A few years ago, while on a speaking trip to a small English town, I had the privilege of having lunch with a group of retired gentlemen and ladies. After being seated beside one of the women, we struck up a conversation, and I soon discovered it was her birthday.
“Happy birthday,” I congratulated her. “May I ask how old you are, ma’am?”
This question prompted everyone seated at the table to look up from their freshly poured cups of English tea.
“One hundred years…today,” the woman replied.
“Wow,” was all I could muster, not knowing how to express my amazement. I chose to probe further, inquiring, “So what are some of the things that stand out in your mind over the past one hundred years? What are some of your most vivid memories?”
Delicately stirring her tea, the elderly woman thought for a moment, and then matter‑of‑factly stated, “Well, I remember when German bombs fell on our town back in 1940.” Then she looked at me, stating in the most proper English accent, “But I guess one of my earliest recollections would be when the Titanic went down. I remember that one rather well.”
Like a schoolboy meeting a sports legend, for the next hour, I sat in silence, listening intently to the stories this dear old woman recounted.
It was a lunch I have never forgotten, though none of her stories blew me away like her recollection of the Titanic.
The sinking of that legendary ship was one of the greatest maritime disasters in human history, and since that time, the very name Titanic has been synonymous with tragedy. On April 10, 1912, what was then the world’s largest ocean liner left Southampton to begin her maiden voyage across the North Atlantic, carrying more than 2,200 souls on board. Her captain, Edward Smith, was a seasoned sailor, and it was rumored he would retire following this journey.
Four days into the voyage, everything was going as planned. Passengers were enjoying themselves, doing what people do on a luxury liner—eating, drinking, playing, relaxing. The skies had remained clear and the seas calm, making for a tranquil and uneventful trip. The last thing on anyone’s mind was danger. In fact, the opposite sentiment was present in the minds of Titanic’s passengers and crew, all secure and confident given the ship experts’ proclamations that the vessel was unsinkable. But seven‑year‑old Eva Hart had a different experience. Having been originally booked on another ship, the Philadelphia, weather had prevented the Hart family from making the voyage. And so Eva, along with her mother and father, was offered a second‑class berth on the Titanic. However, Eva’s mother, ordinarily an even‑keeled woman, was troubled by a premonition she had that something dreadful would happen.
On Sunday morning, April 14, the ship received a wireless message from the SS Caronia, reporting that icebergs had been spotted just a few miles north of Titanic’s plotted course. Later that same day, the Titanic received additional ice warnings. One came from the steamship Baltic at 1:40 p.m., with reports of “passing icebergs and a large quantity of field ice.”1 This message included specific coordinates marking the location of the ice.
Another message was received from the Californian and reported ice about 19 miles north of Titanic’s path. Coordinates were provided as well. The German liner Amerika sent a message with reports of seeing two large icebergs.
Last, another message came through, again from the Californian, stating, “We are stopped and surrounded by ice,” to which the Titanic’s radio operator wired back,
“Shut up. I am busy!”2
As the world would later discover, mankind’s largest seagoing vessel struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on April 14, 1912, while cruising at about 24 miles per hour.
Seven‑year‑old Eva, asleep at the time, was later told by her mother that it felt like nothing more than a slight bump. Even so, her mother woke her husband, who, after taking the elevator up to the deck, promptly returned to gather his wife and child. Wrapping his daughter in a thick blanket, the man quickly led his family topside. At this early stage following the collision, there was no panic or perceived danger. Even so, as a precaution, Eva and her mother were loaded into a lifeboat, where they waited in the bone‑chilling night air.
Assessing the damage and after receiving reports from down below, Captain Smith confirmed the ship was sinking and gave the order to fill the lifeboats.
And that’s when panic set in.
The Titanic went down in 2 hours and 40 minutes, carrying 1,517 souls more than two miles below the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. And though Eva Hart and her mother survived, she would never see her father again. The young girl watched the huge vessel tip, submerge, and then break in half before going under completely. The scene would forever be etched in her memory.
On the day the Titanic sank, a lifeboat drill had been scheduled, but for some unknown reason, Captain Smith had canceled the drill. There were other wireless messages and iceberg warnings from additional ships in the area as well. Some were acknowledged, while others were not.
Many safety measures for cruise ships have been enacted since the sinking of the Titanic, including evacuation procedures and regulations not in existence prior to this epic event. Sadly, so many perished for those lessons to be learned.
Messages. Repeated warnings. Tragedy. Death.
Like those iceberg warnings of April 1912, Bible prophecies alert us regarding the end times. They warn of approaching danger and give us clues on how to avoid catastrophe. When heeded, they save lives. When ignored, disaster inevitably follows.
We have seen some of the similarities between Noah’s day and planet Earth’s final days. We’ve also observed our own generation’s uncanny resemblance to these two. Seeing these parallel signs doesn’t mean we’re about to be raptured any more than spotting an iceberg means a ship is going to sink.
But it does mean we’re in the right waters.
And this we do know. There are icebergs all around us. While we may not agree on the specifics, I believe, as do most biblical scholars and prophecy experts, that humanity is on a collision course with God’s coming judgment and soon return of His Son, Jesus Christ.
We are arrogantly racing full speed ahead into the night, toward a rendezvous with global catastrophe. Numerous compelling moral, cultural, geopolitical, and biblical evidences indicate we may very well be close to the end times described in Scripture. Some of these signs and clues may sound as unlikely and improbable as a block of ice capsizing an unsinkable ship. There are those who say the chances these prophetic events will really happen are so miniscule as to be thought ridiculous. About as absurd as an Ark saving a family and some animals from a worldwide flood. But for the discerning person, there is a growing sense that the globe we’re on is nearing the conclusion of its journey. And you don’t need a premonition to figure that one out.
As we observe humanity through the interpretive grid of Scripture, what we see is a generation much like the one in Noah’s day. Like Noah’s, ours is a world populated by billions uninterested and unconcerned about a prophesied coming judgment. In fact, most today don’t even believe there was ever a first judgment. To them, the story of Noah, the Ark, the Flood, and the obliteration of humanity is pure fiction. A great idea for a movie, but not real‑life historical stuff. They don’t believe, as Noah did, that there is a 100 percent chance of rain in the forecast. They don’t believe this because, in their eyes, there isn’t even a cloud in the sky. No hint of future judgment. Nothing in their minds or on their radar indicating God will bring their world to an end anytime soon. Nothing convincing them that demons will be released to torment mankind. No impending signs that earthquakes, war, and famine will ravage the earth in their lifetime. No one‑world government or mythical Antichrist villain. And especially no empirical evidence that a crucified Galilean rabbi from 2,000 years ago is returning to earth a second time.
To them it’s all sci‑fi, apocalyptic fantasy—Resident Evil, Day After Tomorrow, Book of Eli stuff. Make‑believe for adults. For them, Revelation may make for a great campfire story. This generation doesn’t consider themselves to be godless because there’s no God anyway. And if He did exist, He would never be so judgmental as to destroy the earth and its inhabitants. Their answers to violence fail to acknowledge sin as the problem. And abortion is a “health care choice,” not brutal murder.
The people in Noah’s day would be so proud of them.
There is no sexual identity problem with humanity either. And they’re offended that there are some who judge and condemn “good people” just because they were born with a different sexual orientation or because they sleep with their girlfriends. And why should anyone care, anyway? I mean, people should be free to do whatever makes them happy, right? They see Christian views on sexuality as repressive and unrealistic. In their minds, the whole end‑times scenario is simply another scare tactic meant to sell a few books and maybe frighten a few weak‑minded people into church.
Providing you happen to actually believe in all this end‑times superstition, you’re labeled as unscientific or perhaps a conspiracy theorist. Maybe a wee bit kooky too. You may be a nice person, but your street cred drops dramatically when you start talking about another planet-wide judgment on its way. Besides, God is supposed to love everybody. So just keep your views to yourself and people won’t think you’re crazy. And you just might save yourself from being cancelled by the woke mob.
Feel like Noah yet?
Much about future prophetic events is, as of yet, unclear. Current signs of the approaching end times are more like gathering storm clouds than actual calendar dates. We may not yet be experiencing those tribulation birth pangs Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24, but it’s becoming pretty obvious that we are “great with child.”
As followers of Jesus, our core beliefs about the future come not from opinion or speculation but from the Word of God. We draw our information and our confidence from the truth God supernaturally recorded for us.3 And the veracity and reliability of the Bible is inseparably linked to the trustworthiness of God Himself. So to dismiss the one is to discount the other. For believers, the simple and plain promises of Jesus are enough:
“I go to prepare a place for you. If I go…I will come again” (John 14:2‑3).
“I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22:20).
And therein lies our hope, not as in “I wish for,” but rather, “I confidently expect.”4 Scripture says all these end‑times events “must take place” (Revelation 4:1). And because Scripture and Jesus have a 100 percent accuracy record so far when it comes to fulfilled prophecy, they remain a safe bet for the future
Excerpted from Jeff Kinley’s book, As It Was in the Days of Noah (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2014) p. 157-64.
- See http://www.titanicinquiry.org/USInq/USReport/AmInqRep04.php.
- The rest of the message actually read, “Shut up. I am busy. I am working Cape Race.” The Titanic maintained constant contact with Cape Race, Newfoundland, throughout its voyage.
- 2 Peter 1:20‑21.
- See Acts 24:15; Romans 8:5; 15:4; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 6:19.