There Shall Be Earthquakes
by Tom Stewart
August 19, 1999
On August 18th 1999, the Associated Press reported on the recent
earthquake near Istanbul, Turkey: "Terrified
earthquake survivors sought the safety of open ground Tuesday as the enormity of
Turkey's Monday night tragedy became clear: more than 2,000 people killed, thousands
injured and 10,000 more missing, and incalculable damage after an overwhelming show
of nature's power." This very event was predicted by the
LORD Jesus Christ, more than 1,900 years ago. "For
nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be
earthquakes in divers [or, various] places,
and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows" (Mark 13:8). The U.S. National Earthquake Information Center reported that
Turkey's earthquake was "one of the most
powerful recorded in the 20th century", having been initially
reported by U.S. scientists with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale. The San
Francisco earthquake of 1906 was a 7.9 temblor. "I
will shake the heavens, and the Earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will
shake all nations, and The Desire of All Nations shall come: and I will fill this
house with glory, saith the LORD of Hosts" (Haggai 2:6-7).
Earthquakes have the reputation of causing the greatest amount of death and destruction in the least amount of time, i.e., landslides, mudslides, tsunamis, and collapsing man-made structures. "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Romans 8:22). An earthquake is "any abrupt disturbance within the Earth that is tectonic or volcanic in origin and that results in the generation of elastic waves. The passage of such seismic waves through the Earth often causes violent shaking at its surface" (from Britannica CD 99). "He looketh on the Earth, and it trembleth: He toucheth the hills, and they smoke" (Psalm 104:32). Scientists postulate that earthquakes are caused by plate tectonics, where the Earth's surface is composed of large, rigid plates that move relative to one another, often interacting violently at their boundaries. "Then the Earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because He was wroth" (Psalm 18:7). Seismographs measure the oscillation of the ground using the Richter scale, where each increase in magnitude of one unit represents a 10-fold increase in earthquake size. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). An earthquake of magnitude 8 is 10,000 times as large as one of magnitude 4. But, "I will shake the heavens, and the Earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of Hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger" (Isaiah 13:13).
The following was written in my "Commentary on the Book of Revelation" ---New Window , concerning the Church of Philadelphia. That church was located in Asia Minor, which is modern day Turkey, in the region affected by Turkey's August 16th 1999 earthquake, whose epicenter was Golcuk (pronounced GULjik):
While seismologists and geologists grapple with the scientific
mechanics of earthquakes, we ought to consider the spiritual reasons for why God
shakes the Earth. God uses earthquakes to execute His Judgments. "5 The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the
Earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 6 Who can stand before
His indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured
out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him. 7 The LORD is good, a Strong Hold in the day of trouble;
and He knoweth them that trust in Him. 8 But with an overrunning flood He will make an utter end
of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue His enemies"
(Nahum 1:5-8). The LORD of All the Earth (Joshua 3:13) uses all the power of His
created planet to accomplish His purpose of Judgment. "19 The Earth is utterly broken down,
the Earth is clean dissolved, the Earth is moved exceedingly.
20 The Earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard,
and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy
upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again" (Isaiah
How man responds to God's Judgments demonstrates his heart before God. The True Saints rejoice in God's Judgments. "It is joy to the just to do Judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity" (Proverbs 21:15). The impenitent of Noah's day were irretrievably lost to any sense of repentance or appreciation of God's Judgments. "5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the Earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually... 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the Earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them" (Genesis 6:5, 7). But, some may actually pause to consider their ways, and turn to the Salvation that is in the LORD Jesus Christ. "Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God" (Matthew 27:54).
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