The following was reported by Reuters News Service eleven years ago today, on May 19, 2000:
"At least three people were killed on Thursday night when a pier on the Delaware River in Philadelphia collapsed, plunging scores of night club patrons into the water, officials said. Fire commissioner Harold Hairston told reporters that 29 people had been taken to hospitals and at least eight others were missing.
"Witnesses said that about 75 people, some attending a birthday party, had been dancing at 'Club Heat' shortly before 8:30 p.m. Officials said a loud rumble shook the pier and the bar room and dance floor collapsed into the river.
"Harry Tomaszewski, 25, of New Hope, survived to describe what he saw on the deck when disaster struck. 'It happened within seconds,' he said. 'There was a noise like a creaking sound. I was looking at the deck splitting and collapsing. It was the sickest feeling, watching it happen. As soon as we hit the water, there was a tidal wave. Then the debris collapsed in on us. There was water everywhere, nails everywhere. There was glass, there was cement. It was like the foundation broke.'"
The devastating incident at "Club Heat" that evening was totally unexpected. No one could have imagined such a tragedy would occur. Figuratively speaking, could such a terrifying event strike our entire modern civilization? Is it conceivable that the very foundations of the present society could split apart and collapse with little or no warning?
Most people today could not imagine the prospect. The idea seems so preposterous that few would even allow the possibility into their thinking. When asked their opinion on such a scenario, they might point to the stability and sophistication of today's highly-integrated communications and financial systems. They may also describe the strength of political and military alliances, designed to maintain societal integrity.
Many people place faith in such structures and then simply focus their attention on personal interests and pleasures. Such confidence in man-made systems causes them to blissfully ignore all warning messages to the contrary—until it is too late. The reality is that our age is precariously perched over dark, dangerous waters. Built on a false underpinning of humanly devised plans and concepts which ignore God and His true moral foundation, this society's rickety floor boards are metaphorically rotting away right under our feet.
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ aptly described the unstable, perilous age that would precede His Second Coming. "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man" (Matthew 24:37-39, New International Version, emphasis added throughout).
Whether people realize it or not, our world is like that of Noah's day. Wickedness and disregard for God and His ways are nearly universal. Even so, many people firmly believe humanly-devised systems and ideas will eventually bring about peace, safety and prosperity. However, as the apostle Paul wrote, "For when they say, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
A disastrous time of trouble is coming (Matthew 24:21). The teetering foundation of this social order will crack and groan under the increasing weight of iniquity and unrighteousness. It will all finally come crashing down. The period ahead will be so dreadful that it will require the return of Jesus Christ to stop the escalating violence and mercifully prevent the annihilation of all human life (Matthew 24:22).
But, just as God delivered righteous Noah, you can escape what lies ahead if you turn to God in deep repentance, are baptized and diligently strive to keep His commandments. "The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment" (2 Peter 2:9, New International Version).
We encourage you to learn about coming prophesied events by requesting or downloading our free booklet "Are We Living in the Time of the End?" Also, we invite you to discover what God would like you to do by requesting or downloading our free booklet "Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion."
If you build your life on the sure foundation of God and His Word, you will experience the true peace, safety and prosperity that can come from Him alone.