Monday, October 29, 2012

The Sign of Jesus' Return

In Matthew 24:7-8, Jesus Christ foretold signs that would mark the time leading up to His return: "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places …"

We have certainly seen devastating earthquakes in recent years. The December 2004 earthquake off Indonesia was the most powerful in decades, unleashing a massive tsunami that took some 300,000 lives. Less than a year later, an earthquake in southern Asia killed another 30,000.

In Matthew 24:7, the Greek word translated "earthquakes" is seismos, from which we derive such English words as "seismology," referring to the study of earthquakes. Strong's Lexicon defines it as "a commotion, i.e. (of the air) a gale, (of the ground) an earthquake—earthquake, tempest" (Strong's No. 4578).

So seismos has a broader meaning than just the earth shaking. Matthew 8 records how a violent storm overtook Jesus and His disciples on the Sea of Galilee, threatening to capsize their boat and drown them—until Jesus miraculously calmed the winds and waves.

The word used in verse 24 for this powerful storm is seismos, here translated "tempest." So we see that seismos can also refer to violent storms and isn't limited strictly to earthquakes. When Jesus foretold "famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places," His words encompass natural disasters that include earthquakes, but can also apply to hurricanes, tornadoes and other such deadly storms.

As we saw with Hurricane Katrina, these storms can be enormously destructive. Katrina took more than 1,200 lives and caused an estimated $200 billion in damage, not counting the economic hit from losses to shipping, oil and gas production, fishing and agriculture. New Orleans, devastated by the storm, will not fully recover for decades— if ever.

A hurricane like Katrina, which reached category 5 strength before weakening, can produce winds greater than 155 miles an hour and push ahead of it a wall of water 18 feet or higher, doing major damage to virtually anything in its path.

Are such natural disasters increasing as Jesus foretold? I would say “YES!”

Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the National Center for Atmospheric Research have concluded that there has been "a sharp increase during the past 35 years in the number of category 4 and 5 tropical cyclones.” These are the category of storms that cause most damage on landfall. Research shows that those rated category 4 and 5 have increased by 80 percent from the 1970s to the present decade.

Now we are being threatened by hurricane Sandy. Forecasters warn that this hurricane will likely collide with a cold front from the West – creating a never before seen phenomenon called a hybrid "superstorm." This is not a typical storm. It could very well be historic in nature and in scope and in magnitude because of the widespread anticipated power outages, flooding and potential major wind damage," It has the power and potential to reach up to 800 miles inland and is expected to impact the east coast of the United States as early as Monday, October 29, 2012.

This should certainly make us sit up and take notice. Later in Jesus Christ's same prophecy, as recorded in Luke 21:25-28, He says: "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth …”

"Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."

This hopeful Word is directed at those of us who are truly saved and who have been persecuted for the sake of Christ (Matthew 24:9).

The sad truth is that many souls are blind as to what is directly in front of them. They refuse to see the signs or accept God’s Word of warning regarding His return.

Matthew 24:12 expressly tells us that “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” And 1 Timothy 4:1 confirms this prophecy for “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”

There are demonic forces in the earth leading men away from God’s truth and teaching doctrines that are contrary God’s ordained plan of salvation through Christ Jesus. And those who have been deceived have also been blinded to the truth whereas they cannot see the need for repentance, water baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ and being filled with the Holy Ghost. They are under a strong delusion whereby they believe that they are saved without obeying God’s instruction on how to be saved - they are following the doctrines of Demons.

I implore you my brothers and Sisters, with all of my hearts, to “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Repent before it is too late.

I say again, REPENT!!!

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