We are into the ninth of the 10 alleged signs of an imminent end of the world. Many who believe in these signs will yet be disappointed. Some will lose faith and despair of hope. As their predecessors were so they are, disillusioned about so many false predictions of the end.
As we demonstrated throughout this series, most of Hagee’s arguments are drawn from or dovetail into Matthew 24. That is the undoing of his predictions. He offers yet another on his road to “no end time in our future.” So we must ask: “Do John Hagee‘s Earthquakes Create Cracks in His 10 Road Signs of an Imminent End Time?
His first statement in Beginning of the End, The Terminal Generation page 98, concerning signs is true. “Earthquakes are another sign of the last days.” With that statement, we have no quarrel. Rather, it is the application made of it that is problematic. He uses them to predict a future end time which is imminent upon us. He is fond of saying that he can hear the footsteps of Jesus in the clouds. I guess the rest of us are deaf.
On the other hand, Christ promised that along with civil wars, famines, and pestilences, there would be “earthquakes” in various places. The places Jesus refers to are those of the Roman empire. The times were those of the first century.
Well Defined Earthquake Zones in Bible Lands
“According to Zondervan’s Encyclopedia, “The great majority of the 100 intense earthquakes, occur in well-defined zones. These zones include southern Asia, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece and Italy. Another seismic belt correspond with the ocean ridge system inclusive of the Jordan Rift Valley.
There is considerable evidence suggesting that the present Mediterranean Sea represents only a remnant of a large ocean that once existed between Eurasia and Africa. The high seismic activity of the region is related to the general northward movement of the African and Arabian plates together with the relative motions of two rapidly moving plates which generally correspond with the region of Greece/Aegean Sea and western Turkey These regions and those of eastern Turkey and Iran are seismically active throughout.
The Region of Mesopotamia, with which the beginnings of human activity in the Ancient Near E is so closely associated, and the region of the Pauline journeys, have been and are both subject to considerable earthquake activity, some of it very destructive. See Acts 16:26. The inhabitants of the region in Bible times have been familiar with the earthshaking (Psa. 68:8, Isa. 13:13; Hag. 2:6).
“Certainly one of the chief geological characteristics of Palestine has been its proneness to earthquakes.” (Zondervan Pictorial Bible Encyclopaedia of the Bible, Vol II, 4th ed. p. 180. These faults are similar to the San Andreas Fault of California which explains why it has more earthquakes that other parts of the country.
Therefore, something must be said of Jesus’ ability to predict earthquakes within the region of the Roman empire without the aid of seismographs available in modern science. Further, it demonstrates that the earthquakes of which he spoke are geographically located in the area associated with Jerusalem, the temple and the Roman army who came to destroy it, Matthew 24:3; Luke 21:20-22).
Prophecy and History of Earthquakes in the First Century
Bray says, “Earthquakes did occur at Crete, at Smyrna, at Miletus, at Chios, at Asmos, at Rome, at Apamea (same regions), at Laodicea (in the reign of Nero) “which city was overthrown, as were likewise Hierapolis and Colosse” (Newton), at Campania in the year 62 or 63, and at Rome and Judaea. These earthquakes did not prove the “end” was imminent; contrariwise, as Jesus said, all of those things proved that “the end is not yet” (vs. 6).” Matthew 24 Fulfilled, by Evangelist John L. Bray, p. 29.
Concerning Heirapolis and Laodicea, noted Historian Philipp Schaff writes, ‘”Laodicea, the old city of Diospolis..a few miles distant from Colosse and Hierapolis…When in the middle of the first century of our era (A.D.), an earthquake destroyed Colosse, Hierapolis, and Laodicea, the latter was rebuilt by its own inhabitants”‘ So Laodicea was rebuilt but Colosse and Hierapolis remained in ruins, and the churches merged with the Laodiceans. In the article under COLOSSE, Schaff says:'”A city of Phrygia, on the Lycus…twelves miles above Laodicea…the town is now in ruins.”‘ Dictionary of the Bible, Philip Schaff, quoted in The Book of Revelation by Foy E. Wallace, Jr. p. 36.
Biblical evidence confirms an earthquake at the time of Jesus’ death on the cross where ‘the earth quaked and the rocks were split,’ “Matthew 27:51. Another quake occurred at his resurrection, (Matthew 28:2). During the ministry of Paul on such earthquake occurred in Philippi that shook the foundations of the prison and opened the jail doors, and broke loose all the chains of the prisoners. Acts 16:26.
According to the words of Christ, the signs of earth quakes related to the prophecy of the end time belonged only belonged to the times leading up to the overthrow of the temple. Jesus’ response in Matthew 24:7 concerning earthquakes must be interpreted in the context of the question asked by the Apostles. When shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?
The phrase “end of the age” is never associated with the “end of time” nor the end of the earth or universe, (both non-biblical concepts). Rather, the end of the age meant and was understood by Jesus’ audience as the end of the Jewish age. When an inspired Apostle and prophet tells us that the end of the age had come upon them in the first century, the church must decide whom it will believe, –the testimony of scripture, or the testimony of a non-inspired modern-day wannabe! Here the words of an apostle:
“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Cor. 10:11)
Thus, the New Testament writers speak of the “end of all things” as having drawn near in their day. They saw the signs of the Antichrist unfolding before “their eyes.” They affirmed “it is” the last time, 1 John 2:18. They saw the last “day approaching” and the Lord coming in a “little while.” (Hebrews 10:25, 37). Christ made sure his words were understood to mean those events were to occur in his generation. “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away, till all these things take place.” Matthew 24:34.
To lift the phenomena of “earthquakes” from the setting of the prophecy in Matthew 24, the seismographic evidence of the places within the ancient Roman empire and the documented Jordan Rift Valley, (which occasioned the apocalyptic genre of earthquake terminology in Bible prophecy, and as divinely reported as fulfilled in the first century generation to make 21st century speculative applications is absolutely falsified. Hagee’s conclusions are exegetically, topographically, and chronologically out of step with scripture.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Spike in Tremors Detected on San Andreas Fault (abcnews.go.com)
- Mysterious Tremors Along San Andreas Fault (news.sky.com)
- Evangelicals Very Anti-Israel (talkingpointsmemo.com)