Why Natural Disasters?
By Gerald Flurry • December 24, 2021
Roughly 30 tornadoes battered the Midwest in December 2021, leaving thousands homeless and around 100 dead. Of the six states affected, Kentucky was hit hardest. One tornado continued on land for 200 miles without lifting up.
“I wish I understood why we’ve gotten hit with the pandemic, a historic ice storm, flooding, and now the worst tornado in our history, all in a span of 19 months,” Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said.
Religion today has no answers to the problem of weather disasters. One evangelist said that God isn’t mad at us. Would Jesus Christ agree with him? I’m telling you, God is involved in natural disasters and in our lives. We, and Herbert W. Armstrong before us, have proclaimed why natural disasters for over 70 years!
Matthew 24 is the greatest prophecy Christ ever gave (alternative versions are in Mark 13 and Luke 21). Mr. Armstrong called it the pivotal prophecy of the New Testament. It discusses lots of calamities but also the most wonderful news you could ever possibly hear. It tells you how to escape and avoid all this suffering.
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3). Christ’s disciples wanted a sign of the end of this age of man’s rule over man—a sign that Christ is about to return.
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (verses 4-5). Take heed. This is a warning! Many talk about Christ the man but not His message.
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (verse 24). Christians in this world are deceived. Are we listening closely?
Christ rebukes this kind of worship: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). If we focus on the man instead of the message, our religion is in vain!
“… This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Mark 7:6). How do Christ’s words match up with the words of that evangelist? Christ does have a view on natural disasters.
“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” (Matthew 24:6-7). Christ continues His description of the world just before His Second Coming—there will be wars and hatred between nations, famines, pestilences and earthquakes everywhere. Strong’s Concordance says that pestilences means plagues—like the pandemic, as the Kentucky governor mentioned. He wants to know why this is happening. The answer is right here!
Luke’s account of Christ’s prophecy adds to this list “fearful sights” (Luke 21:11). Earthquakes, famines, pestilences, fearful sights. That includes the tornadoes that ripped through Kentucky.
Mark uses the word “troubles” (Mark 13:8), meaning extremely emotional agitation and commotion—such as what the victims of tornadoes experience. Why is this happening? Where is God?
Christ prophesied of pandemics and fearsome weather destruction in this end time. What are we going to do with this information?
Still, we have not gotten to the sign the disciples requested. “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). If we don’t heed, all these fearful sights and troubles will be just the beginning of sorrows. A Christian is supposed to be someone who follows Christ. Think about His warning.
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (verses 12-13). Lawlessness is all over the place! It is consuming us! Did that evangelist talk about this? Should we consider it? Christ is deeply concerned. When we judge by God’s standard, we can see that lawlessness reigns in America.
Still, this is not the sign of Christ’s Second Coming.
Here it is: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (verse 14). The true gospel message is the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. Everybody ought to be able to see this sign if it’s as important as Christ says.
Who taught the gospel around the world? He is dead now. Do you know?
“Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:28). This is referring to Christ showing Peter, James and John a vision of the Second Coming (Matthew 17:1-2).
After witnessing this vision, they asked, “Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things” (verses 10-11). The sign that Christ is about to return is an end-time type of Elijah who restored all things—all foundational doctrines—to God’s one true Church. This must have been a real low point in Christian teaching if one man had to restore so much lost truth. When did this happen?
Herbert W. Armstrong reached 8 million subscribers with the Plain Truth newsmagazine—more than Time and Newsweek combined. His World Tomorrow broadcast aired on over 400 television stations. Annual income of the Worldwide Church of God, which he founded, reached almost $200 million before he died in 1986.
Mr. Armstrong is dead and gone, but you can prove that he fulfilled the sign of Christ’s imminent return! (My son’s free book, Raising the Ruins, explains how rebels destroyed Mr. Armstrong’s work after he died.)
The return of Jesus Christ will bring the establishment of a new world. All the evil and all calamities like deadly tornadoes are going to go. God will spread peace, joy and happiness worldwide for 1,000 years.
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)” (Matthew 24:14-15). Reading is not enough. Seeing is not enough. You must understand, or else even your prayers cannot be answered because you won’t be asking the right questions and beseeching God for the right things!
The type of understanding we need goes beyond the five senses. It means working hard to open our minds to revelation from God. We must discern what God is talking about.
This verse right after the gospel sign is interesting because the abomination of desolation is an army. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh” (Luke 21:20). An army from Europe will surround Jerusalem. They will fight Christ Himself when He returns! That army is almost formed and ready to strike.
Revelation 17 warns of 10 kings in Europe uniting and doing horrible damage in World War iii. We must heed what God says! He wants us to avoid this. God is love. He says, If the nations won’t hear, YOU can hear. He gives us a way of escape.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22). No matter what we do, Christ won’t allow mankind to be wiped out by weapons of mass destruction. He will return and stop us from annihilating ourselves! All who have ever lived and died will be resurrected and given a chance to know God for the first time and to receive salvation.
“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (verse 33). You need understanding to know when Christ’s return is at the doors! All these calamities are leading to the Second Coming. At the last trumpet, Christ will be here to end it all. What a beautiful, beautiful future we have. No matter what trials and tribulations people will face, they can have a beautiful future that will last forever—if they want it.
“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (verse 34). Time is short.
“Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (verse 41). One Church of God will be protected from the coming trouble; the other will not. Only the tiny loyal remnant that proclaims God’s warning message before the Second Coming will escape.
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (verse 42). We can know the sign of Christ’s return, and all the other chaotic events leading up to His return, but we will not know the exact day and hour of His return.
“Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (verse 46). Do God’s Work! Help deliver this message to the whole world! Then you will be God’s servant.
Verse 47 ought to just about knock you over: “Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.” The reward is the universe! God’s servants will rule the universe and share Christ’s throne! God will give us everything. Study Hebrews chapters 1-2 for more of this spectacular vision.
“But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of” (Matthew 24:48-50). If we get caught up in our carnal desires and the five senses, refusing to let God guide us, then we will not know when Christ is coming. We won’t know why natural disasters and all these other problems. We won’t see God or realize what He is doing.
“And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (verse 51). Heed or weep. The loving God wants to give us the universe. Make the right choice.Read More