Second Coming: Natural Disasters

Photo courtesy LDS Media Library

A few days ago, I saw this headline from CBS News and sort of chuckled: “Big earthquakes double in 2014, but scientists say they’re not linked.” Here’s a quote for the article:

“We have recently experienced a period that has had one of the highest rates of great earthquakes ever recorded,” said lead study author Tom Parsons, a research geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Menlo Park, California. But even though the global earthquake rate is on the rise, the number of quakes can still be explained by random chance, said Parsons and co-author Eric Geist, also a USGS researcher (emphasis mine).

Yes, from a scientific standpoint, these earthquakes may appear random, but from a prophetic point of view, they come as no surprise: scripture tells us that there will be “earthquakes in divers places” leading up to the time of Christ’s second advent (Mark 13:8; see also Matthew 24:7; Luke 21:11; Mormon 8:30D&C 45:33; Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:29.)

In fact, according to John’s revelation, there will be a great earthquake at the time of Christ’s Second Coming:

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. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. (Revelation 16:18–20; compare Zechariah 14:4–5; emphasis added.)

Other calamities will mark the time. Here is as complete a list as I can find:

  • Thunderings 
  • Lightnings 
  • Tempests (hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, and so forth)
  • Famines
  • Great hailstorms (add to that snowstorms, such as the one in Buffalo in late 2014)
  • Famines (including droughts)
  • Pestilences (epidemic diseases—Ebola comes to mind)
  • Waves of the sea heaving beyond their bounds (tsunamis, for example)

Modern scripture, for example, tells of a great hailstorm in the last days:

And there shall be a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth. (D&C 29:16.)

And ancient scripture supports it:

And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great. (Revelation 16:21.)

All these disasters will be a testimony to those on earth to get ready for the great and dreadful day:

And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people. For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand. And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds. And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people. (D&C 88:88–91; see also D&C 43:25.

I believe that natural disasters will increase in number and severity from now until “when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him” (Matthew 25:31).

We would be wise to watch for the day. I’m not saying that day is tomorrow, but I believe it will come sooner than some would like.

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