“Behold I Come as a Thief…”

It is hard to believe that seven years have now passed since the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake which occurred on Sunday, December 26, 2004. ‘Tsunami’, a Japanese word, originally meant ‘a large wave in a harbour’, but is now used to describe the most destructive of all waves. Unlike other waves, it is caused by neither the influence of moon or sun – but by a giant disturbance under the sea, which may be either a volcanic eruption or an earthquake (as in this case). As coincidence would have it, my reading was in Revelation when this disaster struck. Earthquakes are mentioned more in this final book of the Bible, than in any other, and are very much associated with the end times. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24v7&8: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. And these are the beginning of sorrows.”

As the months and years of our ageing universe pass, we know from God’s Word that there will be more and more earthquakes in ‘diverse places.’ In the latter times, our earth will suffer the most violent tremors ever experienced in the history of mankind. Those of us in western Europe, to date, have had very little experience of earthquakes, and yet, some day every nation of the world will be affected by that great earthquake mentioned in Rev. 16v18: “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” In Verse 20 of this chapter we learn that: “…every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.”

As the terrible story of the Tsunami unfolded, so too did many stories of heroism and fortitude. I read a newspaper report of one young girl, a tourist in the region, who saw and recognised the signs of the Tsunami before it struck. Being a student of geography, she was well read in this particular phenomenon, and knew the tell-tale signs of approaching catastrophe. The result was that she raised the alarm within the little area where she happened to be at the time, and was able to save the lives of at least one hundred people. Surely, we too, as Christians, need to be well read in God’s Word? His will for us is that we should know the warning signs that accompany the times we live in, and be prepared to warn those souls around us to “flee from the wrath to come.” (Matt. 3v7;Rom.5v9). I am sure that it took courage for this young girl to shout the warnings to the formidable adults around her. It takes much courage for us also, to visit our neighbours, and warn them of the things that we have gleaned from God’s Word. But proclaim it we must, going in His strength, for Jesus tells us: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 10v32&33). And in Mark 8v38 we learn that… “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Just as God told Noah to be prepared for the coming flood, we are exhorted to be prepared for “that day and hour” which no man knows. (Matt. 24v36). “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would have not have suffered his house to be broken up.” (Matt. 24v42&43).

The Tsunami ‘came as a thief.’ People were not expecting this sudden dreadful devastation which overtook them. Those masses of people who checked in at airports during the pre-Christmas rush would have made excellent preparation for their holidays. Perhaps weeks, even months of meticulous planning and anticipation filled their lives. How much more should we anticipate and be prepared for “the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord!” (Mal. 4v5). “Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” (Rev. 16v15).

Some day that curse upon our earth shall be removed, and terrible events like Tsunamis shall be no more, for we read: “And there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 22v3-5). And so, this life is but for a season, but the years of eternity are indeed “for ever and ever.” Without the Lord, those ages of eternity are too awful to contemplate, for we read: “And whosoever was not found in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20v15).

To those who know Him, He says: “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Rev. 3v11). So long as we are followers of Jesus, and “Walk in the Spirit,” (Gal.5v16) this day and all our tomorrows belong to Him.

To those who do not know Him, He says: “Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev.3v20).

“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22v16&17). “He which testifieth of these things saith, ‘Surely I come quickly,’ Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.” Rev. 22v20). May God bless His precious words to the hearts of all who read, and may “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Rev. 22v21)

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