Recently there have been a number of devastating hurricanes and a powerful earthquake. It is natural for us to reflect on where God is in all this.
One of the questions that might come up is whether these are signs of the end. We find passages like this in the Bible:
And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves. People will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Luke 21:25-26)
The Bible teaches that there will be signs in the natural world before Jesus returns. Looking at this passage and recent events, it all seems to line up.
Does this mean that Jesus is about to return?
There are a number of things that we should be thinking about. One is that the signs described include typical apocalyptic imagery. That doesn’t mean they won’t happen, but we should remember that they also play a symbolic role.
We also need to remember that there have been many times in the past when things have seemed to fit. There have been just as destructive disasters at numerous times throughout the ages. Earthquakes have destroyed entire cities, hurricanes and other storms have wiped out thousands and plagues have emptied towns and villages.
What does this all mean?
I’m not trying to deny that Jesus will return, nor am I trying to discourage watchfulness. These disasters should make us think of the biblical signs and they should make us remain vigilant. The Bible teaches that Jesus will return and we should take that seriously.
But we should also not use these disasters as an excuse to give up, stop planning or going into waiting mode. It may be another thousand years before Jesus returns and we should work while we can to build God’s kingdom.
Is Jesus about to return? We cannot know but we can remain faithful.
If you are interested in this topic, you might be interested in this sermon I preached on the topic.