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The seven plagues of Revelation, and
The End Of The World



According to scientists, the processes that will lead to the cleansing of the earth are already underway.


Beneath your feet, deep within the earth.


Slowly, inexorably, the fires of hell are approaching and nothing we can do will stop them.




Let's hope that this time the scientists are wrong...
 


Introduction

I do not know exactly how God will end this world. But scientists claim to know how it has effectively ended many times in the past. Why should the next time be different? (The sixth century gave us a small taste of what to expect: see the page on abominations and desolations)

Alternative views - asteroid impacts

Remember that this is only my opinion - based on my limited understanding of scripture and science. In reality, God has not revealed what these scriptures mean in any final and detailed way. I suspect that if we knew the detailed truth of what is to come, our hearts would fail us. So remember that what follows is only speculation.

Usually when talking about catastophism, the choice is between meteors and volcanism. The great events of (a) the deaths of the dinosaurs, and (b) the mysterious event of AD 540, are just two examples where some experts think one and some think the other. Anthony Larson is one of the LDS readers who has done a lot of work on the idea of meteors / comets and catastrophism. Who knows? Maybe he's right. Maybe both are correct - Volcanism AND meteors. That is what some experts now think - see the University of Hawaii quote below.

Recently I have seen a few TV specials about the chances of an asteroid impact. The conclusion is always that most people would not survive a large impact, because the dust cast up in the atmosphere would cause darkness for a year or so, and after that food would still not grow as well as before. It seems to me then that the true church of Jesus Christ is probably the one that encourages its members to store a year's supply of food, and teaches them to (a) trust in leaders and (b) cooperate.


Mass Extinctions

Several times in earth's long history, the world has ended for all but a few. Scientists call these events "mass extinctions". The most famous one was the extinction of the dinosaurs, apparently 65 million years ago (the dating scheme is not important now). But there have been others. At each of these mass extinctions, up to 95% of all animal species became extinct. And the others barely survived. Think of it!

Some people note that a mass extinction has already begun, as human misuse of the planet destroys many species each year. But that is nothing compared to what has happened in the past, and is due to happen again. What kind of cataclysm would render 95% of species extinct? Something worse than the worst imaginable nuclear war - something far, far worse.

Volcanic "Floods"

Recently, scientists have come up with an incredible explanation - every few million years, they say, vast volcanic eruptions bubble up from deep within the earth. These spread so much lava that a single event once covered a third of the Indian subcontinent. And that was not even the biggest. These eruptions, unlike ordinary volcanoes, begin deep inside the earth, and take thousands or millions of years to reach the surface. When they do, a fissure several kilometers long can erupt for years on end, shooting fire hundreds of meters into the air - or more. Billions of tons of solids, liquids, and gases are spewed into the atmosphere, and the effect is felt on every part of the globe.

The devastating result.

These mega-volcanoes produce so much smoke, ash, and poisonous gases, that the sky is darkened, the air and water are poisoned, the earth's vegetation is consumed in countless infernos, and the global climate changes catastrophically. Sounds like the final plagues in Revelation...

Volcanoes - cleansing the earth.

Modern volcanoes give a tiny glimpse of the power of the earth to cleanse itself. The fire, the raw destruction - the poisonous darkness, the climatic changes. And what could be more suggestive of hell than a volcano? Rivers of fire, deep hot fissures from within the earth. Rocks (the most certain and unchanging of objects) that flow like water. But after all the destruction, eventually new life begins, the survivors have new freedom to grow, and the volcanic soil is a boon to vegetation. It is as if God periodically instructs the earth to purge itself, to burn off its old inhabitants to make way for the new. The little volcanoes of recorded history - like Pompeii or Krakatoa - are nothing compared with the big ones of geological history. It is as if God is giving little glimpses of what he can do.


Quotes from the experts

The Geological Society of Americahttp://www.hbcumi.cau.edu/tqp/301/301-17/lavalfl.ows.html

"You can get an idea of just how big a flood-basalt eruption can be by just looking at the full Moon," said Reidel. The dark area that forms part of the moon’s face is a flood basalt eruption. . . .

Most of the large lava flows [in a particular earth study] were erupted within just a few weeks’ time. The gigantic flows destroyed every living thing in their path and had major impacts on the climate. . . . "Temperatures of the erupted lava were between 2200-2300 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a lot of heat to put into the air. The rising heat would be hit by Pacific storms, resulting in torrential rains. . . .

There are a lot of individuals around the world studying flood basalts. "Flood basalt regions exist on every continent and on other planets. . . ."

University of Hawaii http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/frequent_questions/grp13/question1799.html

As the folks who live on the Big Island of Hawaii are learning, a long-lasting, non-explosive eruption can play havoc with the atmosphere. Sulfur dioxide, one of the main constituents of basaltic volcanic eruptions will quickly react with water vapor in the atmosphere and form small aerosols of sulfuric acid to produce what we call "vog" or volcanic fog. If this vog is thick enough (as it would be during a flood basalt eruption) it can kill vegetation (by blocking sunlight), acidify water sources, and perhaps cause enough stress that various plants and animals would start to die.

. . .The current idea seems to be kind of a combination of the volcano cause . . and the impact cause. Probably the Deccan eruption was causing a lot of stress on the Earth's life and even killing some things off. Then, in the midst of all this misery the meteorite came along, delivering a fatal blow to many other life types. I admit it does seem like kind of a coincidence that a big old meteorite landed during a flood basalt eruption. It starts to get worse when you look at other big mass-extinction events. There was an even bigger one (bigger in terms of the % of life that was killed) at the end of the Permian (about 225 million years ago). Are we to think that there was another coincidence of a flood basalt eruption and meteorite impact?

[all this PLUS Wormwood, the star falling from heaven??]

The University of Rochesterhttp://www2.ari.net/rjohnson/articles/MEGALAVA.URO.html

These overwhelming periods of flood basalt volcanism make ordinary volcanoes look like child's play, releasing up to a million times the material belched out by an eruption such as that of Mount St. Helens. In fact, the one million cubic kilometers of molten volcanic rock that bubbled up to the surface -- now a Siberian plateau the size of California -- would be enough lava to cover the entire Earth to a depth of 10 feet. "This was, almost unquestionably, the most catastrophic volcanism in last half-billion years of the Earth's history," Basu notes.

Scientists believe this particular volcanic outpouring played a role in the greatest mass extinction the world has even seen. Up to 95 percent of all plant and animal species were wiped out; a similar series of eruptions 65 million years ago in India coincided precisely with the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs.

New Scientist Magazinehttp://www.newscientist.com/ns/970816/features.html.

The Deccan Traps, a vast plateau in southern India, were created over a few million years at the end of the Cretaceous when about a million cubic kilometers of lava gushed onto the Earth's surface. No eruption in recorded history was even a thousandth as big. "Near Bombay, the flood basalt is still 24 kilometers thick, after millions of years of erosion," says Dewey McLean of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, who was the first to argue that supervolcanism caused the extinctions back in 1979.

. . . A very similar outburst of supervolcanism, responsible for the Siberian Traps, coincided with the biggest of all mass extinctions, the Permian-Triassic extinction, which happened about 250 million years ago. "That involved perhaps as many as 95 per cent of all species compared with 65 per dent at the K/T," says Kerr. "And there is little evidence of an asteroid impact at the time."

Sulfur dioxide unleashed by supervolcanism would have created hellish acid rain, while an increase in carbon dioxide would have caused dramatic greenhouse warming. . . .

The Natural History Museumhttp://www.nhm.ac.uk/palaeontology/micro/nm/kt.html

[ The British Natural History Museum has a useful diagram on line, comparing the evidence for flood basalt as compared with asteroid collisions as a cause of mass extinctions ]


So what?

So what? Why am I pointing out that the major mass extinctions are caused by volcanoes? Because of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon gives us a blueprint for the Second Coming of Christ by showing what happened to a world like ours at the First Coming of Christ. The Nephite experience parallels our own point by point. And when it came time for the great destruction of the wicked before Christ descended from heaven (described in 3 Nephi 7-8), what caused it? The Book of Mormon did not say - attributing it simply to God. But scholars who studied the description of the destruction, long before the modern theories explaining mass extinctions, conclude that it describes the results of a volcanic eruption.

A fresh look at the "end of world" prophecies

So mass extinctions of the past have been cause by massive volcanoes. And the Book of Mormon, the blueprint for the Second Coming, records the destruction of he wicked by volcanic activity. Time to take another look at the seven great plagues of Revelation. Could these be describing massive volcanic activity and its effect on mankind from John's viewpoint? But first, let us look at them in context.

The scriptural background

The Book of Revelation is not the only place where the Bible gives prophecies of the last days. First of all, notice that the Bible never uses the word "volcano" - presumably volcano was not a Hebrew or Greek word, but there are plenty of similar terms - earthquake, fire from deep within the earth, etc. But it does say that, at the Second Coming, every mountain will be made low, and every valley exalted (the great Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 40:2-4). What else could so this but a series of volcanoes (which in turn trigger earthquakes) of planet-wide proportions?

The most famous single chapter of last days' prophecy is Matthew 24, and this is consistent with a volcano theory:

Note that many people see a partial fulfilling of these prophecies (a kind of "early warning" of the real thing) in the events of the late first century: the destruction of Jerusalem, and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

The battle of Gog and Magog: shaking, mountains falling, raining fire and brimstone

Additional support comes from the description of the events of the Second Coming, as described in the context of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39.

"For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. ... And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon many people that are with him, with an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone." - Ezekiel 38:19, 20, 22.

And of course we have all the other famous descriptions of last days signs, summed up by Joel. (Note: the term "last days" in in the context of Joel and Acts is discussed elsewhere).

"And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke, The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come."

- Joel 2:30-31. (Note: the moon is described as like blood here, but in the next chapter - in Joel 3:15 - it is simply described as being dark.)

Granted, there are other ways to interpret the symbolism, and plenty of other people have put forward different theories. All this page says is that volcanism on a massive scale would be the simplest way the prophecies could be fulfilled, and it's the way the earth has always been cleansed in the past.


A fresh look at the plagues in Revelation

The sixth and seventh seals are summed up as a great earthquake, the atmosphere becomes thick, stars rain down as if with a mighty wind, the skies go away and the islands and mountains move (Revelation 6:12-14). What could cause all this apart from planet-scale volcanic activity? Section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenant indicates that this takes place at the same time as (or immediately after) Christ descends from heaven. This is the time when mountains are made low and valleys raised up. When we look in more detail at the final plagues of the seven trumpets/vials (Revelation 8-9, 11), the details are filled in:

The effect of the plagues

The second description of the plagues is in Revelation chapter 16. This time the plagues are held in vials or bowls. This focuses more on their effect on the followers of the beast than on the cause of each plague, but it is very instructive. Ask yourself - how would you react? Where would you turn if the bottom fell out of your world?


Conclusion: The Approaching End Of The World

Is this the way the world as we know it will end? I do not know. But this is the way it has always happened in the past, according to the scientists. And they tell us that these greatest eruptions from deep within the earth take thousands or millions of years to reach the surface. You can be sure that right now, miles beneath your feet, something is moving.

Slowly it moves upwards in the darkness, propelled by pressures we cannot even imagine. Only God can know when it will erupt. It will be so powerful that physical defenses will be useless. Only God can give us any warning, and tell us how to survive. But if we do not listen, then one day we will learn the fate of the dinosaurs first hand. Next time it will be us.

Judgement day is coming.





the bottom line

Even if you don't live long enough for the end of the world, it makes no difference. Eventually you will die, and have to meet God face to face. Are you ready?

 

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