Commentary on world events that relate to Bible prophecy and on Rapture Ready issues world events.

Mar 14, 2011

Yet Another Massive Earthquake

Much of northern Japan has been totally devastated by an 9.0 earthquake, the most powerful earthquake in the nation's recorded history. The worst previous quake was in 1923 in Kanto, with only an 8.3 magnitude. The earthquake is currently ranked as the fifth-most powerful seismic event to hit the world in the past century.

Because the trembler struck a modern industrial nation at 2:46 p.m., it will probably be history's most-documented earthquake. One geologist noted that there has never been aerial footage of a tsunami rushing over land. I was stunned to see a live feed of a 23-foot wall of water and debris washing away homes. Some of the waves traveled over 6 miles inland before dissipating.

I've written about earthquakes for years, and I know it will take months to figure out the full scale of the disaster. When last year’s Haiti quake was first reported, the death count was only 3,000. It later grew to over a quarter million. In Japan, several coastal cities have been nearly wiped off the map. Minami Sanriku had a population of 17,000, and 60 percent of its residents are now reported as missing.

Japan also may be facing a nuclear disaster on the scale of Chernobyl. A partial meltdown appears to have occurred at two nuclear reactors, and four other reactors are said to be unstable. If the core material escapes into the atmosphere, it will take decades to clean up the mess.

This year has already been a nightmare for the insurance industry. Insurers have lost billions from the Australian flood and the New Zealand earthquake. The Japan quake will only put further strain on the balance sheets.

The earthquake will be a huge blow to the global financial system. Japan has the third-largest economy, and it also has the world’s biggest public debt load. Since it was already at the doorstep of national insolvency, the quake may have made a financial Armageddon an eventual certainty.

The Japanese have nearly a trillion dollars in the U.S. Treasury. A large portion of these bonds will have to be sold to pay for reconstruction. The draw down could push our economy over the edge.

I've had several people ask me what this earthquake means for Bible prophecy. I think the quake has a strong link to prophecy because of how it fits with birth-pang warnings. Jesus predicted that the closer we get to the time of His return, the more frequent and intense the end-time signs will become. There will be more earthquakes, and more intense ones. Likewise, things like famine, pestilence, and war will increase in frequency and intensity.

"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places, there will be famines; this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs" (Mark 13:8 RVS).

It was just last week that I made mention of how deadly quakes are running off the scale. Normally, we could say by the frequency of earthquakes in the past that it will be many years before we suffer another super quake. The Rapture Ready Earthquakes Timeline shows that between 1949 and 1962, there was no major loss of life from seismic activity. Two other gaps that stand out are 1962 to 1970 and 1978 to 1985.

Some reports try to argue that large earthquakes are a natural occurrence. We do have large earthquakes each year, but they typically strike unpopulated areas. In recent years, these quakes have targeted populated areas. The Haiti quake was a perfect bull’s eye, with a 7.0 magnitude, a depth of only three miles, and a location only nine miles from the Haitian capital.

We now have had five years in a row with massive seismic events. It seems to me that God is slowly trying to get man's attention. The Lord is very patient, but He is no fool. Eventually, earth is going to reach the point at which the ultimate judgment will be poured out.

In the past few days, there has been an enormous surge in traffic to the RR site. This happens every time a big disaster strikes. I can tell from years of experience that many people are interested in prophecy only when things are active. Because the Rapture will come with no warning, we need to be watchful at all hours.

"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matthew 24:42).

"Just so, when you see the events I've described beginning to happen, you can know his return is very near, right at the door" (NLT Matthew 24:33).

-- Todd

Israel’s Standing is America’s Hope

With America slipping precipitously in morality, economy, and most every other category one can think of, it does the patriotic heart good to find an area where the nation seems to be holding firm in the positive sense. At least a majority of its citizens, if not its current presidential administration, is holding firm.

The category is a most important one. As a matter of fact, in terms of God’s opinion, it is all-important to the health of individuals or national entities.

If one listens to the mainstream news these days–or over the past several decades, for that matter—one continues to hear that Israel is the chief cause of unrest in the Middle East, that the Jewish state is one of the main causes of hatred for America around the world. The impression is conveyed that the people of the U.S. thus have turned their collective sympathy away from Israel and toward the people supposedly represented by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The diatribes by mainstream media against Israel have been relentless under the guise of news reporting. Each succeeding hit piece adds to the picture designed to convince Americans to view the Jewish nation as an illegitimate and cruel occupier of lands belonging to the “Palestinians.” That’s why it is so heartening to get truth, for a change, that paints a different picture. That picture shows that the people of this country aren’t buying the lies. Americans overwhelmingly see Israel as the good guy, not the bad guy, of the Middle East.

By a margin of 63 percent to 17 percent, the annual Gallup Poll indicates that support for Israel over the land-protest causes of the Palestinian Authority (PA) is overwhelming. This percentage is nearly as high as it has ever been. It is currently only 1 percentage point less than its highest point, reached in 1991. The poll was first taken in 1988, and at that time 37 percent favored Israel while 15 percent favored the PA. The percentages changed drastically (to 64 percent in Israel’s favor) during the Persian Gulf War of 1991, and have remained strongly in Israel’s favor since that time.

The picture is much different, however, on a worldwide basis. The BBC reports that Israel loses by 49 percent to 28 percent in a global poll of Israel vs. the PA. Israel finished twenty-fourth out of twenty-seven in a worldwide, online poll against nations whose popularity was measured. The Jewish state came in barely ahead of Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran. The poll shows that Israel’s standing globally continues to decline.

There are two primary reasons Israel’s standing in the U.S. continues to remain high despite mainstream media efforts to turn opinion against that nation. One of the primary reasons is the loss of virtual monopoly suffered by the networks ABC, CBS, and NBC and those one-time broadcast giants' declining ability to collude with the major newspapers of the country and their dissipating readership.

The rise of the individual citizen’s ready access to numerous news sources that are independent of the networks, newspapers, and wire services have allowed truth about the real troublemakers in the Middle East to shine brightly. Cable, Internet, and the blogosphere now give instant enlightenment to events as they unfold around the world. Digital cameras in cell phones now record video of breaking news events. Such news events in 1988 had to be filtered through network news cameras.

The old media was a dictatorship of sorts–a type of tyranny about which the once and future Israeli prime minister once spoke. Benjamin Netanyahu, in a speech at an event honoring Ronald Reagan on February 17, 2001, made the following astute observations:

The greatest service that dictatorships have received in the 20th century was this thing, the microphone. And the microphone would give a single dictator the ability to control the minds and hearts of millions of people, to tell them who is the enemy, who are the well poisoners of the earth, who are the cancer that has to be excised. That's how Israel was referred to in the Middle East. That's how the Jewish people were referred to in the heart of Europe by the Nazis. It is the power of the microphone, the power of mass communications, controlled from above, that was the greatest threat to freedom in the 20th century…

We are witnessing the breakup of that monolithic control. Because you now have, or very soon will have, millions of people, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people, ultimately billions of people, who can access networks of information and communication from below, who can become their own broadcasters, or narrowcasters and that is fundamentally eroding the power of dictatorships. (My thanks to Jonathan Stettin for help with information.)

The second reason for Israel’s continued high standing in American public opinion can be attributed to a considerable extent to Christians who recognize God’s plan for that people. Actually, it is the most important reason Israel is receiving high approval ratings in America. It is also the reason America has been so blessed for so many years. The biblical prescription for an individual or a nation having favor in God’s view of things involving His chosen people is made crystal clear by the Almighty’s own words to Abraham, father of the patriarchs of Israel: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen 12: 2-3).