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This question takes as an example the following news report of recent global events, linked to the Bible verses quoted below about the end of the end-times (not an exhaustive list, but all taken from the book of the Revelation, A.V.):

"The 11 countries hit by wildfires this summer including holiday hotspots, Greece, France and Spain"

Revelation 8:5-13 (the 7th seal, with 3 woes to follow) “And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake… the first angel sounded and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. [Then it speaks of a third part of the rivers and fountains of water becoming bitter, many people dying. Next…] And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.”

Revelation 9:18-21 (the 2nd woe) “By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths…”

Revelation 16:8-9 (part of the 7 last plagues - the 4th vial. The 7th vial includes great hailstones.) “And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat…”

Revelation 6:12-17 (which is at the very end, when Christ returns in wrath, so not yet) "when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood…”

Please note that I am not looking for denominational interpretations of all those Bible texts. I just give them as an example – there are many other texts that could be included. I just want to be pointed to any links or articles any denominations may have come out with, indicating that they see a connection between global climate conditions (and the direction they seem to be going in) and such Bible texts.

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    Mod note: Please don't answer this question without citing a Christian denomination who has a viewpoint affirming a link between climate change and the end of the world.
    – Peter Turner
    Aug 1, 2023 at 16:46
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    These biblical references, quoted in connection with recent climactic events, are extremely compelling. Up-voted without reserve +1.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 3, 2023 at 20:53

6 Answers 6

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If you want an extreme position, the Philadelphia Church of God takes such a position on climate change and weather.

For instance, their 96 page booklet *Why 'Natural' Disasters?'s third chapter is "The Deadly Climate Change Deception", which begins:

When climatic disasters occur, the usual political and media response is to blame the trend on “climate change.” The worse the disaster, the louder the calls for taking action against climate change by addressing the supposed man-made causes, such as carbon emissions and the use of fossil fuels.

This view about “climate change” has taken hold of millions of minds around the world. It is often presented as if it were irrefutable scientific fact. The truth, though, is that it is an ideology, and it will negatively affect every single person who falls for it!

This is not a political view. We aim to give you God’s view. Our great Creator knows that climate change is not the cause of weather disasters!

Their position is that while human activity might affect the weather, it is blasphemous to think that mankind can control it.

God alone controls the weather, with good and bad weather being the result of his blessings and cursings. God wants people to repent of their sinful ways, and for the relationship between sin and disaster to be understood by as many people as possible before Christ's return.

The August 2017 of their magazine contains an article Greenhouse Apocalypse, which ends with:

Environmental Stewardship

Scientists, journalists and politicians have hijacked concerns about the environment and twisted them for their own purposes. Does that mean, however, that we should blow off these concerns and ignore the smokestacks, the river-dumping, the nuclear waste leakage and all the other very real, very toxic substances we human beings are releasing into our own environment?

Not at all. In fact, we should care about the environment more than those who co-opt it to serve their own agenda.

The Bible records with notable specifics that God created the environment: the seas, the atmosphere, the land, the plants, the animals. And He created all this for man. Not for man to abuse, but to use responsibly.

God gave the first human beings stewardship of the planet and provided them with instructions on how to sustain the environment, including these two principles: “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15).

Dress means to work and, by implication, to serve as a bondman, or become servant to. Keep means to guard, hedge about, protect, preserve and look narrowly to (Strong’s Concordance). Dressing and keeping the planet requires honesty, discipline, self-denial and individual responsibility.

Industrialists today have discarded wholesome environmental practices and embraced principles based on short-term profit. Meanwhile, government officials who supposedly regulate these industrialists twist environmental concerns for their political agenda.

Our society is built upon the way of selfishness and greed. Our entire approach must be revolutionized.

Real environmental stewardship is going to require nothing less than a change in human nature itself.

Mankind needs to reassume its role as leader of the environment and once again dress and keep the environment as God intended. The Bible tells us that a time is soon coming when “the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine” (Amos 9:13). But first, mankind must learn that attitudes of greed and selfishness need to be discarded and replaced with attitudes of service and of respect for God’s law and God’s creation!

The editorial in the same issue ends with:

Worse Threats

There are far more dangerous and immediate threats to our planet than the environmental disasters that our carbon emissions will supposedly bring within the next several decades. Mankind is racing toward nuclear Armageddon! North Korea is governed by a madman. This nation has a nuclear bomb and is developing a missile to launch it directly at America. Iran—also governed by a madman—was given a huge boost by Mr. Obama in its quest for a nuclear bomb. These two radical nations are working together.

That threat is a thousand times worse than climate change! Those bombs could extinguish all life from this Earth!

The warped notion that climate change is our worst threat diverts our attention from the real issue!

God prophesied this—and I can prove to you that it is for America today: “I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror” (Leviticus 26:16). Read that whole chapter in the Bible, and you can see many curses that fall on us because of our godlessness. God sends that punishment in order to wake us up to our spiritual sickness. Shouldn’t knife-wielding radicals terrorizing innocent people turn people to God?

Mankind scoffs at the idea of God being involved in the nations of Israel today. But God says our curses and enemies are going to overtake us!

The terrorism and plagues in this country were prophesied by God! And they are going to get far worse—because of our egregious spiritual sins. But Satan wants you to think that all the problems are a result of our emitting too much carbon dioxide!

But soon the plagues on our nations will overtake us—and crush the radical left’s hope for control along with it. Nations and organizations all over the Earth are working diligently to bring America down. This is not something America’s president can solve. He is trying very hard to get people to look to him, so he can “make America great again.” But there is no hope in any solution unless we turn not to a puny man, but to God.

This world must learn the lessons God wants us to learn. He is sending all these plagues just as He said He would if the nations of Israel turned their backs on Him. (These include America, Britain and the Jewish nation in end-time Bible prophecy. Request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.) Prophecy is being fulfilled at a rapid rate. God will continue to punish until people get the message and realize that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

But to those who do repent, God offers so much hope—the brightest future you could ever imagine. The solution to our problems is not a Paris Agreement. It is heeding the warning message God is trumpeting, and turning our hearts to God!

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I do not believe the church recognizes the connection in an official capacity, but many members of the Seventh-day Adventist church see the activism on "climate change," such as the papal encyclicals, to be leading toward political goals that will bring in fulfillments of prophecies, such as those of Daniel 11 and part of Revelation.

The pope has already connected the Catholic doctrines of Sunday observance, the Trinity, Mariology (Mary worship), etc. to climate change (see last part of encyclical linked in references below), and it may well be part of what will later cause governments to make and to enforce laws requiring Sunday observance. Seventh-day Adventists, knowing Sunday-worship is an institution of the papacy and is not taught in the Bible, see this worldwide enforcement as part of the fulfillment of the prophecy that "all the world wondered after the beast" (Revelation 13:3, KJV).

References

Pope's May 2015 Climate-Related Encyclical (in full)

Pope Francis, Sunday, and Seventh-day Adventists (article by Adventist pastor)

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  • I've looked at both links, noting the opposite views in some respects, and expectation of papal persecution (which is nothing new, going back to E.G. Whyte's 'Great Controversy' book long before climate considerations arose.) But this brief answer really helps answer my Q! I'm looking for such links/views - not who's right or who's wrong - just links to help grasp the current, mixed picture. Thanks.
    – Anne
    Aug 1, 2023 at 12:25
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Are there any denominations that have commented upon the significance of climate change in regard to these prophecies which point to Christ's return?

Many denominations have spoken out about climate change.

Few have yet to link it to prophecies which point to Christ’s Return.

Pope Francis’ first encyclical Laudato Si' dealt with the major problems of climate change, but did not link it to biblical prophecies.

Some denominations have tied climate change to biblical prophecies but stop short of tying it to Jesus’ Second Coming. The Jehovah’s Witnesses come come close, but do not really tie it to Christ’s Return: See here.

I rather doubt any Christian denomination actually attempts to make this connection with Our Lord’s Second Coming.

Individual Christians and some Christian groups link climate change to Christ’s Second Coming, but not an entire denomination.

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    Post is not complete yet. Will try to get back to it today.
    – Ken Graham
    Jul 31, 2023 at 12:43
  • So far, so good! These are the right tracks. That JW link is interesting as they believe in a literal Millennium due very soon yet they disbelieve literal fire burning up the planet (as per 2 Peter 3:10) whilst saying global events literally indicate God about to destroy those destroying the earth.
    – Anne
    Jul 31, 2023 at 13:09
  • Important fact is JWs believe that Christs parousia which means Christs presence began in 1914. The ever worsening world conditions including GCC are seen as evidence that we are getting ever closer to the end of this system of things.
    – Kris
    Jul 31, 2023 at 17:44
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I searched high and low for articles published by Christian denominations linking global climate change with the prophecies in Revelation but to no avail. Ray Butterworth found one by the Philadelphia Church of God, which makes for interesting reading! What I managed to find shows there are some polar opposites out there.

R.C. Sproul, Reformed Presbyterian asked ‘Are we living in the end times described in the book of Revelation?’ His answer acknowledges that the answer to this question depends on whether you take a Historicist view of Revelation (everything happened during the first century) or a Futurist view of Revelation (these things refer to distant future times). There is also another view that says Revelation refers to both and that there is a primary and a secondary fulfilment.

Regardless of how we understand when Revelation was written, what it is referring to, and the Olivet discourse, we’re still looking forward to the return of Jesus. He hasn’t come yet, but I take great hope in this: with every day that passes, He’s that much closer to returning. When I see what’s going on around us today, I have every reason to think we’re getting closer and closer. But, of course, a lot of that is my hope. I also realize it could be another two thousand years before He comes. I’m not into making predictions of dates, but we should certainly be vigilant today, and we should be looking for the coming of Christ. Source: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/qas/are-we-living-in-the-end-times-described-in-the-book-of-revelation

The University College London published an article in May 2023 saying that Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), which provides educational material to schools in England and Northern Ireland, now claims to show ‘evidence’ that human-caused climate change is not real and still presents evolution as a conspiracy theory.

The addition of climate change denial as a proof point for creationism follows on from previous editions which claimed the existence of a ‘vapour canopy’ that surrounded Earth until it burst, causing Noah’s flood. Although the most recent edition doesn’t include this and the claim has largely been dropped by the group, space within the material previously given over to the theory now covers climate change, specifically to deny a human link between rising temperatures and to reassure students of God’s plan in preparing a new heaven and Earth with a better climate. Source: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2023/may/accelerated-christian-education-textbooks-used-uk-schools-deny-human-caused-climate-change

Bart D. Ehrman, professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, believes that Revelation was written for a first century audience with first century concerns about the first century Roman Empire. His article in the 3 May 2023 Los Angeles Times is entitled ‘A misreading of the Bible fuels apathy about climate change’ part of which says this:

American evangelicals are still disproportionately uninterested in climate change and other environmental issues. Their apathy is driven not only by their well-documented distrust of science but also by a specific eschatological belief that Jesus is coming soon to bring history to a rather climactic end. Most evangelicals believe this is simply what the Bible teaches, especially in the Book of Revelation... A a 2010 Pew Research poll indicated that over half of American Protestants believed [Christ] would return by 2050... If a significant portion of the voting public believes the end of our civilization is just 40 years off, why worry about the environment? Why support the Paris climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050? It’s no surprise that believers in the Second Coming are significantly more likely to oppose governmental attempts to fight climate change. Source: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2023-05-03/bible-revelation-christian-environment-climate-change-apathy

Then we have denominations who view the end-time visions and prophecies in Revelation as purely symbolic and not literal. With regard to Revelation 8:1-9:21, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that fulfilment began in 1914 and will continue till the great tribulation. In the document below they say the symbolic plagues that afflict one-third of the earth and the seas are aimed at the clergy of Christendom.

Subject: The sounding of six of the seven trumpets: Time of fulfillment: From the enthronement of Christ Jesus in 1914 to the great tribulation. The plagues seen by John... are not literal plagues. They are signs that symbolize Jehovah’s righteous judgments.—Revelation 1:1. Source: https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/Revelation-Its-Grand-Climax-At-Hand/Jehovahs-Plagues-on-Christendom/

Conclusion: Regardless of the different views regarding climate change, Revelation 11:18 warns that God will destroy those who are destroying the earth. Destroying the earth is not restricted to harming the environment resulting in dramatic climate change. There are all sorts of other ways whereby millions of people are experiencing untold suffering and death at the hands of humans - by war, greed and corruption. Whether or not climate change heralds the second coming of Christ Jesus, I agree with R.C. Sproul – we should certainly be vigilant today, and we should be looking for the coming of Christ. We don’t want to be found sleepwalking into the great tribulation.

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Jehovah's Witnesses have published information on their website linking the "climate crisis caused by global warming" to multiple Bible prophecies pertaining to the "Last Days" and to Christ's return.

The web article, "Climate Change and Our Future—What the Bible Says" acknowledges the threat of global warming and climate change, attributing the cause to human activity. Climate change is said to fulfill Bible prophecy. There are three key scriptural references discussed in the article:

  1. Revelation 11:18 - God will “destroy those who are destroying the earth.”

The Bible foretold a time when human actions would bring the earth to the brink of ruin. As a result of global warming, people today are ruining the planet on an unprecedented scale.

  1. Luke 21:11 - “There will be fearful sights.”

The Bible foretold that “fearful sights,” or terrifying events, would occur in our day. Climate change has generated terrifying weather events around the globe. Today, some people suffer from eco-anxiety—a chronic fear of environmental doom.

  1. 2 Timothy 3:1-4 - “In the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, . . . disloyal, . . . not open to any agreement, . . . betrayers, headstrong.”

The Bible foretold the traits and behavior that have created the climate crises. Governments and businesses put economic interests first and betray the interests of future generations. Even when they attempt to work together, they cannot agree on the steps needed to stop global warming.

Each of these Bible prophecies relate to the period of time surrounding Christ's return. In each instance, the negative impacts from climate change are the result of human activity. Jehovah's Witnesses do not suggest that any climate related disasters are directly caused by God himself. Such events are not viewed as any form of divine judgement or action.

Aside from Revelation 11:18, Jehovah's Witnesses do not link other passages in Revelation (chapters 6, 8, 9, 16, etc.) to the current effects of climate change.

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Amillennialist versus millennialist is a major division over the interpretation of Revelation, whilst it is focused on a specific passage, it highlights a general perspective to interpreting the text.

I would suggest amillennialist Protestants (amillennialism) caution against direct interpretation of Revelations per se. For online resources the BibleProject on YouTube gives a great (amillennialist) exegesis of the overall picture of Revelations. The point of these expositions, whether its global warming or other catastrophes, is not to see direct fulfilment in specific events but look at the cyclical nature of human rebellion and God, i.e. look at the big picture.

The counterpoint is Revelations is a prophecy of specific events, which are now removed from the checklist towards a singular consumption and I am suggesting (below) this wouldn't an be amillennialist exegesis in its general framework.


Background Revelations was heavily tilted to Christianity under the pre-christian Roman Empire to encourage perseverance against the onslaught and persecution, literally wholesale slaughter, both at the hands of the Emperor such as Nero and Roman state. The seven headed beast are the seven hills of Rome. The harlot is the goddess of Rome.

Revelation 17:9

The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman [harlot] sits.

It's about risking martyrdom when the state (Empire) believes it has sufficient power and invincibility to replace God. The Roman Emperor was a god. This can apply (and applies) to any Empire or any State in any period of time.

Revelation is one of the most astonishing pieces of literature ever written because its message "risk it all" is exactly what happened, there are countless examples of martyrdom, i.e. execution by Rome. Essentially Christianity cornered Rome because Rome couldn't execute a large proportion of its population. This is the empire that conquered the superpowers of Carthage and Egypt, controlled most of Europe and the Middle East, but it couldn't conquer Christianity.

Personal interpretation The way I would interpret this passage is how would Christians under Nero read this passage and what did the author intend? I would say the christians were wanting to get to heaven against the edicts of Rome. I would suggest the author had in mind the Exodus from Egypt into the promised land and here the promised land is salvation. In the Exodus God (through Moses) squared up to Pharaoh the plagues God inflicted were each against one of the Egyptian gods, frogs were Heqet, the Nile turning blood red was about Hapi (a very important god) and so on. God is taking down their gods and ultimately Pharaoh was god and when his eldest son died, god-elect is dies. For the tense politics of Pharaoh, where chronic inbreeding was normal to preserve their blood-lines and prevent political destabilisation that would be an absolute catastrophe.

Personal possible exegesis Maybe references to the sun, scotching heat and burning was about Sol or Phoebus, i.e god of the Sun. God is taking down their gods. I don't know about Roman gods but this would fit with the Greek equivalent Helios. The intended god however could be Vulcan (god of fire and volcanoes).


Message to us, the message to us is very clear, Revelation 2:7

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

... its not the specific event but the general pattern that terrible and catastrophic things continually happen political, environmental and social catastrophes but God is in control. So whether it's global warming or the war in Ukraine, God is still God continue with the faith. It doesn't look that way, but thats what Revelation says. Rome is no longer the evil empire, but principle of the state usurping God continues, don't lose heart. War, famine, and plague happen but God is still God. Climate change is here, God is still God continue in the faith.

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    I heartily agree with your closing 'Message to us'. But I specifically stated I don't want interpretations on those verses. The question is not about Millennialism or Amillennialism. But as you indicate that Millennialists may be more likely to have a literal view, do you know of any such denominations that are saying current global swings need to be viewed in light of such Bible verses?
    – Anne
    Jul 31, 2023 at 12:25

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