In the Bible, there are several instances where an earthquake is recorded as being a part of history, and of the future. They show that God uses such temblors to further His work: to prove His presence, to punish or judge, to display His power, to free or release, but always with the intent to make a very loud and highly visible point. Here are just a few notable accounts:

1.) For the world-wide flood to occur, it says, “the fountains of the deep opened up”, and God’s purpose was judgement, and to cleanse:
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.”
Genesis 7:11

2.) God wants us to know He not only works in powerful ways, but also in calm and quiet ways:
“And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks 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. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”
1 Kings 19:11

3.) When God visited Moses, and the people of Israel saw and felt it:
“Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.”
Exodus 19:18

4.) Jesus died on the cross, and as a result:
“And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.”
Matthew 27:51

5.) God used an angel during an earthquake to ‘roll’ the entrance stone away from Jesus’ tomb:
“And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.”
Matthew 28:2

6.) Paul and Silas experienced the ‘shaking’ of their prison doors from a quake and were set free:
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.”
Acts 16:25-26

7.) Jesus spoke of signs that will indicate the approaching end of times:
“There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.”
Luke 21:11

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”
Matthew 24:7

8.) John, Jesus’ disciple-turned-apostle, wrote of these when he was on the island of Patmos, when the Lord showed him things to come:
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood,”
Revelation 6:12

“And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.”
Revelation 11:13

And the last one John mentions:
“And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake.”
Revelation 16:18

Considering all of these accounts about earthquakes, we must conclude that we need not fear an earthquake, but rather recognize that they are a tool, an instrument that God uses. We should fear God alone: not the type of fear that causes us to cower, but the type that brings us to our knees out of the deepest respect and honor for the One who controls His earthly creation. Pray for those who are affected by earthquakes: that they recognize God’s hand and will in using them, but also that they turn to the Lord for His help in recovering, healing, and growing in their faith as a result of them.

Food for thought: If you were suddenly confronted with your world about to crumble, would you be ready to face your Maker?

Fun facts: The National Earthquake Information Center now locates about 20,000 earthquakes around the globe each year, or approximately 55 per day.

Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Sequoia Valley