Why California? Why San Francisco? Why Now? (Part 5)

There are many of us believers who look at the Old Testament and wrinkle our noses. We somehow feel we should just study and follow Jesus’ red letter words in the four Gospels, but the Apostle Paul did not agree with that thinking.

Now these things happened as examples for us… (1 Corinthians 10:6)

With Paul’s admonition in mind, let’s look at an Old Testament example to learn more about San Francisco’s plight.

Most of us know the story of Jonah and how the rebellious prophet decided to take a hike to Spain rather than obey the Lord. His sea trip was then cut short by a storm and eventually Jonah was dumped overboard by the sailors into the raging Mediterranean Sea. There a great fish swallowed him.

Okay, what was it like inside the great fish’s stomach?

The protein-digesting enzymes, the strong hydrochloric acids, the constant muscular contortions causing the stomach to churn digested food and Jonah toward a sphincter muscle which opened into the small intestine. The smell. The insufficient oxygen. His whole body constantly being burned by acids. The never-ending churning. It had to feel like a living Hell without end for him.

In fact, Jesus Himself later compared Jonah’s seventy-two hours in the great fish’s stomach to His time in the heart of the earth or Hell.

What did Jonah probably look like when he walked through Nineveh preaching his message?

I assume Jonah obeyed the Lord and went directly to Nineveh from the Mediterranean shore. It was a five hundred mile trek through rough country and across the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

Thus, his skin, hair, and beard most likely still had yellow acid burns coloring them. And his clothing must have been tattered, stained, bleached, filled with acid holes, and smelly. He had to look and reek like Hell.

Jonah’s message, “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed,” would have gathered him a crowd in the Assyrian capital city, but even the heathen had babbling prophets in those days. So, why did the people listen and believe his prophetic words?

Jonah’s appearance and testimony about his three days and nights in the great fish had to be a powerful sign to the people of Nineveh of God’s mercy. Who could argue with him? The people quickly believed Jonah and his prophetic words, and then repented.

Jesus also referenced Jonah’s three days and nights inside the great fish as a sign to evil and adulterous generations. The message was loud and clear for all: “Repent at hearing the words of the Lord concerning judgments for sin or be destroyed.”

On April 18, 1906, at 5:12 AM,  a major earthquake struck San Francisco. A policeman who happened to be on duty said he heard a deep rumbling and looked up a hill. “The whole street was undulating. It was as if the waves of the ocean were coming toward me, and billowing as they came.” The earthquake lasted 65 t0 75 seconds.

Within seventeen minutes, fifty fires were reported in downtown San Francisco. Fire engines rushed to answer the calls, but the water mains were broken. The fires burned out of control.

Out of San Francisco’s population of 410,000, up to 75% were left homeless. Over 3,000 people died. 80% of the city was reduced to rubble by the earthquakes and fire.

At the time, San Francisco was the ninth largest city in America, and the largest city west of the Mississippi River. It’s port made it a banking, trading, and cultural center which gave it the title, “Gateway to the Pacific.”

The earthquake’s damage ended up diverting trade and population to Los Angeles which soon surpassed San Francisco as the most important and largest urban area on the West Coast.

Were there any prophetic warnings given ahead of time to San Francisco?

A woman named Ellen White may have had a vision ahead of time, but she did not publish or announce her vision until after the earthquake struck the city.

Frank Bartleman, an author and evangelist, was involved with the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles at the time the earthquake struck San Francisco. Soon after, he noticed how most preachers announced that God had nothing to do with the earthquake. Even school teachers taught their students that God was not involved in the San Francisco Earthquake.

Barthleman sought the Lord in prayer and ended up writing an Earthquake tract. In it, he explained how God was grieved with the wickedness of San Francisco and that the earthquake was a judgment for the city’s sins. The tract specifically answered the question, “Did God do that?”

Thousands of tracts were distributed to Los Angles and San Francisco. Many people repented and others were upset by them.

So, how does this all play out for today’s San Francisco?

(Continued in Part 6) 

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Why California? Why San Francisco? Why Now? (Part 5)

  1. For those of you who haven’t heard of Frank Bartleman, he was a catalyst for the Azusa Street Revival in 1906-1909. His reports chronicled the happenings at the revival and were sent all over America and the world. His book, “Azusa Street,” is the best ever book chronicling a revival. Although Bartleman was not the main man, that belonged to William Seymour, he was a man of prayer and the reason the world knows about Seymour and Azusa Street today.

    If you do lots of research, you will discover that Bartleman did go a little off the doctrine track late in his career.

  2. Larry, there was something about this one that really stopped me. The way you described Jonah, for one, as he witnessed and prophesied to Ninevah. And then, that Ellen White may have had a vision ahead of time, but didn’t say anything until afterward. Going to take those things to Jesus now, and pray. Thank you and God bless you!

  3. Debbie,

    Thanks. If you get something, let us know.

  4. Very interesting, but the thought of Jonah walking through the cities after being in the fish, disgustingly dirty, smelly, nasty and wreaking of acid would make any one wonder if there was a loving God. How could anyone believe him?

  5. Naphtali,

    Thanks. It was Jonah’s rebellion that put him inside the fish, but God’s mercy that got him out.

  6. anewcreation

    Hi Larry,

    This is all so fascinating and interesting for me on so many levels. I am Spanish for one, so to hear about the presence of the Spanish in California all them hundreds of years ago stirs something deep in me. Secondly, my great grandfather (my dad’s grandfather) travelled from the Basque Country in Spain to San Francisco in 1907, a year after the earthquake. No members of the family really know whether the reason for abandoning his family in Spain was to make his fortune out there and then send the money to his family in Spain, or simply because he was being selfish and fancied a new start in a new and up and coming exciting far away place. It was around the 1900s that people from all over Europe travelled to the States to start a new life in a land full of new possibilities, and I am aware that today there are many descendants of Basque men and women who travelled to the States during that time. Nobody knows whether my great grandfather remarried whilst out there but it is perfectly possible, so I may even have relatives out there that I am not aware of. What we do know is that he left without letting his wife and children know. Soon after arriving in California, he left for Nampa in Idaho where he became a sheep shepherd. The last three years he spent in the States, he lived in New York where he worked in a gold mine which became very profitable and where he made a fair amount of money. He then received life threats and had to hide and beign working as a waiter. He spent in total nearly 41 years in America and then he returned to the Basque country in Spain at the end of his life and died aged 80. Fascinating stuff and I would love to do more research on it, but so far have not had much success as everybody wants a fee for any research done on your behalf. Thirdly, as you know out of the blue and due to the theft of our caravan, we have decided to go to California for our holidays this summer. My connection with you over the last nearly four years and the way God has brought us together is of course no coincidence either. I am excited to see where all this leads and I know it is leading somewhere exciting and very meaningful. Finally and funnily enough my great grandfather’s first name was FRANCISCO. You know me by now and you know I don’t believe in coincidences. Can’t wait to read your next post on this. You are a fountain of knowledge and revelation. God bless you! Mercedes

  7. anewcreation,

    Thanks. Your life and family sounds a lot more interesting than mine.

  8. I was waiting for the sequel to this post before commenting but decided I should go ahead. I admit I don’t like this message–but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong or the post doesn’t speak truth. I just don’t like this particular truth. And yet, I can’t help but think of the prophets whose Word from God was met with scoffing. They didn’t like to think God was judging their society, either.
    I appreciate that you’ve been willing to put yourself on the line with this. And I think you delivered it well.

  9. Solveig,

    I certainly understand your thinking and to be honest, nothing would make me happier than to be wrong. I’m a small town boy who still gets excited over hearing “God Bless America” and the “Star Spangled Banner.”

    But you know what? I’ve always appreciated your honesty. So thanks for being a friend.

  10. To be honest on my part, I was confident you dwould be happy to be wrong. That’s what’s so difficult about it all. And I thank you for being a friend, too.

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