The Roaring and Tossing of the Sea

There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. —Luke 21:25

Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.” —Revelation 17:15

We read this in Luke’s account of the Olivet Discourse—Jesus’ epic end-time talk with his disciples. Matthew 24 and Mark 13 record this long teaching segment, but Luke’s is the only one that mentions the roaring and tossing of the sea. He also mentions signs in the sun, moon, and stars which we’ve seen, but for this post I’m focusing on the perplexity and roaring of the sea.

This phrase likely has a dual application—literal and symbolic. Along with the upheaval in nature, including tsunamis, hurricanes, and floods (which we have seen in a continual stream of record-breaking events the past several years), these birth pains will also accompany perplexing problems that nations cannot solve.

Other biblical texts such as the verse above from Revelation 17 give us insight into the secondary application of the word “sea.” We note that Scripture uses it when referring to a sea of people. In modern language, we poetically speak of things such as: “a sea of humanity.” I think it is very likely that this passage in Luke speaks to both aspects of the roaring of the sea.

Perplexed means “completely baffled, dumbfounded, very puzzled.” The Greek word used here is aporeó and it carries the sense of being at your wit’s end, at a total loss, and in extreme difficulties or dire straights. Think, “no way out.” The mess is so big and so complex that the proverbial eggs cannot be unscrambled.

Notice the nations will be in anguish along with the perplexity at the violent uproar of the sea (ie. people). I believe this will be seen most notably in the Mid-East since Israel is the epicenter of end-time prophecies and most of the turmoil has to do with Israel and the nations listed in the Ezekiel 38 war, but we should expect to see this roaring of the seas globally as instabilities pave the way for a the one-world government described in Revelation after the rapture. We see increasing global instability and roaring of the seas more and more each month.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of roaring seas of nations (or people who are perplexed and in anguish because there seems to be no solution to their problems) but here are just a few recent headlines that demonstrate this roaring of the seas:


Those are some frightening headlines, but we can’t hide from them. The good news is, God is still in control, still has a plan, has positioned you specifically where you are at this time in history if you are a believer, and He leverages this instability to remind us all that this is not our final home. I want to leave you with one last encouraging verse, also from Luke, that should encourage believers and spur us on to tell others about Christ with a sense of urgency.

When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. —Luke 21:28

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