Category: Prophecy

How Much Time is Left? Part III

In this series, we have been looking at the prophecies given by Jesus on the Mount of Olives. We have looked at the reason for all the natural disasters, diseases, and tension between the nations. We have seen how one by one, the prophecies given by Christ are being fulfilled. In the last issue, we looked specifically at the great earthquake prophesied by John in Revelation 6:12. 

In this issue, we will deal with the rest of the prophecy given in that passage and see its connection to the same signs given by Christ. If you haven’t read the rest of the series, I encourage you to click on the prophecies tab and check out the previous articles on this subject.

The apostle Matthew records, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heavens shall be shaken.” Matthew 24:29. When viewing these same signs, the prophet Joel wrote, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.” Joel 2:31. And the beloved John saw in vision, “and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.” Revelation 6:12,13.

First, we will deal with the sign that the sun and moon would be darkened. Has such an event already taken place? There is such an event that can fit this description, and it is known in history as “The Dark Day.”

The United States of America had just a few years prior gained their independence, and the country was beginning to flourish. As exploration of the west had not yet taken place, the majority of the population was concentrated on the east coast. To most, life seemed full of opportunity. On May 19, 1780, fear seized thousands as an oppressive darkness descended on the New England States and parts of Canada. 

As many residents arose, it seemed to be just another gloomy day, but soon dark clouds rolled in, and by noon the darkness was at its peak. The sun had been darkened and would not be seen until the next day. That night the moon would also not give its light until about midnight when it was seen shining in its brilliance. 

Professor Samuel Williams of Harvard College recorded many details on this event. While at Cambridge, the darkness rolled in, and thanks to his insights, we can take a more in-depth look into the magnitude and severity of this great darkness. On the depth and extent, he wrote, “In most parts of the country it was so great, that people were unable to read common print – determine the time of day by their clocks or watches – dine – or manage their domestic business, without the light of candles.” 1 In respect to the effect it had on the animals, he wrote, “the birds having sung their evening songs, disappeared, and became silent; – the fowls retired to roost; – the cocks were crowing all around, as at the break of day.” 2

The intensity of the darkness itself is worthy of notice, but the effect it had on the population was also significant. A large portion of the New England States were Protestant Christians, and many saw this as a sign that the day of judgment was at hand. In Connecticut, the legislature was in session as the darkness descended. Abraham Davenport was among those present, and his bravery is preserved to this day in a poem.

“This well may be
The Day of Judgment which the world awaits;
But be it so or not, I only know
My present duty, and my Lord’s command
To occupy till He come. So at the post
Where He hast set me in His providence,
I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face,
No faithless servant frightened from my task,
But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls;
And therefore, with all reverence, I would say,
Let God do His work, we will see to ours
Bring in the candles.” 3

Although the day of judgment did not come in 1780, another sign given by our Lord had been fulfilled.

Now we will take a look at the signs in the stars. As we saw earlier, John declared, “the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.” Revelation 6:12,13. One event that perfectly fits this description was the falling stars of 1833. 

Mr. Alexander C. Twining described this event as “a constant succession of fire balls, resembling sky rockets, radiating in all directions from a point in the heavens.” 4 Another described that “Their appearance was so incessant during some part of the phenomenon, that all the stars of the firmament, seemed to be darting from their places. Many persons thought a shower of fire was falling, and became exceedingly alarmed. The light was so intense, that apartments, where persons were sleeping, were strongly illuminated, and some were aroused under the apprehensions that their dwellings were in flames.” 5

What an incredible spectacle was seen that night. Although an accurate number could not be taken, it is estimated that over 200,000 stars were seen falling that night. 6 The bible could not have better described this spectacular event.

As seen earlier, these signs were to take place immediately after the tribulation spoken of in Matthew 24:21,22. In the next part of this series, we will take a further look into this time of tribulation. We will then see how perfectly these two events were timed. Both of these events had the effect that God designed for them to have. They were widely seen as signs of the near return of Jesus Christ. Many were amazed, while others feared that the day of judgment had come. Today we may look at these waymarks and see that very little time remains until we can go home with our Lord.

Written By Cory Lamming

  1. “An Account of a Very Uncommon Darkness, in the State of New England, May 19, 1780” Page 234, 235
  2. “An Account of a Very Uncommon Darkness, in the State of New England, May 19, 1780” Page 235 
  3. The Poem “Abraham Davenport” by John Greenleaf Whittier 
  4. The American Journal of Science and Arts, Volume 25(1833-1834), pg 365
  5. The American Journal of Science and Arts, Volume 25(1833-1834), pg 371,372
  6. The American Journal of Science and Arts, Volume 25(1833-1834), pg 389

How Much Time is Left? Part II

In the first part of this series, we had a look at some of the signs of the second coming of Jesus Christ. We saw that throughout the centuries, many of the signs have been perfectly fulfilled. We looked at the fulfillment of the destruction of the temple and the fall of Jerusalem. We addressed the terrible natural disasters and diseases that were foretold to take place in our day. And finally, we covered the time of great tribulation. Today I would like to look into a detail added by the apostle John in the book of Revelation.

“And I beheld when he had opened the six seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.” Revelation 6:12,13.

John begins the sequence of events with a great earthquake. When we look back into the scope of time, do we see such an earthquake? We do, and it was not only extraordinarily destructive but also affected future generations to come. The great Lisbon earthquake in 1755 went into history as one of biblical proportions. Not only was it severe and felt all over the planet, but it also had a significant impact on philosophy, science, and the economy.

In the 18th century, Lisbon was one of the largest and most significant cities in Europe. Gold coming from Brazil allowed King John V to sponsor magnificent buildings and churches. Lisbon was flourishing and growing. It was also an important port and played a large part in the world economy of the day. When this city fell, it would have a significant impact on the European economy and the lives of those living in this great city.

It all happened on November 1, 1755. It was all saints day, and many were gathered at the churches in the city. None knew the destructive event that was about to take place. At 9:40 am, an earthquake with a magnitude between 8.0 and 9.0 struck. For 3 to 6 minutes, the city would be shaken, causing fissures 5 meters wide to open up in the city center. Most of the magnificent churches crumbled down upon the thousands inside. Many ran down to the open spaces by the sea to escape falling debris. Only 40 minutes later, a tsunami engulfed the harbor and rushed up the Tagus river. If all this wasn’t enough, a fire broke out in the city due to the thousands of candles lit to celebrate all saints day. This fire was so hot it became a firestorm and did more damage than even the earthquake itself. It is estimated that between 10,000 and 60,000 were killed during this event in Lisbon alone. This earthquake was also felt as far away as Finland, North Africa, Greenland, and the Caribbean. The resulting tsunami swept the shores of North Africa, Ireland, and the southern English coast.

In the 18th century, it was widely accepted that natural disasters were the judgments of God upon sinners. This, however, created a problem. Most of the destruction was upon the churches, and most of those killed were Christians. The brothels, on the other hand, were spared, and many of the prisoners were released during the destruction. Voltaire, a prominent philosopher of the day, retaliated against this line of thinking. In his poem “Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne,” Voltaire challenged the thought that a loving God would bring such destruction upon mankind. Voltaire was a deist and played an important role in the age of enlightenment. Many began to adopt this line of thinking; this largely influenced the French revolution as well as fuelled the growth of atheism.

Sebastião de Melo, the prime minister of Portugal during the time of the Lisbon earthquake, survived the devastating event. He began to ask questions on why these earthquakes happen and what would cause such destruction to unleash. This was the first earthquake in recorded history to be studied to this degree and therefore was the birth of modern seismology. The Pombaline style of architecture was also adopted and began the move to create seismic proof structures. These marked shifts have influenced the world today and added to the significance of this great earthquake.

Today, the cause of earthquakes is known. We now know much more about tectonic plate movements and how the hot magma flows below the surface affect the earth. Yet with all this knowledge, we cannot stop them from happening or even predict precisely when they will come. Because of the shift that took place in the 18th century, most now would not believe that such destruction comes from God. Today the theory of evolution has taken front stage and is widely accepted. This has led many to deny the existence of God, and even many Christians are adopting theistic evolution.

Now is when we need to look to the word of God. We must stand on the Bible and the Bible alone. In the book of Genesis, the Bible speaks of a literal seven-day creation of the earth. David tells us, “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalms 33:9. Can not the same God that spoke the world into existence use the storehouses of power we see in nature? Why would God even want to use such a powerful force upon mankind? Was there a reason the churches received so much damage during this event?

For many centuries the Roman Catholic Church martyred millions of Christians who only wanted to follow the dictates of their conscience. This period in earth’s history is known as the dark ages. Although the 18th century was the age of enlightenment, the power of the church over consciences had not yet been completely broken. To counter the protestant reformation, the church had instituted inquisitions in many countries. One of the main stages for the Portuguese Inquisition was in Lisbon. The grand inquisitor condemned many in this great city, and many were burned at the stake for not conforming to the church’s wishes. God never forces the conscience, and it displeases Him to see men do this.

God chose the Jewish nation to be the expositors of His law. When Israel fell short of fulfilling this role, He instituted the Christian church. In the days of Israel, prophets were raised to correct His people. When all these measures failed, and the prophets were persecuted and killed, God would send judgments to awake His people and save the remnant He had remaining within. Just as Israel departed from the will of God, so did the Christian church during the dark ages. God raised up reformers just as he once had raised up the prophets. Sadly the Christian church disregarded these warnings and martyred these men of God. God had to use judgments to get the attention of His people. You know what? God deals the same with His church today.

Friends, God is trying to get our attention. He is doing all he can to save us and wake us up from our slumber. The signs we see fulfilled in history, as well as the ones we see today, are waymarks. They show us how close we are to our destination. The second coming of Jesus is nothing to be feared. If we are hidden in Christ, he will carry us through every event and give us peace through every trial. The plan of salvation is a rescue mission, and the second coming is our deliverance. As we continue through this series and see how near we are to this wondrous event, we may become excited, for soon we will meet our Lord!

As you can see, this event in earth’s history was a significant one that largely shaped the world we see today. It could not have more perfectly fulfilled the sign spoken of by the apostle John. But this was only a small part of the prophecy given in that verse. What about the signs in the sun, moon, and stars? We will address these events in the next issue. I hope this article has helped strengthen your faith in the prophecies of God as much as it has for me.

Written by Cory Lamming

How Much Time is Left? Part I

When we look at the world today, what do we see? We see a world full of chaos and impending conflict. Fear is coursing through the hearts of many because of random acts of violence. Month to month, the death tolls rise, and more places seem unsafe. Natural disasters are on the rise and are becoming more intense. Fires have destroyed thousands of homes, and some have even lost their lives. Floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes have left destruction in their path. Disease and famine are claiming the lives of thousands. On top of this, the world is in a fragile economic state and is holding on by a thread. So what does this all mean? Does it foretell some great event about to take place? 

 The Bible has accurately predicted the state of things today and even thousands of years in advance. There are significant events about to take place very soon. Do you want to know what is about to happen? Do you want to know what preparation is necessary to make it through these events? Let’s have a quick look at what the Bible has to say about the state of the earth just before the second coming of Christ and compare that to what we see today.

 Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 are all accounts of the same discourse given by Jesus. On the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave the disciple’s signs for two events; signs both of the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the world. Each gospel adds details that provide us with a clearer picture of what Jesus was trying to reveal.

 God does not want these events to take us by surprise and has forewarned us. The prophet Amos said, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7. And Paul revealed in 1 Thessalonians 5:4, “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” There is, however, a warning in verse 6. “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” If we watch for the signs, we need not be worried about being caught off guard.

 So what are the signs of the second coming of Jesus Christ? Here is what Jesus first revealed, “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. 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.” Mathew 24:4-6. Keep in mind that these were not only signs for the second coming, but also the fall of Jerusalem. Jesus tells us that these things will happen, but the end is not yet.

 These first signs were a warning to the Christians living in Jerusalem during the first century. Although the end of the world had not come yet, there were significant events to take place during this time. There were wars, uprisings, and civil outbreaks. In 66 AD, the first Jewish – Roman war broke out. In 70 AD, Jerusalem was besieged, and the temple destroyed. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote, “Now the number of those that were carried captive during this whole war was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven hundred thousand, the greater part of whom were indeed of the same nation [with the citizens of Jerusalem], but not belonging to the city itself; for they were come up from all the country to the feast of unleavened bread, and were on a sudden shut up by an army, which, at the very first, occasioned so great a straitness among them, that there came a pestilential destruction upon them, and soon afterward such a famine, as destroyed them more suddenly.”1 Due to the increased number present in Jerusalem, 1.1 million died, and another 97,000 were enslaved. Jesus foresaw the fall of this great city and did not want any Christian to have to partake of this terrible suffering. 

 Were there false Christ’s and prophets during the first century? Josephus tells us of a man named Theudas, who claimed to be a prophet while Fadius was a procurator of Judea. The same author also tells us of an Egyptian false prophet who rose during the time of Felix. There were also false messiahs during this time. Simon bar Giora and Menahem ben Judah are a couple of examples of Jewish messiah claimants. Simon Magus and Dositheos, the Samaritan, are examples of those that claimed to be Christ within the Christian sphere during this time. 

 There was also another sign given to the early Christians. Jesus said in Luke 21: 20-22, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” As soon as the Christians saw the city surrounded, they knew they needed to flee. But if they were surrounded, how could they escape? This is where the story gets remarkable.  

 Cestius, a Roman senator and general, had surrounded Jerusalem, and much progress had been made to overtake the city. Josephus wrote on this matter, “And now it was that a horrible fear seized upon the seditious, insomuch that many of them ran out of the city, as though it were to be taken immediately; but the people upon this took courage, and where the wicked part of the city gave ground, thither did they come, in order to set open the gates, and to admit Cestius as their benefactor, who, had he but continued the siege a little longer, had certainly taken the city.”2 When you keep in mind that a victory had nearly been gained, it makes the next statement incredible. “It then happened that Cestius was not conscious either how the besieged despaired of success, nor how courageous the people were for him; and so he recalled his soldiers from the place, and by despairing of any expectation of taking it, without having received any disgrace, he retired from the city, without any reason in the world.”3

 God had opened the way for His people to escape the city. Just as God gave them signs, he has done the same for us today. Just as God wanted the early Christians to be ready for the destruction of Jerusalem, He wants us to be prepared for His second coming.

 Next, Jesus turns our attention from the fall of Jerusalem to the end of time. “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Matthew 24:7. Have not there always been earthquakes, famines, and pestilences? Yes, but Matthew added another additional detail in the very next verse, which is worthy of notice. “All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.” (ESV)

 Birth pains start with lower intensity and time in between contractions. As the birth of the child draws nearer, the birth pains become more intense and closer together. Just before the baby comes, the intensity of the contractions is almost unbearable, and they come one right after another. What Jesus was trying to tell us is that these terrible calamities would continue to get worse until the end. Just before Jesus’ second coming, there will be an extreme intensity in these disasters, and they will become frequent. 

 So now we must ask the question, is there an increase in frequency and intensity? If we look at the Annual Disaster Statistical Review for 2006, between 1987 -2006, the number of disasters nearly doubled.4 According to The New England Journal of Medicine, “There were three times as many natural disasters from 2000 through 2009 as there were from 1980 through 1989.”5 In the same article, we find this statement, “Natural disasters, particularly floods and storms, will become more frequent and severe because of climate change.”5 Jesus warned us this would happen, and we should take note that we are seeing the signs that time is running out.

  The next point I would like to touch on is the time of great tribulation. The definition of tribulation is sorrow or suffering as a result of persecution. In Matthew 24:21, Jesus warned that there would be a time of great tribulation and also added that it would be the worst the world has or ever will see. Was there a time in history that fulfilled this? There was, and it is referred to as the dark ages. 

 From 538 AD until 1798 AD persecution of protestant Christians reigned. Millions of martyrs died during this period for merely following their conscience. The terrifying methods used to both torture and kill during these many centuries will make anyone turn in horror. This indeed was a great time of tribulation. Both the books of Daniel and Revelation prophesied that this time of persecution would reign for precisely 1260 years. For the sake of time, I will not go into detail on this subject and will touch on this in the future.

 As you have already seen, the discourse given by Jesus on the Mount of Olives was both full of instruction and warning. Jesus set many signs and way-marks along the many centuries between His day and ours. He warned us that we might prepare for what was to come. He wants us to see that God’s hand has been with His people all through the centuries and that nothing was a surprise to the mighty God we serve. There are yet many signs to look at which directly precede his second coming. The ones we will look at in the next part will begin to hit closer to home, and we will see that very little time remains on the clock. 

Written By Cory Lamming


 (1) The Wars of the Jews, Book VI, Chap. IX, Sec. III

 (2) The Wars of the Jews, Book II, Chap. XIX, Sec. VI

 (3) The Wars of the Jews, Book II, Chap. XIX, Sec. VII