A great shaking in the Middle East – Earthquakes in latter day prophecy!
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On Monday two massive earthquakes measuring 7.8 and 7.6 magnitude on the Richter scale hit Turkish territory just north of Syria. Magnitude 7 earthquakes are considered ‘major’. Since then hundreds of additional aftershocks have been felt of a magnitude 4 and greater. According to the New York Times, this is one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded.
Buildings and walls fell down and tragically, at the time of writing, it is being reported that over 23,000 people have lost their lives. Cemeteries in the region are said to be unable to keep up with the demand for space.
In Syria particularly the situation has been terrible as widespread aerial bombardments undertaken in the civil war already meant structures were weak.
The impact of the earthquakes are effecting millions of people as survivors struggle to find shelter and rescuers are becoming increasingly desperate as they seek people who may be alive buried in the rubble.
South of the epicentre of the major earthquake lies Israel and tremors have been felt measuring nearly 4 on the Richter scale. These have prompted the Israel Defence Force Home Front to issue instructions to citizens on what to do if a earthquake hits.
Although relations are frosty to say the least between Israel and their suffering neighbours the Times of Israel reported that Israel has sent aid to both Syria and Turkey. Israel are calling it “Operation Olive Branch” as they seek to build relationships. The Jerusalem Post ran a report on February 10th entitled “Operation Olive Branch: Nine-year-old rescued by Israeli delegation personnel”. Apparently “The boy was trapped under the rubble for about 120 hours”.
Every wall shall fall to the ground
So why is this interesting to students of Bible prophecy?
The answer is that the Bible prophecies immense seismic activity during the time when the Lord Jesus Christ reveals himself to the nations of this earth.
The “latter day” prophecy of Ezekiel 38 speaks of the return of the Jews to their land and an invasion of them by a Russian confederacy of nations who attack Israel under the leadership of a mysterious character called “Gog”.
The Jews have indeed returned to their land after 2000 years of dispersion as the prophecy has said. They’ve been doing this since their state was declared in 1948 as required by the Biblical text.
We are witnessing the rise of an aggressive Russia and the international community is at odds with Israel so we can see this prophecy coming to pass before our very eyes building to the events foretold by God’s prophet thousands of years ago.
The prophecy speaks of the invaders coming to their end being destroyed by the power of God and the outcome is that all nations will know God (Ezekiel 38:23).
At verses 18 and 19 in that chapter we read of how God will bring about the destruction of the armies of Gog: “And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.”
This is a description of a massive earthquake such that the land has not seen before.
There shall be a very great valley
Another latter day prophecy of the same time can be seen in Zechariah 14. Again in that chapter we read of Israel being invaded by “all nations” (v2).
We read of one who bares the name of God and embodies God’s awesome power who will come and stand on the mount of Olives to the East of Jerusalem. When this happens we read this:
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”
Again this illustrates massive seismic events. from verses 10-11 we read of a huge plan being opened up where it had not been before and the area of Jerusalem being “lifted up”.
Exalted above the hills
In Isaiah we also have an illusion to this in the latter day prophecy of chapter 2 which states: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” (Isaiah 2:2).
So then. The Bible is very clear that in the area of Israel huge typographic change will happen.
Israel Is Hundreds of Years Overdue for a Massive Earthquake
Its interesting to note that a tectonic plate fault-line runs right under the mount of Olives. Experts expect an earthquake to occur in the land of Israel in the near future. News outlet Haaretz reported on this back in 2019 when they ran an article entitled “Israel Is Hundreds of Years Overdue for a Massive Earthquake”. The article sates: “Israeli geologists are uneasy about the entirety of the Dead Sea Rift. They are uneasy about Israel’s north, where towns have been shaken to bits throughout history, but are even more worried about the south, including the Red Sea resort of Eilat…. “In general, we’re worried about the whole Dead Sea Transform (the Syrian-African great rift) from Eilat to Lebanon,” qualifies Dr. Yariv Hamiel, head of the GSI’s Geological Hazards and Geological Engineering Division. “There could be a strong quake anywhere along it at any time,” he adds.”
Haaretz ran another news article this week (Feb 6th) after the earthquakes in Turkey entitled “Massive Quake in Israel ‘Only a Matter of Time,’ Experts Warn”.
The huge earthquakes we are seeing in the news from this region are indeed a sure sign of the times that the way has been prepared for the latter day prophecies to be fulfilled.
The return of Jesus Christ
But who is this one who carries such power that when his feet touch the Mount of Olives it will split in two, creating a great shaking so that no wall will stand?
The Bible also provides this answer when it tells us about the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the book of Acts and chapter 1 we read that after his resurrection, Jesus spent 40 days with his disciples. We then read in verse 9:
“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
So these men in white told his followers that he would return in the same way as he went up into heaven. He will return in a bodily form in the future. But where was he when he ascended into the cloud? The answer is in verse 12 which reads :
“Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet”.
Jesus is the one who will wield the power of God upon his return and manifestation to the nations. He will cause the destruction of Gog and save Gods people, the Jews. He will establish Gods kingdom on the earth from Jerusalem which was the place of the throne of King David of old, his father. He will be king of the Jews and of all nations. He, as God’s representative, will rule the world in peace and righteousness. As it says in Zechariah 14 verse 9 “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”
This is the message of the Bible. The question for us all is, will we be there to help him in filling the earth with God’s glory?
“For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Habbukuk 2:14
So we watch the signs of the times in full confidence of our faith in the hope of the Bible praying for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This has been Matt Davies joining you for another Bible in the News. Join us again next week God willing, as we review current events in the light of Bible prophecy until the return of the Messiah to Israel.