There shall be Earthquakes
By Noel Chartier
When the disciples came to Jesus and asked him what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (Matthew 24:3), He gave them a list of events that would precede His second coming. Among these events He said, there shall be earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:7-8). The word sorrows (Gr. odin and its variant odino) are mentioned only 7 times in the Scriptures, and is primarily used in reference to the pains of childbirth. So in essence, wars, famines, pestilences, fearful sights and great signs from heaven (Luke 21:11), as well as earthquakes would precede the coming of the Lord in a fashion that would be likened to the pains of childbirth. They would be signs of His coming and would increase in intensity just prior to His return.
Some have purported that earthquakes have increased dramatically in recent times (Lindsey, Missler, Van Impe, Church, Jeffrey, Stearman, Hagee, Lalonde, etc.) especially since the invention of the modern seismograph in 1880. But scientific studies have indicated otherwise, such as the Institute for Creation Research article entitled EARTHQUAKES AND THE END TIMES: A GEOLOGICAL AND BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE. In this article they ask,
Can these recent statements be supported by rigorous documentation? Or have the deployment of more seismographs during the last few decades made detection and cataloging of earthquakes more complete, thereby enhancing the perception of increase? Does the public have the perception that earthquakes are on the increase because earthquakes now afflict our larger urbanized populations, and, therefore, are more often reported by the media?
These questions no doubt demand an answer, and they diligently document their analysis taking statistics from a variety of earthquake databases around the world. Contrary to the statements of the abovementioned eschatologists, their conclusion is quite negative towards any observable increase in earthquakes today.
It clearly appears from the Scriptures although, that earthquakes will dramatically increase in intensity over all the earth after the rapture of the church, over a seven-year period known as the Great Tribulation. These seven years of tribulation will immediately precede the return of the Lord to the earth.
Throughout history there have always been earthquakes, and there has been some mighty big ones in times past. Of the 25 Largest Earthquake Disasters in Human History only 5 are from this past century. These earthquakes were not intended to be a part of Gods very good creation, but after sin entered the world and especially after the flood of Noah, when the fountains of the great deep were broken up, fracturing the earths crust.
Since that time the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now (Romans 8:22). The USGS estimates that several million earthquakes occur in the world each year. Many go undetected because they hit remote areas or have very small magnitudes. The NEIC now locates about 50 earthquakes each day, or about 20,000 a year (Earthquake Statistics).
The earliest earthquake mentioned in the Bible was in the days of Elijah (1 Kings 19:11-12) some 3000 years ago. In the days of Uzziah, the King of Judah (Zechariah 14:5), there was another great earthquake. There was a great earthquake when the angel of the Lord rolled back the stone from Christ's tomb (Matthew 28:2). The earth did quake when the veil of the temple was rent in two (Matthew 27:51). There was a great earthquake that shook the foundations of the prison where Paul and Silas were held captive (Acts 16:26). But before the coming of the Lord, these earthquakes shall increase in intensity as a woman travailing in the pains of childbirth, and this the world shall see primarily in that time called the Great Tribulation.
In the latter days when the Jews are gathered out of the nations back into the land of Israel, we are told that a horde of nations (Gog and Magog, Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, Togarmah, etc.) will come up against the land of Israel to take a spoil. God has for several thousand years been speaking grace and peace to mankind through the blood of the cross, but his longsuffering will one day come to an end and He shall speak to mankind in His fury and jealousy and in the fire of [His] wrath (Ezekiel 38:17-19).
Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground (Ezekiel 38:19-20).
After the rapture of all true believers to be with Christ, the Great Tribulation begins with the opening of the seven-sealed scroll (Revelation 6). There shall be wars (Revelation 6:3-4), and famines (Revelation 6:5-6), and pestilences (Revelation 6:3-4), but the sixth seal brings a great earthquake (Gr. seismos) whereby the inhabitants of the earth unquestionably recognize that the great day of his wrath has come.
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:12-17)
This no doubt will be the fulfillment of many Old Testament Prophecies. Isaiah said, the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake (Isaiah 24:18). Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger (Isaiah 13:13). (cref. Isaiah 2:19-21, 34:4).
The prophet Haggai reported of a day that would come when not only would the earth quake but also the heavens. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts (Haggai 2:6-7). This will be just prior to Christ's return to the earth, for then shall the desire of all nations come.
God shook the earth when He gave the Law to His people Israel (Exodus 19:18). The writer of Hebrews spoke of this time saying God's voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:26-29). These mighty shakings of things that are made will result in the manifestation of the kingdom of God, which cannot be shaken or moved.
These mighty shakings in times past were often done in righteous judgment and holy anger. Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth (Psalms 18:7). And today these baby earthquakes should serve as a reminder and a warning as to just how unstable this earth is. Let us not then get too involved with the things of this earth for one day they will all be gone, rather, let us fix our affections on things above from whence comes our Savior, Jesus Christ, and be meditating upon His Word.
The Last Day's seismic activity will be so great that it will cause volcanic upheavals that which will spew vast amounts of dust up into the atmosphere causing the sun to become black as sackcloth and the moon as blood (Revelation 6:12-17). This has never yet happened in the recorded history of mankind.
Many of the prophets appeared to be speaking of these same events. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come (Joel 2:30-31). The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness (Zephaniah 1:14-15).
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible (Isaiah 13:9-11).
It appears here that the purpose of such calamity and tribulation is to lay the land desolate: and destroy sinners thereof out of it. We must remember that when the Lord ascended into heaven, He went to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return (Luke 19:12). Daniel says this as well (Daniel 7:13-14). And in the Revelation we see Jesus in heaven receiving from Him who sat on the throne the seven-sealed deed to the earth (Revelation 5:1-7). Satan had usurped the dominion of the earth when Adam sinned, and ever since, the creation has been under the bondage of corruption.
There is a wonderful type of this transaction in the Old Testament. Judah was about to be taken captivity by the king of Babylon. They were prophesied to go into bondage for seventy years (Jeremiah 24:11). When the time came that Nebuchadnezzar's army besieged Jerusalem, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah telling him to buy his uncle's son, Hanameel's field for the right of redemption (Jeremiah 32:7) was his to buy it. When Jeremiah purchased the field he subscribed the evidence, and sealed it (Jeremiah 32:10-11). In fact there were two evidences, one that was sealed and one that was open (v. 14), much like the one Jesus received, written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals (Revelation 5:1). Not only did Jeremiah do this but also all the men bought fields and subscribed evidences in the places about Jerusalem (v. 44). These evidences were to be placed in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days (v. 14), and the promise of God was that He would cause their captivity to return and they would once again posses the land (v. 15, 42-44).
The Bible tells us that one day that the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:21). Jesus has purchased us with His own blood and when He returns this corruption must put on incorruption and death shall be swallowed up in victory (1Corinthians 15:53-54). That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:12-14).
Jesus promises are sure and Amen, He has paid the purchase price for the redemption of our own souls and the evidences have been subscribed with His own blood. Even the whole of creation shall be delivered from the bondage of decay. He is the one who will inherit all things, and we with Him when He returns.
As Jesus receives the title deed to the earth, He opens the first seal and we see One on a white horse going forth conquering, and to conquer (Revelation 6:2). He is wearing the victor's crown. This can be none other than Jesus Christ as He goes forth to rid the earth of His enemies. The word conquer (Gr. nikao) in this verse is usually translated overcome. To him that overcometh (Gr. nikao) will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame (Gr. nikao), and am set down with my Father in his throne (Revelation 3:21). It is also translated prevailed in the previous chapter. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed (Gr. nikao) to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof (Revelation 5:5). We later hear great voices in heaven saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever (Revelation 11:15).
The unrepentant rebels of the earth shall be punished for their evil and their wickedness and rebellion against the Lord. The heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, but after many millennia of long suffering, the Lord, who is not willing that any perish but should come to repentance, foresees that they will no longer repent of the works of their hands of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts and repented not of their deeds and they repented not to give him glory (Revelation 9:20-21; 16:11, 9).
Judgment therefore is the inevitable end of all who forsake the tender mercies of the Lord. God sent His only begotten Son into the world to redeem sinners, but they have rejected the free gift of eternal life that God has purchased with His own blood, so that now they should face His wrath. They shall be without excuse having received abundantly the witness of God in creation and through His faithful witnesses, their conscience also bearing witness of their evil deeds. Therefore there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:26-27, 29).
All who spurn God's loving forgiveness must receive His righteous vengeance. Because they will not repent but blaspheme the God of heaven (Revelation 16:11), there are yet more plagues and earthquakes that are forthcoming. Another great earthquake is mingled with great thunderings and a lightning storm (Revelation 8:5). It is a lightning storm without rain, for there is no rain for the first half of the tribulation (Revelation 11:6).
These lightenings will no doubt cause fires to break forth burning up the earth. The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory (Psalm 97:1-6). This no doubt shall remind the remnant of Israel how God was with Moses when He delivered them out of the hand of Pharaoh through the sea (Psalm 77:18-20).
Again, at the midpoint of the Great Tribulation there was a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven (Revelation 11:13). This was only a token of what was to come, and in Jerusalem alone this earthquake will cause 7000 fatalities not including women and children.
It appears that through the Great Tribulation some will repent and believe the gospel. Throughout the Scriptures God always preserves a remnant. Although their names are written in the Lambs book of life, and the judgments of the Great Tribulation are not primarily intended to be on them, God will purge out from among you the rebels (Ezekiel 20:38). But they will face fierce persecution because of the testimony of Jesus Christ, for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he hath but a short time (Revelation 12:12). But they are persuaded of the truth and can likewise say with Paul For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).
Through the tribulations in this world and fiery trials of life which may come at any time, the saints are encouraged of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day (2Thessalonians 1:4-10).
Another purpose for the great earthquakes that will take place during the tribulation is to bring the earth's topography back to its former state prior to the worldwide flood in Noah's day. Immediately following that judgment, the mountains arose and the valleys descended that the flood waters could go down to the place prepared for them, that is, in the great oceans of the world that exist today (Psalm 104:6-9). But the prophet Isaiah foretold there is a day coming when Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it (Isaiah 40:4-5). Much of the waters shall be dried up (Revelation 16:12) and returned to the place from which they came above the heavens (Psalm 148:4-6).
Shortly after the earthquake that causes 7000 men to perish in Jerusalem, there is another (Revelation 11:19) accompanied with lightnings, and thunderings, and great hail, but the worst is yet to come. The Lord shall simultaneously shake the heavens and the earth. When the heavens are shaken the stars of heaven fell to the earth. These falling stars will pound the earth greatly. Huge meteorites will descend upon the earth several times during the Tribulation (Revelation 8:8-12; 11:19; 16:21) and the result will be terrible.
The first earthquake happened at the beginning of the Tribulation with the opening of the sixth seal. This is during the first three and one half years of the tribulation. It seems plausible that this great disaster becomes a rallying point for mankind to work together, to rebuild the earth and her great cities to a splendor which was before unknown, primarily Babylon which shall be the center for Anti-Christ's new world religious and commercial order. The building of it will make many very rich by reason of her costliness (Revelation 18:19). But it shall be all for naught. Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain (Psalm 127:1). Another great earthquake happens at the end of the Tribulation mightier than all that preceded it. This is the seventh and final vial of God's wrath poured out on an unrepentant mankind.
And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great (Revelation 16:18-21).
In the opening earthquake of the tribulation it stated, every mountain and island were moved out of their places (Revelation 6:14) but now every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. So great will be this earthquake upon the earth that there shall be no more cities for refuge for the cities of the nations fell. There shall be no place left for man to hide, not even the dens and rocks of the mountains for these were not found.
This earthquake may possibly happen when the Lord shall plant His feet on the Mount of Olives dividing the great city Jerusalem into three parts. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be (Zechariah 14:4-5, 8).
As God parted the waters for Moses and His people to make a way to escape from the hordes of Pharaoh, so shall he make a way of escape for His remnant from Satan's hoards gathered round about Jerusalem at Armageddon to destroy His people. Only this time he shall not part the sea but rather the earth and they shall escape through the valley.
These terrible earthquakes during the Tribulation will devour the whole earth. Man has heaped up treasures for the last days, they lived deliciously in the earth, thinking nothing for God and His Son, rather blaspheming and trampling under foot the Son of God, crucifying Him afresh, therefore the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously (Isaiah 24:18-23).
The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works. He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke. I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD. Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD (Psalm 104:31-35).
The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). God warns all to flee from the wrath to come to the only safe refuge in time of trouble. There shall be no more cities left for refuge. The only refuge left is in the Lord Jesus Christ. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalms 46:1). May we be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith (Philippians 3:9).
Even though we are all sinners and deserving of His wrath, God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him (Romans 5:8-9). Justification and a right standing with God comes only through faith in the death of His Son for our sins and belief that God has raised Him from the dead. If we will accept Christ's payment on our behalf, confessing our sins, God will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10).
Tarry no longer, for the hour is late. Now is the accepted time, Today is the day of Salvation. Repent and believe the gospel and you shall be saved from the wrath that is about to come.
Last Update: 10/14/2002