Rev. Geoff Feasey
THE WORLD IS BEING SHAKEN . . . AS THE RETURN OF JESUS
When Jesus spoke about the signs of His
Second Coming, He was talking more than just an earthquake, explains Geoff
Recent newspaper articles and
international news broadcasts point to a major change taking place on earth.
Widespread flooding, forest fires, long and intense periods of frozen winter;
and huge earthquakes rocking continents have dominated headlines.
Add to this the break-up of the
ice caps in both the Arctic and the Antarctic,
and it doesn’t take much to cause the believer to recognise that the ‘end of
the age’ is approaching faster now than at any other period of New Testament
teaching. We would be right to ask, ‘What on earth is happening?’
When Jesus was talking to His
disciples in Matthew 24 about the end of the age, he spoke of a ‘sign’ that
they should look for. The word ‘sign’ has been translated in the NIV as
‘earthquake’. However, the word that is used does not relate just to a physical
earthquake that shakes and convulses the earth, it is much deeper than that.
The King James Bible uses the word
‘pestilence’ in its translation of the words of Jesus, so, in order to fully
understand what He was saying to His disciples, we must go to the original
Jesus said there would be certain
signs taking place on earth between His ascension and His second coming, and
that these signs would produce a opicture that would convey to the watching
world, and the waiting Church, that His return was drawing near.
The Greek word that resulted in
the translation ‘earthquake’ of is the word ‘seismos,’ which means ‘a shaking’
or a ‘shock’. It is obvious that we derive our English word seismic from this
word, and ‘seismology’ is now recognised as the word meaning the study of
earthquakes. The word ‘seismos’ has its
roots in the first part of the word ‘seio’, which means to ‘move to and fro’,
and it conveyed the thought of concussion. This is why some versions of the
Bible translate the word as a concussion of the earth, a simple earthquake.
However, the word can be applied
to more things than simply the earth ‘shaking’ in the shock aftershock of an
earthquake. The word can be applied to the sea as well as the earth, and it is
found earlier in Matthew’s Gospel when, in chapter eight, Jesus calmed the
tempest on Lake Galilee.
This was a ‘shaking of the sea.
The word can also be applied to
the ‘shaking’ that a calamity can bring, as well as the physical shaking of an
earthquake, Plagues can be ‘seismos’, as they can shake a nation and even the
world -the ‘ devastating plague of AIDS is
one earth shaking pestilence of
gigantic proportions. The world has been shaken by this plague, to lie y
and it has ravaged some nations far more than a physical shaking ever could.
lf we total up the vast number of diseases that are savaging nations
on our planet, and then if we add to them the floods and the ravages of storms
and tidal changes, not to mention global warming and its effects, we have
pestilences that go far beyond the simple earthquakes of the NIV – these are
signs of the times.
Jesus used the word ‘seismos’ to
convey the thought of the earth being concussed by a shaking in and a shock.
The word was used for all kinds of pestilence such as plagues and calamities,
and it was translated this way in the Authorised Version. However, the NIV
stays with the most natural translation, that of earthquakes.
The world has always seen
earthquakes and probably aIways will, until the return of Jesus. However, Jesus
was seeking to convey something to His disciples that went beyond the natural
force of the occasional earthquake, Jesus said that there would be earthquakes
in various places, and the clue to what He was saying was not in the wording of
earthquakes, but in the wording of ‘various places’.
The Greek word for ‘various’ is
the word ‘poikilos’ which means ‘manifold’ or ‘multicoloured’, and it was used
by Matthew in his Gospel to describe the literal words of Jesus, when he stated
that earthquakes would become more wide- spread and manifold in their number
The clue to the depth of teaching
that Jesus was seeking to bring lies in the root part of the word ‘seismos’,
The first part of the word ‘sets’, which means as we have seen, ‘to move to and
fro’, actually relates to far more than a one-time effect of a localised
earthquake, Of course, plagues can ‘move to and fro’ across a country, and AIDS
has ‘moved to and fro’ across continents, However, Jesus was conveying much
more than this.
The root word ‘sets’ speaks of a
gigantic movement of disturbance across the earth, which is exactly what Jesus
was seeking to convey. Matthew noticed this and conveyed the same substantial
thought when he used this very deep Greek word. We are not talking here about
the increasing effects of physical earthquakes or the rampant spread of plagues
and famine. We are talking about a greater calamity and pestilence than this.
Jesus was saying that the end
times, with their signs and tokens of direction, would begin to see a colossal
disturbance across the face of our planet that has not been seen before. We
only have to listen to the news broadcasts or watch the ‘global picture’ being
presented to us on our nightly television news shows, to know that globally we
are being moved to and fro’.
A localized earthquake in one
continent can have devastating effects upon another continent hundreds or even
thousands of miles away.
This world is being shaken apart
and shocked by ‘seismos’ more than at any time of its history. This age is fast
coming to a close, and Jesus will soon return.