Saturday, October 31, 2009

Earthquakes and the End Times


If earthquakes are not on the increase, then what shall we make of the biblical evidence that earthquakes will increase in the last days? As noted above, Hal Lindsey says that earthquakes will continue to increase "just as the Bible predicts for the last days."50 If earthquakes are not increasing, does this mean that the return of Christ cannot be near? Closer examination of the New Testament evidence will reveal that Lindsey's statement is wrong on both counts. Not only are earthquakes not increasing, but also the biblical text never indicated that they would. The popular conception that an increase of earthquakes in frequency and severity is a key sign of the temporal nearness of the end results from a misreading of the biblical text.

Earthquakes and the End Times


This long article agrees with a position I have held for a long time. Where do Christians come up with the “increasing” earthquake hypothesis? It looks to me as though there is not much if any current increase happening.

Here are three of the major passages. The only modifier is the word great in Luke 21:11. To arrive at increases from these texts is a stretch. Maybe there is some other odd passage I’m missing that presents the increase idea? Perhaps the increase in knowledge became superimposed on quakes by some readers. But like several positions taken by Christians, once taken we spend the rest of our lives bolstering them and soliciting supporters. It matters not that the Bible doesn’t actually take the position.

Matthew 24:7

7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

Mark 13:8

8For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

Luke 21:11

11And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

This may seem a weak position to take but something I've noticed in Biblical prophecy is the "seer" reports what he sees. When all of the end time prophecies were given, one's ability to view the earth as a whole was seriously limited. Earthquake information was localized or took a long time to get news if not local. Today, as the USGS map above indicates, we see the diversity of earthquakes in real time and all at once. In other words quakes could have been happening in diverse places but no one knew it. Now we know and understand it is happening. This seems significant to me in light of the prophecy. The quake prophecy goes with traveling to and fro and knowledge increasing. A fitting description of our time frame like no other previous time.

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