Editor’s Note: The late Joe Cranswick was a newspaper man, a cartoonist and an administrator. Yet, his passion was delving into the Israel Truth and spreading news of it around the world. He was the longtime editor of our predecessor magazine, as well as a contributing correspondent and his articles were insightful and well read. This one was written nearly 50 years ago but as you will soon learn, he could have written it about today’s events.
Over the past year we have experienced earthquakes around the world, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, floods, fires and devastating storms.
These occurrences direct one’s mind to the Bible, read Mark 13:8 where it speaks of earthquakes in divers places. We cannot help but wonder if the “Day of the Lord” is at hand, for when we see these things (earthquakes, famines, and other troubles) come to pass we know they are the beginnings of sorrows. It is interesting to note that these sorrows mentioned in this portion of God’s Word are‘ birthpangs.’ The death agony of this age is the birth-agony of the next. These pains introduced by quakes, mark the actual transition from one age to the next.
“The Day of the Lord” is the day of Jehovah’s self-revelation to judge evil. It is the day in which God makes evident His wrath. Ezekiel 38 and 39 foretells of such a day. God is to pour out His wrath upon Gog in these days which mark the end of the Age. Bible students in great numbers agree that the prophecies outlined in Ezekiel 38 and 39 are about to be fulfilled. Gog is in a position to move in the Middle East – to move into the fury of God’s wrath.
There is a ‘great shaking in the land of Israel’ foretold in these chapters of Ezekiel. In addition to the earthquakes, God will rain upon Gog, great hailstones, fire and brimstone. Prophecies concerning this period of history as outlined in Matthew 24 show that we can expect the sun and moon to cease giving light for a period of time, stars to fall from heaven and the ‘powers of heaven to be shaken’ . These descriptions certainly indicate great cosmic upheavals. Will you just stop here and reflect for a moment the possible effect of such a condition upon the Jesus-rejecting population of the modern Israeli State today?
Cosmic upheavals are nothing new to this earth, even though recent times have not seen much of them. We can go back to the days of Sodom and Gomorrah and read in Genesis of the destruction of those cities.
The Lord caused a rain of fire and brimstone to come from heaven. Then, later in history, the Lord passed judgment on the Egyptians prior to Pharoah letting the Israelites go. “So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt, since it became a nation.” (Exodus 9-24.) The Egyptians suffered God’s wrath by means of a fiery hail from heaven, just as those of Sodom. When Joshua was pioneering the Promised Land, the Lord ‘discomfited the Amorites before the Israelites’ . The account of the destruction of the Amorites in Joshua 10 states that the Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them. At this same time the sun and the moon stood still and is often referred to as the “long day of Joshua.” In I Samuel 7:10 we read of Samuel crying to the Lord of Israel, and the Lord hearing, and as the account goes, ‘the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines and discomfited them and they were smitten before Israel’. It is interesting to notice here that Samuel took a stone and set it up and called it “Ebenezer” which means ‘Stone of Help’ . Evidently this was another instance of God coming to the aid of His people using natural phenomena as his weapon. It is reasonable to assume that the stone set up by Samuel was a hailstone, not of ice, but a meteorite.
Will you just stop here and reflect for a moment the possible effect of such a condition upon the Jesus-rejecting population of the modern Israeli State today?
We may find it hard to imagine a rain of fire from heaven with brimstone. The word brimstone is derived from the Anglo-Saxon ‘brenn’ – burn, and ‘Stan ’ – stone. But it surely happened in Abraham’s day at Sodom. Natural phenomena were the vehicle of God’s destruction of the Amorites before Joshua – why should these cataclysmic encounters not reoccur?
We can readily see that God has used the natural forces of heaven to punish evil nations in the past and when we read in Isaiah 13 : 13, “Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger” and in Ezekiel 13:13 “Therefore then saith the Lord God; I; will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury, and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it”, we can definitely expect earthquakes, cosmic disturbances and falling meteorites that have not been witnessed for generations. The wrath of the Lord will be a real and terrifying experience. Little wonder men’s hearts will fail them for fear. When these things happen, the sorrowing for the world order will be great but coming with it will be a realization that the new era is God’s era and that God alone can provide deliverance from the great upheavals that will accompany the return of Christ in that Great Day of God Almighty. The birthpangs will be fierce but out of it will come the restoration of Israel and an era of righteousness with Christ on the Throne of David.