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598. How Near is the End?

Do last year’s earthquakes in Israel indicate the end is near?
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
As I am writing this post (Oct. 29, 2013), Israel has just experienced five earthquakes in five days. Though small in magnitude, their frequency has Israeli experts concerned. The major reason for concern is that the tiny nation has been so busy defending itself from present and future terrorist attacks, preparing for an earthquake hasn’t surfaced as an imminent need…until now. Last Thursday (Oct. 24) Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan called for a funding allocation for earthquake and natural disaster protection.

Israel’s last major earthquake was back in 1927. The 6.2 magnitude quake killed 500 and injured another 700. Experts estimate that a major 7.0 Richter scale earthquake in Israel could leave some 7,000 people dead, 8,600 wounded, almost 10,000 trapped in rubble and around 170,000 people homeless.

AS I SEE IT
The recent Israeli quakes have caused many to wonder if they represent the beginning of the “birth pangs” Jesus warned about in Matthew 24. Verse seven, however, the one mentioning the coming earthquakes, talks about famines and earthquakes in a general sense, not Israel in particular. But since the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24 & 25) focuses on Israel in the Tribulation days, one could make a case that most, if not all of the signs of the end of the age, including earthquakes, may occur primarily in Israel. We won’t know until the time arrives.

Jesus warned that when we see the signs he had described actuallyRapture happening, we should know that the kingdom of God is near (Luke 12:31). Many Christians believe these events are right at the doorstep or even here. I suspect that many of these are planning on being raptured out of here and are ready to be taken up at any moment. As a result, they feel no need to be prepared for the rough stuff.

The way I read 1 Thessalonians, there will be a period of peace and safety just prior to the rapture. (Check out my article in which I explain why I believe this is what the apostle Paul is saying in chapters 4 and 5.) While I admit I could be wrong (I’d be delighted to be wrong on this), I don’t think we can expect an imminent rapture as long as Israel (and much of the rest of the world) is on the brink of war.

What does this mean for us? It means that we are still to be engaged on the front lines of the battle, fighting as if the war depends on us, because it does.

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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
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