We are all shocked at the reports of the quake and tidal wave in Southeast Asia that is turning out to be one of the greatest natural disasters in history. Our hearts go out to those who are suffering and to those who have lost loved ones. At times like these we also think of the destiny of so many, who face life or death for eternity.
At our staff prayer meeting this morning, several asked if there is a spiritual meaning to such a great disaster. If you are asking similar questions, here are some points you might want to consider:
1. The areas of southern India and Indonesia have experienced great breakthroughs in the gospel over the past few years; among the greatest anywhere in the world.
2. In that area, particularly Indonesia, is found a high concentration of Muslims who are non-Arabs. (We believe that the gospel is coming across the world from Asia. It has been spreading rapidly in China and India. The current breakthrough is now starting in the non-Arabic Muslims; then we believe it will come to the Arab Muslims; and then finally come to the final breakthrough in Israel.) In other words, the area around the earthquake is right on the cutting edge of world evangelism and spiritual conflict.
3. Yeshua said that as the gospel reached different areas of the world, there would be tremendous upheavals, both politically and naturally. Matthew 24:6-8 “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, plagues, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of tribulations.”
4. In Israel, all high school graduates go directly to the army. The usual pattern is that after the 2-3 years of service, the young people take off for several months of hitchhiking around the world. The number ONE destination of young Israeli backpackers today is southern India and Thailand. There are thousands of Israelis affected by this disaster, and the papers here are filled with stories of their testimonies. (These are also the type of young Israelis who are open to all kinds of New Age influence – called here, “shanti” – but are also open to the gospel. It is similar to the first wave of Jews to become Messianics in the U.S. in the 1970’s – young people in the post “hippie” wave of spiritual searching.)
5. It is reported that because of the long distance from the epicenter of the quake to the shores of India, and because the speed of sound is faster than the speed of the tidal wave, the people there heard a weird and awesome noise more than an hour before the wave hit them. Matthew 24:37-39, “As the days of Noah were, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away.”
6. God does not desire such disasters (Yeshua said in the first quote above that these things “must” take place), but He does use them to try to get our attention. The purpose in that sense is to get people to wake up to issues of eternal salvation, and to repent of their sins – even though an event like this will not cause repentance (e.g. Revelation 9:20-21). Only the word of God can do that.
7. Earthquakes of this nature are caused when giant plates on the crust of the earth rub or clash together. (The dividing of the earth into geo-tectonic plates may have occurred at the dividing of the continents in Genesis 10:25). I believe the clashes of those physical plates are the outward manifestation of a clash that takes place first in the spiritual realm. The gospel brings a spiritual clash between the forces of good and evil. That spiritual clash often brings a shaking in the physical realm. Therefore, wherever there are breakthroughs of the gospel, there will be seen the outward shakings as well. These are manifestations of spiritual conflict and signs for us to be alert and ready.
May God give us grace to continue to be a light of love in this dark world. May millions of precious souls in Southeast Asia come to know eternal life through Yeshua our Savior.
Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.
He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.
Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.