DID JESUS PREDICT AN INCREASE IN EARTHQUAKES BEFORE THE END?
If earthquakes are not on the increase, then what shall we make of the biblical evidence that earthquakes will increase in the last days? As noted above, Hal Lindsey says that earthquakes will continue to increase "just as the Bible predicts for the last days."50 If earthquakes are not increasing, does this mean that the return of Christ cannot be near? Closer examination of the New Testament evidence will reveal that Lindsey's statement is wrong on both counts. Not only are earthquakes not increasing, but also the biblical text never indicated that they would. The popular conception that an increase of earthquakes in frequency and severity is a key sign of the temporal nearness of the end results from a misreading of the biblical text.
He goes on to say:
Eschatological Birth Pains. The only statement which might suggest an increase in famine and earthquake activity is the final clause, "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs (hwdíneß)" (Matt. 24:8). Because birth pains begin small and then increase in intensity and frequency, this passage could be interpreted to mean that earthquakes will start small and infrequent and gradually increase. When they reach their greatest severity and frequency, they will give birth to the new age.
But is this the correct way to interpret this clause? If so, the lack of seismic increase we have noted above would confirm that Jesus' return is not near. This would then contradict the many biblical statements that it is near! But there is good reason to believe that Jesus' words do not indicate an increase in frequency or severity of these "general signs," but only indicate their continued recurrence until the end of the age.
The image of eschatological birth pains was not new with Jesus, but was a common one in Jewish apocalyptic and later rabbinic writings. The "messianic woes" or "birth pains of the Messiah" referred to a period of suffering that would immediately precede the coming of the messianic age.61 The primary conceptual significance of this image was not that the pain would increase in intensity, but rather that the present period of suffering would be followed by the joy of new birth (i.e., salvation and restoration). Pain will give way to rejoicing for those who persevere.
The apostle Paul uses the birth image in a similar way in Romans 8:18-25. The present creation - for which salvation has been achieved but not consummated - "waits eagerly for the revealing" of the children of God (v. 19). This period of waiting is metaphorically described as groaning and suffering "the pains of childbirth (sunwdínw)" (v. 22). The point is not that creation's pain is growing worse and worse, but that the pain itself (the residual effects of humanity's fall) provokes eager longing for the new birth (the consummation of salvation).
Paul uses the birth image elsewhere to illustrate the abruptness of the arrival of the Day of the LORD. It will be unexpected "like a thief in the night" and "like labor pains" on a pregnant woman (1 Thes. 5:2,3). Paul's two images are reminiscent, of course, of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:8,43,44). Obviously, Paul is not saying here that we can predict our Lord's appearance by noting precursor birth pains.
I thought it was an interesting read from his perspective
Natalie: could you guys please pray for a lady in our church who is in the hospital with Covid? She's really struggling this evening ... healthwise and with not being able to have visitors.
Apr 18, 2021 20:26:50 GMT -6
Mary: Yes Natalie, we are one body in Christ! Praying for your friend, that Christ will give her strength (physically, emotionally, and spiritually)..
Apr 18, 2021 21:01:05 GMT -6
EnochWalked: www.rt.com/russia/521414-iss-russia-quits-2025/ "Russia will end its participation in the International Space Station after it reaches the end of its planned lifespan in 2024". Three and a half more years? ("ISS will then descend into the ocean")
Apr 19, 2021 7:21:03 GMT -6