God's Weather Forecast
What Language Does God Speak?
It would be presumptuous for me to say that God causes ALL earthquakes. To make such statement would really be – well I am thinking as the word, so I will use it: the word? "stupid" BUT, let me hasten to state that "everything" that happens in this world first has to pass "through the hands of God". That believe and that statement has caused a lot of debate!!
What should our reaction be to earthquakes whenever and wherever they occur? A commonly expressed thought in the wake of natural disasters is that God must be punishing humanity for sin. But where does that belief come from?
The Bible does indicate that wrong behavior is sometimes punished through calamities of nature. The book of Genesis, for example, records that humanity's evil was wiped out by a great flood in which "the fountains of the great deep were broken up" – Was that earthquake activity? (Genesis 7:11). Prophets lamented the nation of Israel being punished for the sins they were committing, and they mentioned earthquakes in the context (Isaiah 24:13-21; Jeremiah 4:22-27). And, just for the record, when Christ returns to this earth to establish God's kingdom, we (they) will experience a series powerful earthquakes (see Isaiah 2:17-21; Revelation 6:12-17; 16:17-21).
Earthquakes aren't always punishment for sin. Earthquakes are happening as a function of plate tectonics: This was the way the earth was designed to function. Every day numerous quakes of varying magnitudes occur as tectonic plates jostle each other.
Even in the Scriptures earthquakes don't always have a negative connotation.
However, to say that God is not in control is something different. Top say that God does speaks to us THROUGH earthquakes, is, my humble thinking a true statement. To that I say "ouch". God what language do you speak? His answer (according to the Bible) – sometimes – "earthquake".
I live in California. We have our share of earthquakes – and for many they live in great fear. Believe it or not, just yesterday (at the time of this writing) there was a 5.8 earthquake centered in the Los Angeles, California area.
It seems that some Californians prefer to ignore the ever-present threat of earthquakes in spite of periodic real life shape-ups, like I mentioned above. There are numerous dire warnings from the experts.
In January 1994 a 6.8 Northridge quake occurred in a hitherto unknown fault north of Los Angeles – that sent the Bay area geologists scrambling to revise their predictions. What were they? Well, probability of a major earthquake (7.0 +) in the next 3 decades in the San Francisco area. They raised their prediction from 67% to 90%. Wow.
So, let me write:
Some earthquakes are caused by "plate movement" with or without God (?)
Some earthquakes have been caused by God.
I do read in Psalm 18:7, "The earth trembled and quakes, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled BECAUSE HE WAS ANGRY."
Obviously, there is a cause and effect principle. We reap what we sow and we are, also, the product of our environment and the way things just are. Like one said, "To belong to the human race one must take the consequences of the human race." The reference was to the sin of Adam and Eve.
To refrain from becoming too technical, I did find the following information interesting. I am not sure of the source, but let me call it: Earthquake 101. It went like this.
"No part of the world is totally immune from great earthquakes, as can be seen from a global map of earthquake occurrences. Most tremors are concentrated on the continental plate boundaries – the 'ring of fire' around the Pacific Rim or the African Rift zone running from the heart of Africa through the Red Sera, Dead Sea and Jordan River Valley. At least a million earthquakes per year, large and small, release a total energy equivalent to nearly one billion tons of TNT."
Earthquake 101 continues:
I am told that earthquakes are confined to the crust of the earth. That most of them occur within 40 miles of the surface – though a few extend deeper. Stress accumulates over time as the continental plates move and mountains shift – this is relieved through sudden jolts.
Some have heard the phrase, "California will drop into the sea." Well, that is not likely because the main faults move sideways or shallow angles not vertically.
Earlier I used the phrase, "African Rift Zone". The Promise Land lies immediately adjacent to that zone. That zone, believe it or not, is the deepest known break in the earth's crust. A student of the Bible knows that quakes are mentioned in the Bible and many "Holy Land" quakes are mentioned in secular history.
Example: The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah – remember that story? It took place at the southeastern shores of the Dead Sea in the time of Abraham – some believe c1900 BC. The description is in Genesis 19. Archaeological research suggests that a great earthquake opened the rift zone releasing "brimstone" (sulfur?) and petroleum gases which caused a terrible firestorm. It does agree with scripture doesn't it?
At the off set of this writing, I would like to refer to some special verses which deal with some special related subjects. My purpose in such is to convince people that God is indeed IN the special every day occurrences on this planet.
But first, let me inject some additional earthquake information regarding some Biblical events, source unknown. I will call this Earthquake 201 for the fun of it.
"Elijah experienced an earthquake at Mt. Horeb (1 Kings 19:11) though he was snot in Israel, but 300 miles south of Mt. Carmel in the Sinai wilderness at the time. The fall of Jericho in 1400 BC was probably associated with a double earthquake. As the people of Israel crossed the Jordan River to ender the land under the leadership of Joshua, a earthquake-produced landslide at the town of Adam (15 miles to the north) probably dammed the Jordan. A short time later God conveniently seems to have arranged a second tremor, or an aftershock, at just the right time to topple Jericho's impregnable walls (Josh. 6)."
Historically there are documented quakes that have dammed the Jordan River repeatedly, sometimes for days. History book records: 1160 AD, 1267, 1534, 1834, 19067 and 1927.
It is good that records have been kept – some verify Biblical accounts, some just record the events. "Qumran, where the Dead Sera scrolls were found, bears unmistakable evidence of major earthquake destruction in 31 BC during the reign of Herod the Great Josephus records the death of 10,000 persons in that earthquake."
"Bet Shean, one of the major Roman cities known in the time of Jesus as the Decapolis, suffered major damage in 363 and in 749 AD."
As a matter of record: "Jerusalem suffered a severe earthquake January 15, 1546. The Dome on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was completely destroyed as were many other buildings. Another major quake affecting the Holy City occurred in 1927 – photo of churches and hospitals damaged at the time are still extant."
So there is the "natural" cause and the "God-cause" effect.
"In general, regardless of religious beliefs, disasters are either classified as man-made (bombs, a factory exploding, a car accident, a house fire, etc.) or natural (volcanoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.). Those which are classified as natural are often referred to, especially by insurance companies, as 'acts of God.' This simply means they were not caused by men. It has nothing to do with religious beliefs."
But for the general subject at hand regarding GOD'S METEOROLOGY in regard to Earthquakes: Let's break it down.
I. Our Co–texts: 1 Samuel 14:15 and Job 9:5,6:
"Then panic struck the whole army - those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties - AND THE GROUND SHOOK It was a panic sent by God."
"He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger. He SHAKES THE EARTH from its place and makes its pillars TREMBLE."
2. Some Recorded Earthquakes
Deadliest Earthquakes on Record
(50,000 deaths or more)
The following table lists the deadliest earthquakes on record according to date, location, number of deaths, and magnitude. On Jan. 23, 1556, an 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck Shansi, China killing 830,000 people.
|Jan. 23, 1556||Shansi, China||830,000||~8|
|July 27, 1976||Tangshan, China||2,550,001||7.5|
|Aug. 9, 1138||Aleppo, Syria||230,000||n.a.|
|Dec. 26, 2004||off west coast of northern Sumatra||225,000+||9|
|Jan. 12, 2010||Haiti||222,570||7|
|Dec. 22, 856||Damghan, Iran||200,000||n.a.|
|May 22, 1927||near Xining, Tsinghai, China||200,000||7.9|
|Dec. 16, 1920||Gansu, China||200,000||7.8|
|March 23, 893||Ardabil, Iran||150,000||n.a.|
|Sept. 1, 1923||Kwanto, Japan||143,000||7.9|
|Oct. 5, 1948||Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, USSR||110,000||7.3|
|Dec. 28, 1908||Messina, Italy||70,000–100,000||7.2|
|Sept. 1290||Chihli, China||100,000||n.a.|
|March 23, 893||Eastern Sichuan, China||87,587||7.9|
|Oct. 8, 2005||Pakistan||80,361||7.6|
|Nov. 1667||Shemakha, Caucasia||80,000||n.a.|
|Nov. 18, 1727||Tabriz, Iran||77,000||n.a.|
|Dec. 25, 1932||Gansu, China||70,000||7.6|
|Nov. 1, 1755||Lisbon, Portugal||70,000||8.7|
|May 30, 1955||Quetta, Pakistan||30,000–60,000||7.5|
|Jan. 11, 1693||Sicily, Italy||60,000||n.a.|
|1268||Silicia, Asia Minor||60,000||n.a.|
|June 20, 1990||Iran||50,000||7.7|
|Feb. 4, 1783||Calabria, Italy||50,000||n.a.|
Largest Earthquakes in the United States
|1964 Great Alaska Earthquake||3/28/1964||9.2|
|Cascadia subduction zone||1/26/1700||9|
|Rat Islands, Alaska||2/4/1965||8.7|
|Andreanof Islands, Alaska||3/9/1957||8.6|
3. What Some Scriptural Earthquakes Have Roared...
What language does God speak? I suggest that among his dialects would be EARTHQUAKE. For example:
Earthquakes in the Word did not just occur. They were God speaking as we see in Psalm 104:32 and Nahum 1:5.
I would really like to type out he stories listed below. Some are really spell-binding, however, every reader would not be particularly interested in some of them. Therefore I am just indicating the scriptures for further reading. At least I give the story line and the documentation.
The Bible speaks of the receding of the sea
—2 Samuel 22:8, 16
The Bible speaks of the opening of the earth
One can't deny that they ARE visible tokens of:
—God's Power – Job. 9:6 Heb. 12:26
—God's Presence – Psalm. 114:7
—God's Anger – Psalm 18:7, Psalm 60:2, Psalm 13:13
I have listed some of my "great quakes" further below, but at this point just tag those at:
Mt. Sinai – Ex. 19:18
In the wilderness – Numbers 16:31-32
The Philistine's stronghold – 1 Samuel 14:15
When Elijah fled from Jezebel – 1 Kings. 19:11
...and during King Uzziah's reign – Amos 1:1, Zech. 14:5
Scripture is clear that God fully controls nature, through the rule of certain angels (Heb. 2:5). There are no accidents in His universe. When Jesus died on the cross, the end of his life was experienced by a severe earthquake on following a three-hour darkness that covered the land,
...Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, 'Truly this was the Son of God"!'"
This was not the only earthquake during this unique time in history. A second great earthquake occurred on Easter morning according to Matt. 28:2 at the time of the resurrection. Wow these facts are shaking!
Another earthquake recorded in the Bible was the Lord's means of releasing Paul and Silas from jail in Philippi. The terrified jailer and his family fled for refuge. (Acts 16:11-40).
And check this out. The giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai was accompanied by a earthquake of a high magnitude. (Exodus 19:16-18). Earthquakes do symbolize judgment therefore there will b e great world-wide earthquakes at the end of the age in which we live. This is shown by the pictures of Rev. 4:5 (the rainbow is the corresponding symbol of grace, Rev. 4:3, Gen. 9:11-17). The writer of Hebrews refers us to Haggai 2:6,7 tells us that the coming shaking of creation will affect not only the earth but also the heavenly places and the host of heaven, i.e., the angels,
"See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. His voice then shook the earth; but now he has promised, 'Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.' This phrase, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of what is shaken, as of what has been made, in order that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire." (Heb. 12:25-29)
1. Token of God's Power read Acts 4:31
2. Token of God's Presence read Psalms 68:8 and Exodus 19:18
3. Token of God's Anger read Isa. 29:6 and Numbers 16:30-34
God's does have His judgment. Also rebellion does have a way of provoking
God because it is always a great sin!!
4. Token of God's Deliverance read Acts 16:26
5. Token of God's Voice read Matthew 28:2
I would write. LORD, GIVE ME AN EARTHQUAKE IN MY SOUL TODAY (oh me!!) There are areas in my life that need changing. Let there be shaking
in _________________and ________________and __________________.
Could I be safe in stating, again, that earthquakes can be a judgment of God!
If there is a reader in doubt – please check out Isa. 24:19; 29:6 with Jeremiah 4:24
4. God's Earthquake Predictions
Future earthquakes of prophecy:
- Zech. 14:4 Battle of Armageddon
- Rev. 6:12-17 In the 6th Seal
- Rev. 8:5 Between 7th seal and 1st trumpet
- Rev. 11:13 When the two witnesses are resurrected and ascend to heaven.
- Rev. 11:19 At the 7th trumpet
- Rev. 16:17-21 At the 7th vial
- Matthew 24:7 (Mk. 13:8, Lk. 21:11) "These things must take place, but the end is not yet...there will be EARTHQUAKES in various places, all this is the beginning of the sufferings."
Earthquakes are mentioned in the Bible and these questions relate to some of them. Let's take the fun test!
If you score 9-10 correct answers = excellent
7-8 - good
5-6 - fair
less than 4, not an earth-shaking score.
(I do not know to whom to give the credit for the following insert.)
__________ 1. What prisoners had a cell door opened by an earthquake?
__________ 2. Who was attacking a garrison when an earthquake occurred?
__________ 3. What women were looking at a grave when one occurred?
__________ 4. What prophet experienced an earthquake while standing on a mountain?
__________ 5. In what Kings reign did an earthquake occur?/p>
___________6. What three sinful men were swallowed by an earthquake?
___________7. At whose death did an earthquake occur?
___________8. What mountain shook with an earthquake?
___________9. What three persons mentioned earthquakes in songs?
___________10. How many men were killed by the earthquake mentioned in the book of Revelation?
Acts 16; 1 Sam. 14; Matt. 28; 1 K 19; Zech. 14; Num. 16; Matt. 27; Ex. 19; Judg 5; Rev. 11