The God of the Bible has used earthquakes to send a lot of messages to mankind. We see a lot of earthquakes in the Bible and each time they signify a message from the Almighty God.
Earthquakes have been used by God to signify His awesome presence and to bring the power and glory of His presence in a thunderous way to mankind. Let us see a list of earthquakes mentioned in the Bible and see what message they hold.
1. Mount Sinai:
God’s presence was so awesome and dreadful that the Israelites said they did not want to meet Him again. God came down from heaven on Mount Sinai to give the covenant to His people.
God descended in a fire, the mountain was on smoke as if a furnace was burning on the mountain top and the whole mountain quaked greatly.
When Jesus died on the cross at Calvary, the veil of the temple was torn into two from top to bottom, the earth SHOOK and the rocks split. The centurion and his men who were with him saw all this and said, “Truly this was the Son of God”.
Again, God used an earthquake to deliver a message to man.
3. Resurrection of Jesus
Mary Magdalene came to see the dead body of Jesus at the tomb. They were worried about how they would remove the heavy stone in front of the tomb. But when the angel of the Lord came from heaven, there was a great earthquake. The angel rolled back the stone and sat on it.
God used an earthquake to show the power of His resurrection.
4. Apostles’ Prayer Room
The apostles were praying for boldness to preach His word in the wake of persecution. In response, the Holy Spirit came down on them mightily and the place they had gathered together was shaken.
5. Paul & Silas in prison
Even after enduring heavy torture and being bound, Paul and Silas were praying and singing praises to God at midnight. I believe they were not able to sleep considering the heavy beating they had and the way they were chained. So they began to pray and sing at midnight. So God could not keep quiet either and He came down to free them. There was a great earthquake and the foundations of the prison were shaken. All the doors were opened and their chains fell off.
There are many more instances of earthquakes in the Bible. To know more about it you can read this article. But for the purposes of this article we will look at what Jesus said about earthquakes being the sign of the end times and His second coming.
6. Sign of the end times and the coming of Christ
“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Mat 24:7-8 – NKJV)
Jesus was answering the questions of His disciples about the signs of the end of the age and His coming. Of the many signs He mentioned, earthquakes are one and mark His words – all these are the beginning of sorrows. When we see earthquakes, famines and pestilences happening all around us, we need to understand clearly that all these are merely the Beginning of Sorrows or the Beginning of Birth Pangs (NASB).
So we understand that there is much more horror yet to come. Just as a woman suffers birth pangs with increasing frequency and intensity as she nears the time of child birth, similarly the sorrows are going to be much more frequent and intense before the end of the age and before His coming.
So do we know for sure that the earthquakes are increasing in our time? Let us take a look at the statistics given out by USGS National Earthquake Information Center.
|8.0 to 9.9||6||12||100.00|
|7.0 to 7.9||147||115||-21.77|
|6.0 to 6.9||1339||1303||-2.69|
|5.0 to 5.9||13276||13734||3.45|
|4.0 to 4.9||62354||95014||52.38|
|3.0 to 3.9||45703||74522||63.06|
|2.0 to 2.9||36044||44511||23.49|
|1.0 to 1.9||6958||7064||1.52|
|0.1 to 0.9||69||257||272.46|
Let us look at the chart for a pictorial representation of the data and for a better understanding of comparative figures.
These are comparative figures of the number of earthquakes across the world from 1990 – 1999 and from 2000 – 2008. We do not have the complete data of 2009 and 2010 obviously at the time of writing this post.
A close look at the figures says that the earthquakes with magnitude 8.0 and above have doubled since the past decade and we have two years data still to be added to complete this decade. There has also been a significant increase in the earthquakes with magnitude 3.0 to 3.9 with a 63% rise and 4.0 to 4.9 with a 52% rise. In some of the categories there has been a decline but if you look at the earthquakes with 0.1 to 0.9 magnitude, (which are too small for us to notice) it has increased by an astounding 272% in the last decade which indicates the tremendous increase in earthquake activity all over the world. Overall, there has been an increase of around 30% over the last decade. Please bear in mind that this data is only up to 2008 which means there are still data of 2 more years to go till we complete this decade and obviously the figures are going to be much higher. Another factor to be borne in mind is that we are not comparing today’s figures with those of 100 years before, rather with the previous decade and still the earthquake activity shows a significant increase.
So are earthquakes really increasing? Many geologists say they are not. Earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.0 and above have remained fairly constant and maybe even declined over the past century. Moreover the increase is attributed to the number of earthquakes the geologists have been able to identify compared to previous centuries. In 1931 there were about 351 seismograph stations in the world and today there are more than 8000 stations plus the rapid advancement in communication with internet and satellite. So today we have many more earthquakes identified and accurate data is received. This could explain the rise in the earthquake numbers over the last 100 years.
So as a believing Christian, what do we understand? Is Jesus’ prediction of increasing earthquakes really being fulfilled? Yes, of course.
While the above argument of the geologists is true for the past 100 years, it does not imply that earthquakes have decreased; rather it merely says that we cannot prove beyond doubt whether there has been an increase or decrease. Besides, the data we have compared in this article shows the figures for the past decade since 1990 and not the past century. And even then, we see heavy earthquake activity with an overall increase of 30% and a drastic increase of 272% in the 0.1 to 0.9 magnitude and a 100% increase in the 8.0 to 9.9 magnitude with 2010 yet to come.
However, what is even more significant for a Christian is that increasing earthquakes are not the only sign happening. In fact, it is accompanied by many of the other signs that Jesus predicted and that is why it is all the more important. We will study the other signs of the end times in the forthcoming weeks.
“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift your heads, because your redemption draws near.” (Luke 21:28 – NKJV)
Maranatha! Our Lord is coming soon.