By Nathan Jones
Are earthquakes increasing in frequency and intensity?
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista and I will look at the third end times signs of earthquakes found in Matthew 24:7.
Quakes Before the Temple Fell
Vic: Now we read from Luke 21:11 where Jesus reveals, "There will be great earthquakes, famines, pestilence in various places and fearful events and great signs from heaven." Tell us about the end times sign of earthquakes.
Nathan: Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13 are all parallel passages. The Apostles were listening to Jesus' teachings and were writing them down from their own point of view, and some of them put the signs in different order, but all the signs are equal in each parallel passage. I'll follow Luke 21, for normally pestilence would come first if you were reading Matthew 24.
Earthquakes Jesus said would definitely also be a sign that would be increasing more frequently and more intensely the closer we got to His return.
For the first question, the Apostles wanted to know when the Temple would fall. Well, before 70 AD there were quite a number of signs of earthquakes. As a matter of fact, when Jesus was crucified, Matthew 27 tells us that there was a tremendous earthquake. It was so big that the dead rose from their graves! They were walking around Jerusalem after the Crucifixion because of the huge earthquake that happened there. Also, when Jesus was resurrected, according to Matthew 28:2 there was a violent earthquake that shook the whole city of Jerusalem.
Another powerful earthquake happened to Paul and Silas who were in prison in Philippi. Acts 16:26 tells us that when a violent earthquake formed the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open and everyone's chains came loose.
The town of Laodicea which we read about in Revelation 3 in 60 to 61 AD was destroyed by a violent earthquake, though quickly rebuilt. The town of Colossi where we get the title for the book of Colossians was destroyed by earthquakes so many times that eventually the people just abandoned it. They got so tired of rebuilding.
There were a lot of earthquakes shaking the world up before the fall of the Temple. But, they would be nothing compared to when we get closer to the end of this age, and then finally the end of the Tribulation.
Vic: In Matthew 28:51 it says concerning Jesus' Crucifixion, "Then, behold, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom and the earth quaked and the rocks were split and the graves were open." It also says that many of the bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised and coming out of the graves after His resurrection. They went into the Holy City and appeared to many. That's just an incredible passage! All of this happened from that earthquake.
Nathan: Yes, it was another sign that God gave to the people to convince them that Jesus is the Messiah. Even the centurion while he was watching Jesus being crucified and seeing how the sky went dark for three hours and the violent earthquake that followed, he saw those signs and he responded to them. He concluded, "Surely this must be the Christ." That's important that we look at the signs that God's given us in the Bible that talk about the end times, like in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, for we too need to respond to those signs by getting our hearts ready for the return of Jesus Christ.
Vic: Amen and praise the Lord!
Quakes in Our Day
Vic: Nathan, as the time draws closer to the end of this age, we are going to see earthquake statistics grow, right? Just by looking at all the news today, all the wars and natural disasters going on now, it's pretty clear that both wars and earthquakes are increasing in frequency and intensity.
Nathan: As we get into the answer to the question about what will be the signs of the end of the age, we must remember that this age culminates with the Rapture of the Church. That's the taking of believers in Christ up to heaven before the seven-year Tribulation befalls the earth.
I agree that the statistics do prove that the earthquakes are coming more frequently and more intensely with each passing year. A British charity called Oxfam analyzed a set of data that the Red Cross and the United Nations reported. They've concluded that there's been a four times increase in earthquakes in the last 20 years. There are about 500 major earthquakes a year. Just back in 2006, there were only 240. In 1980, even less, only 60. So, we went from 60 to 240 to 500 major earthquakes in just the last 25 years.
Vic: That's incredible! We recently just had a major earthquake in California and another in Chile.
Nathan: I like to check out the usgs.gov website. The United States Geological Survey website has this great interface that reports on all the earthquakes that are happening around the world. The site has a real-time map that pinpoint major earthquake occurrences. They also show you how high they are on the Richter Scale. Usually if you get a 5.0 earthquake or greater then that's considered a tremendous earthquake.
Remember when an earthquake happens, for each point on the Richter Scale that it goes up, it's an exponential curve. The scale is not like steps on the stairs where you get one and then a level two and then a level three, like it's going up a stairs. Instead it's an exponential curve where level two is twice the strength of a level one, and level three is three times the strength of a level two. So, as we go up this Richter Scale up to the nines, they get exponentially more and more intense.
We are seeing just in the last 20 years how level fives and more are occurring more frequently and more intensely. Daily on that site you can usually see large earthquakes. New Caledonia had a 5.0. A few places in Indonesia experienced a 5.6 and a 6.2. Mexico had a 4.6. Tonga had a 4.9. Costa Rico had a 4.6. Western India in the Antarctic ridge had a 5.0.
Science is proving that earthquakes are shaking the earth more frequently and more intensely. Jesus said that is exactly what would happen the closer we got to His return.
Vic: What's amazing is all of these quakes are happening right now. This isn't something we're expecting coming in the future. You can literally go to this website and see this end times sign right before us.
Nathan: Yes, just go to usgs.gov and look where they keep track of all the earthquakes. Just like the UN and the Red Cross, they are all reporting that earthquakes are occurring more frequently and more intensely.
Oxfam also reports that between 1995 and 2004 there has been a 70% increase in earthquakes. That results in 254 million people being affected by earthquakes every year.
Vic: Wow, Nathan! People don't really understand the seriousness of what's going on. A lot of people are being effected every year by these earthquakes.
Nathan: Nearly 174 million people were effected by earthquakes between '85 and '94. That number has now increased to 254 million. That's almost double! A quarter of a billion people live with some earthquake effecting them. That's just terrible to think about.
Earthquakes are even popping up in places where they've never been before. For instance, there have been some in Oklahoma. Oklahoma isn't even on a fault line, but they've been experiencing an endless series of 1.0 and 2.0 earthquakes. It just doesn't make sense why Oklahoma would even have earthquakes.
Vic: That's scary because we are here in Florida and its flat land here, and according to the Bible, we are going to get earthquakes, too. We may even sink into the sea! Thank the Lord we won't be here when that happens, right, Nathan? Because we will be raptured?
Nathan: Exactly. When you talk about water, it reminds me of a tsunami. Do you remember the tsunami that devastated Japan back on March 11, 2011? It was created by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake. It's super rare that the world gets hit with something that powerful. The quake was underwater and created a 133 foot high tidal wave, which is one of the five most powerful ever recorded. When that massive wall of water swept over northern Japan it caused 235 billion dollars in damage and killed 15,854 people and injured almost 27,000 others. People were washed out to sea and thousands of buildings collapsed. The tsunami was a tremendously terrible disaster.
You probably are familiar with the stories of the nuclear reactors that the tsunami affected in Japan, right? Well, a lot of them started going critical because of that tsunami. When we have such powerful earthquakes like that, they do far more damage than just shatter buildings. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has been spewing radiation into the water systems and the radiation has been traveling across the Pacific, now finally even reaching off of the California coast.
Earthquakes cause tremendous interruptions to power grids and services. When you have no power and no services, people start running out of food. They get desperate and crime goes up. Earthquakes create major, major social problems.
Vic: I remember reading there was an actual shift in the ground so that when you look at the affected areas of Japan they've actually been moved some. From the satellite view, it really looks incredible with all that devastation.
Nathan: The wall of water was tragic. It just started spreading over all of Northern Japan, erasing highways and farm fields and burying whole cities. Like you said, the tsunami actually moved one of the Japanese islands a few inches. Can you believe the earth moved that much?
Vic: Now that's amazing!
Nathan: Japan is still trying to recover from it.
Vic: Nathan, I was born in the Dominican Republic. My family immigrated here around 1976 or 1977, somewhere around there. Can you imagine an earthquake that big hitting the Dominican Republic? It would be gone along with Haiti.
Nathan: Yes, you're not kidding. Haiti was hit just a few years ago and it leveled most of the capital city there. It was probably one of the biggest disasters in the last five years. I believe you and I had a radio program discussing that a few years back.
Vic: Yes, in fact we did, and actually individuals can still get a hold of that program if they need to by getting hold of us at Twave.tv
In the third part of our discussion on the end times sign of earthquakes, we'll look at the first of four prophetic quakes.