A new poll conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals reveals that a majority of its members would agree that the recent earthquakes in Haiti, New Zealand and Japan are signs of the soon coming return of Jesus.
The survey shows that more than half of respondents adhere to the theological position known as Premillennialism, which interprets the Book of Revelation to be speaking of yet future events. In contrast, only 17 percent of those polled say they believe most biblical prophecy has already been fulfilled.
I recently appeared on a popular Detroit radio station alongside fellow author, prophecy expert and friend, Gary Demar, to discuss and debate these issues. Demar is one of the most outspoken voices for the minority of evangelicals who believe that through the influence of the Christian church, the world is gradually improving and will eventually reach a "Christianized" golden age. This fairly modern position has made some gains within mainstream Evangelicalism over the past few decades.
Many in the Charismatic Christian movement, through the influence of what is called the New Apostolic Reformation Movement, have also embraced this position. On the other end of the political spectrum, many liberal-leaning "Emergent" or anti-Zionist Evangelicals, such as Brian McClaren, Stephen Sizer, Gary Burge and Andrew Perriman, also argue that the events described in the Book of Revelation are now history. A survey of the arguments that dominate social media and Christian forums will reveal that the Christian church today is quite divided over this theological question.
So do the recent earthquakes in Haiti, New Zealand and Japan have any relevance with regard to the return of Jesus? Absolutely. If we consider the words of Jesus as well as some very stunning earthquake statistics, then a clear picture emerges, pointing to the soon coming of the return of Jesus.
First, it needs to be noted that Jesus taught that even as one can look to various "signs" within nature as indicators regarding the changing of seasons, so also should we look to some specific signs with regard to the prophetic seasons and the drawing near of the time of redemption.
Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
– Luke 17:29-31
When evening comes, you say, "It will be fair weather, for the sky is red," and in the morning, "Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast." You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
– Matthew 16:1-3
Elsewhere, Jesus told us that among the signs of his return would be earthquakes. But the primary analogy that Jesus used to describe the last days earthquakes were birth contractions, which we all know are universally characterized by a progressive increase in both frequency and intensity:
There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
– Matthew 24:7-8
And once more, the ultimate result of the return of Jesus will be a massive earthquake that literally transforms the topography of Jerusalem and devastates the whole earth:
On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
– Zechariah 14:4
Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake.
– Revelation 16:18
With all of this in mind, it is fascinating to take note of some astounding statistics that were brought to my attention last year by my friend, Pastor Cecil Boswell, from Nashville, Tenn. Pastor Boswell has spent a lot of time reviewing and calculating statistics from the U.S. Geological Survey. By analyzing the records of ancient earthquakes as well as every earthquake in modern times that registered a 7.0 or higher on the Richter scale, the picture that emerges is portentous indeed.
► From 1 A.D. to 1800 there were 11 major earthquakes recorded in history. This results in an average of one major earthquake approximately every 100 years.
► From 1900 to 2000 there were 10 major earthquakes 7.0 or higher. This results in an average of one major earthquake every 10 years.
This brings us to recent times. One of the most notable major earthquake was in Bam, Iran, on Dec. 26, 2003. Exactly one year later, Dec. 26, 2004, Sumatra, Indonesia, experienced another massive earthquake and a subsequent devastating tsunami. Between these two earthquakes, more than 330,000 lives were lost.
► From 2003 to 2007, there were 29 major earthquakes 7.0 or higher. This results in an average of one major earthquake every 49 days.
► In 2008, there were 12 major earthquakes 7.0 or higher. This results in an average of one major earthquake every 37 days.
► In 2009, there were 16 major earthquakes 7.0 or higher. This results in an average of one major earthquake every 22 days.
► In 2010, there were 24 major earthquakes 7.0 or higher. This results in an average of one major earthquake every 15 days.
I have no question that the scoffers will scoff at this information, but the numbers don't lie. In fact, based on the undeniable patterns, on March 4, six days before the earthquake in Japan, Pastor Cecil sent me the following e-mail:
Prediction: The longest amount of time last year that the earth went without a major (7.0 or greater) earthquake was 57 days. We haven't had a major earthquake since January 18th of this year. As of today, we stand at 45 days without a major quake. I am predicting a major (7.0 or greater) earthquake BEFORE Wednesday, March 17th. … my prediction is that there will be a major earthquake sometime within the next week!
Sadly, even within the church, there will be those who claim that this information means absolutely nothing and that Christians should pay no attention. But for the majority of believers out there who take Jesus' words at face value, who are watching the specific signs that Jesus spoke of, the evidence is all there. The contractions are increasing in both intensity and frequency. I believe there is a birth on the horizon.