Tuesday, 2 March 2010


At the beginning of January this year, we were all shocked to hear of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, which resulted in the loss of 230,000 lives. Now this last weekend we hear of a more powerful earthquake of magnitude 8.8 in Chile. Thankfully it seems that the loss of life will be much smaller in Chile, and the threats of the tsunamis seem to have disappeared too.

This Chile earthquake is apparently the 7th largest earthquake on record. Over the weekend, Japan was also hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. It does seem as though there is an increase in earthquake activity just in this last few weeks alone. "Relative to the 20-year period from the mid 1970's to the mid 1990's, the Earth has been more active over the past 15 or so years," Fox News quoted Stephen S. Gao, a geophysicist at Missouri University of Science and Technology, as saying.

So what is going on?

When Jesus was asked by his disciples "what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" he replied "You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth-pangs" (Matthew 24:3-8).

I believe we are nearing the time for the return of Jesus Christ. There is the War on Terror, war in Afghanistan and Iraq; the rumours of war in the Middle East seem to be growing daily; only at the weekend the president of Niger said his country is facing famine, whilst 4million people in Somalia also need emergency food aid. Put all this together with the huge earthquakes, and I do believe that the signs that Jesus spoke about are increasing in intensity.

If we are seeing the beginning of the birth-pangs prior to the return of Jesus, then we need to ensure we are ready for his return. That means for those who do not yet recognise him as their Saviour and Lord, now is the time to repent and believe in him. "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people, and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him" (Hebrews 9:27-28). When Jesus returns, it will be as our Judge, and none of us will be able to stand before him unless we have trusted in his sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. But we need to do this whilst we have the opportunity.

The return of Jesus is being delayed to give people the chance to repent and be saved. "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). God desires everyone to have the opportunity to learn of what his Son Jesus did when he first came to this earth 2,000 years ago, of his birth, death and resurrection, and to trust that his sacrifice paid the penalty for our sins, and to put their faith in him.

For those of us who have been reconciled to God through the blood of Christ, we also need to ensure we are ready, and use the time we have left to proclaim the gospel message to those around us.