Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Language of God: fire and brimstone

Part 1 in the series "Language of God- Hail"

First, in unusual news, Spaceweather.com reports On May 1st, volcano photographers Steve and Donna O'Meara were stunned when they photographed a perfectly shaped volcanic smoke ring blown out by Eyjafjallajokull volcano in southern Iceland:

©Steve & Donna O'Mears, http://VolcanoHeaven.tumblr.com

"This is a rare phenomenon," say Steve and Donna. "We've only seen it one other time at Italy's Stromboli volcano in 2001." Joseph Licciardi, an earth sciences professor from Oregon State University, was there to see it, too. "The ring was visible for five minutes and then fell apart," he told the UK Daily Mail. "I am thrilled that I was present at the event."

The Volcanology glossary defines the smoke ring phenomenon as "quite rare." In other volcano news,

Arenal erupts
Costa Rica's Arenal volcano has erupted, spewing geysers of lava, ash and toxic gases from its crater and forcing the evacuation of the national park where it is located.  The 1633-metre-tall cone-shaped mountain in northern Costa Rica shuddered into activity at 4am this morning issuing eight successive rivers of lava that flowed down its steep slopes, National Volcanology and Seismology Observatory expert Elicer Duarte said.

Volcano eruption in Guatemala kills 1 injures 20 in Pacaya
President Colom declared Regions in Guatemala are in a “state of calamity” after the Pacaya volcano, 25 miles south of Guatemala City, increased its activity. Pacaya volcano, located about 15 miles (25 km) south of Guatemala City. Pacaya volcano erupted tonight and shut down Guatemala’s international airport in the capital and caused the urgent evacuation of several populations. President Colom said during a press conference that at least four people are missing after the eruption. Police said a local television journalist, who had been reporting on the volcano, died when he was crushed by falling rock. at least 20 people injured as volcanic debris fell on villages.

Ecuador's Tungurahura erupts, causing evacuations
Lava and ash from Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano forced the closure of Guayaquil Airport until Saturday afternoon, an airport spokesman said Friday. The glacier-capped, 16,478-foot (5,023-meter) volcano has erupted periodically since 1999, with major eruptions occurring in August 2006 and February 2008, the government's emergency management agency said.

Is Katla Ready To Erupt And Bring Europe To Its Knees Again?
A report from University College London is pointing towards a near term eruption of Iceland's giant volcano, Katla, according to MSNBC.com (heard through Zero Hedge). The President of Iceland has also cautioned against an imminent eruption saying that Europe, its governments, and its airline industry needs to prepare. Katla happens to be one of the largest, southernmost volcanoes in Iceland, potentially causing an even graver threat to Europe than Eyjafjallajökull.

Whether the author of the last headline knew it or not, the last headline hits close to the intent of the end time. In this period just prior to the rapture, God makes Himself known more directly and in a variety of ways. (Of course, He makes Himself even MORE known during the Tribulation). Those ways are listed in the bible throughout the New and Old Testaments, but particularly in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew, Mark, and Luke's Gospels. In Mathew 24, Jesus tells the disciples what the generation at that time can expect, and natural disasters are one of them. One volcano erupting does not mean we are in the end time, and regularly erupting volcanoes that erupt do not mean we are in the end time. But the totality of the volcanic activity combined with the suddenness of some of them, and the appearance of rare phenomena, indicates that God may be speaking, using one of His signature languages: fire and brimstone.

God's signature use of hail, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, and "brimstone" (sulfur) are well-known throughout history. In a recent entry, we looked at God's use of hail as a warning to the wicked. Now, let's look at fire and brimstone.

The KJV of the Bible offers many examples of the phrase "fire and brimstone." Brimstone is sulfur (British spelling, sulphur). In Genesis 19, God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah for their immoral homosexuality via a rain of fire and brimstone. In Deuteronomy 29, the Israelites were threatened with the same punishment if they abandoned their covenant with God. Divine judgments involving fire and sulphur are prophesied against Assyria (Isaiah 30), Edom (Isaiah 34), Gog (Ezekiel 38), and all the wicked (Psalm 11). The ultimate book of wrath, Revelation, shows God using the punishment with fire and brimstone throughout. Here is one example...

"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Revelation 20:10, KJV)

Interestingly, in Isaiah 30:33, the breath of God is compared to brimstone: "The Breath of Jehovah, like a stream of Brimstone, doth kindle it."

"Brimstone," used to be the common name for sulfur. The word when used today is almost exclusively in allusions to God's fiery wrath, with one exception in popular culture being the underwater volcano named "Brimstone Pit." But more on that later.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, "sulfur is ... found in Palestine, in the region along the banks of the Jordan and around the Dead Sea, both in combination with other elements and in its pure state. In the latter condition it is still employed medicinally for skin-diseases by the wandering Arab tribes, who make further use of it in the preparation of gunpowder. Brimstone is also found in the hot springs that line both shores of the Dead Sea. In one of these springs (at Callirrhoe), Herod took baths in the hope of finding a cure for his ailment (Josephus, "Ant." xvii. 6)."

In the biblical punishments, God rained down brimstone from the sky. Volcanic eruptions also contain sulfur in its solid and its gaseous state, which, when erupting, rain down fire and brimstone from the sky. And there have been a lot of volcanic eruptions lately.

In 2008 Volcano Chaiten in Chile erupted suddenly for the first time in 9500 years. (that's the scientists' dateline, not the bible's). Have the number of volcanic eruptions been increasing lately? The world's fevered attention on the Yellowstone Volcano's quake swarm was only a recent reminder of some of earth's more ferocious potential for disasters...I set about quantifying the answer to whether volcanic eruptions are on the rise, or not.

First, I found this:

"How many volcanoes erupt every day?"
"The Smithsonian Institution has the Global Volcanism Network and a monthly bulletin about eruptions. About 50 to 60 eruptions happen each month. Some volcanoes are in constant activity — Stromboli, Kilauea, or Sakurajima, for example. There are many examples of volcanoes which show some sign of renewed danger and then erupt within an hour, though more commonly, within one day. Most eruptions last hours but some continue for weeks and months."

However, in looking further, I found data that gives a better view over time. It seems that the stated average of "50-60" is much higher than it used to be and lower than it is now. According to the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program data, in the 1910's -1940s, only 30-40 eruptions occurred each year. In the 1980's and 1990's the average rose to 58 volcanoes erupting per year. In this millennium, an average of 70 volcanoes erupted each year. In 2010, with only half the year gone, fifty have already erupted. If the trend holds, the year will end with 100 eruptions.

Here is a graph with the data from the above source. It depicts decade average eruptions since 1850. Note, last bar is year only, 2010. I'll tell you why below:
It is statistically inappropriate to mix apples and oranges, but I'll tell you why I included the year-only for 2010 with all the previous bars representing ten years' worth of data. At no time in all the years that Smithsonian has been collecting data, and I looked back to year 580 AD, there have been more than 78 eruptions in one year. That year-high was 2008. Yet in 2010 with only HALF the year gone, there have already been 50 eruptions. An additional eruption occurred overnight while I have been formulating this entry. If the trend holds, the year 2010 will end with 100 eruptions, a phenomenal high.

Biblically, God has used fire and brimstone to warn and punish. He has threatened to use fire and brimstone to punish. He will threaten to use fire and brimstone to punish (Revelation). It is part of God's vocabulary to us humans.

Now as to the BP oil spill. On April 30, 2010, I asked "Does the oil platform explosion and oil spill have prophetic implications?" I didn't answer that questions definitively at that time, it being too soon and having formulated no conviction after prayer. I have now decided that the answer is YES. Here is why. Brimstone is sulfur. Sulfur exists on the earth in solid and gaseous states. In 2004 the world's deepest volcano was discovered, underwater, and it is constantly erupting at that. They named it "Brimstone Pit." Brimstone pit emits huge amounts of sulfur.


"View of a de-gassing event at Brimstone Pit at NW Rota-1 volcano releasing an extraordinary number of bubbles probably carbon dioxide. The yellow parts of the plume in the background contain tiny droplets of molten sulfur. Credit: NOAA"

It reminds me of a photo that the world has become all too familiar with: BP Oil Leak under the Gulf of Mexico:
The amount of sulfur (hydrogen sulfide) emitted from the oil leak is making crews on boats sick and making those on shore sick too. Sulfur = Brimstone. When the people of the Gulf smell that distinctive "rotten egg" smell, it is sulfur, or brimstone. The LORD will destroy the earth by fire in the end, said Peter in 2Peter 3:10. And Isaiah said "For the LORD will execute judgment by fire And by His sword on all flesh," (Isaiah 66:16) Brimstone is the language of God, and it is being thrown upon the earth from north to south, in all hemispheres, from volcanoes in high latitudes to those under the sea. Are we listening?

4 comments: