January 6, 2009 on 9:06 pm | In REVELATION AND CURRENT EVENTS | Comments Off on END OF THE WORLD?

Today (1-6-09) on Foxnews.com there was an article about five ways the world can end. It listed them as follows:

1. Massive asteroid impact
2. Massive volcanic eruptions
3. Nuclear war
4. Black hole
5. The expanding sun

What should we make of this? Does Revelation have any insight into these conjectures?

We can run into all kinds of difficulties if we try to interpret Revelation by the latest news headline. We end up with constantly changing interpretations and extremely unreliable conclusions. In actuality we should be doing just the reverse—interpreting the headlines by an enlightened understanding of the book of Revelation. That’s why we’re trying to do a thorough job of studying the book of Revelation on this website.

So what do we do about the above news item? Does Revelation have anything to say about how the world ends? Yes, it does. But it doesn’t mention any of the scenarios listed at the beginning of this article, as plausible as some of them may seem. In chapter 19 Jesus is portrayed as leading the armies of heaven on an earthly invasion and making war against the oppressors of His people. In chapter 6, at the end, in describing that event it has people calling for the rocks and mountains to fall on them to hide them from that coming of Christ. Chapter 16 pictures a great earthquake and violent hailstorm. These all take place at the coming of Jesus. There will be more about all that as we study the book in the original category of this website (revelation for beginners). But note in passing that, if we tried to interpret Revelation by the headlines, we would likely have discovered some verse that appeared to be similar to the news story—and we would have totally missed what Revelation was really telling us about the end. The news conjectures, if true, would leave this planet depopulated, and yet Revelation, as well as other scriptures, clearly indicates there will be two classes of people alive when Jesus comes—the saved and the lost. That means the earth will not have been destroyed before Jesus comes, though that does not mean there will be no major natural disasters or loss of life in the meantime.

The important thing right now is for us to know Jesus savingly, then it won’t matter, as far as our salvation is concerned, when He comes or how. The Biblical counsel is “Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.”


January 31, 2009 on 6:52 pm | In REVELATION AND CURRENT EVENTS | Comments Off on REVELATION AND 2012

A recent article on CNN.com referred to a lot of speculation regarding December 21, 2012. It seems that an ancient Mayan calendar sees significance in this date and that the sun will be lined up with the center of the galaxy, among other things. Some are predicting that this is the expiration date for good old earth—the end of the world. Still others question the interpretation. But apparently much is being hyped about it, books are being written, a movie is in the works, souvenirs are being produced, etc. But is there any validity to it all? Does Revelation have anything to say about such a date or event?

Revelation certainly has something to say about the end of the world, but it knows nothing about a specific date. You will not find any specific dates for the end of the world anywhere else in Scripture, for that matter. In fact, Jesus Himself said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Mt. 24:36. But, someone says, we can know about the time of the year. One time, just before He left to go back to heaven, the disciples asked Jesus if He was going to set up His earthly kingdom at that time. His response was, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” Acts 1:7. So as far as the Bible is concerned, forget trying to figure out the exact date of Christ’s return. I have watched this happen many times as various individuals or groups have proclaimed a specific date or season, and they have all passed by. In one sense, if they keep doing it, they are bound to get it right eventually!

Jesus’ advice regarding these things was consistently, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Matthew 24:44 (see also verses 42 and 25:13). The idea is we are to always be ready—none of us have a guarantee of tomorrow. The time to be ready is today, tomorrow, the next day, etc., until we die or Jesus comes, whichever comes first.

Does Revelation, then, have nothing to say about the end of the world? It does, but it does not happen till Jesus comes in the clouds of glory, not before. Revelation 1:7 says “every eye will see Him” when this happens. It will not be done secretly or stealthily. Jesus words in Matthew 24:27 say His coming will be like lightning shining from east to west. But doesn’t the Bible describe His coming like “a thief in the night”? Yes. But note how the apostle Peter describes the scene: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10. Notice the violence of the scene—it is noisy, hot, and disintegrating. Revelation 16:18-21 also portrays a great earthquake and violent hailstorm. When the apostle Paul talks of Jesus’ coming, he says Jesus comes “with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God . And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. The ideas here are that His coming is a surprise as to the exact time, not that it is a secret or stealthy coming.

This is all quite dramatic, to say the least. Hardly something that no one is aware of until after the fact. Then again, if I should die tonight, the time of His coming is not really too relevant, is it? Perhaps that’s why Jesus emphasized the idea of being ready all the time. If you have any questions, you are free to contact me (at the about tab)or leave a comment. May God bless as you continue to study His Word.



Does Revelation even consider such issues? The last several months have been quite a roller coaster ride, and a somewhat scary one at that. FDIC Chairman Ben Bernanke in a recent interview said we came close to a financial meltdown last fall. When pressed by the interviewer, “How close?” the reply was “Very close.”

We may have “dodged a bullet,” but it’s really too soon to say for sure—thee are still too many uncertainties that potentially could make things worse. But to come back to the initial question—does Revelation have anything to say about it? Revelation 13 does refer to a time when buying and selling can only be done under certain restrictions (not currently the case—more about that another time). More to the point would be Revelation 18 where it speaks of businessmen saying that no one is buying their merchandise any more. However, before we jump to conclusions, it is worth noting that chapter 18 seems to be at a time just before Jesus comes (see ch. 19). Chapter 16 has already talked of the 7 last plagues falling, and while we have seen many disasters, we’ve seen nothing of the scope and nature and description of the plagues listed there—at least not to this point in history. Since that appears to be a still future event, it seems likely that Revelation 18 is also still future. Keep in mind also that this country has seen worse situations than what see at this instant of time, such as “The Great Depression” with 25% unemployment.

Since I’m not a prophet, I can’t give a specific date when Revelation 18 will be fulfilled. Nor can I say with certainty that it won’t happen this year. The Bible was not designed as a manual on how to time the stock market nor to give us a date we can mark on our calendars when Jesus will come. Sometimes the prophecy is given simply so when it does happen we won’t be surprised or to remind us that God foresaw this and He was not caught unawares. See for example Matthew 24:25—“See, I have told you beforehand.” See also John 14:29: “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.” In the context of these cases He is describing coming events so we know what to expect, yet without giving specific dates or times. The consistent message of the Bible is “be ready, for in such an hour as you think not, the Son of Man comes.”

Are we getting close? No doubt. But time excitement should not be our primary motivation. Primarily we should be sure of our own walk with God and support others in finding a saving relationship with Him before their lives end and their opportunity to make a choice disappears. And after all, if we truly love God, naturally we would want to be with Him forever. Then we can know our salvation is not dependent on whether we are dead or alive when He comes. Our future is secure in Him.



As I write this, the BP Gulf Oil Spill catastrophe has passed 60 days and counting. It has been described as the worst one in history and it is still growing. Recently P. J. Hahn, Director of coastal zone management for Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish commented, “In Revelation it says the water will turn to blood. That’s what it looks like out here—like the Gulf is bleeding. This is going to choke the life out of everything.” Someone else flying over the Gulf commented that looking down it appeared reddish. Some have indeed wondered, is this the second plague mentioned in Revelation 16?

While it may seem like a plague of sorts—it certainly seems nightmarish in some respects—it is likely not the one referred to in Revelation 16 for several reasons, though it may be a foretaste of things to come. The context of this passage suggests the “7 last plagues” are events immediately preceding and leading up to the 2nd coming of Jesus. Chapter 14 concludes with that event after its sequence, and chapters 18/19 do likewise. Also, we don’t seem to have seen the first plague taking place yet, in spite of notable widespread illnesses at times in the past. Another thought to ponder is that since these judgments of God don’t produce any repentance (chapter 16 says “they repented not”), it is likely that these occur after probation for mankind (time allotted for man to repent and turn to Christ before He finishes His work and returns to get His children living and resurrect His children who have previously died) (see also Revelation 22:11). In other words, everyone would then have made their final decision for or against God, so the plagues result in no changed hearts. At this point we believe the doors of grace are still open and inviting.

Are these plagues real or symbolic, some may ask. Since Revelation borrows heavily from the Old Testament, the original story of plagues devastating a nation is found in Exodus 7-12. While there may have been symbolic meaning involved in these plagues (such as making a mockery of Egyptian gods supposed to prosper and protect them) they were also very real and disastrous in nature. It is probable that these 7 last plagues outlined in Revelation will be similar in nature. While they are apparently the awfulest scourges known to man, they won’t be totally global in scope or mankind would be exterminated and no one would be alive to see Jesus come.

Many of the problems we see today we bring on ourselves via our own mistakes or pollution or mismanagement, etc. (note the Gulf oil spill as an example). The plagues of Egypt were a direct intervention by God. It seems we should expect no less in the end time. But whether you believe them to be simply man-made or God ordained, or some combination of both, the real concern is in verse 15 of Revelation 16—are we taking care of our “protective clothing”, the spiritual covering of Christ’s righteousness, the gift of His perfect character. Are we walking with Him and learning to depend on Him and submit to His will. If we are right with God, then on a personal basis it matters not what happens—our destiny is secure.



As I write this (March 14, 2011), the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in Japan dominate the news, not to mention the nuclear reactor/radiation concerns. It seems Japan has been hit with a triple whammy. The quake itself is reported as the largest one to hit Japan in recorded history, though it appears most of the damage has been caused by the following tsunami. The question may arise, was this quake predicted in Revelation? Does Revelation have anything to say about earthquakes in the end time?

The short answer to the second question is yes. Earthquakes are mentioned five times in Revelation. The worst one is discussed in chapter 16:18-20. Is this the Japan earthquake? Short answer–not likely. First of all it says this one is the worst ever to happen in earth’s history. That is not true of the Japan quake. There have been several of greater magnitude and others more deadly. The one in the Bible is so bad even the islands and mountains disappear. That has not happened yet. It appears that it is virtually global in extent, whereas so far what we have seen are more regional quakes. They can be devastating, but still don’t measure up to the one in Revelation 16, which is still future–probably happening in conjunction with the actual coming of Christ to this earth. This is probably the same one referred to in chapter 6:14 where people are crying for rocks and mountains to fall on them to hide them from Jesus on His triumphal return to earth.

What can we expect for the future? Likely more of the same. Does it mean we are at the end? Earthquakes by themselves don’t indicate the end per se, but they certainly are part of what we can expect in the end times. In Matthew 24:6-8 Jesus predicted the following: “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” And for 2000 years earth has seen these things take place. We are fortunate that the major catastrophes that have occurred in recent years have been spaced out so the world could bring adequate resources to assist in each instance. If we were to have a period of calamities with several happening at once, we could be in more dire straits. Certainly, Christians should take these events as wake-up calls. We need to be ready to meet Jesus all the time, whether we are alive when He comes or whether we die before then. Often the end comes unannounced. How much we need to know Jesus personally today!

A few years ago in the LA Times there was an article about an emergency training session in August of 2001 conducted by FEMA. They tried to determine what the three most likely catastrophes in the US were that they might have to cope with. Their final conclusion was: 1) A terrorist attack in New York City 2) A super-strength hurricane in New Orleans, and 3) a major earthquake on the San Andreas fault in California. It is interesting to note that the first occurred a month after that meeting. The second took place in 2005. The third has not yet happened and of course no one can predict that. Experts simply say it is inevitable, but can’t say whether it will happen next week or years from now.

This morning on NBC Today a guest being interviewed suggested that most earthquakes happen in clusters. He likened the Pacific Ocean to a large square. He then noted the earthquake in Chile (8.8 February 27, 2010) in the southeast area. Then came the quake in Christchurch, New Zealand, last month (6.3, 7.1 earlier, February 22) in the southwest area of the square, followed by the Japan quake (8.9 March 11) in the northwest part of the square. His suggestion was that the next one would be in the northeast area, though he of course could not give any reliable time frame. He mentioned the San Andreas fault (from LA to northern California), the Hayward fault (Oakland, east of San Francisco), and the Cascadia subduction zone off the coasts of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. He said if a 9.0 should take place at the Cascadia location, it would not only create quake damage, but would also stir up a large tsunami (perhaps 80 foot wall of water on the west coast) that would also cross the Pacific.

The Bible doesn’t give specific predictions about the time for the final global earthquake, nor does it predict particular quakes before then, other than to say they will happen in many places, so we shouldn’t be surprised. The important thing is that we know Christ as our personal savior and friend and are growing daily in Him. Then it doesn’t matter when He comes as far as our salvation is concerned. But we can have confidence in Him and His presence with us no matter what happens, and we can look forward to a better place without the danger of all the disasters we experience here.


I stated above that Revelation doesn’t predict any specific quakes before the last one at Christ’s coming. However, in Revelation 6:12 there appears to be an exception to that. It does talk about a great earthquake at the time of the sixth seal. I will have more to say about that when I come to that chapter in the revelation for beginners category. But just a brief note about it for now.

We have noted in the past that Revelation follows a generally historicist pattern, that is, it is a continuous unfolding of prophecy from the prophet’s day to the end of time. We can see it also in the book of Daniel and will see it in the seven churches of Revelation. Following that paradigm, then, the sixth seal should be sometime near the end. History supports that idea. The earthquake here listed can’t be the final one mentioned in Revelation 16:18-20 because there is still another quake to come as stated under the seventh seal in chapter 8:5. Here is the text in question (6:12, 13): “I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.” The next verses refer to the coming of Jesus, so these events must precede that appearance. Historicist interpreters see at least an initial fulfillment of these events as follows: the great earthquake referring to the great Lisbon earthquake in 1755 which affected much of Europe, including a deadly tsunami in Lisbon (they used to call them tidal waves); the notable Dark Day and moon to blood (in appearance the following night), May 19, 1780, primarily in the New England area; a spectacular meteor shower November 13, 1833, which some thought was indicating the end of the world. These are seen as ushering in the time of the end, a means of drawing the attention of the world to the fact that the coming of Jesus again to this world was nearing.

Other than this one and the final one at the coming of Jesus, there is no evidence from Revelation that any other earthquake is specifically predicted. They are simply reminders that we do live in the end times and may well see more such quakes in the future. May the tragedies of this old world create in us a longing to see Jesus and live with Him eternally in a re-created new earth (see Revelation 21).

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