The Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association

Only the Beginning of Sorrows
by Jim Josephsen

By now you are keenly aware of the devastation and utter chaos, civil unrest; the deteriorating living conditions throughout the nation of Haiti. The news coverage is complete, print media, telecasts and Internet stories abound as the nation of Haiti is laid open for the entire world to see.

At 4:53 p.m. on January 12th, a magnitude seven earthquake with an epicenter just south of Port-au-Prince flattened much of the capital, affecting some two million people. The nation’s population of some nine million people has been affected. The number of dead will easily reach 200,000.

The nation’s Presidential Palace was ravaged. The effects of the earthquake were indiscriminate as residential homes and shanties alike; office buildings, hospitals, schools, police stations, the many Ministry buildings, international relief headquarters and religious missions all suffered ruin. City mile after mile has been laid waste.

Lifeless bodies lay everywhere. Those who have survived, walk by corpses, stagger in disbelief, uncertain what tomorrow will bring. Mass graves are quickly being filled, with little time to identify the dead or give honorable burials. Haitian leaders struggle to comprehend the extent of the catastrophe. The International Red Cross estimates that easily one third of the nation’s population need emergency aid now, if they are to live in the days ahead. News headlines make it clear; Haiti is on the brink of internal collapse, as water and foods are in short supply and in critical need. The United States and other nations have laid out plans in response to the disaster. Helicopters, transport planes, U.S. and UN troops, Israeli Search Teams, and hundreds of volunteers aid in the rescue, recovery, distribution and rebuilding efforts.

Occasional stories of rescue provide hope and moments of joyous relief. What we see as the mounting aftermath of such a horrifying disaster leaves many heartbroken, utterly helpless. Anyone watching the news coverage, with natural compassion, bends over in pain and offers up a silent prayer that God’s mercy will aid those people. How can anyone not hurt after witnessing the suffering survivors of Haiti?

Donations will make their way to the organizations that will offer assistance. Rebuilding efforts will proceed. Relief efforts will avail help, as mankind in its best humanitarian efforts will attempt to aid and comfort that beleaguered nation.

Yet at a time when human beings are suffering and a nation has been brought low, we are witnessing a dark, corrupt side of human behavior. We are unfortunately made aware of carnal corrupt individuals who take advantage of this kind of disaster by setting up bogus charities and rogue telemarketing phone banks with the intention of stealing your money in the name of relief efforts.

Even more pathetic, and certainly exposing ignorance, were the words of a high profile, supposed religious man; one Pat Robertson. This individual, who commands much “face time” on his CBN program, 700 Club, has once again expelled words that expose his lack of understanding of the Truth and of God.

This man proclaimed the reason the earthquake hit Haiti was Voodoo. Summarizing his argument, Robertson stated, “You know, something happened a long time ago in Haiti. They got together and swore a pact with the devil and said we will serve you if you free us from the French. And so the devil said, OK, it’s a deal. And the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they’ve been cursed by one thing or another.” Robertson’s spokesman said, “Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath.”

So then why did Robertson say what he did?

Originally under French rule, during the 1700s, Haiti was once the wealthiest colony in the New World, representing one third of France’s economy. In 1801 Haitian slaves revolted against the French colonists to gain their independence. History explains how the slaves engaged in voodoo rituals in order to secure victory over the French.

Did the Haitian’s swear a pact with the devil to gain their independence? Did this earthquake hit Haiti, specifically, in response to that nation’s religious practices and superstitions? Is God overly concerned that these people then or now practice voodoo? Was God out to get those people?

These questions are genuine and are logically answered from the Word of God. One need not listen to the ranting of a posturing religious man, who clearly misuses the Word of God to promote his opinions. Clearly, he does not represent Jesus Christ.

What occurred in Haiti is the result of time and chance, of tectonic plates shifting and the earth realigning. Earthquakes occur as a natural result of geologic forces at play.

If God were to arise to get your attention, something He will do when Jesus Christ returns to the earth with righteous judgment, you will know it is God at work. ALL nations and ALL people will know! The day will come when God will “not only shake the earth but the heavens” (Hebrews 12:26; Haggai 2:6). The Book of Revelation and the many prophecies designated for the latter days, the time of Christ’s return are specific in revealing that when God is ready to get the world’s attention, the world will know and have no doubt. You will know it is His doing and not time and chance.

The earthquake in Haiti, like the hundreds to date, is not in direct response from God in answer to its sins. If this were so, then all the nations of this earth today would be wiped flat, including the good old Christian United States of America. Talk about a nation laden with sins and religious hypocrisy. God is a God of compassion and long suffering, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). After all what is the work of God, as revealed by Christ but a work showing the compassion, grace and forgiveness of God? Those who stand up as a witness of the Words of Jesus Christ preach repentance and salvation and the hope of redemption.

Those who preach the truth from the Bible know exactly what Jesus Christ had to say about earthquakes in our time, this end-time. “… There shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:7-8).

To comment that the Haitians made a pact with the devil again shows ignorance of the Word of God. We understand that Satan is the god of this world (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 12:9). Satan told Christ that all the governments of the world are something Satan controlled and could give to Christ if Jesus would only worship the devil (Luke 4:5-7). Jesus Christ came to uproot the power of Satan, to destroy his works, rendering Satan powerless. Although Christ has conquered, dethroning Satan, it will only be when Christ returns that Satan will be completely and firmly removed from the earth (Revelation 20:2-3). As for now he has but a little time to continue his deceptions over mankind. All nations today have, as it were, a pact with the devil.

The reality is the world, all mankind (except for those who are called out of the world (John 15:19; 17:14-17)), are all held captive by Satan at his will (2 Timothy 2:24-26) and it is necessary for any minister or preacher of the truth to express compassion and mercy, while teaching the hope of salvation.

To proclaim that Haiti somehow now got what it deserved shows one’s absolute ignorance of the Word of God and ignorance of God’s plan of salvation; why Jesus Christ came to this earth

What would Jesus Christ have to say about this tragic, devastating earthquake? We can understand an answer in principle by looking at a similar event that occurred in Christ’s day. Luke 13:1-5. In summary Christ admonished those who would think a calamitous event was God’s way of punishing sinners.

Is this what God would do? Christ said no! And unless you repent, you too will perish, insignificantly.

The reverse of that statement is the message of Christ and Christianity. If you repent, you will still die as it is appointed unto all men once to die (Hebrews 9:27; Psalm 89:48), but your life will have meaning, significance, and you will be brought up in the first resurrection. Consider Psalm 116:15, Proverbs 14:32 or Revelation 14:13. Those who repent and are followers of Christ will be resurrected to eternal life. Those in Christ have a life that is significant, meaningful and precious in God’s sight. All those having not repented, never being given the chance to come out from under Satan’s captivity, will await the second resurrection, the resurrection to judgment. The thousands, who died, buried in mass graves in Haiti, are not lost, but will await their resurrection. God will provide a way for them to finally escape the captivity of Satan.

Christ made it clear. God is not out to “get you.” God the Father and Jesus Christ are concerned with saving sinners, redeeming mankind, all nations; saving their creation.

The nation of Haiti is now just as deceived as most of the citizens of the United States. Although the United States is by far a wealthier nation, it is still destitute of knowledge of the one and only true God. The citizens of Haiti are just as deceived as are the millions of American Christians and the thousands of members of the 700 Club.

Talk about “a pact with the devil,” all one needs to do is look into the Word of God and compare the truth of God with the falsehoods and doctrinal lies taught by Sunday-keeping Christians. It was clear even in Paul’s day that Satan had transformed himself into an angel (messenger) of light and Satan’s ministers masqueraded as preachers of the truth (although their message was and still is falsehood and lies) in order to deceive the people (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). So it remains today, the doctrines prevalent in the mainstream, Sunday-keeping Christian world, are appealing to the listeners as nice stories about Jesus and Bible heroes, but the truth is missing. American Christianity’s doctrines are loaded with falsehoods, deception and lies.

The messages taught by the likes of Robertson and the overwhelming majority of American Christians are right in line with the deceptions Satan promotes. Satan would have one worship a false Jesus, where all you need to do is believe in the Lord without having to obey Him and keep His commandments. Christ requires that you hear, do and obey. Starting with the Sabbath Day, American Christianity is disobedient to the Laws of God. If an earthquake were God’s way of getting sinners, He would start here at home.

American Christianity abuses the love, mercy and grace of God. Mainstream Christianity embraces the lies of the devil which were introduced to the Christian religion en masse at the time of the birth of the Roman Catholic Church. And without skipping a beat, Protestant Churches have kept pace with mother Rome.

The work of God is the preaching of reconciliation, offering mankind the hope of salvation! To suggest that God is out to get you flies directly in the face of the words of Christ and the hope of salvation. Without doubt, the world and the governments of this world will be humbled at the return of Jesus Christ. Yet only then will God have the full attention of those who remain, having survived the tribulation to come. Only then, will the process of salvation begin for those alive and will continue for all those who died, never knowing the real Jesus, when Christ resurrects them.

To be certain, earthquakes should get our attention, reminding us of our dependence on God. Without God and His true intervention and relief, we are indeed most hopeless. All man can do after each earthquake is rebuild - until the next one. And just where will that one hit?

Earthquakes should humble us to get us to understand the time is coming when God will shake the earth and the heavens. While the earth is for now at rest, now is your opportunity to get right with God; to accept His salvation, to obey Him and become reconciled to Him so when He does shake the earth, you will survive. For now, this earthquake is only the beginning of sorrows.


Breaking News Stories
Go here for the latest news stories on this subject. –news stories added 20 January 2010
Further reading:
 The Great Tribulation--Is It About To Happen?
 When God Shakes the Earth
Can You Understand Bible Prophecy?
The Church and the New World Order
Our Commentary
 Weather in Chaos –by Garner Ted Armstrong
 Witchcraft, Sorcery, and "Harry Potter"    –by Garner Ted Armstrong
Extreme Weather–Better Reporting or Prophetic Trend? by Chris Cumming
The Great Tsunami...Was God Involved?by Mark Armstrong
21st Century Watch
 Topsy Turvey Weather ...What is Going On? by Garner Ted Armstrong
 Pestilences in Diverse Places by Michael Burkert
Quote by Garner Ted Armstrong:
 "The prophecies of Jesus Christ state there will be an ACCUMULATION of many world-wide disasters and catastrophes, all occurring AT THE SAME TIME!"( from Weather in Chaos –by Garner Ted Armstrong)
 Haiti Earthquake 2010 - Wikipedia
 700 Club homepage

 End Time News
 Two Key Prophecies
 Are we in the End Time?

 End Time News Sources

 End Time News Headline Archive

Left: Collapsed buildings in Haiti   click here to see enlarged photo
Center: Map showing epicenter and intensity of quake
Right: Relief efforts by US government