During the last week of February I was in San Diego, California with David Sielaff (my compositional editor) who has been typesetting the final edits that I have made to the new Second Edition of my book "The Essentials of New Testament Doctrine." I plan to publish this edition with a new page style and with different fonts in late Spring. I took the train back from Los Angeles. When we reached Klamath Falls, Oregon an announcement came from the train conductor that an earthquake had occurred at Olympia, Washington (one of the cities the Coast Starlight was to go through). And then, about twenty minutes later, a further announcement stated that our train was to be terminated at Eugene, Oregon (about 125 miles south of Portland, which was my destination). Ramona said that in Portland she felt the shock but thought she was having a dizzy spell and it gave her the sensation of twenty seconds of disorientation. She soon recovered, turned on the radio and found out it was the earthquake. The radio announced all airplane and rail traffic had been terminated north of Portland. She knew it was going to be late for me to arrive, and she was right. Other means of transport had to be found for us stranded in Eugene and instead of arriving at 3:40 PM, we arrived in Portland at 11:05 PM. Ramona, faithful as always, still met me at the Union Station. In one way of looking at it (and though I did not feel any seismic motion on the train), I was an unharmed victim of that earthquake that struck the Northwest. As you know, earthquakes can be destructive.
We are told in the prophecies of Jesus that earthquakes and other natural disasters are to be increased as we approach the End of the Age. Jesus said there would be: "great earthquakes in divers places, and famines and pestilences: and fearful sights and great signs there shall be from heaven" (Luke 21:11). As I have shown in my Prophetic Report titled: "The Damascus Phase of End Time Prophecy" (which can be viewed by selecting that title on our Web Page index section under the button "Prophecy"), there is prophesied a great and fearful disaster that will hit the coastal areas of Lebanon, Israel, Palestine with the Gaza Strip (and perhaps Egypt) that will leave behind it a vast destruction in all the lowland areas facing the seacoast. This disaster is described in Zechariah 9:1-8. I have shown in the article mentioned above, that this prophecy seems to be describing a great water wave produced by an under ocean earthquake or volcanic eruption (which we call today a tusnami) that will inundate the coastal regions of the eastern Mediterranean — it will not reach the higher interior regions such as Nablus, Jerusalem or Hebron), but the coastal regions will be subjected to its impact. The Bible states that it will come as a judgment from God on that area of the world.
As a matter of interest, when I was in Jerusalem about three weeks ago, I was talking with a Jewish man who was an employee of the hotel where I was staying. We had some interesting and friendly conversations. Among them I asked him if he were a religious Jew. His answer was emphatic. He said he was a practicing orthodox Jew who was happy to be living in Jerusalem in spite of the problems now afflicting the city. He said that he would in no circumstances live in Tel Aviv on the coast. I asked him why. He retorted that parts of that city were nothing more than "Sodom and Gomorrah" to him and his pious religious beliefs based upon proper moral principles were being openly violated in that area. I reminded him of what Zechariah 9:1-8 stated about a coming destruction of the coastal areas of the eastern Mediterranean. After acknowledging the prophecy, he looked me straight in the eye and said: "The sooner the better. It will wake us up to get us back to God and to His ways." He told me that one of the reasons he and his family lived in the higher area of Jerusalem was because he fully expected something like that to happen soon. At least, that was his opinion.
Indeed, there have been such judgments in the past. In the prestigious Israel Exploration Journal, volume 44, No. 3-4, 1994, pp.260-305 there is a catalogue of earthquakes and other natural disasters that have hit the land of Israel and the eastern Mediterranean in general from a hundred years before Christ to the present. It is a scholarly work that has recorded the historical documentation that mentions such cataclysmic disturbances. On page 294 are the records of various tsunamis which the historical accounts catalogue.
Index 5: Tsunamis (Seismic Sea Waves) on the Mediterranean Coast of Israel and Adjacent Areas
DATE TIME DETAILS REFERENCES
92 B.C.E., Coasts of Lebanon and Israel. BM:289; Feb. 28 14: 164, 168
115 C.E., night Tsunami hit Caesarea and Yavne. BM: 277; Dec.13 14:168
306, Tsunami at Caesarea. Shalem (14:168) BM: 286 considers this tsunami doubtful.
551, Tsunami at Lebanese coast. May have July 9 affected Caesarea. Doubtful (14:167)
749, Many ships were sunk at sea. 40; 14:167, Jan. 18 according to Michael the Syrian 811 Coasts of Israel and Lebanon.
881/882 Tsunami at Akko. T; W; 14:167 1032, Tsunami at Ashkelon and Gaza. P; B; W; March 6 BNV
1034, The port of' Akko fell dry for an hour BM:287; Jan.4 (31:935, according to Yahia of Antiochia). 47; 48:90Q; Tsunami at Jaffa. 14:167 .
1068, The sea receded the distance 'of a day's walk'. A2; BM:287; March 18 Strong tsunami observed, ie.. at 48:900; 53 Yavne and Ashdod.
1202, Severe tsunami on Levant coast, serious damage at Akko. AM; 66; 14:166 May 20
1303, Akko and Gaza. 48:900; AM; Aug. 8 (Dec., BM:292 according to 48) I 1402 Lebanese coast. The sea receded and then invaded the land. 27 I
1534, Jaffa. 48:901 1546, At Jaffa the sea receded the distance 'of a day's walk'. W; 73:330 Jan. 14 According to (14:166), this is the tsunami of 18 March 1068. j
1759, 'At 'Akko the sea rose', flooding the streets to a height of 2-2.5 m. L; 14:159; Oct.30 (L). 48:901; 79
1856, At Haifa, Oct.10
1949, Light tsunami on the coast of Israel, June 18 (this is the last tsunami to happen to Israel).
What all who love the Holy Scriptures should do (and are looking for the prophecies of the Bible to be fulfilled) is to keep our eyes on what is happening in Israel and Palestine. That is the center of prophecy. Though the Book of Revelation mentions events that are worldwide in scope, the prophecies of Jesus to his disciples were mostly confined to Jerusalem and the Land of Palestine. Next month, I am offering a very important and eye-opening article titled: "The Lands of the Philistines." It will discuss the area that the new Palestinian state will embrace, and it will be much larger than the Gaza Strip. Many of you will be amazed at what the Bible states on this important prophetic matter. It could well be that it will be easier for the Israelis and the Palestinians to make their agreements if the prophecy of Zechariah 9:1-8 would soon take place. Now, I am no prophet and I cannot tell you the exact date that the next tsunami will strike the eastern Mediterranean coast, but I can tell you that such a phenomenon is prophesied to happen. And Jesus said that there would be a greater incidence of such natural disasters in Israel as we approach the End of the Age. This is the time that we should keep our attention on the Middle East more than ever.
For all of you who would like to hear the interesting address by Dr. Naim Ateek at the Sabeel Assembly in Jerusalem on February 24th (Dr. Ateek mentioned the importance of my book: "The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot" at the beginning of his lecture), you can click into the Radio Media section of the Internet at:http://www.sabeel.org/conf2001/audio/ateek.ram
You will enjoy hearing what Dr. Ateek had to say to those who attended. I hope you will click in to hear his lecture.
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