In recent days, multiple parts of the globe have experienced searing temperatures and devastating fires. Currently, deadly fires have claimed lives, destroyed homes and scorched thousands of acres in California, western Canada, Greece, Sweden, the Netherlands and Britain, and heat is even searing Finnish Lapland above the Arctic Circle. The Economist recently stated, “Heat is causing problems across the world,” and as fires burn in Siberia, “Japan is in a state of emergency” and “has declared its heatwave to be a natural disaster” (July 28, 2018).
In addition to the expensive destruction of property caused by fires, there is also the loss of lives due to both the fires and the heat itself. As the same article highlighted, “In 2003 more than 70,000 Europeans may have died as a direct result of an infernal summer.” Extreme heat is especially dangerous for the elderly and very young, but it also ravages crops, decimates livestock, causes power outages and increases the risks of lightning strikes (The Telegraph, July 27, 2018). The actual costs of these current heatwaves, in terms of lives and property, will not be known for several months.
What many do not realize today is that the Bible warns that extreme temperatures will also be one of the signs of the end of the age. While the current heatwaves may not be the direct fulfillment of Bible prophecies, they provide insights into what will happen in future years. Jesus warned that famines at the end of the age will be part of the “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:7–8). Later, in the book of Revelation, God warns that fires will burn up one-third of the trees and all the grass (Revelation 8:7). And at the very end, the sun will burn even hotter and scorch the earth just prior to Jesus Christ’s return to rule the earth (Revelation 16:8–9). Scientists suggest there will be more frequent cycles of extreme heat in the years ahead—which the Bible also confirms, though, perhaps, for reasons far different from those that scientists will accept. To learn more about weather events to watch for in the years ahead, read or listen to Who Controls the Weather?