Then Jesus gave us the third sign of His coming in vs 7: the sign of devastation. Famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. War is often followed by famine. Such is the case in Yemen and South Sudan. In places like Zimbabwe and North Korea, it is just the result of their leaders’ greed and mismanagement. Russian researchers predict global famine in 40 years — if we have that long. Famines of the recent past in places like Somalia, Northern Kenya, the Niger Republic and Ethiopia come to mind, and the regional conflicts make the delivery of relief supplies difficult. How about North Korea, India, South Korea, and Pakistan? Drought in California, Oregon, and Nevada has the west coast of America reeling, but the real issue is that drought is raging on four continents. Add to the west coast issue Brazil, North Korea, and South Africa. Listen to me. I don’t believe in man-made global warming, but I’m telling you that I do believe in God-made global warming. But then, of course, scientists are predicting that in the next five years, the Earth could be plunged into a mini-ice age. Understand something here. God is up to something, and He is using that which He created to get our attention. According to Archer Daniel Midlands, every farmer today feeds 180 families. In a few years, they will have to feed over 200 families each. Weather patterns, over-development of the land. You can see how famines will multiply in the future.
What about the plague of AIDS that has devastated entire countries in Africa and affects every other country in the world. Tuberculosis is on the rise again and antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria have scientists and the medical community terrified. Since 2009 there have been pandemics of H1N1, bird flu, swine flu and ebola. Outbreaks of yellow fever, dengue fever, cholera, and polio. Scientists are telling us that the world is dangerously unprepared for future pandemics.
Earthquakes continue to increase in frequency and in power. Of some 68 major earthquakes recorded in history, 46 have occurred in the 21st century. In the last decade there have been 10 to 20 major quakes each year. Oklahoma has reported an ever increasing number of quakes. In an article in last week’s New Yorker, the headline read, “There’s a Mad Rush to Buy Earthquake Survival Kits in Seattle.” Listen to the words of the story: “And the people felt the ground shaking and saw the water rising. Or at least, they heard the cries of the New Yorker saying so. And when the people knew that the Big One was coming, they trembled with fear. Well, some of them did. The Biblical tone is appropriate. There really is a 9.0 earthquake/skyscraper-sized tsunami predicted to unmoor coastal life as we know it in the Pacific Northwest—quite possibly within the next 50 years.” Last month there was a “swarm of earthquakes” in Greene County Alabama. There have been at least five in that area since last November. Talk about earthquakes in various places. And according to Jesus, these problems will continue to escalate dramatically.
In fact, to paraphrase what Jesus says about it, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Look at vv. 6 and 8. Don’t be troubled; all this must come to pass, but the end is not yet. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Jesus could not have used a more graphic word than sorrows. Literally, the word means birth pangs. But these are only the Braxton-Hicks contractions, also known as false labor, letting you know the time is getting close. And the closer the time comes, the worse things will be. These pains start suddenly — unexpectedly — and they grow more and more intense as time for true labor pains draws closer. Paul used this same analogy in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 when he wrote that at a time of peace and safety, sudden destruction would come.
Please hear me, this morning. God’s judgment is coming to planet Earth. I am as confident of that statement as any other statement I could make this morning. Just as sure as the sun rose this morning. Just as sure as I know that God loves me. I know His judgment is coming. When we even have to have a debate in our congress over whether to defund Planned Parenthood after it is proven that they are selling pieces of aborted babies trying to make a profit, God’s judgment is surely coming. When the Supreme Court announces that marriage is no longer between a man and a woman, God’s judgment is coming. When nation after nation shakes their fists in God’s face and declares that He is no longer in control, God’s judgment is coming, and my friends, that’s what we have done, time and time again.