When Jesus began His Olivet Discourse, or His discussion of the last days and the signs of "the generation", He stated that the beginnings of the generational signs (and the signs that would continue like birth pains) would be "wars and rumors of wars", "earthquakes", "pestilences" and "famine". Jesus also used the idiom "Nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom", which, as mentioned before in the context of Matthew 24 would serve as a reference to World War.
Also as mentioned many times in the past, many scholars find enormous spikes in these signs during the WWI and WWII eras. I believe that these were the first two big signs which started "the generation". Notably, Israel being formed as a nation in 1948, just on the heels of WWII, served as the "Super Sign", and many prophecy watchers focus on that sign (appropriately), but the WWI and WWII eras really marked the beginning the last generation in terms of "signs".
It has always fascinated me, how all of these signs are all interrelated. As we know historically, any war leads to people fleeing the war areas, with evacuations, impromptu encampments with poor conditions leading to dysentery and other communicable diseases (pestilence), famine (unable to get food to the people) and the combination of these "signs" always seem to go hand in hand.
Earthquakes have the same effect:
"Haiti's Health System Crumbles as Outbreaks Loom"
Now we see this inevitable situation already occurring in Haiti. Pertinent quotes below:
"The earthquake in Haiti crushed the country’s fragile infrastructure for health care and clean water and may trigger widespread outbreaks of life-threatening diarrhea, measles and malaria."
"Diarrheal diseases, including cholera and E. coli, cause severe dehydration and strip the body of needed nutrients. Diarrhea will flourish as survivors struggle to find clean water and safe food, Kirsch said. Children are most susceptible to severe infections."
"Measles outbreaks, which sometimes follow natural disasters, may flash through neighborhoods of tightly packed courtyards where thousands of homeless residents are gathering. Measles spreads rapidly and kills 15 percent of infected children in regions with malnutrition, Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview in December."
“The health system has been eliminated, water and sanitation entirely knocked out,” Kirsch said in an interview yesterday. “The chance of them recovering even to the low level that they were before is almost zero."
One reason these signs have continued to grow throughout this generation is the array of world-wide "regional conflicts" - from Bosnia/Serbia, to northern Africa, to Iraq, Afghanistan, "ethnic cleansing" in many regions, and the many Islamic regions who are in a constant state of war. In every one of these estimated 30+ regions of warfare we see the same thing that we are witnessing in Haiti - the spread of multiple diseases, famine and resulting starvation, poor nutrition and poor living conditions.
Haiti serves as a microcosm of the above - what we see in Haiti, with the world's spotlight on the region is no different that what happens every single day in these war-torn areas. Granted, Haiti is on a larger scale and gets the news coverage because of the sensational nature of a large earthquake, but this is happening every minute of every day elsewhere in the world.
These particular signs of the generation are all interrelated. Both earthquakes and warfare always lead to this subsequent scenario of pestilences and famine.
Another story has emerged from the devastation in Haiti - and this too is something that seems to occur in these regions even though it isn't a "sign", it is uplifting and a glimpse of how God seems to show up in these disaster areas. It seems that there is inevitably a story like this one:
"Haitian doctor takes more than 100 patients into his home"
Below are quotes from this article:
"Haitian doctor takes more than 100 patients into his home
By Mike Melia, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - It wasn't long after Tuesday's earthquake levelled nearly all of the houses next to Claude Surena's that neighbours started showing up at his doorstep.
For years, the 59-year old pediatrician had treated the sick at his two-story hillside home near the centre of the Haitian capital.
Suddenly, he was running a triage centre, treating more than 100 victims on his shaded, leafy patio with food and supplies salvaged from ruined homes.
His undamaged house provides at least a minimum level of comfort away from the devastation - even for the dying - while thousands of others in the city lie in the dirt under a merciless sun waiting for attention from a handful of doctors.
"I have to thank whoever brought me," said Steve Julien, who says the last thing he remembers before he blacked out was rescue workers calling his name as they dug through the rubble of his house.
When he woke up, he was lying on a mattress inside Surena's soothing oasis.
"It was a blessing from God my house is safe," he said. "We at least have been able to do something for everyone."
The patients show physical and emotional wounds from having their homes collapse on them. Julien, 48, is among the least severely injured, with only a few scrapes and a sore body. Others have compound fractures and festering wounds. Surena said at least 10 patients are in critical need of more substantial help.
The injured sing Christian hymns as they huddle close together beneath sheets strung up as tents, but the earthquake still haunts them. Aftershocks rattled the city as recently as Friday morning."
At least there is a small silver lining to this cloud - I suspect that we'll see more of these kind of stories as things progress in Haiti.
I'm sure we are all praying for the people in Haiti. But we need to remember that this same scenario is occurring every single day, throughout the world - just on a smaller scale.
Someday, the earth will be perfect again - just as God originally intended. Once Jesus returns for his 1,000 year reign on earth (Revelation 20, and a vast vast array of Old Testament prophecy), the earth, as originally intended will be completely restored.
But until then - what we are seeing in Haiti is only going to get worse on a world-wide scale. All of these "signs" will be escalated dramatically during the Tribulation. Wars will escalate in frequency and severity and just in the first series of wars - with the inevitable disease, famine and death, 1/4 of the earth's population will perish. The earthquakes will continue in frequency and severity, as will the resulting famine and disease. What we are seeing now is only a glimpse of the earth during the Tribulation. In fact, Jesus stated in Matthew 24, that if not for His return, "no one would survive".
Everything we are seeing today consists of warning signs for the generation. A warning of what is to come.