by Richard T. Ritenbaugh
One of the most frightening moments a person can experience is being awakened from a sound sleep by the jarring jolts of an earthquake. The feeling of helplessness and panic are indescribable. The most solid substance we know—the very earth under our feet—is shaking! No place is safe when the earth is reeling.
Then, when the quake is over, come the questions, the doubts, the uncertainties. Is everyone all right? Did the house sustain any damage? Will there be any big aftershocks? Is there electricity? Water? Food? Was this "the big one"? Are there gas leaks? How are the roads and bridges? Is it really over?
Anyone who has survived a major earthquake will confirm that this is only the beginning of fears, worries, headaches and frustrations. Conditions will not return to normal for days, weeks, months or years—and who knows if another quake will strike before then? Some must rebuild not just their homes, but also their lives.
It is no wonder that God uses earthquakes to get people's attention. One's feeling of security vanishes. Thoughts of being strong and safe against disaster cease. Realization of weakness and vulnerability dawns. Understanding of need and true humility can now follow—if one realizes God is warning His people.
Some may scoff, saying, "These are just natural events. God has nothing to do with it!" But notice what God says:
» Psalm 18:7: Then the earth shook and trembled, the foundation of the hills also quaked and were shaken, because He was angry.
» Isaiah 24:20: The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and totter like a hut; its transgression shall be heavy on it, and it will fall, and not rise again.
» Isaiah 29:6: You will be punished by the Lord of hosts with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with storm and tempest and the flame of devouring fire.
God uses earthquakes to warn and punish!
Is it coincidental that, of the eleven strongest earthquakes to rock America this century, six have occurred in close proximity to abortion- and homosexual-related activities? Astoundingly, five have happened since April 1992! The McAlvaney Intelligence Advisor (June 1994, pp. 4-5) lists these six quakes and their corresponding events:
1. June 28, 1992, Southern California: Fourth strongest quake this century. This was Gay Pride Day across the United States. The next day the Supreme Court decided not to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in 1973.
2. October 17, 1989, San Francisco area: Fifth strongest quake. This occurred two days after a huge pro-abortion march in San Francisco.
3. April 25, 1992, Northern California: Sixth strongest quake. This quake struck during a fierce counterprotest against Operation Rescue in Buffalo, New York. Ironically, that same day, the Los Angeles riots began, the worst in the U.S. since the Civil War.
4. January 17, 1994, Northridge, California: Seventh strongest quake. It struck the day after Sanctity of Life Sunday and five days before the twenty-first anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Also, eighty percent of the world's pornography production and distribution businesses lie within five miles of the epicenter.
5. June 28, 1992, Southern California: Ninth greatest quake, an aftershock of # 1. These quakes were felt as far away as Idaho.
6. April 23, 1992, Southern California: Eleventh greatest quake. Occurred the day the Supreme Court heard Planned Parenthood v. Casey, an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Unfortunately, the warnings went unheeded. However, the thought that God was behind these earthquakes crossed the mind of at least one pornography executive, but he quickly rejected the notion. "‘These religious fanatics may think it's the Lord's way of telling us, "Hey, straighten your act out,"' admitted Lenny Friedlander, president of New Beginnings, which distributes adult videos, magazines and sex toys" (Associated Press, January 28, 1994). The article later relates that the industry was back in business only a week later.
Not Just California
California is not the only state to contain earthquake fault lines. In fact, smaller earthquakes can do greater damage in other places because of soil conditions, earthquake-ignorant building codes and unprepared populations. And because the earth's crust features major and minor faults all over, and several new ones are found each year, no place is earthquake-proof.
Jesus Christ promised "great earthquakes in various places" (Luke 21:11; cf. Matthew 24:7; Mark 13:8), and they are fulfilling His words. Kobe, Japan, the latest place to be hit by a great earthquake, suffered over five thousand deaths and over $100 billion in damages. Fifty-five thousand plus died in Armenia in 1988, and over forty thousand died in Iran in 1990. Thousands have died in dozens of quakes since then all over the earth.
We have several earthquakes of biblical note ahead of us. The Sixth Seal, which we have called the "Heavenly Signs," contains "a great earthquake" along with the more astral phenomena (Revelation 6:12-14). There will be another huge temblor at Christ's return. As Zechariah describes it,
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. . . . And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two. . . . Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with You. (Zechariah 14:4-5)
Revelation 11:13 describes an earthquake that strikes when God resurrects the Two Witnesses. Verse 14 places this quake at the end of the Sixth Trumpet or the beginning of the Seventh. The saints will rise at the last trumpet (I Corinthians 15:52), so this may be the same quake as mentioned in Revelation 11:19, when the reign of Christ is announced. And since the saints rise to meet Christ as He returns (I Thessalonians 4:16-17), this may also be the same quake that Zechariah describes.
Another earthquake occurs at the pouring of the Seventh Bowl, or Vial, of God's wrath. This last biblical quake is described as "such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth" (Revelation 16:18; cf. Isaiah 13:13). It is so powerful that "every island fled away, and the mountains were not found" (verse 20).
He will finally get the world's attention! Yet they will continue to blaspheme God because of His wrath against them (verse 21). Will man never submit? God will eventually resort to the sword to subdue rebellious man (Revelation 19:21).
God is using earthquakes to warn of His displeasure! Conditions are becoming increasingly more anti-God and anti-Christ in the world, Israel and the church. He is giving the warning now so that people can repent of sin and rebellion before the calamity strikes (cf. Amos 3:1-8)!
Amos, though he writes mainly of the terrible punishment coming upon Israel, also tells individuals what to do to avoid it. "Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate. It may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph" (Amos 5:15).
Make sure you are part of the remnant! We will look at this remnant in the next Prophecy Watch.