It amazes me how natural disasters are always able to top the previous year. At the end of last year, I wrote in one of my articles, “The year 2010 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. Last year only saw 15,000 deaths from natural disasters.”
We had the same list of natural disasters for this year. In March, Japan was hit by a massive earthquake, measuring 9.0 in magnitude. It was the most powerful earthquake in the nation's recorded history. The earthquake is currently ranked as the fifth most powerful seismic event to hit the world in the past century. The World Bank puts the economic cost of the quake at $235 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster in world history.
The United States has more tornadoes than any other place on planet earth. From April to June,we had an endless series of tornadic outbreaks. I've studied weather all my life, and am stunned to see the 1974 record fall by such a huge gap. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there were 312 tornadoes during the Super Outbreak from the 27th and 28th of April. The previous record occurred from April 3-4, 1974, with 148 tornadoes.
We had historic floods on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The Missouri flooded from South Dakota to Kansas City. I lived in Omaha for 20 years, so I’m familiar with the area. I don’t ever recall the interstate being closed by a flood. The flooding on the Mississippi River broke several records set by the great 1937 Mississippi River flood. As the flood reached Louisiana, it created the most memorable sight. Farms in that state had already been suffering from a severe drought; some of them had crops that were bone dry right next to fields that were under water.
This year continued the trend of government intrusion into our lives. The flying public has ceased all opposition to the Transportation Safety Administration’s sexual patdowns and naked image body scans at our nation’s airports. The feds now have the power to arrest anyone they so desire under name of terrorism. In just the past few days, Congress has given the green light to funding for a massive expansion of TSA checkpoints. It’s disturbing enough that America is starting to look like the world imagined by George Orwell, but what troubles me the most is that few people care about what is happening.
The global financial system managed to survive another year, but I don’t give it much hope for a turnaround in 2012. The European banking system is so insolvent that the only solution people have been able to come up with is new ways to hide the problem. Morgan Stanley's Mike Wilson has issued a sober warning against optimism for the next year: "Think of 2012 as the 'payback' year….when many of the extraordinary things that happened over the past three years go in reverse.”
On a positive note, 2011 was a bad year for tyrants and God haters. In May, Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals. In October, Muammar Gaddafi was shot dead by rebel forces. This month, Kim Jong-Il dropped dead of a heart attack. During this same month, Christopher Hitchens, the well-known atheist who penned the book God Is Not Great, died of cancer.
I think the most important take away from 2011 is a realization that world events are following the birth-pang guidelines that Jesus gave us as a warning of His return. Because the past two years have shown a dramatic acceleration of the unfolding of Bible prophecy, I’m looking forward to what 2012 has to offer. If we continue on this exponential curve, it would seem obvious to me that the Rapture is very near.
"Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book" (Revelation 22:7).