February 8, 2016

nmThe Bigger One Is Coming

There has been a growing interest in earthquake activity on social media. I’ve run across several sites that speculate about where and when the next big earthquake will take place. Since a lot of people think quakes are triggered by each other, the recent earthquake in Alaska and Mexico have caused the focus of prognosticators to shift to the western coast of America.

The “Big One” has long been seen as a future earthquake of a magnitude of 8.0 or greater. Scientists have predicted this seismic event will happen along the massive San Andreas Fault. Over the years, countless movies have been made that show the city of Los Angeles being leveled by this looming disaster.

However, the eruption of the San Andreas Fault may not live up to its anticipated blow-out reputation. The fault, at its closest point is 35 miles north of Los Angeles. Since the San Andrea runs through dryer and less populated areas of California, secondary faults like the Puente Hills Fault or the San Jacinto may be a greater risk to southern segments of the state.

Another limiting factor for a great calamity in L.A. is the California building code. Because the city is prone to large quakes, most structures are designed to withstand a major seismic event. If a magnitude 5.0 trembler should strike the Hollywood area, it would be a one day news story. If a quake of the same strength were to strike the eastern coast of America, all kinds of damage would take place.

It is not easy to exactly determine America’s most dangerous fault zone. The New Madrid fault is capable of shaking vast areas of the southern Mississippi valley. Because the bedrock of this fault is hidden beneath 100 – 200 foot thick layers of soft river deposited soils, we have no way to directly measure it.

The fault with the greatest threat to life is probably the Cascadia subduction zone. This fault is located about seventy miles off the Pacific Northwest Coast. It stretches seven hundred miles from California to Vancouver in Canada.

When the Cascadia Fault erupts, a mega-tsunami will sweep across the Pacific Ocean. We know from history that a tsunami event is the most deadly result of an earthquake. Very few people died from the shaking produced by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that occurred off the coast of Indonesia in 2004, however, the waves generated by that quake killed 240,000 people.

A 9.0 earthquake on the Cascadia Fault would strike the Pacific Northwest coast with waves as high as 50 feet. Residents of many communities would have less than 20 minutes to find higher ground. Since we never had a major tsunami in North America, few people would know how to react if one struck.

A Cascadia earthquake would easily be the worst natural disaster in American history. FEMA projects that nearly 13,000 people will die. Another 27,000 will be injured, and the agency expects that it will need to provide shelter for a million displaced people.

The City of Seattle would be hit hard by the quake. It has the misfortune of being on soft soil and located on a shallow shoreline. Seattle area buildings that were not damaged by the seismic shaking would be at risk from the tsunami waves.

A key reason why the Cascadia Fault Zone comes to mind is because an earthquake on this fault is long overdue. Last month marked the 316-year anniversary of one of the greatest earthquakes on record along the Pacific Coast; the estimated 9.2 “Cascadia” quake that struck on January 26, 1700. Since a quake occurs on this fault once every 240 years, we are now 76 years past the average.

I have noticed that several fault zones around the world are strangely long overdue in producing a major earthquake. The San Francisco bay area; the U.S. Pacific Coast and southern segments of the state; Tokyo, Japan; Jakarta, Indonesia; the holy city of Jerusalem are all on borrowed time. I can only guess that God is storing up wrath for the Tribulation hour. It is my hope that believers living in the Pacific Northwest will soon be transported to a higher ground that no tsunami can reach.

“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).


nmGod Bless America Again

A country song from way back in the 1960s and 1970s, during the Vietnam War era, plays through my mind these days. The chorus goes as follows:

God bless America again. You must know the trouble that she’s in. Wash her pretty face, dry her eyes and then,… God bless America again.

The war was raging while Walter Cronkite read the mainstream view of the news to us at dinnertime. Film of bloodied American GIs and corpses of black-pajamaed Vietcong projected from our TV screens while we downed our evening meals.

B-52s dropped hundreds of thousands of tons of explosives, carpet-bombing an unseen enemy many thousands of feet below. Rolling Thunder, as it was called, churned up killing fields of earth mixed with flesh and blood night after night–day after day.

More than fifty thousand American soldiers and airmen went through the horrific, grinding process of becoming casualties of war their country’s leaders, it turned out, never intended to bring to total victory–giving their last measure of devotion for America the beautiful. At the same time, the ugliness of political warfare was being uncovered and displayed in a news media orgy of, in my view, pro-Communist gleefulness.

A U.S. president of the United States was turned out of office in disgrace–and, rightfully so. Watergate became forever an ingrained term within the American-English lexicon.

Would America ever recover? Would the curse that had descended since the time of Korea, with America’s young men and women dying in a “police action” purposely fought to stalemate rather than to complete victory, ever lift from our nation?

There have been moments of seemingly possible national egress from the plunge into the abyss of political corrosiveness. It looked like the nation might pull away from the cultural rot begun in earnest during the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the legitimization of murdering babies in their mother’s wombs.

The Moral Majority appeared for a brief, shining, moment to be making headway in engendering movement toward moral sanity. Somehow, however, a national, cultural darkness began descending following the Reagan years. An almost tangible veil separating America’s formerly flawed but Judeo- Christian-governed morality from a new immoral malignity fell with the Clinton years, the White House intern’s stained, blue dress and all the rest.

Jeremiah Wright, Barack Hussein Obama’s black-liberation theology ”pastor,” from his Chicago pulpit, spewed a venomous rant that America’s chickens had come home to roost and implied that the Lord of Heaven should damn America–using God’s name in vain with the invective. Wright was, I infer, talking about the Islamist attacks on the Trade Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

As much as I detest “Reverend” Wright’s hate speech against the United States, I must admit that indeed, America’s chickens appeared to have come home to roost, suffering on that September 11, 2001, Tuesday at least some degree of God’s judgment. In my view, the past seven-plus years of Wright’s best-known parishioner’s time in the Oval Office has brought an intensification of that judgment.

The year 2016, I sense strongly, is going to be a truly pivotal year for this nation and the world. It is proper, I believe, to wonder whether God’s judgment is now on track to preclude that of the corrective sort, such as in the past. I’m thinking of times like the Great Depression of the 1930s, following the debauched era of the Roaring Twenties, as it was called.

Is God’s judgment now entering a destructive rather than another corrective phase? Is it entering a time such as when Sodom and Gomorrah came to their end–i.e., is it possible that God will ever bless America again?

Like that country song tells throughout its lyrics, I, too, love America and don’t want to ever let it fall because of my not doing my part in helping keep it upright in every sense.

All of this said, spiritually enlightened Bible students know that neither the leaders of this nation nor of any other will rectify the rapidly mounting problems. Only Jesus Christ will solve the otherwise unsolvable, sinister evil that is at humanity’s core.

There are, within the community of Bible prophecy observers, those who wonder whether America is the most likely candidate for being the Babylon of the eighteenth chapter of Revelation–according to the Bible, the country that will be the most materially accomplished of all nations of earth’s history. I am one of those who ponder this possibility more seriously with each passing news headline involving America’s president and State Department dealing with Israel.

God, it is abundantly clear, has through His dealing with America more than lived up to His promise to bless those who bless the progeny that would come from Abraham through Isaac. America, acting as midwife in the rebirth of the Jewish state into modernity in 1948, has been the recipient of bountiful material blessings beyond measure. God has truly blessed America.

Conversely, God has promised to curse those who curse His chosen nation, Israel. The cultural war is observably causing the loss of America’s former striving to promote Judeo-Christian values the Founding Fathers infused into the Constitution. Just as troubling is the obvious disdain this president and those around him have for Israel, even choosing to champion Israel’s enemies at every diplomatic opportunity, it seems to me.

Such continued folly will not perhaps, but will certainly, bring national disaster the likes of which our previously blessed nation has never experienced. If indeed forgiveness of our national sins is possible, given the lateness of the prophetic hour, let us who name the matchless name that is above every name implore God to bless America again. This must be done, however, not with vain repetition in the idle words “God bless America” often used by presidents and politicians when ending their meaningless speeches.

There is but one heavenly Rx for obtaining an answer to such a prayer:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

God does not change. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That call to repentance to His people is still in effect–and it is for Church Age saints, just as it was for His chosen people of ancient Israel. But, time is swiftly fleeting.

“We will make America great again!” is a current presidential politics proclamation. No, “we” won’t. We have proven, through our actions and lack thereof, that as a people, we want to take America in the other direction. “We” didn’t make America great in the first place, and we certainly can’t make it great in the future.

“God bless America again,” when offered in genuine spiritual, obedient humility–not in politically-prideful demand–before the throne of Almighty God, is the only petition that has a prayer of a chance to save our nation.