Posted in bible, diane sawyer, end of days. prophecy, end time, joplin, men fainting in terror

Cowering under His power: prophesied astonishment and terror appearing on the scene

I look at language in the bible and look deeply into the meanings and I’m struck with how plainly it tells us what the Tribulation is going to be like. And then I look around at people who report current news and I see the same kind of stunned silence. It’s starting.

In Matthew 12:33 it says, “And when the multitude heard this they were astonished at his doctrine.” Look up the word astonished in the New Testament as it relates to what Jesus said and what He did, and you will see how much they were astonished. It doesn’t mean just that the people were dazzled or amazed, briefly tickled and then went their way. The Greek word means “strike out of one’s senses” , i.e. with the outcome of being utterly amazed (dumbfounded) or left “at a loss” from witnessing the incredible (causing the viewer to gape in astonishment).” Strong’s Numbers. In other words, just listening to Jesus preach or witnessing Him do miracles caused them to go outside their senses and be struck dumb, unable to cognitively cope with what they were hearing or seeing.

This is a link to a page showing how many times people were “astonished” (ekplesso) at Jesus and His preaching, and in Matthew 19:25, they were not just astonished, but greatly and exceedingly astonished. If you’re already out of your senses after hearing Jesus how much more can you get out of our senses? How much more at a loss can you be? It is superlative atop superlative.

We know from the reaction of every prophet or Apostle taken to heaven to view the proceedings, that their reaction was to fall on their face. Isaiah, John, Ezekiel, Paul, and the others fell dead in a faint. Isaiah shouted “O I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5). The word undone means utterly destroyed, completely unraveled. Not many people have had the privilege of seeing heaven in a vision while in unglorified body, but we can see the reaction of those and of the people who witnessed Jesus even as a man, that the reaction is to cower under that power. All the people seeing Jesus immediately recognized His great power and authority. They had different reactions to it, with the Pharisees choosing not to accept it, and many believers turning away. But they were all “astonished,” gaping, after witnessing the incredible.

We read in the bible that in the Tribulation men will cower upon seeing incredible power. They will be astonished, equally unable to cope with the incredible, their puny brains unable to take it all in. God’s might is astonishing;

“And great earthquakes shall be in divers places and famines and pestilences and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.” (Luke 21:11). That ‘fearful sight’, in Greek is phóbētron – a fearful sight, emphasizing its terrifying impact on people trying to withdraw or flee from it. It is used only in Lk 21:11. So from the Age of Grace we move to the Tribulation. We go from the astonishing, amazing enough to knock you back on your senses, to the terrifying, so much so that they try to flee.

In Luke 21:26 we read, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth for the powers of heaven shall be shaken…” (Luke 21:26). That word fear is a panic flight, terror. The word is most often used to indicate negatively withdrawing from the Lord (His will). Men will see what is happening and they will have massive heart attacks on the spot. Their bodies are unable to absorb the shock of seeing such power.

That fear, astonishment, and panic is beginning. You see it in Journalists. Reporters are at the forefront. The are at the front lines of witnessing terrors coming upon the earth, which will worsen in the Tribulation. They have to absorb and internalize what has happened, make sense of it, and then report comprehensibly to you and me. At some point the ability to absorb the scope of what is happening will outstrip cognition, as it did those disciples and prophets and followers who witnessed Jesus’ power. Here are two examples:

Weather Channel’s Mike Bettes was the first to arrive on scene in tornado devastated Joplin, MO. Surveying the scene around him, he was overcome with emotion. Though reporters are supposed to appear unengaged and unaffected, reporting the news unemotionally, I was touched by his obvious pain in witnessing the scene. It is the only humane response to what he was seeing. And just what was he witnessing? The power of God. I dare to say that the word ekplesso can be applied here. One is “struck out of one’s senses”, i.e. with the outcome of being utterly dumbfounded or left “at a loss” from witnessing the incredible.”

Also reporting a little while later from Joplin was Diane Sawyer. She is under a tent and rain is pounding on the canvas. Thunder booms above them, and briefly she and the crew debate whether it is even safe to be there. There is no power, the printer had stopped working, and ongoing the technical difficulties of reaching the NY office from a destruction zone are apparent. At one point Sawyer- seeing that she’s going live in moments, and despairing of ever getting paper copy- begs for a Blackberry at least. With time ticking away, Sawyer says repeatedly, “I have nothing.” The crew to me seems unorganized, dumbstruck, and fearful. Others have said that Sawyer looks “anxious, tentative, and confounded” but I think Sawyer looks composed. She refers to the area as a moonscape. Certainly the area outside the tent is a pile of unrecognizable rubble. Truly, how does one report on a massively emotional story in a few moments of air time? How do stories like this affect a person emotionally? One does absorb the tragedy no matter how one tries to filter it. A journalist IS the filter. The Joplin tornado news story is one that is on the edge of ability for humans to report it emotionally, technologically, humanely.

If you read Matthew 24 or Revelation, you know that the severity of natural disasters will ramp up considerably until absolutely nothing is left. Even the mountains crumble. We rely on people to report these disasters and we rely on technology to carry the pixels and the voices back to us. The impossibilities of continuing to be able to do that on an organized basis are rapidly coming to a close.


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.