The Warning Bell of the End of Age
At 7:59 AM on December 26, 2004, beneath the Indian Ocean north of the Indonesian archipelago, the largest earthquake since the 20th century occurred. It measured 9.0 on the Richter scale. A Tsunami was formed from the shifting of the undersea tectonic plates. This huge wave swept through Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, The Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Somalia and its neighboring countries on the African coast. As of December 30, the officially announced death toll had risen to 117,000. Due to communication difficulties and the multitude of people still missing, the toll will probably continue to rise. The number of refugees lacking in food and water also approach 5 million. Because the Tsunami caused by this earthquake came very suddenly, without any indication or precursor, many were unable to take refuge. On a sunny morning in the popular Thai resort of Phuket, many tourists had risen early. Some were shopping at beach-front shops, some were sunbathing on the sandy beach, others were enjoying wading or swimming by the shallow shore. Nobody anticipated that within a few dozen seconds, a towering wave over 10 meters tall would come crashing down, turning this heaven on earth into hell, and swallowing up so many lives. Reports indicate that far away in Somalia on the east African coast, entire fishing villages were razed within a split-second by the Tsunami. The huge swell sunk many fishing boats and swept away thousands of villagers. The Sri Lankan government declared that this unexpected calamity had so far taken the lives of over 20,000 of its citizens and made homeless another million. The foregoing is but a sampling of the incidents of this catastrophe.
When I saw the reports of this South East Asian Tsunami disaster on television and the Web, I was both shocked and saddened by the loss of life and soul of so many people in an instant. In this time of our existence, natural disasters and human tragedies seem to be happening more severely and frequently. Earthquakes alone are more prevalent, and increasingly more powerful. This fulfills what Christ prophesized regarding the end of age, when there will be famines and earthquakes in many places as the beginning of total disaster. It brings to mind Paul using the allegory of a woman in the pains of labour to illustrate the calamities at the end of age that spring up suddenly and gradually become widespread and more intense so that none could escape. ˇ§While people are saying, ˇ§Peace and safety,ˇ¨ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.ˇ¨ (1 Thessalonians 5:3) The warning bell of the end of age is tolling ever louder.
Soon 2004 will be history. Today we are stepping into the year 2005. I am thinking - will the Lord Jesus Christ come back this year? Dear brothers and sisters, do you also wish that the Lord would return early? The theme that the church will contemplate on and learn from this year is, ˇ§Carry the vision of the Kingdom within, and be equipped to work for the Lordˇ¨. We the workers who serve wish that the whole church will better understand the will of God for us in this end of age. Before continually equipping ourselves to serve the Lord, we must first have a deeper comprehension of the vision for the Heavenly Kingdom and the mission of the church being extant in this end of age. If we should more often observe worldly affairs from the perspective of God, focus on the everlasting Kingdom in every matter, be attracted by the great love of Jesus, let the Lord be the example to be followed, be totally submissive through His command, and live like the children of light, then we will not be frightened by sudden changes in our circumstances, and not be saddened when deprived of the temporary things of this earth, losing the direction of our existence, or becoming corrupted through a serene life. Since we realize that the warning bell of the end of age is tolling louder, we should grab hold of our opportunities, testify for the Lord fervently, spread the gospel, and awaken even more lost souls. As the author of the Book of Hebrews reminds us:
ˇ§Therefore, since we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.ˇ¨ (Hebrews 12:28)
By: Daniel To