On September 28, 2018, many residents of Palu, Indonesia gathered on the beach to celebrate the town’s anniversary. Despite the rumblings of earthquakes, which occurred often in their part of the world, it seemed like a normal day to the people joining in the happy festivities.
Due to a failure in the tsunami warning system, the people on the beach were unaware that a tidal wave at least ten feet high was headed their direction at a speed of 500 miles per hour (according to one disaster official in the area). Videos of what happened next can be found everywhere on social media.
The current death toll in the city of Palu is well over 1,000 and expected to climb higher.
As T.W. Tramm points out on his website, this tsunami provides a graphic picture of what is coming to this world in the not too distant future. Those on the beach that day typify many today who go about their lives ignorant of the many warnings contained in Scripture.
Jesus compared His appearing to the days of Noah and issued this warning along with that, “and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:39). Do you see why the tsunami is an apt picture of this, of what Christ said about what would happen in the last days?
We Are Living in the Last Days
While we cannot know the day or the hour of Jesus’ return for His church, we can and should recognize its season. And, all the biblical signs point to this current time as that season.
Here are just a few indicators of this:
Israel is back in the land and preparing to build the third temple, which the antichrist will defile at the midpoint of the tribulation.
The nations in the Middle East are lining up precisely as Ezekiel said they would before the battle of Gog and Magog (Ez. 38-39)
Israel now has the wealth and resources that the Lord says will lead to the invasion of Gog and Magog (38:13).
All three nations that lead the Gog and Magog invasion currently have significant forces in Syria right on the border of Israel.
We now have the technology thought artificial intelligence (AI) for the antichrist to control buying and selling worldwide (Rev. 13).
The prophet Zechariah said that in the last days the city of Jerusalem would occupy the attention of the world (Zech. 12:1-3), just as it does at this time.
Peace and security will be the theme of the world before the sudden destruction of the “day of the Lord” (1 Thess. 5:3). Is this not also indicative of the time in which we live? We hear it each September as the UN meets and leaders from all over the world speak.
The signs of the approaching tribulation flash like gigantic neon signs all around us, yet most people ignore the signs and go on with life like those on the beach in Palu unaware of the approaching tsunami.
Sadly, most Christians are also unaware of what is approaching the world at breakneck speed.
It’s Time to Wake Up
The words of Romans 13:11-14 apply to us today like no other time in history. Verse 11 says, “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.”
In other words, it’s time for believers to wake up (or remain awake) and be ready for Jesus’ return.
When Jesus comes for His church, He will not leave behind any true believer. However, the call readiness in Romans 13 and in other places strongly indicates we would be wise to be ready and not asleep spiritually at that time (1 Thess. 5:6).
Regardless of what you believe about the timing of the rapture, it’s time for all of us to be awake and aware of the times. We are living in the last days; the signs of the coming tribulation abound all around us. Anyone who ignores them does so at their own peril.
What Does It Mean For Us?
First, as true followers of Jesus we must take care of our walk with the Savior. Although we will not be left behind at the rapture, there are many indicators in Scripture that it will be much better for those who are ready for it (1 John 2:28). Also, since Jesus repeatedly told us to watch and be ready, we can assume there is great value in doing so (Matt. 24:42, 44-45; 25:13).
Second, please understand that while I believe we are in the last days of human history as we know it, I am not setting a date or a time limit for the rapture to occur. Yes, Jesus could certainly come today or in the very near future, but He also could continue to wait a while longer to give those who do not know Him more time to repent. I am not saying He is coming for us this year or next year or even in the years after that, but I do believe it’s very wise to be prepared for His arrival as we see prophetic events unfold in our world.
Third, apart from the warnings of Scripture, what we hear and see around us should also cause us to walk closer with our Savior. Because of the enormous debt of the U.S. government, economists warn that a collapse in our economy could lead to conditions worse than those in the great U.S. depression. Geologists continually warn of the potential for great catastrophes caused by earthquakes and volcanoes. The political divisions in the United States have already led to violence and could easily erupt into something far worse given the right circumstances.
Fourth, if you do not know Jesus as your Savior, please call upon Him while you have the opportunity to do so. Romans 10:13 says, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “For by grace you have been saved though faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no man can boast.”
Jesus offers us the gift of forgiveness and eternal life, but we must receive it through faith. If you have not already done so, please call upon Him while you can, before the coming storm sweeps you away. Please do not think you can wait until the tribulation starts to do so. You may not survive until that time and the destruction of this day may overtake you before you have a chance to repent.
For us as followers of the Lord, if there ever was a time to be ready for Jesus’ sudden appearing, it is now. We may have several years before the tribulation begins, but all the signs suggest it’s closer than we would like to think it is.