How Natural Disasters and Current Events Relate to Biblical End-Times Prophecies

But when these major earthquakes, devastating wars, and mysterious eclipses take place, we cannot help but wonder if there is more going on than we can see with our own eyes or hear about with our own ears. Contributing Writer
Updated Apr 24, 2024
How Natural Disasters and Current Events Relate to Biblical End-Times Prophecies

Throughout my lifetime (and probably yours, too), I have personally experienced and heard about others experiencing all kinds of natural disasters and worldwide events. For example, since I am old enough to remember, I have known of earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes, and tsunamis that have devastated lands, destroyed homes, and taken people’s lives. Wildfires have charred thousands of acres of woods and anything else in their path. Solar eclipses, comets, and solar flares have caught the attention of billions of people, causing them to look up in wonder.

On top of all of those natural events, humans have been the cause or at least catalyst for wars and riots claiming the lives of countless people, viruses affecting whole countries, and violent regimes causing the genocide of whole races of people.

If you take a brief look through a history book, however, you will notice that none of these things are new or personalized to our current era. Only a blind idealist would think that any of these will or can be stopped as long as the world exists in its broken, sinful state.

But when these major earthquakes, devastating wars, and mysterious eclipses take place, we cannot help but wonder if there is more going on than we can see with our own eyes or hear about with our own ears.

Then we come across passages in the Bible that show us that there really IS more going on! One such passage is in the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus is teaching his disciples on the Mount of Olives about some events that they can expect to take place. Jesus told them:

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:6-14, ESV)

If you are like me, you have some big questions when you read this passage (subtitled “Signs of the End of the Age” in my ESV Study Bible). You may also realize that every one of these things has already come to pass (even the spreading of the gospel to every nation, depending on how you understand that line). In fact, we have had wars, famines, earthquakes, persecution of Christians, people leaving their church and “deconstructing” their faith, and lawlessness many times over throughout the world since the day that Jesus declared these things on the Mount of Olives. And because of the great missionary efforts by many churches, missionaries, and mission networks (such as the IMB) and assisted by the invention of the printing press, radio, television, and now the internet, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is accessible to at least every continent and every nation (although not all tribes and tongues have heard yet).

While it does not seem like everything that the Bible has prophesied in books like Daniel and Revelation has taken place, if these events that Jesus mentioned really are the “signs” of the “coming of the end of the age,” then I think we can say with confidence that we are living in the “end times.”

So how are we to respond to all the symbols, pictures, and world-affecting prophesies that God has given us in his Word? Do we need to get worried and anxious? Do we need to spend more time trying to decipher codes and plot out prophesies? Should we all be sitting in Bible studies on the book of Revelation as often as we can?

It is human nature to want to know more. God put within us a desire for knowledge. Normally this is a wonderful aptitude because it fuels our adventures, discoveries, and educational pursuits.

However, this hunger for knowledge can be distracting and even harmful when it substitutes action. For example, it would be unhealthy for someone to spend so much time looking through cookbooks for the perfect recipe that they never get around to cooking. It would be unhealthy for someone to watch so many romantic books and movies that their minds are filled with so much fantasy that they are unable to have a real marriage relationship.

In a similar way, it is possible for a Christian can spend so much time studying their Bible, scouring the internet, and going down so many YouTube or TikTok “rabbit holes” (like Alice in Wonderland) in order to figure out prophecies and tell the future that they lose touch with reality and neglect their other Christian responsibilities.

When Jesus ascended back to Heaven after his resurrection, he told his Apostles to be disciple-makers. But I am afraid that some Christians today are no more than astrologers, fortune tellers, and science-fiction enthusiasts. Like Saul in 1 Samuel 28 when he defied God by hiring a witch to communicate with the dead prophet Samuel, some people care more about knowing the future than knowing God - which is idolatry.

So, how should we respond when we hear about wars, earthquakes, and eclipses? The answer is very simple: be faithful to God.

Jesus prefaced his list of “signs” that we read earlier with this phrase: “See that no one leads you astray” (Matthew 24:4, ESV). Jesus was not teaching his disciples these things and God has not given us prophesies in Scripture so that we will be consumed by figuring out the day of the Second Coming or becoming “doomsday prep-ers” (although we do need to save up for our future in moderation). Instead, God wants us to prepare ourselves spiritually for whatever comes our way so we will remain faithful to him. That is why he also said in our passage that salvation will be given to those who “endure to the end” (verse 13).

This lesson agrees with what Jesus also taught in the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25. In the end, what matters more than us predicting the future or being able to understand everything is whether or not we have the Holy Spirit inside of us.

Should we ignore the prophecies in the Bible? Of course not—God put them in there for a reason. But as one author puts it, God may allow us to “only understand prophecies the moment they are fulfilled or in hindsight.” Think about this: people had been given prophecies about the Messiah centuries before Jesus came, but no one (except maybe the disciples) seemed to be able to put the pieces together (John 2:22).

So read, study, and ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom to understand the prophecies in the Bible just as you would the narratives, poetry, commands, and letters to the churches. But study them so you can grow closer to God, get to know him better, and obey him better. Any other goal will lead you astray.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Andrew McArthur

Robert Hampshire is a pastor, teacher, writer, and leader. He has been married to Rebecca since 2008 and has three children, Brooklyn, Bryson, and Abram. Robert attended North Greenville University in South Carolina for his undergraduate and Liberty University in Virginia for his Masters. He has served in a variety of roles as a worship pastor, youth pastor, family pastor, church planter, and now Pastor of Worship and Discipleship at Cheraw First Baptist Church in South Carolina. He furthers his ministry through his blog site, Faithful Thinking, and his YouTube channel. His life goal is to serve God and His Church by reaching the lost with the gospel, making devoted disciples, equipping and empowering others to go further in their faith and calling, and leading a culture of multiplication for the glory of God. Find out more about him here.

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