God created the earth in perfection. The Bible says that as He formed and re-formed it, He called it very good, perfect, complete and without any imperfections. He made the earth, the water, the skies, the animals, the environment, humanity, it’s geology, it’s orbit, it’s moon, it’s perfect temperature, gravity and natural laws, eco-systems and everything about it to work in complete harmony and conjunction. It is the exact distance it needs to be from the sun. It has the perfect gravity for our bodies. Everything about it is the perfect home for the human race. And that is no accident. And it’s not something that could have happened without the loving, creative, ingenious mind of Someone who wanted us here.
Everything was designed to work as a perfect system, and anything that affects the system has ripple effects. God walked with the first humans on earth when it was perfect, because God loves His creation, and humanity, and He wants to know each of us. But humans broke the perfect system. They were created as perfectly good, without any wrongs, any sins. At first, humanity did nothing wrong, said nothing wrong, thought nothing wrong, felt nothing wrong, wanted nothing wrong. But one day they did. A fallen angel, (another creature that God made who had already chosen to do wrong), tempted them to do wrong. And they fell for his lies. When the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, decided to sin, it didn’t just affect their own personal lives. The ripples went out into the entire environment, the eco-system, the plants, the animals and the earth itself, and everything began to fall apart (Genesis 1-3).
Romans 8:18-23 tells us that sins of mankind affect everything around us, so much so that it’s said to be groaning for the day when humanity will be changed. There is coming a day when everything we see around us will come to an end. Right now, we see everything fall apart around us day by day. Someday it will all completely unravel, and this is the result of our sins. Eco-systems will fall apart. The environment will completely unravel. Large scale animal death and plant death will occur. And the earth itself will start to start to break apart. The second law of thermodynamics tells us that everything is coming undone. It is inevitable that the end is coming.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:18-23
But these verses also give us hope! They tell us that someday the children of God will have freedom and glory and will have redemption of their bodies. God won’t just take His children to heaven one day. He doesn’t just save people’s souls. He will someday restore people’s bodies to be without pain and disease and age and death. His promise is to completely restore all of creation. The environment will no longer be in danger. Species will no longer go extinct. There will be no pollution. Creation is groaning for this day! Just imagine someday the earth will be a completely integrated pure paradise again!
You may be asking, “Who are these children of God?” John Chapter 1 in the Bible gives us the answer. John 1:11-12 says, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” These verses talk about Jesus, who was rejected by His own people, and was put to death on a cross. But they also tell us that those of us who receive Jesus, who put our trust in Him, we are the children of God. Those who ask for Jesus to forgive their sins, He promised to not only forgive them, but to take them to heaven when they die, and to someday give them brand new bodies and bring them back to the earth that He will restore to perfection as well! How can He offer us all this? Because He rose from the dead! He defeated sin and death itself, and He has the power to do the same for you too!
But before the day Jesus returns to earth, it will unravel into chaos in every way. There is a seven year period that will be the worst hell on earth ever to be seen. And earthquakes are a part of this picture for a few reasons. The first is that the world is unraveling and coming apart from within as a result of the ripple effects of man’s sin. There could even be changes within the solar system that will come into play to affect the geologic shifts in plate tectonics and magma movements causing not only earthquakes, but also volcanic eruptions.
A second reason is that throughout the Bible, earthquakes mark world and time-shifting moments. They indicate the power and the plan of God. There was a great earthquake that tore through Jerusalem when Jesus died on the cross. “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”” Matthew 27:51-54.
And there was another earth-shattering pronouncement of God when Jesus rose from the dead. “There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” Matthew 28:2-7
Earthquakes will increase along with other world-rattling events at the beginning of the seven years before Christ’s return. “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” Luke 21:11. And a great earthquake will rip through Jerusalem again when Jesus returns from heaven and lands the soles of His feet on planet earth the second time at the end of the seven years. “On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter. The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and His name the only name.” Zechariah 14:4-9. This shaking marks the power of God as He identifies the return of His Son, the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.
This brings us to the third reason earthquakes are mentioned in the Bible. They are warnings and pronouncements of judgment. The unraveling of the earth isn’t just that of a physical spiral. Remember this all started falling apart because of the sin of the first man and woman. But sin has continued to multiply so that before the time of Jesus’ return the entire earth will be very very evil. God judges the earth because of sin. As the perfect Creator, He also is a good and righteous judge. No one would consider it right that people are allowed to continue to murder and rape and terrorize others without prosecution. God must bring all things to justice. But that’s not just for the Hitlers and Stalins and Bin Ladens of the world. If we are honest with ourselves, we do things wrong too, and we’ve hurt others, and there are things in our lives that we are ashamed of. And God is the judge of everyone. These earthquakes that are coming during the seven years are warnings. God does not want to judge mankind. He wants to wake people up before it’s too late.
There’s one earthquake I want to bring your attention back to. It is the earthquake that happened when Jesus’ died. This earthquake didn’t just mark a significant moment in earth’s history. It also marked the judgment of God on all the sins of all humanity that were placed on Jesus at the moment of His death. Jesus was God and man. And He was perfect. He didn’t die for His own sins. He died in our place, as our substitute, for our sins. And He died the death we deserve. And God the Father pronounced judgment on Jesus the Son, pronounced that the sentence was paid for us, and marked it with a loud crashing bone-crushing earthquake!
Because God is just, He must punish sin. But because God is love, He made a way so that we wouldn’t have to be punished. Instead He died - went through all the heart, soul, mind and body torture for us. For me. For you. He loves you that much! But as John 1:12 says, we must receive Him. If you believe that Jesus died in your place, look up to heaven and tell Him today, and He will forgive your sins, and you will become a child of God!
One of my favorite verses in the Bible that talks about earthquakes says, “Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:11-12. For those who trust in Jesus, God’s judgment is forever taken away from us. He doesn’t come to us in loud and terrifying warnings. He gives us peace and rest and comes to us as a Father and a friend and whispers to us in a gentle quiet voice.
Other Noteable Earthquakes in the Bible
The Lord Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.
In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.
Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red,
Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.
Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake.
But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”