Lessons from Haiti’s Staggering Catastrophe
By Pastor Hal Mayer
Lessons from Haiti’s Staggering Catastrophe
Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry. We are glad that you are able to listen to this important and sobering message. Perhaps you have been a little lazy in your spiritual experience. I hope that today’s message will help you rekindle your walk with God, for we are near the end.
The catastrophic earthquake that rocked Haiti on January 12, 2010 was unprecedented in its destruction and the misery it caused. It has made a powerful impression on the minds of millions around the world, drawing sympathy and support. “Our hemisphere has seen its share of hardship,” said Hilary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, “but there are few precedents for the situation we’re facing in Port-au-Prince.” The images of destruction, death and misery have been shocking. The havoc reeked on Port-au-Prince and the cities and towns throughout that unfortunate country will take many years to restore to normalcy, if ever.
But perhaps what many people have overlooked is the prophetic significance of the devastating earthquake that destroyed much of what once was the island nation of Haiti. During this month’s message I would like to help you understand how this disaster fits into the closing events of earth’s history.
But before we begin I would like to remind you of our Keep the Faith prophetic intelligence briefings. We include some of these at the end of each monthly sermon, but there are a lot more on our website. Don’t forget to go there every few days and read them. Also I want to thank you for your prayers and support. It means a lot to us. God bless you as we study today.
Let us pray. Our Heavenly Father, our hearts go out in sympathy toward those that are left to deal with the rubble and tragedy of the earthquake in Haiti. We pray that souls there will somehow find the truth as it is in Jesus, and that they will be given another opportunity to yield to His power in their lives. Today as we study this terrible tragedy, help us to see that we are near the close of probation and that Jesus is coming soon in the clouds of glory, and that this is an important reminder. May our lives reflect His beautiful character. In Jesus’ name, amen.
I would like to begin by reading a verse from Luke 21. It is verse 11; “And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.”
This verse is a little different from the familiar one in Matthew 24. It emphasizes the greatness of earthquakes and suggests that these will be accompanied by fearful sights. If this verse isn’t fulfilled to a significant degree by the earthquake in Haiti, it would be difficult to find one that is.
Here are the facts. At about 4.53pm on January 12, 2010 a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake eight miles deep struck inland on the island of Haiti about 16 miles west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and destroyed most of the city of four million people as well as other towns and villages. More than 52 strong aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or greater followed, including one of 5.9 magnitude eight days later, further eroding the fragile remains and settling the debris. A 7.0 magnitude earthquake, though a major quake with serious destructive power that can damage even earthquake resistant buildings, is not the strongest quake seen in recent times. But because of the poor construction methods used in buildings throughout Haiti, an unusually large number of buildings collapsed crushing their inhabitants to death or trapping them in what for many became their tombs.
Within a few seconds Haiti’s fragile and poorly designed infrastructure was destroyed. Water, sewer, roads, electricity, telephone and other communication systems were essentially knocked out or severely damaged and unusable. Air, land and sea transport infrastructure was severely damaged, which greatly hampered rescue and relief efforts. 30,000 commercial and government buildings collapsed. Cathedrals and churches, schools and shopping centers, hospitals and medical clinics tumbled on top of their inhabitants, killing many and rendering the survivors severely traumatized and helpless. Large subdivisions and residential areas with their schools and public buildings also collapsed resulting in incredible loss of life. An estimated 250,000 homes were destroyed. The presidential palace pancaked upon itself. The National Assembly, the United Nations Headquarters and World Bank buildings were all destroyed along with the airport terminal. Most churches and cathedrals and many other religious institutions and charities were destroyed or severely damaged. The shipping docks and fuel storage and distribution facilities were severely damaged and rendered incapable of being used. In a word, within a couple of minutes the entire nation was virtually crippled.
Though it is impossible to get a precise count, the death toll was more than 220,000 men, women and children, as the noisy city of Port-au-Prince became strangely silent. Then screams, wailing, cries and moans could be heard as the dying lived their last few moments in agony, and as the injured cried for help. The earthquake affected over 3 million people. An estimated 300,000 injuries and more than two million people were left homeless, all in a matter of moments.
According to Geologists, the powerful quake was the result of a “fully locked” tectonic plate that had not had much movement in more than 250 years, and was therefore gathering considerable pressure and stress. Eventually it gave way and the shaking moved the surface of the earth up and down an estimated 4 meters, or 13 feet, and destroyed Haiti’s already challenged infrastructure and society. As recently as 2007 and 2008, geologic researchers had emphasized the severe risk of major seismic activity involving Port-au-Prince.
But this earthquake was only the latest in a long history of troubles for Haiti. Since the successful slave revolt in 1804 which turned Haiti’s government over to former slaves, there has been precious little financial capital from within the nation to stimulate national growth, nor has there been sufficient education which would provide a workforce that would strengthen the country’s industries and improve productivity. Educated Haitians tend to emigrate to the United States or other places. The result is a witch’s brew of languishing economy, commercial stagnation and political corruption. The country is desperately poor and without international partners, particularly from Europe or the United States, to bring it out of the systemic economic hopelessness and desperation. These conditions and other factors created a social ecosystem of immorality, violence and crime. Voodoo and Roman Catholic superstition mixed together is a strong feature of this educationally impoverished nation.
As wealth has been concentrated into the hands of a few, economic depression has worsened for the masses, making Haiti notoriously the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. Massive corruption and crime had become a common part of every-day life. Gangs of thieves and robbers would roam the streets stopping cars and robbing their occupants of their money, food, and other valuables. It is especially dangerous at night.
January’s earthquake was itself but the beginning of sorrows for the nation. Port-au-Prince was worse than a battle zone. For more than two weeks bodies lay on the streets or under the rubble, bloated and decomposing in the heat and humidity, the stench hanging over traumatized inhabitants living in the streets and open areas. Hundreds of corpses lay piled up near a hospital morgue waiting to be buried.
The survivors were forced to fend for themselves as rescue workers struggled to organize distribution of basic necessities such as food and water to the survivors, and provide medical help to the injured. Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations said that Port-au-Prince is “one of the worst humanitarian crises in decades.” Another UN official said, “aid workers are dealing with a disaster ‘like no other’ in UN memory because the country had been ‘decapitated.’”
At the airport another struggle was unfolding. With no tower communications, air traffic control for vital inbound flights of aid workers, food, water and medical supplies, was taken over by the U.S. military using the damaged tower. But still air traffic control was challenging. Questions of who was in charge, air traffic congestion, and problems with prioritization of flights greatly complicated already difficult relief operations. Soon the airport became jammed with airplanes, some parked 10 deep to the point that they could hardly move around, let alone let more of them land.
Normally the airport handles 35 flights a day. During the post-earthquake operations, they were handling 100 flights a day. On the ramp, there is space for about a dozen planes. But during the days following the earthquake there were over 40 planes at a time on the ground. Though the U.S. military and other aid workers did their best to land, park, unload and release 100 planes a day with relief supplies and various types of personnel, this was nowhere near enough to handle all the planes that wanted to land. Many planes carrying badly needed medical supplies were turned away for lack of space to park at the airport, contributing to more deaths.
Haiti only has one major airport in Port-au-Prince. There was no room for more planes, not enough equipment to unload them, and no place to store the necessary supplies until they could be distributed. The damaged or blocked road leading to and from the airport made it extremely difficult to deliver the supplies to the survivors. The airport became a major bottleneck that greatly hampered rescue and relief operations.
Some planes could not take off because they did not have enough fuel, and the airport could not provide any. This further clogged the airport. Eventually pilots were told that they could not land unless they had fuel enough on board to take off. Meanwhile because of the logjam, planes circled overhead for up to 8 hours in the early days of the relief effort, waiting for permission to land. Many were diverted to the Dominican Republic or sent back to Miami where many of them came from.
The earthquake had rendered the docks at the main harbor useless because they were heavily damaged. One report said that thirty dock workers unloading freight had been drowned during the quake. Heavy cranes and other equipment toppled into the sea. Aid ships could not come there with supplies. The destroyed port increased the stress on the airport. Eventually a flotilla of hospital and supply ships from the United States and other nations anchored offshore and provided relief supplies, medical services and helicopters to airlift patients to the ships, though this was several days after the quake.
Meanwhile the distribution of medical equipment and supplies, food and water and other basic necessities progressed at an excruciating snail’s pace, causing more deaths for lack of treatment. Getting supplies distributed was a nightmare, partly because of the blocked roads, communication problems and even violence, but also partly because of the overwhelming demand. Anger and frustration fomented in the face of long delays. “‘We don’t need military aid. What we need is food and shelter,’ one young man yelled at U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his visit” to the devastated region. But the military was there to prevent violence, restore order, assist rescue operations, and protect aid workers and others while they distributed food and water. But it still took many days to get any more than a trickle of supplies out to the needy and desperate people.
Medical care was extremely limited because of the lack of facilities as thousands of injured Haitians waited surgical treatment. Of the 158 doctors at the university hospital, only 20 were working because the others were either caring for their own families or were missing. Until field hospitals were set up many days after the earthquake, doctors were amputating limbs, repairing severe wounds and other surgeries on the streets, parking lots and in tents because they were afraid the walls of their hospitals would collapse in all the aftershocks.
There were hundreds of thousands of injuries. It was estimated at one time that 20,000 people would die every day because they could not get needed surgery. Resources and medicines were nearly non-existent for several days, and when they finally did come it was difficult to get them distributed. Fuel was hard to come by to truck in new supplies. Roads were still blocked, and communications were still severely limited.
The misery was absolutely horrific. Within two days, the Port-au-Prince morgue was overwhelmed. 1000 bodies were lined up on the street and pavements outside. Large mass graves were dug. Government crews manned 60 trucks to collect tens of thousands more, and placing them in the huge mass graves. Above ground tombs were opened and bodies stacked inside. Others were burned on funeral pyres. In the heat and humidity bodies on the streets or buried in the rubble quickly began to decompose creating an acrid stench that hung in the air and spread throughout the city. As time passed, there were more bodies in numbers that were difficult to grasp, and much more stench. The smell of human waste and decaying corpses hovered over the cities and towns. Arms and legs sticking out from under the bricks and concrete block where they had been crushed could be seen for many days.
Those still living had to find a way to survive without access to food and clean water and other basic necessities. Moreover, they now had to fear diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and measles. Their desperation increased as they waited for days for help to come. They were overwhelmed and could not even dig in the rubble to look for survivors because it was too difficult and overwhelming. A BBC correspondent in Port-au-Prince said “survivors are dying in huge numbers” mainly from injuries, but perhaps also from thirst or starvation, and because of the almost impossible conditions. It is entirely possible that more people actually died in the aftermath than from the quake itself. There is only about a 72 hour period to extract survivors out of the rubble, after which the death toll increases dramatically of those trapped beneath.
Many Haitians used pieces of wood to carve out a small space on the street for themselves, desperate for a safe place for their families to sleep at night. As many waited patiently, looters took to the streets. The prison was destroyed allowing 4000 surviving criminals to escape into Haiti’s main port city. Haiti has a long history of crime and violence, and soon, what was left of the national police force was overwhelmed and could not stop looters and thieves from assaulting people, demanding what little food or water they might have had. Many people took out their machetes to defend themselves, sometimes in vain. Aid agencies did not know where or how to deliver food and water to the survivors safely making it much more difficult to help the people.
In some cases, either vigilantes, or police summarily executed thieves and criminals who tried to steal. Complete chaos reigned in city and country until the U.S. and other military contingents could restore order, first in the city, and then at other places throughout the devastated region.
Though Haiti shares the island with the Dominican Republic, the neighboring nation did not suffer the same damage and loss of life. The buildings may have been better designed to resist earthquake shocks. Also the epicenter was close to Port-au-Prince which took the brunt of the earthquake shock.
The near total devastation of the island nation of Haiti has many prophetic lessons for God’s people in the last days. Listen to this statement from the messenger of the Lord. It is from Evangelism, page 27.
“I am bidden to declare the message that cities full of transgression, and sinful in the extreme, will be destroyed by earthquakes, by fire, by flood. All the world will be warned that there is a God who will display His authority as God. His unseen agencies will cause destruction, devastation, and death…”
Do you think that Port-au-Prince was sinful in the extreme? Probably. Do you think that the people of that nation had turned from the authority of God to worship false God’s? Certainly. Voodoo is a satanic false worship. So is Roman Catholicism.
I’ll read on. “Calamities will come—calamities most awful, most unexpected; and these destructions will follow one after another.”
In 2009 and 2010 we have seen many major earthquakes of which the Haiti quake is one of the latest. Earthquakes happen most unexpectedly, and as you can see, they can be awful in their effect both at the time of the quake and for long afterwards.
I’ll continue reading. “If there will be a heeding of the warnings that God has given, and if churches will repent, returning to their allegiance, then other cities may be spared for a time. But if men who have been deceived continue in the same way in which they have been walking, disregarding the law of God and presenting falsehoods before the people, God allows them to suffer calamity, that their senses may be awakened…”
So God permits calamity to awaken men to their sins. This is one side of the equation. Let us remember that there is another reaction that Satan urges men to take. Here is another comment from Prophets and Kings, page 277.
“How frequently we hear of earthquakes and tornadoes, of destruction by fire and flood, with great loss of life and property! Apparently these calamities are capricious outbreaks of disorganized, unregulated forces of nature, wholly beyond the control of man, but in them all God’s purpose may be read. They are among the agencies by which He seeks to arouse men and women to a sense of their danger.”
This is spiritual danger that is being spoken of here. There is danger in living outside of God’s law. God will permit it for a time, but eventually He must take matters into His own hands and check the onrushing iniquity.
Here is another statement from the Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 946. “Before the Son of man appears in the clouds of heaven everything in nature will be convulsed… There will be mighty earthquakes and great destruction of human life.”
Here we see that everything in nature will be convulsed. Think for a moment about the potential problems that would develop, should a 10.0 magnitude or larger earthquake hit Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York. Even though these cities are somewhat fortified against a major earthquake, God can easily overthrow them. Moreover Haiti is a prophetic example, a foretaste, of what is going to happen in other cities around the globe. Here’s a statement that astonishes me. It is from Last Day Events, page 111.
“The end is near and every city is to be turned upside down every way. There will be confusion in every city. Everything that can be shaken is to be shaken and we do not know what will come next. The judgments will be according to the wickedness of the people and the light of truth that they have had.”
And this one from Evangelism page 29. “O that God’s people had a sense of the impending destruction of thousands of cities, now almost given to idolatry… The time is near when large cities will be swept away, and all should be warned of these coming judgments.” If you live in a big wicked city, the present time may be your only chance to get out before this destruction comes upon you.
Now let me read to you from Maranatha, page 25. “The ungodly cities of our world are to be swept away by the besom of destruction. In the calamities that are now befalling immense buildings and large portions of cities, God is showing us what will come upon the whole earth. He has told us, ‘Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it [the coming of the Son of man] is near, even at the doors.’” Matthew 24: 32, 33.
When you see all these things? What things? When you see the destruction of ungodly cities, you will know that the coming of the Son of Man is near. Do you think the return of Jesus is near, my friends? I do. I hope you do too. How many ungodly cities are there in this world? There are thousands upon thousands of them. Imagine when in quick succession, there will be destruction of many of these cities. Earthquakes could do much of the damage. But also there are hurricanes and cyclones and other natural disasters. If every city is going to be shaken, we are in for some incredible upheaval and chaos.
Then there is the supernatural destruction that God can do. Do you think that God would allow devastation to come upon some cities or places, similar to what happened in the time of Sodom? Why not? He did it before. What would make us think that He would not do it again? Imagine what would happen if something like that happened again.
Think about the huge numbers of souls that have gone to Christless graves in the devastating earthquake in Haiti. This great tragedy is perhaps the most important of all. Yet there are many cities that have millions upon millions of people who do not know Jesus let alone the last message of warning to the world. Don’t you think the cities should be warned of the coming calamities? Perhaps we should more carefully think about the ways in which we can individually do our part.
Couple that idea with the following statement from Maranatha, page 25.
“Not long ago a very impressive scene passed before me. I saw an immense ball of fire falling among some beautiful mansions, causing their instant destruction. I heard someone say, ‘We knew that the judgments of God were coming upon the earth, but we did not know that they would come so soon.’ Others said, ‘You knew? Why then did you not tell us? We did not know.’ On every side I heard such words spoken…”
Does that sound like destruction similar to what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah?
Think for a few minutes about the mentality of the people at the time of the building of the tower of Babel. The men in that generation thought that they could mechanically overcome the natural disaster of the flood by building a tower that would climb to the heavens. They thought that they could actually get the tower high enough that it would reach above the waterline of any flood that might come.
These people disrespected God. They dishonored him in their thoughts and in their actions. God had promised never to send another flood over the whole world, but they disbelieved Him. They thought He was not telling the truth. But in their arrogance they thought that God would not do anything about their evil plans. So he confounded the languages and made it impossible to continue their project. God has many ways to overthrow the arrogance of man.
Now today we see similar arrogance and defiance. Thousands of architects, builders and building officials, and millions of residents know about the 1906 earthquake that struck San Francisco that destroyed the city. They may also know that San Francisco is wicked in the extreme, though they deceive themselves into thinking that God will do nothing to arrest the moral corruption. They know about the rampant immoral homosexual lifestyle that characterizes the city. But they want to protect themselves against a natural disaster, another earthquake, while continuing in sin. So what have they done? They have upgraded the building codes to incorporate new technology so that the buildings are earthquake resistant. They have put in all sorts of multiple layers of protection so that the buildings will not collapse in a major earthquake, which they actually believe is inevitable. They are building their own tower of Babel, so to speak, so that they can protect themselves from God’s judgments. They build skyscrapers and massive buildings for their own purposes, thinking that they are now safe. But do you think that God can raise up a powerful earthquake that will overthrow even these fortified buildings? Of course He can.
Remember the statement that says that these “calamities” and “capricious outbreaks” of seemingly “disorganized, unregulated forces of nature,” are actually fulfilling God’s purposes, and that God uses these to “arouse men and women to a sense of their danger?” Do you think that what happened in Port-au-Prince is sending a message to the people of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, as well as thousands of other cities? Of course it is! God is telling them that their time in running out and that they should repent. But they justify themselves with the thought that the buildings in Port-au-Prince were not built well. They build their own buildings stronger. And they put in earthquake fuses, super-reinforced concrete and other technology so that these buildings will not collapse.
Let us remember, the earth and all that live in it are but a mere speck of dust compared to the rest of the universe. We are so small, and God is so big and powerful. We can be easily overthrown. Let us not forget that the God who could cause a flood that destroyed the whole world, can upset all the cities of the world and turn them upside down if He wanted to. But man has a tendency to be proud. He has a tendency to think that he can prevent God’s judgments. They become haughty, high-minded. Their hearts and heads become so large that God seems small to them.
Listen to these verses from the 2nd Timothy 3:1-4. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
Do you think that we have those conditions today? Did you notice that it spoke of people without natural affection? This is speaking of those who are in the trap of homosexuality. Do you think that the city of San Francisco, where they made the buildings stronger so that an earthquake would not topple their skyscrapers, notoriously fits in this category? Do you think that the tower of Babel, which was a monument to the arrogance of men toward God, is somehow being repeated in these great skyscrapers, and that perhaps it involves that same arrogance in another way? To my mind, the story of the tower of Babel is prophetic. God was telling us about the arrogance of man in the last days.
Think of the terrorism on September 11, 2001. The terrorists took down the twin towers in New York City. Do you think God may have allowed that to happen as a reproof to the people who have the characteristics Paul spoke about? After all, these type of people are very concentrated in large cities. Do you think God could destroy San Francisco, even with its fortified buildings? Of course He could. And what about other wicked cities like Amsterdam, Venice, Jakarta, Shanghi or Seattle?
Jesus said that “as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” That’s Luke 17:26. Do you think the wickedness in Noah’s day is paralleled today?
Lot was told to leave the city of Sodom. He was told that he must go out or be destroyed with it. Do you think that this instruction that was given to Lot is given to us today? If we paid attention to what happened in the Bible story way back then, we would not need any other advice, but to follow what the angels told Lot to do. “Escape with thy life” he was told. God sends the same message to us. Though Lot was not given time to sell his house, his sheep and goats, or his other assets. He wasn’t even given time to collect his belongings. He was not given time to bid his children goodbye. He just had to get out, and get out right away! And not look back! There was no time to leave in an orderly and well managed fashion. You see, my friends, we don’t need the Spirit of Prophecy to tell us to “Get out of the large cities as fast as possible!” We just need the story of Lot. By the way, one such statement is found in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 195.
But God has been far more merciful to us. He has given this instruction to us well in advance so that we have time to follow it in an orderly fashion. We can sell our assets. We can buy someplace to live in the country. He will help us, we are told. Moreover, we should do this now so that we can be out of the cities well in advance of the time of trouble that is coming upon the whole world. When the rest of the world is in a famine, you will be able to eat something because you can grow it in your garden.
Listen to this clear statement from Country Living, page 31. “‘Out of the cities; out of the cities!‘’—this is the message the Lord has been giving me. The earthquakes will come; the floods will come; and we are not to establish ourselves in the wicked cities, where the enemy is served in every way, and where God is so often forgotten. The Lord desires that we shall have clear spiritual eyesight.”
I wonder how many people actually believe that those statements apply to us today. Soon it will be impossible move out of the cities, and then they will be trapped.
Here is another clear statement from the same book, page 21. “When power [invested in kings] is allied with wickedness, it is allied to Satanic agencies, and it will work to destroy those who are the Lord’s property. The Protestant world have set up an idol sabbath in the place where God’s Sabbath should be, and they are treading in the footsteps of the Papacy. For this reason I see the necessity of the people of God moving out of the cities into retired country [places,] where they may cultivate the land and raise their own produce. Thus they may bring their children up with simple, healthful habits. I see the necessity of making haste to get all things ready for the crisis.”
Let me ask a question. Who destroyed the city of Port-au-Prince, God or Satan? Listen to this statement from the book Great Controversy, page 614. “The same destructive power exercised by holy angels when God commands, will be exercised by evil angels when He permits. There are forces now ready, and only waiting the divine permission, to spread desolation everywhere.” So it doesn’t really matter. God either commands it, or He permits it. Either way, He is in control.
Now let us think about what would be the effect of the supernatural destruction of a large number of great big cities, particularly on religious leaders? Instead of turning back to obedience to the law of God, they would argue that we need to get everyone back in church… They will even press for religious laws to force people to become more religious.
Religious conservative Pat Robertson is perhaps somewhat farther along in his logic and attitude, at least publically, than many other religious leaders. He was very pointed when the earthquake struck Haiti and made a rather extreme statement. He “blamed the tragedy on something that ‘happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it,’” reported CNN.
The Haitians ‘were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever,’ Robertson said on one of his broadcasts. ‘And they got together and swore a pact to the devil’ if they could be free from French control… ‘You know,’ continued Robertson, ‘the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other.’”
The Haitians “need to have… a great turning [back] to God,” he concluded. To Pat Robertson that means that they must at least be back in church on Sunday and stop their voodoo superstition among some other things.
Robertson, as I said, is ahead of other religious leaders in their public statements. But many of them are thinking similar thoughts, though they know that to say them at this time would discredit them. But the agenda is clear. Get the people back to God. How do you do that? You require everyone to be in church. Make a law! It’s that simple. Pat Robertson didn’t say that, but that is where it is headed. If you have studied the prophecies of the last days in scripture, you would know that there will be a religious struggle over worship by the powers of the world against God’s true people. What will actually happen is that the people will be required through Sunday laws to keep sacred the false sabbath.
What will happen when devastation is widespread upon many cities, perhaps globally? Many religious leaders will join Robertson and claim that the wickedness of the world is the reason for the disasters. They will claim that the calamities and destruction upon the cities is because the law of God is being violated by not keeping Sunday sacred. They will build their case on the idea that the people are in rebellion to God and therefore God is punishing them for their sins. While that might be true, they will not come to the right conclusion. These appeals to get back to God will become more frequent and strident, eventually demanding that the nations require worship on Sundays and that the people rest from their labors through increasingly strident Sunday laws. Roman Catholic bishops will join in the appeals to national leaders and people to restore order by making religious laws so that the people will be actively and visibly reconciled to God.
Here is what Christian Service says on page 155. “Men in responsible positions will not only ignore and despise the Sabbath themselves, but from the sacred desk will urge upon the people the observance of the first day of the week, pleading tradition and custom in behalf of this man-made institution. They will point to calamities on land and sea—to the storms of wind, the floods, the earthquakes, the destruction by fire—as judgments indicating God’s displeasure because Sunday is not sacredly observed. These calamities will increase more and more, one disaster will follow close upon the heels of another; and those who make void the law of God will point to the few who are keeping the Sabbath of the fourth commandment as the ones who are bringing wrath upon the world. This falsehood is Satan’s device that he may ensnare the unwary.”
Every time there is a major natural disaster, Pat Robertson has some similar remark. He is treated as a crazy man in the press. His comments generated a storm of protest for their insensitivity, but they should not be overlooked by students of prophecy. Robertson’s words are ominous. They reflect the same attitude that will characterize those that will press for Sunday laws and that will oppress God’s true Sabbath-keeping people.
Most of God’s people today don’t want to think about the time of trouble. They would rather believe that it will come sometime after they are dead and gone. But friends the very thing that happened in Haiti is a warning of what is coming to a city near you. Perhaps you should heed God’s counsel if you are living in the city and actively search for ways to move out. I know there are complications, such as what job you would have, and how you would be able to pay the rent or mortgage. But God knows these things better than you do and if you are sincere, He will open the way. But you must not wait until He drops it in your lap. You need to be proactive now, so that He can guide you through the process in an orderly fashion. You know it is His will.
You may think that you have lots more time. But there will be a change. It will be rather surprising. Listen to the following statement from Fundamentals of Christian Education, page 356 and 357. Listen carefully. “There will soon be a sudden change in God’s dealings. The world in its perversity is being visited by casualties,—by floods, storms, fires, earthquakes, famines, wars, and bloodshed. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power; yet He will not at all acquit the wicked… [He] still holds out the hope of forgiveness even to the most undeserving! But His forbearance will not always continue. Who is prepared for the sudden change that will take place in God’s dealing with sinful men? Who will be prepared to escape the punishment that will certainly fall upon transgressors?”
The whole world is being visited, not just Haiti. Think about the other huge earthquakes in recent times. There were a large number of them throughout the so-called Pacific “rim-of-fire” just last year for instance in places such as Sumatra, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji, etc. Port-au-Prince happens to be one of the most devastated. But these other places suffered too.
Everyone knows that San Francisco is a geologic “time bomb,” just waiting to go off. But there are geologic faults in many places that we know little or nothing about. At the time of God’s appointing, they could wreak havoc by absolute surprise upon the wicked cities of the earth. God’s judgments will fall on the rebellious inhabitants of the world. We don’t know exactly when or how He will do it, but it will happen. You can be certain of it. Jesus Himself predicted it.
“The Lord God of Israel is to execute judgment upon the gods of this world as upon the gods of Egypt. With fire and flood, plagues and earthquakes, He will spoil the whole land.” That’s from Last Day Events, page 240. You see, my friends, God is doing what He has to do to wake people up to their rebellion. The fact is, earthquakes are a warning against the wickedness in the world.
Here is another statement from the Spirit of Prophecy, Vol 1, page 84. “The earth will be convulsed, and there will be dreadful eruptions and earthquakes everywhere. God will plague the wicked inhabitants of the earth until they are destroyed from off it. The saints are preserved in the earth in the midst of these dreadful commotions, as Noah was preserved in the ark at the time of the flood.”
Imagine what that will be like! As men become more bold and rebellious in their defiance of God, they will be judged with calamities and disasters. But also notice God’s intentions for His people. He intends to preserve them as He did Noah. But He cannot protect you if you are not living by His holy law. You cannot be protected unless you are under the shadow of His wing.
Friends, now is the time to be right with Jesus Christ. You cannot do it when you are under the rubble of some collapsed building. When disaster comes it is too late to reconcile with God. In His mercy, God sends warnings and pleas so that his people might be prepared for the coming judgments on the wicked. Oh my friends, don’t you want to be under the protection of God? Don’t you want to have a living relationship with Jesus Christ so that you can be preserved in the coming catastrophes that will plague this world? This world is no place to build up your assets or your possessions. This world is no place to live like you are going to be here for another 50 years. Now is the time to get ready, for you do not know when sudden destruction will come upon you. May God bless you as you seek Him with all your heart.
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