VOLCANIC DISASTER - A Prophetic Reality
Plain Truth Magazine
June 1963
Volume: Vol XXVIII, No.6
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VOLCANIC DISASTER - A Prophetic Reality

Volcanic activity is a present threatening danger around the world. Thousands have perished this year in fiery agony! Here's what prophecy reveals together with an eyewitness account of a presently erupting volcano!

   THE "Ring of Fire" is aflame again! Over THREE HUNDRED presently active volcanoes hiss and steam in a smoking, belligerent watch on the circle of the Pacific Ocean! Other fire-belching giants around the earth bring the present total of ACTIVE volcanoes to a frightening four hundred plus!! The history of death and destruction meted out by volcanoes is exceeded only by the death-dealing record of earthquakes and many times these twin giants of natural catastrophe strike hand in hand.

ONE Volcano's History

   Mount Etna on the island of Sicily in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea has been observed by mankind ever since its first eruption which is rare, since volcanoes are usually longer-lived than empires two thousand four hundred years ago. During these years Mount Etna has erupted five hundred times or more and taken a death toll of ONE MILLION PERSONS!
   Continuously active since its first recorded eruption in 475 B.C., it has been both a tourist attraction as in 1955 when it even went so far as to blow smoke rings and as a stark monster of death spewing out truck-sized, white-hot boulders into the air and sending panic-stricken peasants fleeing for their lives! This venerable volcano's worst eruption in thirty-two years occurred in 1960 when its atomic-style mushroom cloud of black smoke blotted out the noonday sun and rose to 30,000 feet a beacon of death visible as far away as Reggio, Calabria, a town on the mainland of Italy!

Warning Goes Unheeded

   Although Mt. Etna's accumulated record of death is astounding, no record of volcanoes can be written without the mention of Krakatau. This famous volcano lies in the shallow waters of the Sunda Strait between the islands of Sumatra and Java in the East Indies. It began to telegraph its danger with smoke signals and numerous earth tremors increasing in power and frequency about March of the year 1883. Since few people even in that volcano-strewn section of the world pay attention to forewarnings, nobody gave Krakatau any heed.
   Early in the morning of August 27, 1883 the earth's crust was wrenched open near the base of this mountain under water! Millions of gallons of cool ocean water poured into the white hot bowels of Krakatau. The resultant explosion was heard literally thousands of miles away as if cannons were going off just over the horizon. Nearly two cubic miles of earth were immediately vaporized in a natural catastrophe that dwarfs mankind's hydrogen weapons to insignificance.
   A 100-foot tidal wave swept the shores of the nearby islands and destroyed thirty-six thousand lives! "The immediate fall-out from the explosion also was intense. At 7:00 A.M. the sky at Batavia [Djakarta] began to darken; by 10:15 it was a lurid yellow. At 11:20, the city was plunged into complete darkness; lamps were turned on at midday!" (Los Angeles Times, August 21, 1962). So much dust and ash were cast into the upper atmosphere fifty miles high that the sunsets around the world were red-hued for six months!
   Just as nobody paid any attention to the warning Krakatau gave before its explosion in 1883, so it seems that today nobody pays heed. Nor is it reported, nor generally known that there is a present-day, active volcano located on what is left of the island of Krakatau called Anak-Krakatau, which means "child of Krakatau"! Anak erupted in 1928, 1950, 1953 and there has been continuous and increasing activity reported from this volcano especially since 1960!
   One-fifth of the entire population of Iceland perished in 1783 when an entire chain of volcanoes erupted. Mount Tomboro on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia erupted in 1808 and took fifty-six thousand lives! Mount Pelee on the island of Martinique in the Caribbean snuffed out forty thousand lives in 1902.

Nearly Twelve Thousand Perish This Year

   In this day and age we are accustomed to death by violence. Yet it does seem unusual that the death of so many thousands would go almost unnoticed by most of our news media while an air crash bringing death to fifty or sixty persons finds front-page headlines!
   On the lovely island of Bali again in Indonesia the volcano Mount Agung erupted in the latter part of March 1963 and took over eleven thousand lives (by International Red Cross count) and left more than two hundred thousand others homeless!
   This volcano had been dormant for a century! The followers of the Balinese religion worship this 10,000-foot mountain as a home of the gods. They referred to it as "The Navel of the World," and have built a temple halfway up its slopes.
   Mount Agung spewed out warning blasts of ash and mud on March 17, but hundreds of priests, gathered for a once-a-century festival to placate the gods of this inferno, and did not heed the warning.
   While they ignorantly and innocently knelt in prayer of devotion and supplication to their unhearing god, his black mouth belched out monstrous clouds of ash and gas which destroyed his kneeling worshippers in a 230 HURRICANE OF STEAM!
   Hundreds died instantly!
   Great tongues of lava lashed down the mountain at fifty miles an hour, causing rivers to boil on contact boulders the size of houses spewed forth by the thousands one hundred thousand acres were buried feet-deep in volcanic ash thirty-five thousand cattle died.

Take Warning!

   "Such catastrophes needn't recur, Ault says, [Dr. Wayne Ault, a scientist with the United States Geologic Survey] if the world would cock an attentive ear to its volcanoes. A volcanic eruption is preceded by ample warnings of tremors or escaping steam" (San Diego Union, August 28, 1960).
   This advice is well-founded, but history proves that it has never been followed! Human beings are an odd mixture of curiosity, independence and rebellion. In the case of Mount Pelee in Martinique where forty thousand perished rather than take the long and early warnings the volcano gave and flee the island for safety the island's inhabitants advertised it and conducted tours of thousands of tourists to the very lip of the crater! Even today, ignoring a history of one million deaths attributed to Mount Etna, there is a railroad to the very top of this mountain for the sole purpose of looking into the throat of death!
   Everyone ignores the child of Krakatau. If anyone raises a voice of caution, he is labeled an alarmist!
   Or perhaps it is that people think, in the ignorance of human vanity, that they themselves as individuals could never be the victims of such a catastrophe. Volcanoes erupting and thousands dying in faraway places such as the island of Bali do not trigger any concern in the minds of those living in the United States or Great Britain or Australia.
   "Eruptions of volcanoes are not necessarily limited to exotic, faraway lands like the island of Bali in Indonesia where thousands of persons perished last month as quiet Mount Gunung Agung suddenly became active.
   "Oregon's 'volcanorability' was spelled out by a pair of geologists... 'Renewal of volcanism in Oregon could well begin next month this year next year or thousands of years hence,' wrote Norman V. Peterson and Edward A. Groh" (The Oregon Journal, April 5, 1963). Again these knowledgeable scientists pointed out the principle that there is no cause for alarm. They explained that in every case volcanic action was signaled by many earth tremors of moderate to great intensity long before there is an actual eruption. But remember the tragic record of history shows that none of these warnings are ever heeded.

Americans and Britons Don't Fear Volcanoes

   To most Americans and Britons it seems as if volcanic destruction only comes on people in very faraway places. Mankind in his stumbling, "seventy years" feels very old and wise in his own eyes. Most people who have not seen a volcano feel safe and secure, assured that they themselves will never see such a disaster. Little do most Britons realize that there are ancient volcanoes by the score on their little island. Little do most Americans realize that great, vast regions of the entire continent were originally produced by volcanic activity or that a volcano was last seen erupting in California as late as 1917!
   Mount Lassen erupted on and off through the years 1914 to 1917. Mount Saint Helens in Washington, erupted as late as 1843 and there was volcanic action in Oregon in 1800!
   This may seem like a long time ago, and that these volcanoes are now dead. But remember the mountain that just destroyed nearly twelve thousand lives on the island of Bali had been silent for a century! A hundred years is like a week in the age of a volcano!

Eye-Witness Account

   Here, from one of our own PLAIN TRUTH readers living in Central America in the country of Costa Rica, is an eyewitness account of the presently erupting volcano, Irazu. Even though this volcano has not been, so far, as destructive as the volcano in Bali, the account that Mrs. Manolo de Rojas gives, and the on-the-spot picture that she sends, as well as clippings from the local newspapers, describes for us the multiple problems of volcanic eruption. Not all suffering is caused by being burned to death by hot lava!
   Here's the report in Mrs. Rojas' own words: "You mentioned the volcano. Please! I don't even want to think about it! I'm so sick of that monster that I don't know what to do life is impossible as a result of its constant eruptions of ash and sand... San Jose is literally buried under it and San Jose is only a mile or two away from where I live.
   "Here are some facts in regard to it: The volcano began erupting about a month and a half ago, about the beginning of March. [Shortly before Agung on Bali erupted.] It wasn't much at first and nobody paid much attention to it. But then it increased in intensity, and the pasture lands for dairy cattle located near the volcano were being destroyed.
   The day President Kennedy came to Costa Rica, ash began to fall. It was impossible to go outside, because the stuff filled your eyes, nose and mouth. It made the whole air smell like sulphur. That day I closed the windows and doors but still it got in. I cleaned the house four or five times that day.
   "About two weeks ago it started erupting in such a way as never seen before. As many as twenty-five eruptions in one day, casting ash and rocks and sand thousands and thousands of feet into the air!"
   The newspaper, La Nacion, in Costa Rica confirms this statement made by Mrs. Rojas it states that on one day, April 26, there were seven eruptions each of which sent up ten-thousand-foot clouds.
   Our Spanish Department here at Ambassador College translated the articles Mrs. Rojas sent us, and the essence of the news we found was that the eruption of the volcano Irazu is presently threatening the economy of the entire nation!
   By April 23 three hundred cattle had died. There is a death zone twenty miles in radius surrounding the volcano, covered with twelve inches of volcanic ash. "Very frequently, now, the following is heard: 'If this continues, I am leaving San Jose with my family. I can no longer endure the cloud of ash. It is driving me out of my mind!" (La Nacion, p. 21, April 27, 1963, translation).

Personal Account Continues

   Continuing Mrs. Rojas' account "The eruptions get more and more violent. And about three days ago, the volcano began spewing out fiery substances. San Jose is one big mess in three days the National Guard cleaned up six hundred tons of ash from the streets of San Jose. You can't see the sidewalks downtown, they are completely buried.
   "The ash is seriously affecting the people's health. In areas near the volcano almost everyone is very ill. And in the area of San Jose, there have been many cases of serious bronchial and skin afflictions. Practically everybody is complaining either of headaches or sores or coughing.
   "When you wash your clothes they come in dirtier than before you washed them, and the ash rots the clothes. How long a person can go on breathing in such quantities of volcanic ash containing sulphur and magnetic particles I don't know. If it eats clothes what must it do to a person's lungs?
   "You can see the volcano very clearly from our house. This morning at 6:00 I was watching it erupting. It is very beautiful to see the big cloud coming out of it, it looks like an atomic explosion! The question everyone is asking is, 'Hasta cuando?' (How long will it last?)
   "It is seriously affecting the economy of the country; much farm land has been lost; many cattle have died; the dairy industry is greatly in danger.
   "Only God knows when this will end, if it ends. There are experts who say it could easily go on for a year or two. If so it could ruin this little nation may God have mercy on us."
   La Nacion goes on to describe how beautiful botanical gardens with trees from all around the world have been destroyed. How pasture lands, vineyards and coffee plantations have been destroyed, business affected because nobody wants to get out and shop in the sulphurous atmosphere nobody leaves his house things are nearly at a standstill in San Jose!
   Yet if it were not for the pages of The PLAIN TRUTH would you hear this news? Would you be watching for these things yourself?

How About You

   Will you take measures to protect yourself? God Himself warns of unparalleled volcanic action to take place within your lifetime! When Jesus Christ answered the question concerning what signs and events would take place before His return to this earth, one of the main warning events He gave was concerning "earthquakes in divers places" (Matt. 24:7). Other scriptures plainly show that with these earthquakes, there would also be volcanic action unparalleled in the memory of mankind! Earthquakes have certainly been increasing with intensity and number in just the last few years; if you don't have our booklet on earthquakes it's absolutely free!
   "Thou shalt be visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire" (Isa. 29:6).
   Even Moses, speaking prophetically, forewarned of this time "They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities... For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains!" (Deut. 32:21-22).
   The inhabitants of all the earth for nearly six thousand years have rejected the God Who created them and refused to obey His commands and live as He required. Their sin the transgression of the basic laws of life and happiness has caused them individual untold pain and grief and suffering. Their collective sin has caused the very earth itself to suffer, and the whole creation to groan and cry out for the return of its Creator (Rom. 8:22).
   The day of Jesus Christ's return is marked by political, ecclesiastical and physical catastrophes. He is returning to restore peace, the Truth, and safety!
   "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and round an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness" (Joel 2:1-2).
   This general time is again described in the book of Revelation.
   "And I beheld 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... And every mountain and island were moved out of their places." (Rev. 6:12, 14)

Be Prepared

   In the book of Luke where the same warnings are given regarding the return of Jesus Christ, a direct admonition is given. "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36). Your merciful Creator has given you adequate warning of these catastrophes to come.
   Break the record of history and heed the warning!
   There are many theories as to what causes volcanic action, but no scientist understands or knows the principles that cause volcanic action any more than he knows the principles that cause earthquakes! In the case of the recent eruption of the volcano on the island of Bali, the natives fell down and worshipped the very mountain itself importuning it to cease its eruptions and the only answer they got was sudden, hot death! The One responsible, the One who causes these things to happen, is the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth! That Creator at His return to a rebellious earth is going to seize the entire globe and shake it like a terrier shakes a rat! (Isaiah 2:19)
   God's warning is to watch. And He tells us what to watch for. He even takes the pains to explain very plainly, that just as when we see the leaves beginning to turn green on the trees we realize summer is coming, so we should realize that when these events He prophesied begin to come to pass that His return is near! (Matt. 24:32-33)
   So let's not scoff at the warnings of these beginning, menacing, volcanic explosions, as did the inhabitants of Pompeii in 79 A.D.! Don't just ignorantly enjoy hearing about it as a thing to satisfy curiosity like the inhabitants of Saint Pierre did just before forty thousand people perished! Don't bow down and worship nature whose very mountains spew forth death like the inhabitants of Bali did just a few weeks ago, and perished in their prayer!

What You CAN Do

   With such violent and overwhelmingly gigantic catastrophes such as earthquakes and volcanic action there is little a human being can do but flee. However, Jesus Christ describes a day soon coming when the entire earth will be a shuddering and boiling mass of trouble with so many eruptions taking place that the entire atmosphere will be clogged with thick, black, dark clouds, surrounding the entire earth and there will be no place to flee!
   Man feels quite vain and proud and capable but when the very, solid earth beneath him heaves and churns when great white-hot masses the size of entire mountains explode before his eyes, he feels very insignificant and helpless!
   The only One who can protect you from these things to come is God Himself! So take this warning and turn to Him. Ask Him in prayer, just as He advised in Luke 21:36, for escape and safety that He might grant you mercy and allow you to "stand" in the day when all the rest of the inhabitants of the earth are fallen flat in abject terror when the entire earth convulses at the return of its blasphemed and forgotten God!
   "For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Rev. 6:17)
   Yes, the Ring of Fire is aflame again! The island of Bali on the far eastern side of the Ring is an island of death and on the far western side, the volcano Irazu is in the process of destroying the economy, and perhaps the lives, of an entire nation! And to the north of us in Alaska there is yet another volcano active now.
   These are only warning signs feeble mutterings advertising an end-time roar prophesied by Jesus Christ.
   Take this warning find out what life is all about ask God to open your mind and your eyes so that you can see BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!

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Plain Truth MagazineJune 1963Vol XXVIII, No.6