009), (which, for the moment, is open to some online reading).

Notice, today, however, that these great disasters are occurring at centers of mass, concentrated population. This is perhaps the most compelling factor to consider. Has anyone heard of 8.9 earthquakes in the Gobi Desert of western China? No. Instead there was an 7.1 earthquake in Quinghai Province (2010) killing hundreds, injuring thousands. And the Haitian quake (2010) which killed over 300,000, leaving millions homeless and in dire want.

Disaster seems aimed at mass populations. Something about masses of humanity tempts nature to destory. What is the proper way to describe these circumstances?

Again, the ancient Hebrew account is pertinent. Mass concentration of humanity seems improprietous. The metropolis has a bad name, from the beginning. The command given to humanity at creation was simple enough: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” Genesis 1:28. But, after the Flood, man again manifest he aversion to his Creator, and concentrate his efforts in a metropolis called the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). The Lord intervened, and broke up the rebellion, scattering man “upon the face of all the earth.”

In Jewish orthodox lore, even today, there is the thought that concentrated iniquity draws fire, either from man or from HaShem (the Lord). These things are difficult to determine or to evaluate, but, the sentiment is alive today. What is the cause of disaster? Dare we ask Job? Or Jesus? Can it in any way be diverted? Is there anything man can do to avoid it, or protect himself from it?

We can look to one intense verse of scripture, Psalm 91: 7-10:

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at they right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
Because thou has made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
There shall no evil befall thee…

An irresistable appeal, indeed. Yet, as we consider it more carefully, we have to realize that “evil” may not mean exemption from pain or disaster, but from simply from the reward of the wicked.

These things are deeply troubling, but it is more than appropriate to ponder them. Not only do we have incredible media coverage today, but, disaster is indeed more frequent, and larger, and more and more lives are lost. The most basic reaction should be one of grave concern.

The Lord through Moses warned the Israelites as they came to inherit the land of Cana’an. They were not to behave like the heathen before them, “that the land spue you not out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.” Leviticus 18:28. No, we cannot judge our fellowman. But, we are given a divine “heads up.” I think we should really take a second look at what’s happening in our world.

Posted by David Yeagley · March 14, 2011 · 10:24 am CT · ·

Tags: Bad Eagle Journal · Politics · Religion




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62 responses so far ↓

  • 1 BlackBart // Mar 14, 2011 at 10:51 am   

    I knew it would happen.

    As soon as the news reports began pouring in, I wondered how long before the religionists would conjur the image of a wrathful God disturbed at bad human behavior.

    The fact that Old Testament writers consigned natural disasters to the wrath of God should clue us in: These natural occurances are nothing new.

    Before we begin chucking virgins into valcanos to appease the gods, we may want to consider the rational plausibility that the occurance at hand is natural.

    To assume this is an attention-getting act of God is to assume God sacrifices thousands of innocent lives (including children).

    I recall the 9/11 tragedy. Those who escaped the Twin Towers were certain God had spared them for special purpose. They never considered that they were effectively saying that God had no purpose for those who perished.

    It’s an act of nature. Nothing more. Nothing less.

  • 2 David Yeagley // Mar 14, 2011 at 11:01 am   

    That’s certainly a legitimate response, BB. But, I don’t think it is any more legitimate than the Hebraic interpretation. Thought options exist. An open mind considers all. It has always been the pride of the “thinking” man to have an “open” mind, right?

    I see no danger in considering the idea of a Creator who intervenes, according to His own designs.

    I consider that the descriptive is never causative. To describe what’s happening is not the same as accounting for why it is happening. A “natural occurrence” is descriptive, not causative, as I see it.

  • 3 BlackBart // Mar 14, 2011 at 11:09 am   

    Thanks David.

    A more effective means of communication would be for God to simply apply something akin to a heavenly intercom and announce “Get your act together!”

    I can’t help but notice the transcendent nature of God is consistent with non-existence.

    Nonetheless, I appreciate your thoughtful post.

  • 4 David Yeagley // Mar 14, 2011 at 11:40 am   

    I’m concerned that one falls into a pattern of thought that eliminates the possibility of supernatural (divine) “moral” intervention.

    I would never say, “Society corrects itself.” I would neither say that divine law is inflexible in its application, for that would eliminate mercy.

    I believe God is a person! This may strike some as astounding, but, my impression of the God described in the Bible is a person. (Allah, on the other hand, is most definitely NOT.) Maybe it’s just years of Bible study, and a blurred concept of reality. Who knows?

  • 5 David Yeagley // Mar 14, 2011 at 1:59 pm   

    I could have written about Japan quake the day it happened, but, I’ve been busy, and I held off.

    I’m concerned that defensive thoughts might become routine. As luxurious-living Americans, we indulge feelings of terror when convenient. We assess reality at our leisure.

    I think this is a liability.

    You can’t lose your head every time something awful happens, true. But, you do need to know what to think when it does. Beware wrong thoughts.

    I’m sure there was an impressive array of objective, comfort thoughts until the day Noah entered the ark. The ancient Hebrew way demands an open mind. No possibilities of thought excluded in the name of rationality or calmness.

  • 6 Pamela K. // Mar 14, 2011 at 2:03 pm   

    “The earth is utterly broken, the earth is rent asunder, the earth is shaking violently. The earth shall stagger like a drunken man and shall sway to and fro like a hammock; it’s transgressions shall lie heavily upon it , and it shall fall and not rise again.” Isaiah 24:19-20

    These words of the prophet Isaiah reveal his agonizing vision of the imminent future destruction of the earth in the last days.
    Isaiah laments that because of sin, the land and the earth have been defiled by their inhabitants. Because of the transgression against God’s laws, “the earth mourns and withers and the high ones of the people languish in the midst of the desolation as Jehovah empties, devastates, depopulates the surface of the earth…” -Johan P. Lange (A Commentary).
    Are all these chain-reaction calamities, first Chile, then, New Zealand, and now Japan, merely a coincidental act of nature? All of these nations are effected by the fault line known as the Pacific Rim of Fire. Or, are we experiencing what the prophet Isaiah witnessed in his vision of the end times? And if so, why those three relatively prosperous nations? Could it be true that governments ultimately seal the fate of their nations by the choices they make?
    Within the last year, both Chile and Japan (I’m not sure about New Zealand) publicly reaffirmed their commitment to a Palestinian State to be created side-by-side with Israel, “sharing” the capital of Jerusalem by dividing the city. For those who do not know, “Palestinian State” is a code term, which, according to the enemies of Israel, calls for the total annihilation of Israel and to “wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth”.
    By openly declaring their support for a “Palestinian State” both Chile and Japan have not only aligned themselves with the enemies of the Jewish people, they have aligned themselves with the enemies of Jehovah God. They, like the United States of America under Obama, have become members of what the Bible calls, “goat nations”. Just because America has remained virtually unscathed by any major disaster, does not mean God is going to keep withholding His judgment against us. God has done more for this nation than any other nation on the face of the earth and yet we have turned our backs to Him and grieved Him with our sins. In the Old Testament, whenever the people of Israel turned their backs on God to follow after pagan idols and cultures, what happened to them? Those same pagan cultures eventually invaded their land and carried them off into captivity.
    Of course, God did not want this to happen. This was the choice the Israelites made on their own so they had to suffer the consequences. During the State of the Union address, Obama, forsook our Judeo-Christian heritage as a nation to publicly endorse pagan Islam, with his ” Muslims are now a part of our American family” announcement, buoyed by a standing ovation from the United States Congress. We can only wonder with much trepidation what consequences will come now that our arrogant and ignorant leader has literally spit in the eye of Almighty God.

  • 7 David Yeagley // Mar 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm   

    Now, that’s interesting! I hadn’t thought of that aspect at all.

    I’m certainly inclined to agree. I know that, as of Deuteronomy 32: 7-9, it appears that the fate of nations depends on how they relate to Israel. Of course, that would include, principally, Israel’s God. The Law of God. The covenant. The spiritual goods, so to speak.

    As I’ve said before, I am not sure what role the modern “state of Israel” plays in eschatology. I’ve let this sit, undecided. Maybe I should look for a decision.

    I know that the eternal verities are just that, constant and unchanging. That aspect of God is that with which we have to do, indeed.

    Very interesting. Thank you, Pamela.

  • 8 David Yeagley // Mar 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm   

    You know, it breaks my heart to see people in tragedy. It reduces us all to such sadness! Yet, Jesus said that when he returns, “few there be” that will know Him, and be ready to meet him. “All the tribes of the earth shall mourn because of him.” They will not be happy to see him.

    These things are impossible!

  • 9 Pamela K. // Mar 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm   

    I am glad you understand what I am trying to say here. I know some people might not!
    God loves the Chilean and Japanese people.Yet, how can they expect to receive His Divine Protection if they refuse to acknowledge Him or honor His covenant with the children on Israel? Furthermore, they won’t receive any protection from the enemies of God either! Satan is a liar and a murderer and with him there is no recourse.
    The modern “State of Israel”, politically speaking, is very secular. My heart and my soul stand with the Israeli people, but especially the settlers of ancient Judea and Samaria, in wake of the recent, brutal slaying of a rabbi and his family there by Arab terrorists. Innocent people like this family are virtually surrounded by hostile Muslim forces and now their government is seriously putting forth the idea of a “Palestinian State”. It’s like they’re signing their own death certificate.

  • 10 Asaph // Mar 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm   

    The believer has a few options to consider:

    1. God is sending judgments in the earth for various reasons His sovereignty, alone, understands and has to answer for.
    2. God allows things to happen, while Satan stirs up the earth for reasons known to him (and God) to set up the earth for final deceptions and control.
    3. The earth, no longer under the natural realm of divine creation, peace, and harmony, ‘burps’ every now and then.

    Christ said earthquakes would come, with the obvious inference of these happening in ways to arrest the attention of the human race, but didn’t say how or why, per se; just that they would come in divers places.

    Couple the current rate of escalating earthquakes on the planet with other things that Christ mentioned, and His disciples wrote of, and the prophets, and you have a definite picture that the end of the world is approaching.

    Christ came once, promised to come again, gave signs leading up to that event, and the wise will pay attention: “watch and pray” that the day take us not unaware.

    Frankly, the day cannot come soon enough for me. The end brings a beginning. So for me and my house I say, Call it a day, Lord, and close up shop. It’s time to go home.

    The sights, the sounds, the fragrances, the senses invigorated in ways we cannot yet understand when eternity bursts upon us … Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

  • 11 BlackBart // Mar 14, 2011 at 6:05 pm   

    PK,

    You’re just being silly.

    Consider:

    • If there were a God and he were to zap a nation for officially opposing Israel, he would zap Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Iran; not New Zealand, Japan and Chile.

    • Don’t you find it coincidental that God only selects nations that sit on fault lines to zap with earth quakes?

    • I’m wondering: What is Haiti’s official position on the Israel/Palestinian question? Or did God zap them for voodoo?

    Asaph,

    You reference Matthew 24:3-8.

    “. . . the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

    “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

    There has never been a point in human history when those “signs” have not been prevalent.

  • 12 Pamela K. // Mar 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm   

    Black Bart,

    I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I believe there is a God and I believe His judgment is indeed coming against the nations of the earth. In other words, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
    As I mentioned in the post above, God loves the Japanese people. However, because they do not recognize Him as their God, or honor Him in his eternal covenant with Israel, how can they expect the intervention of His divine protection when disaster strikes? Fair is fair. Unlike the other creatures with whom we share this earth, God gave man the ability to make a choice. And while I am sure there are Christians in Japan, the majority of the population there is Shinto or Buddhist. Why didn’t Buddha intervene to save Japan from this epic catastrophe?
    Furthermore, if you have ever read the Book of Job, in the beginning chapter, the angels came before the throne of God and Satan was with them. And God said to him, “Where have you come from, and why are you here?” And Satan answered, “I have come from wandering to and fro through the earth and from walking up and down on it.” This is a clear reference to the influence, as well as the misery and suffering that Satan and his fallen angels, who were cast from heaven along with him, inflict on men and nations here on earth. You mentioned Haiti. During the slave rebellion there in the 1790′s, the leader of the revolt made a pact with the devil. He vowed to worship Satan if he would release Haiti from the bondage of slavery.
    That nation was liberated from the bondage of human slavery, however, as a nation, they have been cursed by extreme poverty, sorcery, violent crime,and one corrupt government regime after another ever since that time.

  • 13 calliegal235 // Mar 14, 2011 at 7:19 pm   

    Just an observation: I have not heard, and do not expect to hear, or any looting nor stealing by the Japanese people. I lived in Misawa for 3 and a half years. When we lived off base, we never locked our door; only when we moved onto the base.
    They are a very polite people, and they do not like to use the word, “No.” A friend from Hiroshima once explained what would happen if I went shopping for blue napkins and entered a store which did not have them. A helper in the shop, will take me to where all the napkins are, and she may point out all the colors they have. Then I might say, “So, you do not have any blue napkins?” To which she will then, smilingly reply, “Yes.” And that is really how they are!
    BTW, my sister-in-law is from Osaka. Her mother and two sisters, and their families live in Japan. She has one sister living just north of Tokyo.
    My information several years ago, was that Japan has a very small population of Christians, and most of those are Roman Catholic. I don’t know if it has changed, but it was the case only a few years ago, that if a person received Christ, became a Christian, and particularly if they were baptized, then the person could expect his family to disown him. This, in spite of how polite they are.

  • 14 calliegal235 // Mar 14, 2011 at 7:27 pm   

    Do you know what you must have to be a Japanese Citizen? You must have a Japanese Father! I had a friend whose father was Korean, her mother was Japanese, and she was born in Japan. She can NEVER be a Japanese Citizen!
    Here In America, we are ready to hand over citizenship to criminal invaders who would just as soon kidnap us or cut off our heads.

  • 15 calliegal235 // Mar 14, 2011 at 7:31 pm   

    The citizenship laws may have changed, but the above was what I was told.

  • 16 Asaph // Mar 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm   

    “Prevalent”? For all the world to see? I think not.

    I used to be an atheist, Bart. I know all the objections. Spiritual eyesight makes all the difference. Jesus also said you MUST be born again. But the fact is, when the following can be known by all, it’s time for all to take notice:

    “With all of this in mind, it is fascinating to take note of some astounding statistics that were brought to my attention last year by my friend, Pastor Cecil Boswell, from Nashville, Tenn. Pastor Boswell has spent a lot of time reviewing and calculating statistics from the U.S. Geological Survey. By analyzing the records of ancient earthquakes as well as every earthquake in modern times that registered a 7.0 or higher on the Richter scale, the picture that emerges is portentous indeed.

    * From 1 A.D. to 1800 there were approximately 28 major earthquakes recorded in history. This results in an average of one major earthquake approximately every 60 years.

    * From 1801-1900 there were approximately 31 earthquakes 7.0 or higher. This results in one major earthquake approximately every 3.2 years.

    * From 1901 to 2000 there were 222 major earthquakes 7.0 or higher. This results in an average of one major earthquake every 6 months.

    * From 2000 to 2003 there were approximately 59 earthquakes of 7.0 or higher. This results in approximately one major earthquake every 24 days.

    This brings us to recent times. One of the most notable major earthquake was in Bam, Iran, on Dec. 26, 2003. Exactly one year later, Dec. 26, 2004, Sumatra, Indonesia, experienced another massive earthquake and a subsequent devastating tsunami. Between these two earthquakes, more than 330,000 lives were lost.

    * From 2004 to 2007, there were 56 major earthquakes 7.0 or higher. This results in an average of one major earthquake every 25 days.

    * In 2008, there were 12 major earthquakes 7.0 or higher. This results in an average of one major earthquake every 30 days.

    * In 2009, there were 17 major earthquakes 7.0 or higher. This results in an average of one major earthquake every 20 days.

    * In 2010, there were 22 major earthquakes 7.0 or higher. This results in an average of one major earthquake every 15 days.

    I have no question that the scoffers will scoff at this information, but the numbers don’t lie.”

    Read more: Japan today, Jerusalem tomorrow http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=274761#ixzz1GcuPx9sq

  • 17 calliegal235 // Mar 14, 2011 at 7:48 pm   

    Bart, do I understand correctly, that you do not believe there is a God, but if there was, you know whom he would zap and whom he would not zap?
    If I understand that correctly, that is certainly an interesting combination of thoughts….

  • 18 David Yeagley // Mar 14, 2011 at 8:07 pm   

    CalGal, good to see you! Been a while.

    I wrote a Japanese friend of mine, whom I went to school with. I’m really heart-broken by all this. It is perfectly awful. The live videos I have seen are astounding.

    I didn’t get the impression BB was an atheist, though. My answer for any quandries is simply that God is a person. He does what sees fit. That’s all. He has not exercised absolute control here. There is something called freedom, and something else called long-suffering. I thank Him for both, indeed.

    I think, generally speaking, things are growing worse. Rapidly. Asaph is right about that.

    Of course, such times have come and gone in cycles.

    Personally, I’m quite alarmed right now.

  • 19 BlackBart // Mar 14, 2011 at 8:18 pm   

    calliegal23,

    The God as described by PK seems a bit inconsistent in his zappings.

    Asaph,

    Gov’t stats disagree with you.

    PK,

    “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”

    True. I walk by sight, not by faith.

  • 20 BlackBart // Mar 14, 2011 at 8:18 pm   

    btw . . .

    thanks to all for the thoughtful responses.

  • 21 Asaph // Mar 14, 2011 at 8:45 pm   

    Would you mind posting those stats, Bart, especially seeing as I have seen these lists for 20 years now and they all agree with the above.

  • 22 David Yeagley // Mar 14, 2011 at 8:54 pm   

    Okay, if Jesus said earthquakes will happen at the end of earth’s history, that doesn’t mean that every time there is an earthquake, the end is near, so to speak. It means that, when He returns, there will be earthquakes everywhere.

    It means only that the world will not be a tranquil place. The world will not be free of disaster. The world will not be at peace. That’s all it means.

  • 23 Pamela K. // Mar 14, 2011 at 9:23 pm   

    The Lord said, “For nation shall rise against nation,
    and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famine and earthquakes in place after place.” Matthew 24:7

    We, all of us, have seen these things come to pass in our lifetime as did our parents and grandparents before us. Jesus called all of these events “the birth pangs”. God does not operate on our time, and the travail of labor continues to be very long and seemingly endless, but the end will eventually come.
    Further on in the chapter, the Lord speaks of “the appalling sacrilege, the abomination that astonishes and makes desolate, spoken by the prophet Daniel, standing in the Holy Place.” Matthew 24:15
    What is the “Holy Place”? The city of Jerusalem.
    What is the “abomination” that will astonish and make desolate the city of Jerusalem? An earthquake? A nuclear missile attack? Or, the division of the city by the secular Israeli government in the efforts to make peace with their enemies? You might disagree with me, but Jerusalem is the center of the universe and although the government of Israel is secular, all peace that flows from Jerusalem effects the entire world.
    “Sha-alu Shalom Yirushalayim!” ( “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”) Psalm 122:6

  • 24 Georgia // Mar 14, 2011 at 11:48 pm   

    1 Thessalonians 5

    1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.

    2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.

    3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.

    4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;

    5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;
    6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.

    7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.

    8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.

    9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.

    11Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

  • 25 BlackBart // Mar 15, 2011 at 1:34 am   

    David’s comment #22 is correct.

  • 26 BlackBart // Mar 15, 2011 at 1:49 am   

    Asaph,

    USGS site notes that, “According to long-term records (since about 1900), we expect about 17 major earthquakes (7.0 – 7.9) and one great earthquake (8.0 or above) in any given year.”

    Increase in Earthquakes

    USGS post annual numbers. You can “spin” these numbers to make them appear to be increasing or decreasing.

    Total earthquakes in past 10 years (Located by the US Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center):

    2000 22,256
    2001 23,534
    2002 27,454
    2003 31,419
    2004 31,194
    2005 30,478
    2006 29,568
    2007 29,685
    2008 3,618*
    2009 4,264*
    2010 8,444*

    Earthquake Archives

  • 27 BlackBart // Mar 15, 2011 at 2:01 am   

    Geogia,

    Any objective reader unphased by confirmation bias will recognize that the letters to the Thessalonians were intended for original readers (them), not future readers (us).

    “. . . we which are alive and remain . . . ” written from the writer’s perspective meant exactly what it says. (I Thess 4:15 & I Thess 4:17)

    First century Christians interpreted natural and human events to be indications of the rapture. The writer viewed his generation as the terminal generation.

  • 28 BlackBart // Mar 15, 2011 at 2:10 am   

    Please note that the concept of end-times as popularized by Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye and Seventh-Day Adventists orginated with a 19th-century hyper-dispensationalist, John Nelson Darby.

    When we hear evangelicals preaching prophecy, we are hearing echoes of Darby’s dispensational perspective.

    Note some evangelicals such as the Church of God, Anderson, reject the Darby-LaHaye view of end times. Read the lyrics to Bill Gaither’s “The King Is Coming” to understand the Church of God perspective which rejects the popular notion of a rapture, tribulation period, etc. Note their emphasis is on a Kingdom being built by Christians and, when complete, the King (Jesus) comes.

    Same Bible. Different perspective.

  • 29 Pamela K. // Mar 15, 2011 at 6:51 am   

    End Times Prophecy

    “First Discover The Spine”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yusHA9HktzY

  • 30 Asaph // Mar 15, 2011 at 7:37 am   

    Whoah. Darby had ZERO to do with the eschatology of many denominations, SDAs included.

    Bart, looking at your stats posted, I don’t need to “spin” anything. They show a dramatic increase.

    And if David is correct in #22, than you apparently did not catch what David stated.

    Earthquakes are a sign, a “quake-up” call as a friend of mine puts it. Along with other signs, like famine and disease, profoundly active in staggering proportions in the 20th century on all continents, along with the prophecies of other biblical authors and the mix is plain. Christ is returning soon. How soon? We can only know the time is near, even at the doors.

    2Pe 3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
    2Pe 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
    2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days SCOFFERS, walking after their own lusts,
    2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
    2Pe 3:5 For this they WILLINGLY are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
    2Pe 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
    2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

  • 31 Asaph // Mar 15, 2011 at 7:47 am   

    Bart, in cross checking your web site link, with the above post, #16, I see just minor discrepancies of a few earthquakes per time period stated. Certainly nothing major and nothing to change the overall impression of what is obviously happening on earth. Nor what is coming.

  • 32 Asaph // Mar 15, 2011 at 7:52 am   

    Although, I do agree with Bart that Darby, then his disciple Scofield, along with modern writers Lindsey and LaHaye and Co., are responsible for promoting the secret ‘raptura’ theory originally laid out, in principle, by the Jesuit priest Fracisco Ribera in the 16th century. His theories of “futurism” have laid the foundation for most of what evangelicals believe today, tragically enough.

  • 33 Asaph // Mar 15, 2011 at 8:01 am   

    BTW, Ribera, along with the Jesuit Lucius Alcazar, concocted these theories to stop the Reformation from pointing the finger squarely at the papacy as being the antichristos of Bible prophecy; a Protestant position simply proved and believed by many today, myself included. It was called the “counter Reformation” and lost steam until the Oxford apostasy in England, which greatly influenced Darby and went on from there. Along with the “visions” of Margaret McDonald in 1830, and the prophecy conferences which promoted them, which Darby attended, the groundwork was laid for the complete apostasy of the Protestant churches from the teachings of their forefathers on the subjects of antichrist and last day events.

  • 34 zephyr // Mar 15, 2011 at 8:09 am   

    Prophecies can be fulfilled in more than one way. Personally, I think part of the fulfillment of last days prophecies regarding natural disasters is fulfilled simply by the fact that now the entire world knows when some horrific disaster occurs.

    Even as recently as two or three centuries ago, most people in North America would never hear about a tsunami in Japan. Though natural disasters were occuring, the majority of the world population simply didn’t know about them. Now we hear of them within seconds–and it certainly seems more prolific, even if the actual numbers have not increased dramatically.

  • 35 Asaph // Mar 15, 2011 at 8:30 am   

    Oh, and Bart, the stats for 2011 are already ahead of the totals of 7-7.9 quakes for 8 of the last 11 years,world-wide. I see no logical reason to doubt that this year will top last year (21) and all others.

  • 36 Asaph // Mar 15, 2011 at 8:32 am   

    But zephyr makes a good point.

  • 37 Asaph // Mar 15, 2011 at 8:43 am   

    Bart, the fact that Paul spoke as one expecting the return of Christ in his day, a belief greatly changed by the time he wrote 2 Thes., is no reason to reject the principles he writes about how the event WOULD transpire, ultimately.

  • 38 David Yeagley // Mar 15, 2011 at 9:11 am   

    BB, I believe it was Jesus who made the “end of the world” a popular concept. He, of course, was building on the Hebrew prophets before him.

    In a sense, the Hebrews made it popular, from the beginning, as I said in the blog. It is a way of thinking. A Hebrew way of thinking. Of course, other cultures have long picked up on it. Wherever you find Flood stories, you in all likelihood find apolcalyptic stories accompanying them.

    I don’t know what advantage you find in poo-pooing the idea, other than just a prick in an argument. If you’re trying to warn people against hysteria, that’s one thing; but, if you’re trying to eliminate apolcalyptic thinking, good luck.

    Here’s a couple of works that might interest you:

    Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970); Michael Barkun, Disaster and the Millennium (New Haven: Yale University Press), 1974.

    The apolcalyptic dispositions are innate. It is part of the human mind. I think management is the key here. Whether or not you believe there will ever be any kind of apolcalypse, you cannot ignore or deny the natural dispositions of the human mind. Therefore, I cede to you only the matter of management. I can’t take your poo-poo position seriously, if by it you meant to say there is no apolcalypse.

  • 39 BlackBart // Mar 15, 2011 at 10:23 am   

    David,

    I agree that the human mind seems hard wired for apolcalyphal thinking; or to be religious in general.

    We tend to see what we believe rather than believe what we see.

    Asaph,

    The passage from II Peter is circulus in probando (circular reasoning).

    I predict the earth will be over-run by a race of Bigfoots (or is it Bigfeet?).

    Watch for these signs:

    1. Earthquakes in diverse places.
    2. Wars and rumors of wars
    3. Airliner crashes
    4. Scoffers will say it ain’t gonna happen.

  • 40 BlackBart // Mar 15, 2011 at 10:30 am   

    Some time ago a Christian friend used the “increasing frequency of earthquakes” argument.

    I asked him to show me the passage in the Bible that explicitly stated that there would be an increase in earthquake frequency as an indicator of the last days.

    I haven’t heard from him since.

  • 41 Asaph // Mar 15, 2011 at 10:53 am   

    http://quakes.globalincidentmap.com/

    A really cool site. Check it out.

    Now Bart, I am not the first, nor the last of Christians who see earthquakes as a sign of the times. The great Lisbon earthquake had it’s place in the minds of believers, and that was in 1755. Of course, it was also a time of other portentous signs, as well. The “time of the end” is different than the “end of time.” The time of the end has been taking place for quite some time now.

    Anyway, Bart, you can believe what you want to. Your choice.

    The ‘frequency’ of earthquakes is just a logical way for God to get the attention of earth’s populace. Even newscasters are asking their guests if they have ever seen a time with such commotion and chaos on the whole earth. The answer has been No. You might say it is hysteria. I don’t see anyone jumping out of windows yet. Others say it is something to watch, and the frequency adds an obvious note of tension to Christ’s words.

    If you want to say the apostle Peter used circular reasoning, go right ahead. I’ll take Peter at his word and watch the scoffing continue regarding the creation, the flood, and the return of Christ.

  • 42 David Yeagley // Mar 15, 2011 at 11:26 am   

    BB, the “increasing frequency” argument is not one I’ve made.

    I can see it as perhaps an implication. But, as I said in #22, the only thing that is said is that when the world ends, it would be a time of earthquakes and various troubles. It would not be a peaceful time.

  • 43 Michael N // Mar 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm   

    Conspiracy Theory of end time world government.

  • 44 Edwin M. Wright // Mar 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm   

    Can Japan Rise Again?

    March 14, 2011

    Can Japan Rise Again? Or Will Demographics Doom Her And The West As Well?

  • 45 BlackBart // Mar 15, 2011 at 12:16 pm   

    Asaph,

    This week I watched the commotion and chaos via Internet video; some astounding. 50 years ago commotion and chaos was tempered by the fact that I had to wait until the evening newspaper showed up with grainy b/w photos. Or, worse yet, I had to wait until the Cronkites filtered through what the leftists at CBS wanted us to hear and see. Again, b/w.

    It’s an illusion.

    The sun only seems brighter because it is closer than the other stars.

  • 46 BlackBart // Mar 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm   

    David,

    I noticed you avoided the common “frequency” goof.

    Your take posted at #22 seems to be accurate. Jesus was saying, “When the end comes, here’s what will happen.”

    What Jesus didn’t know (or whoever penned his words) was that there are thousands of earthquakes every day, without which life would not be sustainable. Apologists make much ado about such notations as “circumference of the earth” when arguing for the veracity of the Scriptures, but wholly ignore glaring errors when the writers presumed earthquakes were extraordinarily rare.

    Thanks for allowing me to use your blog as a forum for debate. It’s unusual to encounter so many bright evangelicals at one location.

  • 47 Siryako Akda // Mar 15, 2011 at 2:00 pm   

    Dr. Yeagley, can you give your readers some info about Indian/Comanche views about the Apocalypse. I’ve read books and watched videos on the Hopi Apocalypse. What are your thoughts on that?

  • 48 David Yeagley // Mar 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm   

    As far as I know, Comanche people never held any cosmology at all. It was a naked, beautiful people, with no “religion.” No group think, no ceremonial gathering. No system. All individualism, even down to “medicine” power. Not inherited, not given, bought, or otherwise transferred. Just individual evolution.

    Comanche, however, were unique in this. Sometimes, wild is pure. Naked is royal. (I speak psychologically.)

    To tell you the truth, I don’t even know of any Comanche lore that accounts for tornadoes! I know Comanche seemed to have fear only one thing: lightning.

    Other tribes had rather elaborate belief systems. Also, today, many tribes have accommodated Biblical idea, through the Christian missionary influence. In the late 1880′s, a Paiute Indian named Wovoka had visions of an apolcalypse, but it was Indian style. (I think it was the result of Mormon influence). He saw Indians restored. Indians needed to dance, and dance, and never stop, and all the dead would rise again, the white man would be gone, and all things would return to the way they were before, before the white man ever came. This dance became known as the “Ghost Dance.” Comanches never did it. Well, one group tried it, once. The Penateka Comanche.

    Comanche’s just didn’t go in for “religion” back in those old days. Today, there are a number of Christian demoninations well established. Many Comanches have some form of Christian belief in the apocalypse.

  • 49 Asaph // Mar 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm   

    Bart, trying to be logical here. Most quakes, regardless of how many in a given year down through time since the flood, are too deep to be felt, correct? Or just not strong enough to be felt. Or, given population density, not noticed by humans.

    But to say they are so common, and then try to take Christ’s words as having any real meaning at all as a sign of His return is rather ludicrous. If it’s so common everyone is tuned out to them they could not be a sign of the nearness of His return. Your reasoning makes no sense at all.

    The obvious intent of Christ’s words is that famine, disease, earthquakes, wars, false Christs, etc., would be of such a volume and intensity as to rattle the human race and get them to realize things are NOT normal. A liberal, moderate, or conservative means nothing to realizing the planet is getting whacked out. Whether someone wants no government, some government, or big government has zero to do with the growing intensity of natural disasters in our world.

  • 50 Asaph // Mar 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm   

    Unless, of course, someone wants to blame everything on “global warming” “climate change.”

  • 51 David Yeagley // Mar 15, 2011 at 4:38 pm   

    Ha!

  • 52 BlackBart // Mar 15, 2011 at 6:41 pm   

    Asaph,

    On the other hand I’ve heard Christian apologists argue from the opposite position: The frequency of earthquakes, being necessary for life to exist, is part of God design.

    Dr. David Rogstad, an evangelical scientist, explains the essentials of earthquakes and life:
    http://www.reasons.org/another-benefit-life-earthquakes

    I suppose some young-earth creationists, not aware of the connection between earthquakes and life essentials, would make the error of supposing our planet is being “whacked out.”

    Old earth creationists would spin it the opposite direction, noting that, compared to the planet’s 4.5 million year geological history, our current age is quite tame. That, they suppose, is God’s design; quieting things down allowing for human occupation.

    Spin it however you want, but the earth is no more volatile now than it was during the life of Jesus.

    You are seeing what you believe, not believing what you see.

  • 53 BlackBart // Mar 15, 2011 at 6:49 pm   

    David and Siryako,

    I once read that the Comanche had two beliefs common with Christianity: A belief in an ideal afterlife and a great deluge narrative.

    I did not know the Comanche did not participate in the ghost dance. Interesting!!!

  • 54 Pamela K. // Mar 15, 2011 at 8:23 pm   

    The Comanches might not have had a religion, but they were very attuned to the natural world surrounding them.
    Herman Lehman, the son of German settlers in Texas who was captured by the Comanche and lived with them for many years before being returned to white society, told how the Comanche Indians could forecast the weather by examining the webs of spiders,
    According to the book, “The Mystic Warriors Of The Plains” By Thomas E. Mails, the Comanches knew the weather would be dry if the spider’s web was thin, long, and high. However, just before rain would fall, the web was low, short, and thick. Also, a croaking frog proclaimed a tiny marsh or hidden spring, and at once called for more caution because someone else might already be there. A distant column of dust might reveal an advancing enemy party. Even the black horned beetle, or tumblebug was attentively watched by the Comanche because the two horns on the top of the insect’s head were movable in all directions, yet were invariably pointed and held toward a herd of buffalo, the beetle being attracted in that direction by the noise made by the stamping of the bison’s hooves, which were too distant for human ears to discern.

  • 55 David Yeagley // Mar 15, 2011 at 9:16 pm   

    It is a challenge to say anything about Comanches and be completely accurate. It was a people of many tiny groups, with no central, unifying polity. Autonomous, powerful, independent.

    Lehman says he lived nine years among Indians. Well, if it was Comanche, that would be one group of Comanche. He observed things in that group. Different groups picked up different things from the people (other tribes or white men) they ran into here and there.

    Of course, the dates he gives are curious, 1870-1879. The very last of the free Comanches turned themselves in to Fort Sill in 1875. This was Quanah Parkers group, last hanging out in Palo Duro Canyon. Unless Lehman was with them, I don’t know what group could have held him captive.

    I know that captivity stories were the hottest thing going in the drug stores paper stands. I have a list of all Yale’s holdings.

    Lehman’s is a resource often cited by scholars. You see, Comanches didn’t write anything. A few white people wrote things down about them. These sources have, for the most part, been carefully evaluated.

    I have to say, the Germans were among the first of the non-Spanish sources. Early on they were making their typically careful observations.

  • 56 David Yeagley // Mar 15, 2011 at 9:21 pm   

    BB, there was no uniform concept of afterlife among the free Comanche. Fantasies developed only from exposure to white religion.
    There were plenty of strange stories, however, as told to white writers by the few Comanche willing to talk–about anything to any white person. Comanche had profound disdain for the white man, though a certain fascination with those Germans and their blonde hair and blue eyes.

    Flood stories? Creation stories? (the two usually come as a pair in mythology). Not a staple in Comanche lore.

    Comanche dispensed with fantasy, religion, and things of that nature. It was superfluous.

    I speak of the old days. The free days. Sure, all sorts of ideas came in, in time. But, I take my cues from intuition, from the free days. From the pure days. I think Comanche represented the most advanced natural state man has ever experienced!

    Ethnic chauvinist I am!

  • 57 David Yeagley // Mar 15, 2011 at 9:22 pm   

    Ishatai, of the Quahada Comanche, has an interesting name. Eschiti, pertaining to coyote poop. You can tell what’s going on by checking on what the a top plains preditor’s been eating.

  • 58 Pamela K. // Mar 15, 2011 at 10:04 pm   

    A better account of Herman Lehman’s story is in the book, “The Captured” By Scott Zesch. Like many who were taken captive, Lehman’s “Nine Years Among The Indians” was exaggerated and sensationalized by the publishers for eastern reading audiences. Zesch’s book is about his own quest to find out what happened to his long lost relative, Adolph Korn, another German boy living in Castell, Texas who was taken by the Comanches and later, after being returned to white society, lived as a recluse.

  • 59 Asaph // Mar 16, 2011 at 7:38 am   

    Bart, the article, like most articles by those who are “old earth” proponents and/or Darwinian/ micro- evolutionists, contains, in the author’s quote the dreaded word “Probably.” Along with “maybe” “perhaps” “possibly” “more than likely” “could have” “conceivably” and “if” such dogmatists can’t ever be certain of anything.

    While the article mentions quakes as beneficial, it says nothing of frequency. Unlike David, I take Christ Christs words to contain that element to be a sign of the time of sorrows on earth and His soon return. The numbers are telling us the earth is nearing its end.

  • 60 Asaph // Mar 16, 2011 at 7:43 am   

    We all have a choice, Bart. Either God is God or scientists at odds with Scripture are god. Time will soon tell who is making the right choice for which deity they will bow before and worship.

    I am thankful for those men and women who are finding harmony between Scripture and all branches of science as they look inward and outward.

  • 61 Asaph // Mar 18, 2011 at 8:35 pm   

    Again, if Christ mentioned earthquakes as a sign of His return, and likened these signs to labor pains, everyone knows labor pains become more intense and more frequent until the birth of the child. So, yes, earthquakes will become more frequent and more intense, as will other signs Christ mentioned.

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