"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". (Revelation 16-17)
EARTHQUAKES IN THE LAST MILLENNIUM:
AD1201 CORINTH- 45,000 dead…..AGEAN area, 100,000….1556 SHANSI, China, 830,000…..1727 PEKING, China, 100,000……1755 LISBON, Portugal, 100,000……..1783 CALABRIA, Italy, 80,000…….1908 MESSINA, Italy, 160,000……..1927 NAN SHAN, China, 200,000……….1970 ANCASH, Peru, 66,000………1976 TANG SHAN, China, 850,000……….1990 N.W IRAN 50,000. The above are only a few of the most severe earthquakes….there were many more, and collectively they claimed well in excess of 1.5 million victims, with China, a nation which knows not God, suffering the greatest number of victims.
One of the most dramatic of all the earthquakes of the 1800’s, was the 1883 earthquake at Krakatoa, co-incidental with the eclipse of Roman church power. Four months of earthquake shocks gave warning of the terror to come, when at last the volcano suddenly exploded, leaving a cavity more than 300 m below sea level. The explosion, several times more powerful than an atomic bomb, was heard 4,650 km. away. The explosion hurled rocks and dust more than 20 kms. into the air and volcanic ash darkened the sky for 200 kms around for 2 days and altered the weather patterns for some years.
EARTHQUAKES IN SCRIPTURE:
The word earthquake occurs about 20 times in the Bible and shake and shaking about the same number of times. These words are used mostly in relation to God’s judgments upon nations and people.
Both Amos (Amos 3-14/15) and Zechariah (Zech. 14-5), speak of an earthquake in the ten tribe kingdom of Israel in the days of Uzziah, King of Judah, an earthquake of such magnitude that it was remembered for generations afterwards. Amos wrote, "That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him, I will also visit the altars of Beth-el: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground. And I will smite the winter house with the summer house: and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end".
Middle East archaeology confirms that there have been many destructive earthquakes in the Palestine area, which is at the northern end of the GREAT RIFT VALLEY fault. It is known, for example, that the buildings at Qumram, by the Dead Sea, were destroyed by an earthquake in AD 31, and were subsequently rebuilt and reoccupied, before being demolished by the Romans. It is also known that around 350AD a severe earthquake demolished the Galilean city of Sepphoris, not far from where the Lord Jesus came .
But by far the most remarkable of earthquakes was the one in AD 29 which occurred as the Lord Jesus died on the cross. "The veil of the Temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints WHICH SLEPT AROSE". (Matthew 27-51/52). Surely a remarkable word picture prophecy of the second coming of the Lord Jesus when the earthquake will tear apart the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14-4), and "the dead in Christ shall rise first". (1 Thess. 4-16). Two separate earthquakes with similar results.
THE COMING GREAT EARTHQUAKE AND THE SECOND ADVENT:
520 years before the birth of the Lord Jesus, the Father caused the Prophet Haggai to write, "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). Since nothing global has happened that has fulfilled this prophecy, we can be confident it is still future. AND, its more than coincidence that the north and south alignment of the Great Rift Valley fault is consistent with the prophetic dividing of the Mount of Olives into east and west sections when the Messiah’s feet stand upon it. See Zech.14-4..
…."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……". Nothing approaching this has ever been recorded, so we can assume that it is still future and connected with the coming of Messiah.