Sunday, October 24, 2010

By the numbers: wars, earthquakes on the rise

When I witness about the imminence of the end of the end time, many non-believers say to me that the end time is a crock, that all things are going on the same and will continue to do so. I get that a LOT. They say that there have always been wars. There have always been earthquakes. There have always been natural disasters. That these are unreliable indicators of the end time because they always have occurred and they always will occur.

Jesus said that unbelievers would say that. We're told "They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." (2 Peter 3:4)

Other say that people have been saying 'it is the end time since, like, forever, and that it isn't happening now and it never will.' First, just because something happened yet doesn't mean it never will. Second, the end time is actually the period from Jesus' ascension to the rapture of the church, then the wrath begins (Rev 6:16) for the purpose of judging and punishing unbelievers (Dan 9:24). The period of which Jesus was speaking will be characterized as like having birth pangs (Mt 24:8). The indicators that we are at the end of the end time will be as what happens in a birth, the intensity and the frequency of the pangs will grow until they not only are noticeable but they almost can't be endured.

But what do the numbers say? Are earthquakes increasing? Are volcanic eruptions more prevalent now? Are there more wars? The table below is from data from USGS. At that link you can search for earthquakes by date and by magnitude. I searched for global earthquakes between each magnitude, by year. The total is at the top of the page. I then compared this number with the USGS average number of expected earthquakes of any given magnitude. The numbers in red show numbers of eq's that exceed the USGS's own standard.

One disclaimer USGS makes downplaying the fact that earthquakes are on the rise, is that there have been more eq's that they can locate each year, due to better technology. However, I tend to discredit that explanation because the data as presented does not show decade advancement, but year over year. Are there really THAT many more seismographs in place in 2010 than in 2009? I don't think so...

The graph below is of volcanic eruptions by decade since 1850. The data is from the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program. Note that the last bar, 2010, is as of Oct 23, and at 62 eruptions is almost meeting the previous data set, with a quarter of the year to go.

John MacArthur preached on the end time verses in Luke 21. He cited the Encyclopedia of Wars as a source and offered the following numbers. He said that in the 1000 years prior to Christ's coming, there were 170 recorded wars. This number excludes skirmishes, conflicts, disturbances, etc. In the 1000 years after Jesus, there were 50 wars. In the 500 years after that, 100 wars. In the 300 years after that, 250 wars. In the last 200 years, there have been 500 wars. And in the last four years (not depicted on graph) there have been 20 wars.
We know from Revelation (13:15-16; 6:5-6) that there will be a global economic restructuring, resulting in deep poverty. I found this data interesting, and sad. Our local newspaper reported on the number of legally required advertisements of foreclosures in their paper over the last five years.
It seems clear to me that the data indicates increases in the things Jesus said would occur. He said in Matthew 24:3-8, "As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains."

I do not need data to support His predictions. He is the Planner, this is His plan and He will see his plans and His promises and His prophesies come to pass. But for the unsaved's sake, who demand quantifiable data, I say to them, Jesus declares it will be so. And so it is.


  1. I get the same reaction about the stats. Look at the first chart under the 8.0 and the 7.0-7.9 here:
    Notice on the chart the notation, "Based on observations since 1900" This is how they came up with an average of 1- 8.0 or greater eq per year. Think about this. You cannot determine a change in frequency if you average them. There were many years since 1900 that no 8.0 or greater eq's occurred at all.

  2. EXACTLY, Dale! I wrote about the dissonance between the USGS statement of constancy vs frequency over averages in my entry on Aug 21:

    "Although it may seem that we are having more earthquakes, earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have remained fairly constant. This is not true. Data is data. It cannot at the same time be extra sensitive & giving more information, yet be fairly constant and the data really stays the same. Those two statements are at odds with each other. Below their explanation about the number of large quakes staying constant, they present a chart. Not included in the chart data (but is included above it) is the number of average earthquakes for that particular magnitude. For the last eleven years, including this partial year, there would be 44 data points for quakes in the 5, 6, 7, and 8 magnitude. Of those 44, 22 are running above the average. Half of the categories are higher than average, which means it is not "fairly constant.""

    And you know also that since they are basing averages from data collected since 1900, that the more longitudinal the trend, the more stable the data. Over a 110 year period there NEVER were more than two 8.0 quakes in a year and then there were four? C'mon.

  3. i agree with you at one point, there has been increased number of earthquakes and volcanic activity but whats happenin now is related to solar cycle and whats goin on in the universe, the bible is a good book and there is a lot of truth and also exaggeration, the book is about extraterestials which were called gods by our ancestors, they knew about the cycles that occur in the universe which cause changes in climat etc. on our planet, they tried to warn us about whats gonna happen, the church interprets the bible in very wrong way! respect your opinion though.


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