“There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” Luke 21:11
There have been earthquakes, famines and pestilence before and since this verse was penned in Luke causing those who look forward to the coming of Christ to point to such events as a sign that His coming is imminent. Do we see these signs in 2023? Should Christians be on alert that this is the beginning of the end times?
On February 6, 2023, at 4:17 a.m. local time an earthquake hit southeast Turkey near the Syrian Border. The magnitude of the quake registered 7.8 magnitude. There have been numerous aftershocks as well as a second earthquake on February 20 of a 6.3 magnitude.[i] It has been estimated that 50,000 people died in Turkey and neighboring Syria. “More than 160,000 buildings containing 520,000 apartments collapsed or were severely damaged in Turkey.”[ii] Millions of people were displaced. Thousands have been evacuated. Others are sheltered in tents, greenhouses, and train cars. These people must certainly see themselves as helpless and lost.
A war continues in Ukraine, passing the one-year mark. On February 24, 2022, Putin launched his self-described “special military operation” ordering thousands of troops into Ukraine. Thousands of people fled to the open borders of the neighboring countries. Shortages of every kind are evident in the war zone. Nearly 18 million people need humanitarian assistance with 14 million people displaced from their homes. Over 8,000 deaths have resulted from the war with men accounting for 61.1% of confirmed civilian casualties and at least 487 children have lost their lives.[iii]
Leading up to the year 2017 some biblical scholars and Bible prophecy teachers were watching for a particular sign in Heaven. Revelation 12:1-2 says “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.” (NIV) On the date of September 23, 2017, according to astrology charts, the sun was in Virgo (clothing the woman in the sun), and the moon was near her feet. Above her head were the 9 stars of the constellation Leo with the addition of the planets Mercury, Venus and Mars, which totaled 12 stars. Those stars were to represent the crown on the head of the woman. Jupiter had spent most of the year in Virgo, representing the child about to be born.[iv] The speculation was that this must be a sign of the coming of Christ because of the prophecy in Revelation. However, it didn’t happen.
It is important to note that when studying prophecy, the Bible in its entirety needs to be held as one truth, and astrology is not a part of scripture. The return of Christ is something Christians have yearned for since the disciples first preached it. There will be signs, but “No one knows about the day or hour…so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:35-37). For now, Christian, serve others in these times of great peril. Don’t wait.
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[i] https://www.worldvision.org/disaster-relief-news-stories/2023-turkey-and-syria-earthquake-faqs [ii] https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2023-02-27/magnitude-5-5-quake-strikes-eastern-turkey-emsc#:~:text=%7C,Feb.,2023%2C%20at%204%3A13%20a.m.&text=OSMANIYE%2C%20Turkey%20(Reuters)%20%2D,people%20believed%20trapped%20in%20rubble [iii] https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/02/1133737 [iv] https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/stars/reflections-september-23-2017/