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

Nov 5, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: Yet Another "100-Year-Event"

Once again, the U.S. has been hit by a disaster being described as a record or 100-year event. Hurricane Sandy caused wide-scale destruction as it slammed into the East Coast of the U.S. It will take weeks to add up the cost of all the damage, but we already have enough raw data to make the storm one for the history books. Here is a rundown of seven historic milestones:

  • The NYC Subway System has suffered the worst disruption in its 108 years of operation.

  • New York City experienced the highest surge ever. A record high water level of 13.88 feet was set at the Battery Park point, breaking the oldest official record of 10.02 feet.

  • Sandy’s central pressure bottomed out at 940 millibars, setting a record for the lowest pressure of an Atlantic storm north of Cape Hatteras, NC.

  • According to the National Hurricane Center, Sandy is the largest land-falling Atlantic tropical cyclone, which had tropical storm force winds extending out to 600 miles.

  • The New York Stock Exchange closed for two days — the first time it's been closed for two consecutive days due to weather since 1888, when a blizzard struck the city.

  • The storm cut power to over 8 million customers. This is the largest storm-related outage in the history of Con Edison.

  • New York Harbor's surf also reached a record level when a buoy measured a 32.5-foot wave Monday. That wave was 6.5 feet taller than a 25-foot wave churned up by Hurricane Irene in 2011.

The current cost of damages from Sandy stands at $50 billion, which would rank behind Katrina ($108 billion in present-day dollars). Because most insurance policies don't cover flood damage, a large portion of the damage will not be covered.

The press has been trying to find a silver lining in the storm by promoting the idea that the economy will receive a shot in the arm by all the government spending and rebuilding that will take place in the coming months. There is nothing financially positive about a disaster that destroys property. Once we rebuild, we are only back to where we were before the hurricane. Thousands of small businesses will probably fail because of the economic stress that Sandy will place on them. The relief effort and lost taxes will eventually add another $100 billion to our ballooning nation debt.

Terry and I were recently talking about the possibility of a storm like Sandy occurring. We had noticed that the cycle for natural disasters was speeding up, and it looked about time for another birth pang. Jesus gave us the pattern for the last days when He told His disciples that warning signs would come like birth pains.

"As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. 'Tell us,' they said, 'when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?' Jesus answered: 'Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, "I am the Messiah," and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains'" (Matthew 24:3-8 NIV).

I firmly believe the birth pains factor is the reason we are seeing so many events with 100-year label. This year was already pegged as an historic year for drought and massive heat. Now we can add Hurricane Sandy to the mix.

Last year was marked by record tornadoes and flooding. There were so many tornadoes, we set a record for setting records in the variety of this type of disaster.

The year 2010 was a grab bag of natural disasters. That year was the deadliest in more than a generation. Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides, and droughts killed more than 260,000 people.

It is amazing how quickly we become accustomed to the increased frequency of disasters. Do you remember way, way back in March of 2011 when Japan suffered its worst recorded earthquake in its history? And do you remember way, way, way, way back in January of 2010 when 250,000 people were killed by another quake that struck Haiti? In many times in the past century, you could go a decade without seeing an earthquake of any great significance.

We are now at a point where disasters have become so frequent and massive is scale, the news life cycle of an single event is very brief. Tropical Storm Irene was a bad storm, but it has been wiped from everyone's memory by Hurricane Sandy.

God is clearly trying to get man's attention with all these calamities. The Lord is very patient, but He is no fool. Eventually, the warnings will end and the final judgment will begin. "Am I truly ready?" is the question everyone needs to ask themselves.

"And there shall be 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. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21: 8-11, 25-28). --Todd

Harbinger Storm

“Israel was unique among nations in that it was conceived and dedicated at its foundation for the purposes of God…But there was one other—a civilization also conceived and dedicated to the will of God from its conception, America.”

The above passage of dialogue from The Harbinger, the huge best seller by Jonathan Cahn, is at the heart of the criticism the author received for his book, unduly so, in my view.

The harsh words of condemnation flowed from some I respect. Nonetheless, the criticism was wrong, and I am quite disappointed in them and question their discernment in leveling the charges, because they should be much more aware of exactly what Cahn was saying than they demonstrated. The critics clearly had not read his book in its entirety. The author’s words, as well as his book in its entirety, pointed out that America was, like Israel, dedicated at its birth to godly principles.

Please understand the difference in the relationship the two nations have to the Almighty. Cahn was saying through his protagonist that America, like Israel, was “dedicated” to godly principles at its foundation–not that America was brought into a covenant relationship with God in the sense that Israel is in covenant with God.

While it is stated in The Harbinger that America’s founders considered the founding like a covenant, Cahn made it clear that the American republic was meant by Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, and most others involved in founding the country to be devoted to the high moral principles of life found in the Holy Bible. The Harbinger’s author did not mean in any sense that God –the only One Who can make such covenants—had covenanted with those founding fathers of America in the way He did with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

That is all preface to the points I hope to make with regard to America’s disposition at this late hour of human history. I say "late hour" because I am convinced the unfolding of events presents overwhelming evidence that we are at the very end of the age–at the terminus of the Age of Grace.

There should be little doubt in the minds of anyone who reads American history and honestly assesses all things from the time of America’s founding until today that God’s hand has been on this nation. Facts are legendary surrounding the war fought by a rag-tag army of civilians against, at the time, the most powerful nation on earth. The many times divine intervention appears to have occurred are on the historical record for all to see.

Despite the fact that many, particularly of the progressive mindset, would disagree, all indicators point to a very special relationship between the God of Heaven and the United States of America. Israel is the nation God chose to be the people on the planet through which to demonstrate His blueprint for how peoples everywhere–all nations— should live and interact. There should also be little doubt that God has purposed to form a very special relationship between Israel and the American republic.

America acted as midwife at the rebirth of Israel into modernity in 1948. This nation has stepped to the forefront many times since to stand behind modern Israel as that Jewish state faced threats –literally—to its very existence. And this returns my thinking to The Harbinger and brings into focus in my mind the storm that has so devastated America’s northeast.

Mr. Cahn’s book was intended to do one thing. I know, because I’ve personally corresponded with him on matters involved. His book was given him by the Holy Spirit, to call this most blessed nation to repentance. The book is, as its title indicates, a harbinger of judgment to come, if the people of America do not turn from our wicked ways to God, asking His forgiveness for our national sinfulness.

The author gave through his fictional account a nonetheless absolutely true picture of how God punished Israel for its wicked rebellion. He, again, through fictional narrative, but using absolute biblical truth, demonstrated precisely how America’s condemnation and judgment is building, in eerie similarity to how the Lord dealt with His chosen nation in history long past. Cahn used the city of New York in his novel to lay out the call to repentance.

Again, he used the facts, particularly about matters attendant to the 9/11/2001 terrorist attack on New York City, to show where America might be on God’s timeline for judgment. An astonishing lineup in similar arrangement to judgments that brought Israel to its proverbial knees millennia ago fits the American landscape today. We are going down that same pathway to destruction.

Israel’s God–the only God—consistently and incrementally forewarned His people throughout their history. He brought increasingly intensive measures of punishment to forewarn them to turn from wickedness, rid themselves of their idols, and instead turn to Him in repentance. He brought “harbingers” of things to come if repentance was not forthcoming from the people He loved and had blessed so mightily with His great protection and material, as well as spiritual wealth.

We have covered many times in these Nearing Midnight and other commentaries and articles the Lord’s dealing with the world in forewarnings. We have indeed detailed the birth pangs we believe are happening, based upon Christ’s Olivet Discourse, and the prophets of the Old and New Testaments. Birth pangs are coming with greater frequency and intensity, we believe it is obvious. Hurricane Sandy and the super-storm into which it morphed is the latest of these end-times indicators that Christ’s return must be very near.

This latest harbinger of things to come means the birth of a new dispensation is even nearer than before Hurricane Sandy exploded upon this nation at the time of perhaps its most crucial presidential election. The millennial reign of the King of all kings is on the cusp of God’s restoration to fellowship of mankind with Himself.

First, however, there must develop the painful throes of Tribulation, much of which is delineated in the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation. Todd’s Nearing Midnight accounting of the convulsions leading to the birth of restoration details the frequency and intensity of the process of the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.

To avoid that coming apocalyptic storm, you must be born again. That is, you must accept God’s grace offer as given here: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).