Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Except Those Days Should Be Shortened

Matthew 24: 21-22 ~ "21-For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22-And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."

The devastation and loss of human life and life in general has never been so pronounced in this generation as we have seen over the last 10 years or so. From, mass wildlife die-offs to earthquakes, tsunami's, volcano eruptions and more, it seems that the Earth and those of us on it are under attack. According to the US Geological Survey over 1 million people, an average of 100,000 per year, have died as a direct result of the most dangerous earthquakes in the last 10 years around the world. According to data compiled from the by the same organization, there is an upward trend of about 150 earthquakes per year above category 6 over the last 30 years. This averages out to be about 3 per week somewhere in the world. Although that number spikes at times, it is generally holding to that trend.    
Japanese Coast Line
Before (above) and after (below)
Because there are advanced detection and sensor systems in use, scientists have been able to observe some rather interesting effects that the natural disasters have caused. Scientists can now measure how these events effect the whole Earth. Most specifically when we look at some of the recent earthquakes we find that they actually effected the Earth's rotation and axis resulting in a reduction in time by causing the Earth's rotation to speed up. According to a a Yahoo News article by Liz Goodwin:
  • The 2010  massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile also shortened the day by 1.26 microseconds
  • The 2004 Sumatra quake shortened the length of day by 6.8 microseconds and shifted Earth's axis by 2.76inches
Dr. Richard Gross of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, stated the following:
"An earthquake can make Earth rotate faster by nudging some of its mass closer to the planet's axis, just as ice skaters can speed up their spins by pulling in their arms. Conversely, a quake can slow the rotation and lengthen the day if it redistributes mass away from that axis" 


Matthew 24:7 ~ "For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places"

Although over two-thirds of the worlds volcanoes are underwater, their activity drives much of the worlds earthquake activity.  MSNBC reports that New Zealand sits on the Pacific "ring of fire" which is an arc of earthquake fault lines and over 500 active volcanic zones stretching from Chile in South America through Alaska, down through the South Pacific. This "ring of fire" records more than 14,000 earthquakes a year — but only about 150 are felt by residents, and fewer than 10 a year do any damage. The 2010 New Zeland earthquake also created a new 11ft wide fault line that did not previously exist.

Mass Sea & Wildlife Die-Offs

As I've discussed this in my podcast "Sign or Judgement?" From a lay perspective there is an observation that events of this sort are increasing. Certainly there is an expanding awareness of mass wild-life die-offs in the general public. The question is, are these die-offs and natural disasters somehow related and are they a sign or some type of impending judgement from the Lord? Were events such as these the object of Jesus teaching on increased occurrences of national disasters and political and social unrest? 

Scientist Dr. Arunachalam Kumar thinks that events such as mass wildlife die-offs are warnings to natural disasters. For example, three weeks before the devastating tsunami of the Indian Ocean in 2004, the Dr. was alerted to the deaths and mass stranding of over 170 whales in the region. At that time he wrote:
“It is my observation, confirmed over the years, that mass suicides of whales and dolphins that occur sporadically all over the world, are in some way related to change and disturbances in the electromagnetic field co-ordinates and possible realignments of geotectonic plates thereof.
“I would not be surprised if within a few days a massive quake hits some part of the globe.”
Obviously he was on point in his prediction of an earthquake that would go on to cause a devastating tsunami and horrible loss of life. 

In New Zealand, 48 hours before the 6.3 magnitude earthquake at the end of Feb. 2011, 107 Pilot Whales were found stranded and dieing on the shore. Once again, there was an earthquake after this mass-die-off that has displaced over 500,000 people. Scientists are currently speculating that the cause of death of New Zealand’s Pilot Whales was due to sound sound reverberations in shallow water which could have caused the whales some sort of physical damage to which they responded by killing themselves. 

All of this makes scientists wonder because in Redondo Beach, CA. at the King Harbor there was a recent die-off of over 85 tons of sardines. The speculation is that these fish died due to suffocation, and possibly because they ate what appears to be poisoned plankton. However, as of this writing, the mystery is that noone knows exactly why this happened. 


A Quick Word About Cosmology

What makes all of this more interesting is that scientists have discovered that not only is the universe expanding, but its also speeding up in its expansion.  The value for the expansion rate is 73.8 kilometers per second per megaparsec. That means that for every additional million parsecs (3.26 million light-years) a galaxy is from Earth, the galaxy appears to be traveling 73.8 kilometers per second faster away from us. Energy, however, is a constant in th universe. In other words, the universe is only charged to a certain amount of energy. What this means is that the universe is using up the available energy at a much faster rate than was anticipated or previously thought. This points to the inescapable fact that one day the universe will eventually use up all the energy and die and this event will be at a sooner time period than previously thought. The question is, what happens at that point? 

Back To The Bible

It is rather interesting that Jesus said things the way that he did. "Nation shall rise against nation" could that indicate civil war and regime changes as well ans wars between countries and peoples? Then, "except the days be shortened". Traditionally we've understood the language and the words to indicate a truncation of events but could they mean more than what we've understood? Is there a link in Jesus words to natural disaster and the abbreviation of time, and is that link related to the lack of faith upon the Earth among men as Jesus indicates? Can we afford to think that Jesus was merely rambling when he made these statements, or speaking some dark vague prophecy? 

Further, if Jesus's knowledge was limited and isolated, as the critics often claim, how and why would Jesus link natural disasters, especially earthquakes, to tribulation and and the fulfillment of time?  These things are certainly open to speculation, but one cannot overlook the fact that Jesus words toward what we now know and have discovered as a result of science, should cause one to question the scope of what Jesus was indicating in his teaching regarding end times. 

What God Knows vs. What God Does 

One thing that the critic often does is blame God,  Christians and the Bible for our interpretation of what occurs in creation. Often as Christians, we are asking God why these things have happened.  Then many times some have said with certainly that these things have happened because God said that they should in response to man's sins and errors. Ultimately, we know that there will be judgement and that God will chastise the world for its sin and unbelief. But does God have to do this anonymously or vicariously through natural event without revealing, in an unambiguous manner, that it was he who moved? As I stated in my post Does God Create Tragedy, God need not move without showing his face, and when he judges, he will begin with the self-exalted and domineering princes of the earth and this world, not with the weak and lowly.    

Although atheists believe in mindless chance and happenings for which there is ultimately no purpose and or reason, Christians believe that if God is God then everything that happens, happens for a purpose, whether what happens is actually caused by God or not. So the Christian is never wrong in any manner for seeking the Lord as to why things such as these happen because nothing is a product of mindless chance. Even if we don't know the what or why, we know that a what and why does exist. There is a day when all things will be revealed and all questions answered. There will be a day of reconciliation and closure, and we shall be fulfilled. Because God says that something would happen, does not mean that he is the one doing it or that he has authorized it. 

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