Vol: 114 Issue: 11 Friday, March 11, 2011
One of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in the history of mankind struck Japan last night, triggering a tsunami that reached a height of thirty-three feet in places.
The quake measured an astonishing 8.9 with its epicenter was less than 250 miles from Tokyo, Japan’s capital city.
“A tsunami warning issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii included Japan, Russia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Guam, the Northern Marianas, the Marcus Islands and the Wake Islands, and extended across the Pacific Ocean to include Central and South America. New Zealand also issued a tsunami warning. Australia said there was no threat of a tsunami on its coast. In Hawaii, a tsunami alert was issued at about 10 p.m. local time.”
There have been hundreds of aftershocks since. As of 7:30 EST, more than forty of them were magnitude 5.0 or greater, including one that registered a staggering 7.1.
The quake toppled cars off bridges and into waters underneath. Waves of debris flowed like lava across farmland, pushing boats, houses and trailers. About 4 million homes had no power in Tokyo and surrounding areas.
The earthquake struck at a very shallow depth, relatively speaking, releasing most of its energy on the surface. Entire sections of the Japanese coast have been described as having been ‘obliterated’.
To put the power of this quake into perspective, the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, was devastated last month by a 6.3 quake that killed at least 166 with 200 still missing. The 8.9 Tokyo quake was eight thousand times as powerful.
At the time of this writing, Hawaii is under a tsunami warning as is most of the west coast of the United States.
It was just two days ago that OL columnist Wendy Wippel used the occasion of a 7.2 earthquake striking the Japanese island of Honshu to take a closer look at earthquakes in the context of Bible prophecy.
She closed her column with this prescient observation: “If the experience of my small group means anything, we’ll all be paying more attention to earthquakes from now on!”
One hardly knows where to begin. Probably the best place to begin is with prayer. Prayer for those affected and prayer for those in harm’s way in more than fifty countries, according to the most recent alerts.
Gayle and I watched, openmouthed, as the first video of the ocean washing away the Japanese coast.
Then Gayle said, “Praise God we’re saved. Can you imagine how much worse this would all seem if we weren’t?”
The Tokyo earthquake story is still much too fluid to be able to see where it is going yet. But Gayle’s comment reminded me of where we’ve been so far in this century.
One of the great things about the Omega Letter’s archives is how it sometimes serves to capture of snapshot of time as the last days continue to unfold before us.
Here is one such snapshot from October 17, 2005.
“When we aren’t rolling our eyes in fear at the non-stop natural assault on human civilization, we are looking over our shoulders nervously at strangers carrying back packs, while the government continues to install sniffer-devices designed to detect nuclear and biological weapons on the streets of our cities.
Not just in America, but in Europe, Russia, Australia, the UK and any other nation or region that has caught the attention of Islamic terrorism. In almost every instance, the threat is in some way related to that nation or region’s relationship with Israel.
Social scientists the world over bemoan the impending collapse of civilization as we know it, as such basic social building blocks like the family unit become increasingly anachronistic.
Note also that these seemingly unrelated trends coming upon THIS generation, are, according to the virtually unanimous verdict of scientists, economists and sociologists, increasing in both frequency and intensity.
Try to imagine, if you can, what this world will look like after twenty years of annual Katrinas, killer earthquakes, floods, global pandemics and terrorism. New Orleans, one of America’s oldest cities, has been destroyed not once, but twice, in a single hurricane season. And it is at risk of being ‘destroyed’ (if that is possible), yet a third time, should Wilma continue on her forecast path.
Some commentators and pundits have noted a palpable increase of fear, something that is beginning to show up statistically as plummeting consumer confidence levels.
(One can learn a lot about what people fear by watching where they put their money).
A few years ago, these trends were only noticeable if one tracked them carefully. Those who noted the trends were dismissed as ‘alarmists’. Those who related the trends to the prophecies of the Bible were dismissed as members of the religious lunatic fringe.
While Bible prophecy may be dismissed as ‘doom and gloom’ it is actually exactly the opposite. It is really cause for celebration. The fulfillment of Bible prophecy in this generation, on schedule and in precise order, is our assurance that what is going on all around us is controlled chaos.
It is proof positive that God remains on His Throne. It is proof positive that we are not following “cunningly devised fables” (2nd Peter 1:16) but rather, we ourselves are “eyewitnesses of His Majesty.”
Jesus warned of earthquakes, famines and wars, all of which He noted, would increase in frequency and intensity as the time approached.
He warned of “signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 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 21:25-26)
That ‘distress of nations’ is so palpable that national governments globally are spending billions combing the sky for the Next Killer Asteroid on a par with the one that evolutionists say killed off the dinosaurs 85 million years ago.”
I had set aside as a possible topic for today’s OL the major solar eruptions yesterday that are expected to hit the earth sometime in the next few days.
Other potential topics of discussion for today include the massive demonstrations now breaking out in Saudi Arabia. Experts have warned that if the demonstrations bring down the Saudis, the global economy will go with it.
Then there is the labor demonstrations and possible strikes threatened by labor union bosses in the wake of the Wisconsin legislature’s passage of a bill limiting the collective bargaining power of public employees.
Despite the dire warnings that the country is on the brink of collapse, American union workers are behaving no differently than the European socialists are – for some reason, that surprises me.
As the war on terror rages, Congress finds itself debating which is worse – al-Qaeda or the KKK?
With all this going on, is it any wonder that the world appears to be on the edge of a total nervous breakdown? It is across-the-board chaos.
Earthquakes, famines and wars. Signs in the sun, moon and stars. The distress of nations (with perplexity). Panic in the streets. I heard someone say today that it seems as if the earth is ‘angry’.
Jesus said it would be like birth pangs – increasing in both frequency and intensity as the time of His return draws near.
The time is drawing near. The entire earth is groaning in anticipation. Jesus said that when these things begin to come to pass our redemption draws near. I believe it is very, very near. All the signs say the same thing.
Gayle was right. I really cannot imagine how much worse this would all look were it not for the fact that Jesus said all these things would come upon the generation that would see His return.
What looks like catastrophe without Jesus is, for those who know Him, a blessed assurance. He will keep all His promises as surely as He kept those we now see being fulfilled all around us. Including the following:
“In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3)
Pray for the victims of today’s catastrophe. And pray for those who don’t share that blessed assurance. They must be terrified, indeed.