There are thousands of islands around the world, and millions of people live on them. Do islands have much mention in Bible prophecy?
This thought occurred to me recently while my wife and I were on the island of Moorea.
Moorea is part of French Polynesia and is near the island of Tahiti. Perhaps another reason that I was thinking about this is that my wife and I have been to many islands (some of the more notable ones perhaps being Australia, Barbados, Bora Bora, Britain, Capri, Catalina, Crete, Eleuthera, Hawaii, Isla de Sal (Cape Verde), Jamaica, Japan, Kauai, Key Largo, Lido, Long Island, Mackinaw, Maui, Moorea, Mykonos, Nassau, Naxos, New Zealand (North), Oahu, Patmos, Penang, Puerto Rico, Rhodes, Santorini, Sicily, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tahiti, Taveuni, Tobago, Tokoriki, Trinidad, Viti Levu) and that many of those that we visited do not have any Church of God (COG) members (though several do). There are are many islands like Mauritius, others in the Caribbean, others in the Pacific, Indonesia, Bermuda, and more that we may some day get to. The Philippines probably has the most Living Church of God members of any island nation (although my books have gotten to the Philippines, plus there are many COGwriter readers there, I have not yet been there).
This article will refer to some of the islands specifically mentioned in the Bible as well as to what Bible prophecy says will happen to islands in general.
If you live on an island, this article contains information you really need to be aware of.
Some people, whether part of great nations or small islands, consider that their geographic region is of great importance. But God does not always see things the way humans do. Notice what is taught in Isaiah 40:15:
Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, And are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing (NKJV unless otherwise noted).
But does this mean that God does not care for those in the islands?
Notice that the New Testament does mention that the gospel was proclaimed on several islands, even at least one island with a false prophet:
Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, "O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time." And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord (Acts 13:6-12).
Now when they had escaped, they then found out that the island was called Malta. And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold. But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live." But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god. In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days. And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary (Acts 28:1-10).
Other islands specifically mentioned in the New Testament include Rhodes (Acts 21:1), Crete (Acts 27:7,12,13,21; Titus 1:7), Syracuse on Sicily (Acts 28:12), Patmos (Revelation 1:9), and an island called Clauda, which was used for a supply stop (Acts 27:16).
Perhaps I should mention that even if we do not consider that Australia is an island (but instead consider it to be a continent), that there are hundreds of millions people who live on islands (with those islands which are part of Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, USA, Madagascar, Britain, and Papua New Guinea among the most highly populated).
The Living Church of God has members and ministers in many island nations.
Perhaps it should be mentioned here that many island nations/territories may end up politically and otherwise supporting the Europeans or Asians in the end. For ideas of who the Caribbean nations may support, please see the article Mexico, Central America, South America, Brazil, and the Caribbean in Prophecy.
The last book of the Bible written, Revelation, was a prophetic book written on an island. Notice Revelation 1:9:
I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
And in this book, as well as other biblical writings, there is a major amount of distress prophesied for those who live on islands. Notice the following two prophecies:
I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place (Revelation 6:12-14).
Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!" And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And great hail from heaven fell upon men, each hailstone about the weight of a talent. Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great (Revelation 16:17-21).
However, as pointed out above, it will not only be the islands that are affected by these events, as even inland areas apparently will have flooding too (the Netherlands, a very low lying country, comes to mind).
Notice what may be related to the same event as foretold in the writings of Jeremiah and Haggai:
41 Oh, how the praise of the whole earth is seized! How Babylon has become desolate among the nations! 42 The sea has come up over Babylon; She is covered with the multitude of its waves. 43 Her cities are a desolation, A dry land and a wilderness, A land where no one dwells, Through which no son of man passes. 44 I will punish Bel in Babylon, And I will bring out of his mouth what he has swallowed; And the nations shall not stream to him anymore. Yes, the wall of Babylon shall fall. 45 "My people, go out of the midst of her! And let everyone deliver himself from the fierce anger of the LORD (Jeremiah 51:41-45).
6 "For thus says the LORD of hosts: "Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land (Haggai 2:6).
Notice the following two news items:
Japan's Tsunami Broke Off Chunks of Antarctica "The remnants of the giant wave that hit Japan crashed into and fragmented an Antarctic ice shelf after the original tsunami, scientists say." TIME - Aug 10, 2011 http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/08/10/scientists-japans-tsunami-broke-off-chunks-of-antarctica/"Say that all the ice on Antarctica melted, not just the western-Antarctic ice cap. In that case, sea level would rise at least 200 feet. Every coastal city in the world would be destroyed. Just the top half of the Washington Monument would extend above the Atlantic Ocean. The new East Coast would cut across the lawn of the Vice President’s house on Massachusetts Avenue." http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/people/5575.html
Perhaps it should be pointed out that in Revelation 16, it also states the following:
Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory (Revelation 16:8-9).
Why is great heat of importance to those living on islands?
Well, among other reasons, there is about enough water still in glaciers and the polar ice caps to raise the level of the oceans about 200-300 feet if they completely melted. And any plague that strikes the earth with scorching heat is going to accelerate the melting of these frozen bodies of water--especially if large masses of ice break-off from earthquakes or other causes.
Many islands are less than two or three hundred feet high at their highest point, and nearly all islands have major portions that are less than 200 to 300 feet above sea level. Hence, many islands will probably become completely covered when the ice melts and a great earthquake levels mountains. This also will devastate coastal land masses. Notice:
"A substantial fraction of U.S. cities are on seacoasts and thus close to sea level — Boston, New York, Baltimore, Washington, Miami, New Orleans, Houston, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, to name a few. If all snow and ice were to melt, sea level would rise by 270 feet, enough to inundate nearly all of these cities and vast other areas of the nation." http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter3.html
The US State of Florida would be pretty much gone. And the threat to islands is real.
Even now, the 11,000 people of the small island nation of Tuvalu have decided that they will need to abandon their island due to rising ocean levels due to current glacial melting. Furthermore, since most of the 1,196 islands of the Maldives are less than 7 feet above sea-level, its 311,000 residents, are expected to have to leave those islands in this century. And this assumes NO SCORCHING HEAT like the Bible prophesies--just a relatively small increase in temperature such as has been occurring.
Additionally, the tsunami of December 26, 2004, triggered by an earthquake (9.1 to 9.3 on the Richter scale), killed about 200,000 people in islands and coastal regions (Wikipedia).
Thus the idea that island peoples are even NOW vulnerable to earthquakes and ice melting IS NOT some far-fetched view.
Perhaps I should point out that it is not only Protestant translations of the Bible (such as the NKJV) that make this clear. The Rheims New Testament of 1582, which is the Roman Catholic standard for an English translation, puts some of the prophecies in Revelation 16 this way:
And he shall gather them into a place which in Hebrew is called Armageddon. And the seventh Angel poured out his vial upon the air, and there came forth a loud voice out of the temple from the throne, saying: It is done. And there were made lightenings, and voices, and thunders, and a great earthquake was made, such an one as never hath been since men were upon the earth, such an earthquake, so great. And the great city was made into three parts: and the cities of the Gentiles fell. And Babylon the great came into memory before God, to give her the cup of wine of the indignation of his wrath. And every island fled, and mountains were not found (The Apocalypse of Saint John 16:16-20, RNT).
Therefore, it should be clear that basically anyone possessing a New Testament should be able to know what is prophesied to affect those who live on islands.
Notice what Jesus said:
And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven... And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory (Luke 21:11, 25-27).
Essentially, the Bible shows that the earth will be scorched with heat, there will the greatest earthquake of all time that will level mountains, and that heavenly bodies will fall to the earth as well as apparently into the sea. And this will be followed by the sea and the waves roaring. And if most of the frozen waters have melted by then, the height of these roaring waves apparently will be enough to destroy most who live on islands.
According to the Bible, these prophesies are certain to come to pass (Revelation 22:6).
When Will The Great Earthquake Occur?
Now when will this happen?
While there will be various earthquakes, storms, etc. that will affect islands until the return of Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that the greatest earthquake happens after a certain event:
Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon...And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth (Revelation 16:12-16,18).
Therefore, shortly after the nations are gathered together in "the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon", the great earthquake will occur.
But it is too dangerous to wait until that late to flee the islands.
Those interested in protection, according to the Bible, need to:
Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable nation, Before the decree is issued, Or the day passes like chaff, Before the LORD's fierce anger comes upon you, Before the day of the LORD's anger comes upon you! Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the LORD's anger (Zephaniah 2:1-3).
(More information can be found in the article There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra.)
If you are a Protestant, Orthodox Catholic, or a Roman Catholic have you been told about this? If you live on an island do you know this?
Perhaps I should mention that the COG has been preaching this from inception, and especially in past several decades.
Perhaps, I should add that there is a Mayan prophecy that seems to indicate that this could occur on December 21 or 22, 2012. The History Channel claimed:
The ancient Maya have prophesied that the world will come to the end on 13 Katun on their current calendar. This date translates to December 21st, 2012...
The last page of the Dresden codex actually shows the destruction of the world via water...
This graphic illustration depicts the destruction of the earth by flood (Mayan Doomsday Prophecy, Decoding the Past. Original air date 08/03/06).
So we see that Mayan prophecy indicates flooding, which of course would affect islands, near the end of 2012--but I believe that the major flooding that the Bible prophecies (which is the one that will come to pass) will be years later than that (for more information, please see End of Mayan Calendar 2012--Might 2012 Mean Something?).
The Kingdom of God
But all is not gloom for those who live in the islands. Notice these passages from the Old Testament:
"Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, And declare it in the isles afar off, and say, 'He who scattered Israel will gather him, And keep him as a shepherd does his flock' (Jeremiah 31:10).
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea. "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious." It shall come to pass in that day That the LORD shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea (Isaiah 11:9-11).
Thus, there is a second time coming when God will recover the remnant of His people who are left from the islands of the sea (as well as other places).
Also notice what Psalm 97:1 teaches:
The LORD reigns; Let the earth rejoice; Let the multitude of isles be glad!
With all the gloom forecasted for islands when will the above occur?
This will occur AFTER the earthquakes and related events. This will occur in the kingdom of God:
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth. Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him, And His enemies will lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles Will bring presents...(Psalm 72:8-10).
Understand that the above has not happened yet. It is a prophecy.
And it is a prophecy that essentially shows two events. The first that not everyone of the islands will be killed by the great earthquake and the roaring of the waves and the sea. And the second is that God does have a plan which will result in salvation being offered to those who dwell on islands, even if they have not been called in this age (more information can be found in the article Hope of Salvation).
Island peoples are mentioned in the Bible. The gospel was preached to those who dwelled on islands.
Bible prophecy shows that the earth will be scorched with heat, there will the greatest earthquake of all time that will level mountains, and that heavenly bodies will fall to the earth as well as apparently into the sea. Earthquakes will be followed by the sea and the waves roaring. The Bible specifically teaches that the islands will be heavily affected. And if most of the frozen waters have melted by then, the height of these roaring waves apparently will be enough to destroy many, but probably not all, who live on islands.
Some will likely survive.
God does have a plan that specifically includes those who dwell in islands. But those now living on any island would be better off it they completely respond to God now as opposed to later (also see the article There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).
If you live on an island, do you believe the Bible? If so, what did you intend to do about this?
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