Current Events & Trends: Typhoons, tornadoes and cyclones

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Typhoons, tornadoes and cyclones

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Possibly the strongest typhoon on record to make landfall, it devastated the lives of at least a million people, leaving thousands dead and thousands more hungry and homeless—with food, water and shelter unavailable until help began to arrive later.

The UN estimated that nearly 700,000 people have been displaced. In response, the United States, Britain and other nations have sent assistance and are helping survivors to cope with the difficult and heartbreaking aftermath.

About a week later a series of twisters hit the American Midwest, wreaking destruction and leaving hundreds homeless with at least 10 dead. A cyclone soon followed in Sardinia with a leading city official calling it an apocalyptic storm.

In the prophecy Jesus Christ gave on the Mount of Olives in the days before His crucifixion, He foretold signs that would intensify during the time leading up to His return. He warned, "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places" (Matthew 24:7).

The Greek word translated "earthquakes" here is seismos, from which we derive the English words "seismic" and "seismology." But seismos can refer not only to earthquakes, but also to commotions of the air or water, such as gales and hurricanes.

Matthew 8:24 recounts how a violent storm overtook Jesus and His disciples in a boat until He miraculously calmed the winds and the waves. Here the Greek word seismos is translated "tempest" in English. Typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes and cyclones can all fall within the meaning of this Greek term. (To understand more about the signs that will characterize conditions before Christ's second coming, read the free Bible study aid booklet Are We Living in the Time of the End?)