Church of God, New World Ministries

When God Shakes The Earth - Part 1

Bible prophecy says massive earthquakes, tidal waves, huge storms and catastrophes in unimaginable intensity are to shake this earth just prior to Christ’s return. Are we now entering a time of increasingly devastating natural calamities?

“The earth is completely broken down; the earth is totally rent – the earth is moved exceedingly. 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; it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Eternal shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth” (Isa. 24:19-21).

Are all earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions and hurricanes only chance occurrences of natural forces? A study of geologic history would reveal that the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens, for all its massive scope and far-reaching effects, is but a tiny and insignificant event in an ages-long series of calamitous and catastrophic occurrences that have built such massive mountain ranges as the Rockies, Himalayas, Pyrenees, Hindu Kush, Alps, Andes, Atlas and the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest.

The very continents themselves, their present location, form and shape, represent mute testimony to monstrous cataclysm that defy human imagination wherein whole continents were submerged beneath the seas, perhaps emerging and resubmerging many times until the earth as we know it came to be.

The most stupendous explosion ever recorded by man was the blast that destroyed Krakatoa, a volcanic island that was located in Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra. But even this explosion, taking place in 1883, was miniscule in comparison with that which had occurred at some point long prior to any Europeans exploring the region. In that volcanic blast, so large, a mountain had been blown into the stratosphere that it left a broken crater ring, visible only by a string of islands which represented the outer portions of the base of an ancient massive mountain which had completely disappeared. As time went on, a new series of cones gradually built inside this ring of islands. The largest of these, Krakatoa, gradually rose to a height of 2, 623 feet above sea level. By 1877 the Sunda Strait was being repeatedly rocked by earthquakes. Krakatoa was an uninhabited island whose lower slopes were covered with thick tropical growth. For the next several years, as the seismic activity continued, Krakatoa appeared quiet. Then the mountain began sending columns of smoke and ash into the air. The activity grew in intensity until gouts of pumice, ash and smoke were pouring out of the top of the cone, accompanied by explosions and earthquakes. Then, on Aug. 26, 1883, a series of imagination-defying detonations began. They came in quick succession, the four most violent on the following day, Aug. 27. As each titanic blast rocked the area, tens of thousands of cubic feet of the mountain were hurled into the skies, and massive clouds of ash and smoke rose into the upper stratosphere, reaching upward more than 50 miles.

As the solid matter came raining down. It completely buried the thickly covered islands in the vicinity, destroying the lush tropical jungles and greatly increasing the land mass of those closest to Krakatoa. Here and there new islands were formed as massive amounts of rock splashed into the shallow seas and built up above sea level. The amount of material belched up by the mountain as it eviscerated is incalculable.

Large quantities of ash fell over an area of 300,000 square miles as about five-cubit miles of rock fragments were roaring into the skies. The hardening foam of volcanic explosion creates the familiar “pumice,” or the only rock known to float, because of its light weight and porosity. Ships reported masses of volcanic pumice floating in the seas too thick to penetrate.

With each explosion, the mountain exposed more of the white-hot core of molten lava rising in its throat to the in-rushing seawaters. As the waves rushed in, crackling explosions occurred, and massive columns of steam boiled into the skies. But the seas prevailed., eventually, until the rising lava cooled and temporarily stopped the upward surge of magma from beneath the earth’s crust. Finally, the pressure from beneath overcame the temporary plug in the mountain’s throat and another titanic explosion occurred. This happened again and again until a huge cavity, now 1,000 feet below the level of the sea, was all that remained of an island formerly 2, 623 feet high.

Lamps were being lit at noonday in Batavia, Java, about 100 miles distant. It became black as midnight in towns and villages for 150 miles as the massive cloud of dust expanded. The tropical upper winds began carrying the dust from east to west at about 73 miles per hour until the entire space between 30 degrees north and 45 degrees south was covered with diffused material. Eventually this upper level layer of dust was carried completely around the world. It was visible in North America, South America, Asia, Europe, Australia and from the far north of Scandinavia to the tip of South Africa.

An atmospheric paroxysm, or shock wave, traveled completely around the world no fewer than seven times, and the actual sounds of the explosion were heard in Bangkok, in the Philippines, Ceylon, western and southern Australia and out into the Pacific islands, as much as 3,000 miles distant.

Meanwhile, the blast had created two kinds of titanic sea waves: a long wave which surged outward at about one-hour intervals, and a ragged, more erratic short wave. In one combination of both, a wall of water 120 feet high smashed through towns and villages in the islands, killing as estimated 36,000 humans and hurling boats and ships far inland. The waves spread out through the Indian Ocean, rounded the Cape of Good Hope and finally spent themselves in the Atlantic and English Channel.

World weather was affected for years, even if records are scant, and the whole human race was treated to spectacular, blazing red sunsets for several years after Krakatoa’s explosion.

For the next 44 years, the region was quiet as life gradually began to be carried by the winds, waves and birds, and tropical vegetation began to appear once more in areas that had been completely buried in tons of rock and ash.

Then, on December 29, 1927, the sea floor began to erupt in the same region where previous cones had formed. By one month later the growing flow of lava had begun to emerge from the sea. It was named “Anak Krakatoa” (Daughter of Krakatoa) by the natives as soon as it appeared. For years following, the Daughter of Krakatoa continued with sporadic activity until it had reached a height of 360 feet above sea .By the early 1960s the mountain was still continuing sporadic activity. Today, Krakatoa is 813 meters or 2,667 feet high

If one were to view the globe in current geophysical terms, studying the makeup of our planet from the overview now possible through satellite surveys and mapping of the ocean bottom, the traditional approach to geography would be dramatically altered.

One would see the whole of the crust of the earth as a series of “tectonic plates” of greater and lesser thickness “floating,” as it were, on the magma beneath. While most of the earth appears to be water from the vantage point of space, the oceans themselves are but plains, valleys, mountain ranges, deep rifts and volcanic peaks covered to one degree or another by the waters of the sea.

There are three “rings of fire” which girdle the globe – the first extending along the entire Pacific coasts of North and South America and extending to Asia, the second extending from the Mediterranean through the East Indies (where Krakatoa blew up) and the third lying beneath the seas, cropping up now and then as islands in the midocean ridges.

Consider our western hemisphere. Beginning with the outermost tip of the Aleutian chain, you will notice some of the most specular mountain peaks in the world – and frequently notice volcanically active peaks, or mountains thought to be dormant (like Mt. St Helens was for so many years), but which were obviously active at some time in the past. An almost unbroken mountain chain, containing some of the largest mountains in the world (like McKinley, Wrangell, Torbert, Spurt and others in Alaska) extends from the Aleutians into the Rockies, the Cascades, the Sierra Madre range and other associated ranges in North America, becoming the Sierra of Mexico, the very active volcanic peaks of Guatemala (Fuego, Tajmulco, Acatenango, Irazu and others), Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua in Central America, and blending into the soaring Andes chain in South America.

Chimborazo, in Ecuador, soars upward to over 20, 500 feet, higher even than famous Kilimanjaro of Tanzania (19,340 feet). Some of the most famous peaks in the Andes reach above 22,000 feet. The majestic Andes continue along the Atlantic coast of South America, extending through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile to the “Land of Fire” (Tierra del Fuego) at the tip of the continent, and Argentina.

Looking the other direction, this same chain dips under the North Pacific Ocean and then emerges as the volcanic chain of the Japanese Islands. Japan has been one of the most vulnerable areas in the world to massive earthquakes, accompanying tidal waves and potential volcanic activity. Spectacular Mt. Fujiyama, long a symbol of Japan, sports rising steam from dozens of hot springs along its sides. Some far-out thinkers even proposed bombing the crater during World War II in the hopes a volcanic eruption could be triggered.

The four main islands, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and Hokkaido, are all volcanic. From Japan, the ring of fire continues in the form of the major mountain chains of China and Tibet, the famous Himalayas featuring the mightiest peaks on the globe. The chain is broken by the Khyber Pass and the Bosporus Dardanelles, and then continues into the Carpathians, the Alps, and finally, the Pyrenees, separating France from Spain.

The three “rings of fire” contain dozens and dozens of active volcanoes. Of the approximately 600 peaks which are active, some of the most famous are Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, in Hawaii; Etna, Vesuvius and Stromboli in Italy and Sicily; Tristan de Cunha, in the Atlantic Ocean: and Popocatepetl and Paricutin, of Mexico. In addition to the 600 or so active mountains, there are another 10,000 volcanic peaks listed as inactive. Until 1980, Mt. St. Helens was listed as among those.

But volcanic eruptions are nowhere nearly so famous for taking human life as are earthquakes, for all their spectacular displays.

One of the great signs Jesus said would take place during the Tribulation, prior to His return to earth, is ”. . . .  earthquakes in various places” (Matt. 24:7).

Are religiously inclined people correct in claiming earthquakes are always divine judgments on sinning mankind? Or are some earthquakes (or most) merely the result of natural forces, with purely physical causes relating to the structure of the earth itself?

Any serious student of science would argue the latter is true. Atheists and agnostics would tend to see the mention in the Bible of earthquakes as the ignorant speculations of ancient seers who attributed purely natural phenomena to “God.”

But are natural disasters and calamites always the judgment of God?

Let Jesus Christ answer:

When the curious pondered the philosophical question of divine wrath through mass accidental death, “He answered them. ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus? I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those 18 upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem?  I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish’ “(Luke 13:2-5).

Pilate had put to death a group, and another group had been the victims of a supposed “natural” cause: the cascading collapse of a stone tower. Was an earthquake involved? The Bible doesn’t say. Perhaps ancient mortar had so weathered that it finally gave way and the men were killed by the falling stones.

But whatever the cause, Jesus denied it had a divine origin. He explained these unfortunate creatures were not being singled out as the special objects of God’s wrath, sinners “above all else” and richly deserving their fate. No, they were the victims of purest chance. Jesus said when we repent God then intervenes (usually through His angels; I Cor. 11:10) to protect His people from such circumstances but explained that these men were not singled out as victims to be killed by an earthquake or chance collapse of a stone tower.

All earthquakes are explained through geophysical forces. Does this mean God does not, from time to time, specially intervene and directly use an earthquake for His purpose, or even bring about an earthquake? A little later we shall see.

For millennia, human beings have been wiped out by the tens of thousands in massive earthquakes. Quakes cause avalanches, huge earth slides that completely change the shape of whole mountains, burying towns and villages beneath millions of tons of rock, never to be seen again. They cause the dreaded “tsunamis” (the Japanese word for seismic, or “tidal,” waves), huge surges of water (not related to the tides at all, but misnamed) that can reach incredible heights, as the 120-foot wall of water that took 36,000 lives as a result of Krakatoa’s explosions. Further, they can rain such clouds of pumice and ash as to bury those cities (like Pompei) and send torrents of red-hot molten lava flooding across the land, exterminating everything in its path. Huge splits and cracks can open up in the earth; whole buildings disappear. And, when the epicenter strikes near a modern city, the rupture of gas lines, electrical lines, water and sewer pipes create havoc, sometimes (as in the disastrous San Francisco fire) resulting in greater destruction of life and property than in the quake itself.

The gas main brings fires, and the ruptured water main cannot put them out. In the aftermath, there is always the specter of polluted surface water and even subsurface wells, and disease.

Some of the most famous earthquakes of all time have occurred in the 20th century. While most Americans remember the San Francisco quake along the San Andreas fault – largely because of motion pictures, books and pictures, that quake, in 1906, caused only 700 deaths. By contrast, a quake that shattered Messina, Italy, just two years later took 75,000 lives, but most Americans would know nothing of it.

The largest loss of life comes when quakes hit the populated centers. Massive earthquakes have occurred in sparsely populated areas with little loss of life, and milder shocks, striking centers of population, have taken terrible tolls.

The earthquake that shook Kansu, China, in 1920 killed 180,000 people. Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan, were devasted by a quake whose combined effect (fire and tsunamis) wiped out 143,000 human beings. Only 12 years after the quake of 1920, Kansu, China, was again the scene of a giant earthquake, killing 70,000 more. On 2004 in the Indian Ocean an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 to 9.3 triggered a series of tsunamis on the 26th of December killing 230,210. On March the 11th, 2011, off the Pacific coast of Japan a 9.0 magnitude earthquake produced a tsunamis 33 feet high along Japan’s northeastern coast - killing/missing 18,550 people.

What causes quakes?

Our earth is about 70% water, as seen from space, and only about 30% land. But the oceans are like massive salt lakes resting on the rocky strata forming their bottoms, which are not unlike the features found on the continent: mountain ranges, deep, trenchlike rift valleys, isolated volcanic cones, plateaus and plains. All are found here and there on the sea floors.

This outer crust of rock (mostly sedimentary, or water formed) is composed of an upper and a lower layer. The upper layer is generally made up of the continents and their “continental shelves,” or the shallower portion of the continents projecting into the oceans, prior to dropping into the abyssal depths of the sea floors. The lower layer, making up most of the sea floors, is called the “sima” and is mostly denser, hardened rock-formerly lava.

While the basic rock of most of the continents is granite, the heavier basalt lies beneath, and beneath the crust lies the “mantle “of the earth, a thick, plastic like layer of rock about 1,800 miles deep with temperatures ranging from 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit to about 4,000 degrees.

Deeper within the earth are the outer core – about 1,400 miles thick and perhaps as much as 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit, composed, it is believed, of melted iron and nickel – and finally the inner core, perhaps consisting of pure iron and nickel in molten form, perhaps 9,000 degrees.

The continents are thought to be “floating” as it were, on the molten mantle of the earth.

Around the entire crust are immemorable “cracks” in the rocks forming the continents and sea floors called “faults.” With the recent advancement in geophysical knowledge related to satellite mapping and extensive oceanography, it is now known that the continents, sea floors, island chains and all geologic features of the crust are interrelated.

An analogy might be to soft-boil an egg, then gently crack the shell in dozens and dozens of places, but being careful not to break the skin inside the shell. The many pieces of shell left intact would represent the “tectonic plates” of the earth. The cracks would represent the innumerable fault lines, or cracks, in the crust. The mostly fluid yolk represents the incredibly hot core of molten iron and nickel, and the egg white would represent the “mantle” of superhot magna upon which the continents and ocean beds were “floating.”

One could softly squeeze the egg, moving the cracked shell about a little, and yet not break the skin.

But here and there, along the three-part “ring of fire” on our earth, the molten magma of the mantle intrudes close to the surface. Sometimes movement of the magma causes increased melting of upper surface rocks and materials, creating compressed gas, ash, dust and steam.

In a volcanic explosion, such as that of Mt. St. Helens, the magma causes rapidly expanding gas to rise in the vent holes (of which there may be many in some volcanoes) and in the core of the volcano. This explosion is not unlike that of a modern bullet. When the gun hammer smashes against the “primer” (a small “cap” of highly explosive material that serves to ignite the more slowly burning gun powder), the prime vents its burning gases into the powder, causing it to explode. The rapidly expanding gases then dislodge the bullet from the throat of the shell and send it speeding out of the barrel of the gun. The gases continue to expand until the bullet has actually left the barrel so that the effect of the burning powder is not contained merely in the shell casting but continues to burn behind the bullet and even to be partly expelled (seen in tiny flashes of streaking fire) as the bullet departs the muzzle.

The bullet in the throat of a volcano may be cubic miles of rock, earth, trees and even glaciers and lakes.

But, even without magmatic intrusion along fault lines or vent hole (as in a volcano), there is continual stress along the fault lines of the earth as the continual rotation of the earth, the effect of erosion, weather and tides contribute to earth movement.

Many believe the movement of the crust, in bending, building stress and then giving way or “snapping” suddenly as pressure is relieved (causing earthquakes), can be partially brought about my man.

By pumping vast amounts of oil, natural gas and salt-water from the deep wells, it is believed the subsurface rocks may collapse, causing quakes. It is claimed a whole series of smaller shocks in the Denver region was virtually “man-made,” because of the pumping of wastes by the Army deep within the rocks in the earth‘s crust. When it was resumed, the quakes resumed, until it was as if man could “turn on and off” minor earthquakes at will.

But most earthquakes are not related to volcanic activity directly, even if molten rock, deep within the mantle might be an indirect cause. Few know that there may be as many as one million earthquakes of greater or lesser intensity in any given year, most of which are taking place along the hundreds of fault lines beneath the seas, causing little or no damage.

As the gradually changing masses of molten rocks in the earth’s interior shift, the crust is being continually squeezed and stretched. We think of rocks as very hard, and they are. Yet to a degree whole mountain ranges of stratified or metamorphosed rocks can bend and stretch to certain tolerances.

When the forces from beneath become greater than the rocks can tolerate, they rupture, causing seismic waves that travel in three ways; compressional, shear and surface.

Compressional waves are like soundwaves, all these waves of shock are measured by seismographic stations all about the earth. The compressional waves pass completely through the earth in about 21 minutes.

While no part of the earth is completely “immune “from earthquakes (there is no such thing as an “earthquake-proof” region), about 95% of all earthquakes occur in two of the great “rings of fire,” or earthquake belts, represented by the huge chain of mountains circling the Pacific and what is called the “Alpide” belt the one extending from North Africa and Spain throughout southern Europe and to the Himalayas, Hindu Kush and beyond.

Careful measurements of earth movements along a fault line, as in the case of the highly visible San Andreas fault in California, provide information of impending rupturing of the rocks in the fault, and the resultant earthquakes. It is safe to say that the longer the time from the last great quake along such a fault, the closer we are to the next big one.

All of this purely physical, the natural result of known causes, the continual movement of earth as it rotates on its axis and makes its monthly and yearly trips in our solar system.

But what does God say about earthquakes? Are they always caused only by the stresses along known fault lines? Are they only coincidental with human sins and only viewed as the display of divine wrath long after the events, as ancient writers tried to find reasons for massive human loss of life and tragedy?

God’s Word says the Eternal created the geophysical planet in six days (Gen. 1).

Endless theological arguments concerning creation week have arisen, and it is not our intention to laboriously explain and challenge each one of these. Some feel the “days” of creation week were in fact ages; others feel that the whole tale is nothing but an ancient Hebrew myth; still others see the instantaneous creation of the earth as we know it today in exactly six days.

None of the above is true.

A careful study of the meaning of the words involved and the Bible itself shows the famous “creation week” of Genesis 1 and 2 was in fact a much later re-creation of an original earth which was created countless ages in the past. The Eternal God is the Creator. However, God does work oftentimes through “natural” forces, using the very physical laws which He Himself has instituted and which He sustains.

The serious students of historic and dynamic geology, biblical prophecy and geophysical sciences of today would have no quarrel whatever with claims of great age for the earth: 4 1/2 billion years or more.

Actually, the rocks themselves prove there were many emergences and burials of the land masses of our earth beneath the surface of the sea.

The important thing to realize is Almighty God is shown to have directly intervened in the forming of the continents themselves, by divine command, causing “the dry land to appear” where, previously, the whole world was viewed to be nothing but the “deep,” vast expanses of endless oceans.

This reshaping of earth’s surface prior to the creation of Adam could have occurred ages after earlier stages of creation, wherein the world was populated by countless billions of creatures we find in fossil form today, such as the dinosaurs, amphibians, gigantic carrion-eating birds, winged reptiles and monstrous land mammals.

Even the casual student of paleontology is brought very quickly face to face with the incontrovertible evidence of sudden burial of these incredibly huge populations of various life forms – and the fact that each of these life forms, in its own succession, “appears” and just as suddenly “disappears” in the record of the rocks!

One of the greatest weaknesses of the evolutionary theory is the astronomical number of “intermediate species” which are plainly missing!

By analogy, it is as if someone took a motion picture of you as a baby in diapers, gleefully playing with a rattle. Then, on your 40th birthday, he took a shot of you as a mature man, driving an automobile. How many tens of millions of feet of motion picture film would have been required to have actually watched the gradual growth and development from the baby to the mature man? By way of analogy, such is the case with the “missing links” or missing intermediate species within the fossil record.

There would be overwhelmingly more creatures with partly formed scales, partly formed wings, ungainly, weird, underdeveloped and unfit to survive relics of literally billions of intermediate species, than there would be the finished forms!

Suffice it to say that the fossil records in the rocks show such mammoth cataclysms in the past that they completely defy human imagination. It is doubtful that the most imaginative special effects, trick photography, graphic arts and skills of Hollywood could suffice to impress our minds with the real truth of what happened back in the distant past when all the dinosaurs died so suddenly!

When we are ushered on the scene, in creation week, we are seeing the emergence of our “lithosphere from the depts of the bathysphere,” or oceans. This meant the expanding of the tectonic plates of the earth on their floating mass of plastic like magma, and the cascading and rushing of the waters from the continents and the continental shelves to their ocean beds. The forces at work, the building of mountains, rupturing of the earth along fault lines and explosions of volcanoes would have been absolutely tremendous.

In reading through the account of Genesis, one quickly comes (in only six chapters) across fully one 6th of all of recorded history from the time of Adam until now.

Once again, God uses the natural geophysical forces of this earth to create a calamity: the Genesis flood!

However, in this drowning of the land masses, God not only “breaks up the fountains of the deep,” but causes it to rain for 40 days and 40 nights. There is every reason to believe the earth had a “greenhouse” type climate prior to the flood. Human life span was much longer, the nature of animals was different (no carnivores); and giantism became common.

Some have seen the earth as a “Venusian” type atmosphere, completely encased in vapors, which meant the atmosphere was much more moisture-laden than is common today and have attempted to account for much of the water of the Noachian deluge by this theory.

If the theory is correct, it is felt this thicker, far more humid atmosphere, would have created purely local showers (God says he caused a “mist” to go up from the ground to water the earth), and at the same time would have screened harmful ultraviolet rays which, it is supposed, directly affect the aging process in man. Whatever the truth concerning this theory, God’s Word says He produced water, not only from above the earth in the form of 40 days and 40 nights of heavy rain, but “broke up the great fountains of the deep,” causing subterranean water to come gushing upon the earth. Even the squeezing of the plastic like magma and slight shrinking of the outer crust of the earth until the combination of subterranean water, massive rainfall and onrush seas served to drown all living creatures save Noah and his family and the animals aboard the Ark.

The total duration of the flood was more than one year, and the effects of the waters cascading from the emerging continents has been going on, in one sense, for 5,000 years since.

Vast areas of the dry land today were obviously once sea bottom; huge lakes (like the Great Salt Lake) are merely tiny puddles in what used to be a gigantic inland basin, wherein incalculable amounts of water were stored, the polar ice caps no doubt froze very quickly during the flood as the earth itself may have been “tilted “out of is its former rotational pattern (does this account for the change between true north and magnetic north?), and countless animals (such as the mastodons and mammoths of the Siberian plains) were “quick frozen,” with the  evidence of having been grazing in a tropical climate still preserved in their mouths!

The Bible includes many accounts of God’s direct intervention in “natural” forces! After all, God is the Creator of “nature,” and is able to interfere in His creation from time to time as He chooses.

The shattering of Egypt as a mighty power, the many plagues heaped upon the Egyptians and the parting of the Red Sea are a major case in point.

One of the most striking examples of an earthquake being directly brought about by God is found in Numbers 16. Korah, Dathan and Abiram and others rose up against Moses, claimed Moses had arbitrarily elevated himself over the common assembly, and caused a great confrontation.

Read the entire chapter. God is said to have warned Moses and the others to get away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, and Moses specifically predicted, “If these men die the common death of all men, or if they are visited by the fate of all men, then the Eternal has not sent me. But if the Eternal create something new, and the ground opens it mouth, and swallows them up, with all that belonged to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you shall know that these men have despised the Eternal.” The Bible says as soon as Moses had finished speaking “the ground under them split asunder, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men that belonged to Korah and all their goods, so they and all that belonged to them went down alive into the pit (Hebrew sheol) and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.”

Here God is said to have intervened directly by means of a huge split of the earth, as in an earthquake, and punished the rebellious from among the people of Israel before the startled eyes of perhaps nearly three million!

In addition, those who continued to rebel were consumed by a plague, so that eventually 14,700 died, including those who perished in the crack opened in the earth.

What about Joshua’s famous “long day”? The Bible says (Joshua 10) that Joshua and the Israelites, in chasing the Gideonites, had direct assistance from God.  “The Eternal threw down great stones from heaven upon them as far as Azekah, and they died; there were more who died because of the hailstones than the men of Israel killed with the sword” (Joshua 10:11).

No doubt these gigantic hailstones (in recent years huge hailstones the size of grapefruit and softballs have come cascading out of violent thunderstorms, smashing roofs, wrecking cars, breaking glass, killing cattle and those people unfortunate enough to be struck by them) were the result of a towering cumulus cloud whose top probably soared to more than 50,000 feet, and the Bible says God Himself directly intervened to cause it.

Joshua then called upon God for the sun to stand still, and the Bible says, “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. There had been no day like it before or since, when the Eternal hearkened to the voice of a man; for the Eternal fought for Israel” (Joshua 10:12-14).

Those whose arguments would attempt to limit the incredible and almighty power of God seem to be willing to admit, tentatively, that God might have the power to do one act by interfering in the world He had made, but then other “natural forces’ would be unleased which would, in effect, render His first miracle impossible!

As some reason, even though God could have stopped the rotational pattern of the earth, this would have caused massive tidal waves by subjecting some portions of the earth to the pull of the moon over a protracted period of time, or any number of other possible dangerous catastrophes. What is lost on such skeptics is that God is God and has the limitless power to effect such a miracle, staying the forces which might cause additional damage if He so chose.

God has not only intervened in the actual building of the continents, forming of vast mountain ranges and the present “rings of fire” which girdle the globe, but has reached out His mighty hand to stop the earth’s rotational pattern to create a longer span of day light on behalf of Joshua and the Israelites armies.

By no stretch of the imagination could this be assumed to have been merely “coincidental.”

The Gospel writers are very explicit in describing the manner in which the day became blacker and blacker until the lowering clouds make it virtually impossible to see. This was no fallout of volcanic ash, but perhaps God’s intervention in the form of black and lowering clouds. At the moment Jesus died God intervened in the crust of the earth in the region of Jerusalem (Israel is, as much of the rest of the Mediterranean, extremely vulnerable to seismic activity) by causing a great earthquake! The rumbling roar from the subterranean rocks caused men’s hearts to beat wildly with fear. Other great miracles occurred, such as the ripping of the heavy tapestry separating the holy place in the temple from the “holy of holies,” thus symbolizing the way to God the Father and heaven itself was now made available to mankind in the broken body and shed blood of the Savior.

Also, some of the more noted “saints” among the elders of the land who had recently died were said to have been resurrected, miraculously returned to a few additional years of human life, to walk back into the city and be received of their friends, as a testimony to the mighty power of God and a forerunner of the coming resurrection.

Later, as intensive persecution began to occur against God’s church, the leading apostles were gathered together in fear as a result of the threats from the Jewish religious and civil leader.

Notice how they spoke to the God who had created the very earth: “And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou are God, which hast made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is. The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they many speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy servant Jesus.

“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together: and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:23-31).

In this case, to show support and to strengthen the hearts of those who might have been fearful or faithless. God answered with a minor tremble, showing His great and mighty power to interfere in the very elements of the earth so as to bolster the faith and courage of the fledgling group of Christians who were to form a part of the very foundation of the Church of God.

Be watching for the second part and conclusion of this amazing prophecy to learn when God will indeed “Shake the Earth Again!”

 
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