As Australians search for the causes of the sudden firestorm catastrophe and as they attempt to understand why they are being shaken by earthquakes, it is instructive to see what is mentioned and what is ignored.
What is really happening in the land "down under"? In early February, southeastern Australia experienced one of the worst natural disasters ever recorded in the country's history. Not long after the nation had experienced some of its worst floods in decades, it was ravaged by 400 wildfires, driven by 50–mile-per-hour winds on days when the temperatures soared above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Fire burned more than 1,100 square miles of tinder-dry countryside, destroying several towns and more than 1,500 homes and killing more than 200 people and millions of animals. Residents fleeing the fast-moving fires described walls of flames more than one hundred feet high that produced a roaring sound like a huge freight train. People who witnessed the firestorm "said the inferno was like a nuclear bomb," as eucalyptus and gum trees (which contain flammable oils) were literally "exploding" (International Herald Tribune, February 9, 2009). Satellite photos showed much of southeastern Australia covered with smoke. The magnitude of the disaster shocked the nation. Press reports of Australia's "week in hell" and rescue workers described the scenes as "horrible… horrendous… heartbreaking."
Then, on Friday evening, March 6, just about three weeks after the disastrous fires, three earthquakes in one day struck the region around Melbourne, Australia's second largest city. The earthquakes, which in some areas sounded like an explosion and shook buildings, were the biggest to hit the Melbourne region in 36 years (Herald Sun, March 8, 2009). Residents who lived near the fire areas and experienced the earthquakes pondered the question "what now?"
As Australians search for the causes of the sudden firestorm catastrophe and as they attempt to understand why they are being shaken by earthquakes, it is instructive to see what is mentioned and what is ignored. The Bible offers a startling perspective about what is happening in Australia. Scripture indicates that the catastrophic conditions created by high winds, soaring temperatures and a severe drought that combined to produce a "perfect fire storm" in southeastern Australia—and the sudden series of earthquakes—may not be just a coincidence—especially when other trends in Australian society are considered. Regrettably, our modern secular society has forgotten what previous generations once knew and, as a result, the real significance of important trends goes unrecognized. A century ago, 96 percent of Australians identified themselves as Christian. Today, only about 62 percent claim to be Christian, more than 20 percent profess no religion, and only 7.5 percent bother to attend weekly church services. The decline in Christian religious influence in Australia is a fact of life.
The Bible reveals that God has a plan He is going to bring to pass (Isaiah 46:8–10). Long ago, Moses warned the Israelites that if they would obey God's laws they would be blessed, but if they chose to despise and disobey His instructions He would bring curses upon them (Deuteronomy 28:15–68). Those curses would include making the heavens like bronze, the earth like iron and changing the rain to powder and dust "until you are destroyed" (Deuteronomy 28:22–24). Jesus prophesied that "famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places" would be among the signs that would announce the approaching end of the age and His imminent return (Matthew 24:7). Down through the centuries, God sent prophets to warn His people that their disobedience would bring serious consequences. God warned through the prophet Jeremiah, "O house of Israel… I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you.… Because My people have forgotten Me.… they have caused themselves to stumble.… from the ancient paths" (Jeremiah 18:6–15). Jeremiah states further, "Why does the land perish and burn up like a wilderness.… Because they have forsaken My law… and have not obeyed My voice… but they have walked according to the dictates of their own heart" (Jeremiah 9:12–15). God told the prophet Ezekiel to warn "a rebellious nation… the children of Israel" that "I will judge you according to your ways, and I will repay you for all your abominations" and that "disaster will come upon disaster.… then they shall know that I am the Lord" (Ezekiel 2:3; 7:5–8, 25–27).
One of the fundamental laws of sexual morality that God gave to His chosen people to set them apart from other nations was the absolute prohibition of homosexual relationships that God said were an abomination in His sight (Leviticus 18:22; Deuteronomy 23:17). However, today, these divine instructions are considered antiquated and irrelevant by people who think their ideas are more rational and enlightened—especially in Australia. In the last 25 to 30 years, the land "down under" that once claimed to be 96 percent Christian, has legalized homosexuality, promoted same-sex marriage and become the stage for the largest gay pride festival in the world today, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. The most recent event attracted 300,000 tourists to southeastern Australia and generated millions of dollars for the local economy. Ignoring the Scriptures last year, nearly 100 ministers and clergy apologized to homosexuals for how they have been treated in society (news.bbc.co.uk, March 1, 2008). These actions by religious leaders validate the warning of the prophet Isaiah, "O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths" (Isaiah 3:12).
Sadly, the secular media fails to make any connection between the fact that the cities of Melbourne and Sydney are located in southeastern Australia—the site of the fires and earthquakes. However, these two cities also hold the largest homosexual communities in Australia. The media fails to mention the earthquakes took place on the evening before the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade that invites thousands of homosexuals and transvestites to celebrate their lifestyle in public—and take guided walking tours labeled the "Sodomite" and "Homosexual" Walks. The media fails to mention the fact that the horrendous firestorms and the worst drought in the nation's history have occurred at the same time that the Australian government has recognized same-sex marriages and attempted to make Australia the most "gay-friendly" country in the world. As one reveler at the Gay Mardi Gras exclaimed, "This is my first year at the parade, and I am absolutely loving it" (Charlotte Observer, March 8, 2009). Long ago, Jeremiah prophesied about our time today, "Are they ashamed of their conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush" (Jeremiah 8:12).
Critics may scoff and claim intolerance and abuse, yet these biblical instructions and prophecies are facts of history. Bible prophecies clearly warn there will be serious consequences—especially for Israelite nations that were called to be lights to the world—when the laws of God are ignored or broken. Australians need to understand that the real reasons for the worst drought in the nation's history, the horrendous firestorms and earthquakes are immoral actions that God said will bring disastrous consequences to nations that condone such behaviors. In the days ahead, we will see more prophesied disasters come alive—if Israelite nations continue their plunge toward Sodom and Gomorrah.