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Heed the Warning!

Heed the Warning!

 Heed the Warning!

BOOM! On June 3, 1991, with a reverberating rumble, Mount Fugen in Japan spewed out a torrent of volcanic gases and ash. The superheated mixture poured down the slope. The eruption killed 43 people. Many who barely survived were badly burned. “Water, water, please,” some cried. Fire fighters and policemen frantically raced to help them.

A LAVA dome had been observed on the summit of Mount Fugen about two weeks earlier, so the authorities and inhabitants had been on the alert. For well over a week before the disaster, an advisory to evacuate the area had been given. Just a day before the eruption, the police had asked members of the press to refrain from going into the restricted area. Yet, that fatal afternoon the 43 victims were in the danger zone.

Why did so many venture into the area or remain there? Some farmers who had evacuated their homes went back to check on their belongings and fields. Three volcanologists were trying to get as near as possible to the volcano to satisfy their academic interest. A number of reporters and photographers dared to cross the off-limits line because they wanted to get a scoop on the volcanic activity. Three cab drivers hired by the press were on the scene. Policemen and volunteer fire fighters were on duty. Each had his own reason for going into the danger zone​—and the consequence was that he lost his life.

Are You in a Danger Zone?

We may not all live near an active volcano. Yet, what if we were facing a global catastrophe, putting all of us in a danger zone encompassing the entire globe? A book that has proved to be a reliable source of prophetic information warns us of a coming worldwide disaster and describes it this way: “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. . . . All the tribes  of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation.” (Matthew 24:29, 30) Here celestial phenomena of universal magnitude are described as affecting “all the tribes of the earth.” In other words, this prophecy relates to a catastrophe that will affect every one of us.

This book of reliable prophecy is the Bible. Interestingly, the context of the above-mentioned scripture passage gives a detailed description of things that will lead up to the global calamity. Just as the lava dome and other volcanic indicators gave the Shimabara city officials reasons for designating a danger zone, the Bible gives us reasons for being on the alert and for preparing ourselves for survival. We can learn a lesson from the tragedy at Mount Fugen and discern the gravity of what lies ahead.

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COVER: Yomiuri/​Orion Press/​Sipa Press

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Yomiuri/​Orion Press/​Sipa Press