Are You Oblivious to the Coming Destruction?
It is a characteristic of mankind that people choose to go their own way regardless, being guided and impelled by their faulty human nature.
Adam was warned of the consequences of disobedience but still he disobeyed God and reaped the promised result. The people of Noah’s day took no heed to the impending disaster but carried on living as usual until destruction overtook them. Violence was the order of the day for people who were evil and corrupt in the sight of God (Genesis 6:5, 11-13) and they did not really think that God would intervene in the drastic way He did. Jesus said that it will be like that again at the time of his return from heaven.
People can become immune to the possibility of danger. David G. McCullough wrote a book about a situation where danger became familiar; danger was ignored and disaster came suddenly, with dire consequences for many (“The Johnstown Flood”, 1968). Johnstown is a steel town in Pennsylvania, 78 miles east of Pittsburgh. Green hills close in on every side of it and small dams had been built to provide waterpower for machinery in the valley but, under pressure from heavy rainfall they had sometimes burst, for the town was at the confluence of two rivers.
These were minor events in comparison to what was to come.
A huge dam was built up in the hills above Johnstown, the work beginning in 1838. This lake covered about 450 acres and was nearly 70 feet deep, containing an estimated twenty million tons of water.
The top of the dam was about 450 feet above Johnstown.
As might be expected, some town folk were apprehensive but the reservoir served an important purpose. It sustained the canal system from Johnstown to Pittsburgh (the Western Division of the state’s “Main Line” canal) and that required vast supplies of water for its operation. Previously water shortages had occurred nearly every summer, causing business to suffer as a consequence, so the dam was reckoned to be a good thing and so it was built – between 1838 and 1852.
Overtaken by Events
As things turned out the dam was unnecessary. The Pennsylvania Railroad was built and the Johnstown to Pittsburgh rail link was completed six months after the completion of the dam, making the canal system redundant.
The canal system was sold five years later, after which it was largely neglected. In 1862, after heavy rains, the dam broke for the first time but the water level was low and little damage done. In 1875 the dam was sold and four years later sold again, some safety cast-iron discharge pipes having been removed and sold for scrap. The lake was then stocked and used for the recreational purposes of fishing and sailing by wealthy men. Further damage was done by heavy rains in 1881 but examiners pronounced it safe.
The townspeople’s general sense of apprehension changed to a hardening of the mind against the possibility of danger. As one observer recorded later, “Sometime,” they thought, “that dam will give way, but it won’t ever happen to us!” Leading citizens did not heed the warnings of engineers who examined the dam. The furnaces of Johnstown were busy and the people were living very full lives and in their minds the threat posed by the dam receded.
Then, on Thursday May 30th 1889, a hard cold rain began to fall. The rivers rose rapidly and cellars in Johnstown filled with water. The level of the lake increased at an alarming rate and in the afternoon the dam was breached and that tremendous volume of water poured out and the lake was emptied in less than forty-five minutes!
David McCullough describes the plight of the inhabitants of Johnstown and tells of the surprise and suffering that came to them, with people and homes swept away. In all 2,209 people died, of whom some 400 were never found. Had the warnings been heeded, the calamity could have been prevented and lives saved. But this is how it is with man.
Indian Ocean Earthquake
It was much the same with the earthquake that recently occurred in the Indian Ocean. This is thought to have resulted from a shift in the earth’s tectonic plates which registered 9 on the Richter scale – the international standard for measuring earthquakes – making it the fifth largest since 1900 and the biggest quake for 40 years. It caused giant waves that could be detected across the planet and a wall of water, 30ft high in parts, swept into Indonesia – over the coastline of India and Sri Lanka and across Southern Thailand – with no warning whatsoever. The results were devastating with tens of thousands of people killed, thousands more wounded, and a trail of destruction and damage left in the wake of the giant waves.
The happening was monitored and recorded at the British Geological Survey’s Edinburgh headquarters thousands of miles away from the quake itself in the Indian Ocean and the magnitude of what had occurred was realised immediately. But the people who were in the immediate locality had no warning.
There is an international warning system for coastal communities which can give between three and fourteen hours notice of impending danger which was begun in 1965 and is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Member states include all the major Pacific-rim nations in North America, Asia and South America, as well as the Pacific islands, Australia and New Zealand, France and Russia.
However, India and Sri Lanka are not members. So there were no wave sensors in the region and therefore no way of telling which way the giant waves would travel. Thus no warnings could be given and the disaster struck while people were oblivious to what was happening.
Warnings in God’s Word
That is not the case with the Bible’s warnings of judgement to come. Nobody should be in any doubt about what is coming when the Lord Jesus Christ returns from heaven. He is coming to call the world to account for its godless and heedless ways. For nearly 2000 years that warning has been part of God’s message to mankind, together with the caution that many people will ignore it. It was the apostle Peter who wrote this divinely-given forecast of the unbelief and lack of readiness which would exist in “the last days” before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they wilfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which now exist are kept in store by the same word, reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:1-9).
Then Peter adds this word of advice which all wise-hearted people will want to heed:
“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by
Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and account that the longsuf- fering of our Lord is salvation” (3:14,15).
The end of human government will be bad news for some and good news for others. As we see world events moving towards their final phase we should be making the most of the opportunity that still exists to learn about God and to take advantage of His kindness and mercy in giving us the opportunity to prepare for what is coming upon the earth, so that it will not take us unawares.
There is a warning system in place and we need to take note and act accordingly.
Reproduced here by kind permission of the Glad Tidings Magazine: For more great articles see here… http://www.gladtidingsmagazine.org/ and to subscribe for a free monthly magazine visit here http://www.gladtidingsmagazine.org/free-magazines/
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