As many of you will have no doubt already heard or read, with each passing day, the full scope of the disasters which just struck northeastern Japan becomes more apparent. News reports are now stating that at least 10,000 people have died as a result of the magnitude 8.9 earthquake, and the destructive tsunami which followed it. Japanese authorities expect that figure to rise substantially as search teams begin to enter the hardest hit areas around the Sendai region. In fact, they are saying that in Minamisanriku alone, over 10,000 people have died. When all is said and done, I strongly suspect that they will report that tens of thousands have actually died. Many people will simply never be found, because they were swept out to sea as the tsunami receded. In addition, many thousands more are now homeless, and millions are without power, water, heat and transportation. To make matters worse, it is still very cold in many parts of the northern half of Japan. In some places -- such as the island of Hokkaido -- it doesn't warm up until May.
If you would like to see some before and after photographs of Sendai and other Japanese cities and villages which were affected by Friday's 8.9 earthquake and the resulting 30-foot tsunami, please go the following URL. The level of destruction is mind-boggling to say the least. Some of the towns are still partially submerged, and they look like war zones. It is as if someone took a huge rake and just scraped everything away down to the ground:
There are about half a dozen images in all. The left side of the images shows the towns a year ago, and the right side shows how they look now following the earthquake and tsunami. In the middle of each image there is a blue slider. You can slide it all the way to the left, or all the way to the right, in order to compare the before and after images. To say the least, there is evidence of destruction on a very great scale. Much of these cities was simply bulldozed over and washed away.
To add to their suffering and fear, some strong aftershocks are still occurring, some of which measure over 6.0 in magnitude on the Richter Scale. News reports are stating that once the pressure was released, the Pacific tectonic plate snapped back about thirteen feet in the areas closest to the epicenter. Also, about two hundred and fifty miles of Japanese coastal area dropped two feet in elevation, which only made the advancing tsunami even more destructive.
To add misery upon misery, as you have probably also already heard, two of Japan's nuclear reactors were seriously damaged -- there have been several explosions the past three days -- and at least three others received some level of damage as well. They are saying that there was at least partial damage to the two reactor cores at the Daiichi and Daini plants -- meaning partial meltdowns have occurred -- because they were partially exposed to the air, and the cooling systems failed when the power went out following the earthquake. There have already been radiation leaks, and as of this hour, the situation is still far from under control.
Right now they are trying to manually cool down the damaged reactor cores by flooding them with sea water, which is creating even more problems. What is happening is that they have to keep stopping because the great volume of steam that is being produced is causing the pressure to build up. So they have to release small amounts of radioactive steam into the atmosphere frequently. Some people -- who were closest to the accidents -- are already suffering from serious radiation sickness, and others have been affected as well. Over 200,000 people are currently being evacuated from the immediate area of the plants. The news media is reporting that it could take a few months to a year before the reactors are under control, but they are already lost causes.
So this is really a multiple disaster for the Japanese people. They have suffered the worst earthquake that has ever been recorded in their country. They have experienced a 30-foot tsunami which has swept away many of their lives and their livelihoods. The nuclear reactor leaks now threaten them with radiation. Many of them are cold, hungry and homeless with no idea regarding what the future may hold for them. Their proud spirits are no doubt broken. From looking at videos during the past few days, as well as from reading quite a few news articles, my heart has been touched by their suffering. This is a major blow to their nation in more ways than one.
Yet, at the same time, as a Bible-believing Christian, I don't doubt that God is in control of this situation, and that He has His reasons for allowing these things to happen at this current time, and so suddenly and altogether no less. There are no coincidences with God. He has a reason for everything that He does, or everything that He allows to happen. Thus, I am convinced that these events were an Act of God which were wrought by the Hand of God. While it may be politically-incorrect to say so, and while some readers may even become angered by my words, and perhaps even accuse me of being insensitive to the suffering of the Japanese people, I can't help but believe that God has allowed His wrath to be felt by the people of Japan in a very big way.
While I won't pretend to understand everything that God does, His Word -- the Bible -- does teach us a lot regarding how He sometimes chooses to operate, particularly when people are in rebellion against Him. Having said that, I suspect that such a severe judgment from the Lord may possibly have something to do with the fact that there is a lot of demon worship in Japan. There are likenesses of demons all over Japan. I saw them firsthand when I lived there for almost three years a few decades ago. They are indeed hideous looking things, with long noses and mean-looking, fierce faces. It is my understanding that the Japanese believe that the evil faces scare away the bad spirits, but I must wonder if this is what is really happening.
As I mentioned in a previous post, according to the Wikipedia website, 84-96% of Japanese are Buddhist or Shintoist, while the CIA World Book of Facts notes that only two per cent of Japanese embrace Christianity, even though the Christian Gospel has been preached to them for many decades now.
So, perhaps these events are meant to break their proud hearts, so that they will humbly come to Christ and acknowledge Him as their Lord and Savior. God has operated this way in the past on many occasions. Many people have felt the Hand of God -- including the Wrath of God -- so why not now as well?
God's judgments must come to the people of Earth, in order that they might be purged and cleansed of their rebellion and sins. These catastrophic events, and other Acts of God which have been happening during the past decade, may only be the very Beginning of Sorrows; but as Jesus said in Matthew 24, the end is not yet. According to the Bible, there are still many more natural calamities which shall befall the Earth, as God stirs Himself, stretches out His Hand, and pleads with the people to turn to Him and to His Son, Jesus Christ.