We are living in an unprecedented time. Wars in the Middle East, terrorism, bizarre weather patterns, tsunamis rushing ashore killing multiplied thousands of people, global turmoil and strife, the rise of false religions, economies failing, suffering, famine, pestilences, and...EARTHQUAKES. I've been reflecting on the devastating earthquakes that have occurred over the last decade in Myanmar (Burma), Chile, Haiti, Iran, China, Indonesia/Sumatra, Pakistan, and Japan, to name a few. Recently I researched, at the U.S Geological Survey website, the earthquake activity occurring around the world in the last decade. The number of significant earthquakes (7.0 or higher) has increased in that time. In 2002 there were 11. In 2003 there were 14. In 2004 there were 12 and in 2005 there were 10. In 2006-2009 there were 10, 17, 12, and 17, respectively. But it is 2010 and 2011 that got my attention. In 2010 there were 22. And through the first half of 2011 there have already been 11 that registered 7.0 or higher. That number puts this world again on a pace of 22 catastrophic earthquakes at 7.0 or higher in 2011.
It would seem that the earth is convulsing as never before. I realize some experts disagree. They have said that there are just more stations now than in the past to monitor these happenings while others say there aren't really any increases in activity but more media attention. Whether that is true or not, Jesus did mention their occurrence as the end of time begins to wind down. By way of a personal note, I live in an earthquake zone that is one of the worst in the continental U.S. outside of California. It is the New Madrid fault. This issue is no small matter to me. So let's eavesdrop on a conversation from 2,000 years ago as Jesus and a few others had just left the temple area.
Three different gospel writers in the Bible captured the words of Jesus talking to his disciples about what the world would be like just before His second coming. Quoting Jesus, Matthew wrote, "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and EARTHQUAKES in various places" (Matthew 24:7). Mark wrote, "There will be EARTHQUAKES in various places" (Mark 13:8). And finally, Luke wrote, "There will be GREAT EARTHQUAKES, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven" (Luke 21:11). Of course, we have always had earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc. But could it be that there will be an upswing in frequency and intensity as this age is closing? It's a fair question considering preachers have long been saying it is a sign of the end times.
The Bible tells us that prior to Jesus Christ's return to this earth there will be an increase in earthquakes. In fact, it was Jesus himself who warned us there would be an increase in earthquakes but, He said, the end is not yet. In fact, quoting Jesus again, Matthew wrote, "All these are but the beginning of the birth pains" (Matthew 24:8). As a pregnant woman gets closer to giving birth to her newborn child, the pains of childbirth increase in frequency and intensity. Using this analogy, Jesus was letting us know that as it gets closer to His return, the frequency and intensity of the earthquakes are going to increase both now and in the Great Tribulation yet to come. The Book of Revelation contains 5 occurrences of earthquakes, specifically Revelation 6:12, 8:5, 11:13,19 and 16:18. It is the last one that will be an earthquake so bad that it will be the worst mankind has ever experienced.
But it's all leading to the birthing of a new day when Christ returns and reigns in peace, justice, and righteousness over all the earth. At that time there will be one final great earthquake, one to which all the Redeemed look forward. Over 2,500 years ago the prophet Zechariah spoke of the Messiah's return who, when He comes, will put away His enemies once and for all, that is, those remaining from the Great Tribulation period who rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. "Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when He fights on a day of battle. On that Day, His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the MOUNT OF OLIVES shall be SPLIT IN TWO FROM EAST TO WEST by a very wide valley, so that ONE HALF OF THE MOUNT SHALL MOVE NORTHWARD, AND THE OTHER HALF SOUTHWARD" (Zechariah 14:3-4). The Glory of Christ's return will itself rupture the Mount of Olives, the earthquake being caused by Jesus Himself.
Then Zechariah continues with a sobering statement at the end of verse 5. "Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with Him". Who are these holy ones that return with Jesus? They are normal everyday people who realized they could not save themselves, that they were sinners who were hopelessly lost, but accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord by putting their faith exclusively in what Jesus Christ accomplished at the Cross 2,000 years ago. It's simply understanding that Jesus Christ loved you so much that He'd rather die for you than live without you...and THAT is earthshaking love!