It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was Monday morning. There were fires in Australia, coronavirus in Wuhan, earthquakes in Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Cuba, the markets were reeling and the government was fighting. It was as if someone shook a tiny snow globe suddenly and people could only hold until all the little flakes fell back into place. No, it's not a tiny, handheld globe. It's chaos all over the globe. But, what's REALLY going on? And, importantly, what does this have to do with the end times? Actually, quite a lot.
The End Times and What Jesus Said to Look for
In the book of Matthew, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives as he talked to the disciples. They asked abut two very specific signs: 1. What will be the sign of your coming, and 2. What will be the sign of the end of the world? Now before you read these scriptures and grab your heart and yell, "Elizabeth, I'm coming home, honey! It's the big one!" (Reference: Sanford and Son), no, it's not the end - yet. It is however, the beginning of sorrows, meaning the end is near.
Jesus says in Matthew 24:6-8, "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Let's first look at a few incidents going on around the world so we can pray about these. Then, we'll go into what Father God said in our February message to help guide us in our prayers because He's given us a lot of confirming words. It's important to first understand why these events are occurring and then know what to pray. We don't want to run around like a chicken with our head cut off screaming, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" God's people perish for lack of knowledge. But, by seeking wisdom from God we can stand, be prepared and help others. God doesn't give us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. With a sound mind, love and power we are better equipped to help God's people, help the hurting and importantly help the lost who come into the church.
The Wuhan Coronavirus
If you turn on the news, there's a new incident related to the Wuhan coronavirus. However, the virus is so new a lot of people don't know about it. The coronavirus was given its name because it has a crown-like shape. It causes respiratory illness - similar to a cold and is a cousin of the SARS virus. It started in the Wuhan section of China near a seafood market. Hence, researchers believe it was likely started by a bat, snake or other animal as it crossed from animal hosts to humans, according to Healthline. Treatment should be immediate as coronavirus causes pneumonia and won't respond to antibiotics. A major concern is how quickly it's spreading throughout the globe.
Coronavirus is also being referred to as novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP). Deaths from the coronavirus have exceeded the number of deaths from SARS. A total of 774 died from SARS from 2002-2003 after it reached 26 countries. That's based on World Health Organization totals. As of February 8th, there are about 37,000 cases and 6,100 cases that are severe.
Wuhan is on lockdown and several countries have evacuated their citizens from Wuhan. An Anthem of the Seas cruise ship which just returned to Bayonne, NJ, tested 4 people from one family for coronavirus. One of the people tested only has the flu. However, the ship is being held in port until Monday after a worker died in his cabin on February 2nd. The incident isn't being reported as suspicious or related to coronavirus. But, that's not the case elsewhere.
A Diamond Princess cruise ship with 3,200 people has about 64 people confirmed to have coronavirus. While the number of cases is spreading rapidly, the death rate is relatively low. The World Heath Organization analyzed 17,000 cases and found that 82% were mild, 15% were considered severe and 3% were assessed as critical. In this case, the rate of death is about 2%. However, the death rate for SARS was about 9.6%.
We pray for all those suffering with the coronavirus. We pray for the Chinese and all Asians that they aren't attacked or turned away due to xenophobia (fear of a person from another country). We pray and stand firm on God's Word. See Psalm 91 at the end.
Prayer: Father God in Jesus name, Lord we praise your Holy name. We come to you and ask for Your mercy. We walk in the protection of Psalm 91, We don't fear the arrow by night, the terror by day. Nor the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor the destruction that wasteth at noonday. Though a thousand shall fall at my side and ten thousand at my right hand, it shall not come nigh me. Because we've made You Lord our refuge, even the Most High our habitation; we know that no evil shall befall us, neither shall any plague come near us, our families or our dwelling places. For you've give your angels charge over me and over us to keep us and cover us in all our ways. They shall bear us up in their hands. Satisfy us with long life, Lord, we pray. Protect us, preserve us and keep us. Forgive us from all our sins. We are covered in the name and blood of Jesus. Keep us free from all harm, every danger, sickness and disease including coronavirus and keep us free from all evil. No harm come near our dwelling places and no evil shall befall us. We decree and declare we receive peace, healing, forgiveness, love, power and a sound mind - not fear, not anger, not hatred or bitterness. Come to us now and aid us we pray, in Jesus's mighty name, Amen.
Australia From Fires to Floods
Parts of Australia east coast section are receiving drenching rain as they go from fire alerts to flooding. Areas like New South Wales having suffered through concerns about rampant wildfires are new dealing with landslides and floods.
New South Wales had 33 deaths and saw damage to over 3,000 homes. The fires were the result of record heat that started in 2019. As of February 7, there were still about 42 fires burning and 17 that weren't under control.
In one particular area, Byron Bay, 11-inches of rain fell in under 24-hours. Rain is expected to intensify as some areas may receive more than 4-inches. The concern now is landslides, flash floods and toppled trees.
Puerto Rico and the Caribbean - The Increase in Earthquakes
Puerto Rico can't receive their relief aid fast enough. After experiencing 5 earthquakes over the last few weeks, the $20 billion aid package is being released to the territory that's still recovering from Hurricane Maria.
Since December 31st, over 950 earthquakes, aftershocks and tremors of varying sizes have been experienced on the island. Puerto Rico has been experiencing so many earthquakes because of the Caribbean's tectonic plates. The island of Puerto Rico is situated with the Caribbean Sea and the Muertos Trough on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. The plates in the Caribbean on the upper crust sit just under Puerto Rico. Additionally, the plates from North America can run into and slide under the plates for the Caribbean.
With over 4,000 people in shelters, the number is expected to increase. The biggest quake in recent weeks was on January 7 when they experienced a 6.4 quake that knocked out power to the island. A few days later a 5.9 magnitude quake hit. But, Puerto Rico isn't the only island jarred by quake damage.
Earthquake activity has been reported in Cuba and Jamaica where buildings swayed. A 7.7 quake that hit the areas on Tuesday, January 28 was felt as far away as Miami where buildings shook and people rushed outside. In the Cayman Islands, there were aftershocks and sinkholes. Fortunately, there were no reports of lost lives during this particular earthquake.
God Doesn't Give us the Spirit of Fear
In Hebrews 12:22-23, we learn that we have an innumerable number of angels. In 2 Timothy 1:7 it reads, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. The Bible also gives us an important chapter in Psalms and it's Psalm 91:
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
Taken from Rapture Forums:
What is the Rapture?
According to some Protestant Christians, the Rapture is an end-time event when born-again Christians will be "caught up" into the air and meet Christ in the sky. Many believe that this will happen unexpectedly, and people will suddenly rise from their cars or kitchen tables into the sky. At some point after the Rapture, Christ will begin a thousand-year reign.
When will the Rapture occur?
The Rapture will occur at a time related to the tribulation, the seven-year period before the Second Coming of Christ during which the Antichrist will be in power.
There are three major schools of thought about when it will occur:
Many believe the tribulation period will be a time of famine, disasters, and illness.
What are the biblical references to the Rapture?
The following verses, among others, have been interpreted by some to be evidence of the Rapture:
What will happen to those who are left behind?
Most of humanity will remain on the earth. God will pass judgment on non-believers during the tribulation period. Many predict mayhem for those who are left behind, including mass confusion, airplane and car crashes due to missing drivers and pilots, and rampant crime and lawlessness.
What is the "partial Rapture" theory?
The belief that certain Christians will rise to meet Christ at the beginning of the tribulation. During the tribulation, there will be other periods of Rapture, when more believers will rise in the air to meet Christ.
What will happen after the Rapture/tribulation period?
Christ will begin his thousand-year reign on earth, which will be a time of justice, peace, and joy. When this millennial reign comes to a close, history will end and there will be a "new heaven and a new earth."