Posted in earthquakes, end time, prophecy

The language of God: earthquakes

By Elizabeth Prata
This is an updated version of an essay I published in June 2010.

In looking at ways God has spoken to us in the past and of the ways He has promised to speak to us in the future, we discover God’s vocabulary. Among other ways that He has spoken to us, part of His language included fire and brimstone, hail, lightning, and earthquakes. The writer of Hebrews wrote in verses 1:1-2, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”

God has promised to speak to us again via earthquakes and this article explores the ways the LORD shakes us when He wants our attention.

Here is Ray Comfort’s response during a 7.1 quake that shook California this week:

Please consider liking and sharing this video so that people may be awakened to the reality of their death and turn to Christ. Make sure to also pray for those who are injured and possibly even killed from this earthquake.

The Church Age is coming to an end. The trumpet will sound and believing Christians will disappear from the earth in the blink of an eye. The Tribulation will begin, signaling the last 7 years of this earth’s history will conclude. The Apostles asked Jesus three questions about this particular time in history. First, they asked when the Temple will be thrown down (something Jesus had made reference to immediately prior to the Apostles’ question.) They also asked what will be the sign of His coming and the signs of the end of the age. Jesus’ answer to these three questions is recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. Note that the Apostles asked three questions, and though the main answer is considered to be in Matthew, that each of the other two Gospels offer slightly different information to complete the picture. Jesus’ response is called “The Olivet Discourse” because the conversation was held on the Mt. of Olives and Jesus spent quite a bit of time explaining, Therefore, we spent quite a bit of time asking the Spirit to lead us into understanding.

One sign Jesus said will occur is that there will be “earthquakes in diverse places.” Other translations spell it divers, or use the word various places. Jesus did not explicitly say that the number of earthquakes will rise in advance of the end. However, right after stating that there will be earthquakes, He said that the period of time the earthquakes & other signs will be occurring will be like birth pangs. Birth pangs increase in intensity and frequency as the new life approaches. This is a symbol that is easily understood and readily identifiable, therefore we can feel confident that the number of earthquakes will rise in number as the end comes near. So, let’s look at types of earthquakes.


Earthquakes are a sign of the end of the age, and not just numerical increase, but unusual locations, swarms, and impacts are part of God’s lexicon. We need not turn to USGS to prove or disprove God’s word. There will be earthquakes in diverse places. And today, there are earthquakes of different types and in different places. It is as simple as that.

God has used earthquakes to speak to His people in the past and will again in the future. In Acts 16:26, He used a quake to release Paul from prison. When Jesus died on the cross, a quake occurred, recorded in Matthew 27:54, “When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!

The quake was God speaking to humans … and they understood.

A few days later as Jesus rises from the grave there is another earthquake. Matthew 28:2 records it. “There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.”

In Ezekiel 38:19 God promises to show Himself through an earthquake (among other things). “In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel.”

During the Tribulation, an earthquake will occur in Jerusalem as described in Rev 11:13 where 7000 people will be killed. Later, in Rev 16:18, “Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake.” Every mountain will crumble and every island will flee away.

God speaks in various ways. He spoke to Elijah when Elijah was fleeing Jezebel. God told Elijah to listen for Him. He sent the wind, but He was not in the wind (that time). He sent the fire, but He was not in the fire (that time). He sent the earthquakes, but He was not in the earthquake (that time). God spoke to Elijah in a still, small voice, and it was that voice that awed Elijah more that the demonstrable ways God had usually spoken.

God demonstrates His anger through earthquakes: Isaiah 13:13 says,

Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of his fierce anger.

Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. This verse from Psalm 18:7 directly tells us that the earthquake was a sign that God was angry

And there was a panic in the camp, in the field, and among all the people. The garrison and even the raiders trembled, the earth quaked, and it became a very great panic. (1 Samuel 14:15).

That particular earthquake affirmed the fact of divine intervention during this battle and that it aided Joshua and his armor-bearer. (John MacArthur Study Bible note).

It was a quake that let Peter out of Jail. God spoke that Peter should be let out and used an earthquake to say it. (Acts 16:26)

We read in Hebrews 12:25-29 the echo of the promise in Haggai 2:

“See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”

Though earthquakes were used by God and understood by the Old Testament people and early New Testament folks alike as a display of divine wrath, and it still assuredly could be in general, there is danger in assigning divine displeasure to this earthquake or that earthquake. Unless one is living through the prophesied earthquake of Revelation where 7000 die and a tenth of the city collapse (Revelation 11:13), or the temblor where every island flees away  (Revelation 16:20), then we don’t know for sure Gods’ intent for every quake.  

Spurgeon called earthquakes “creation’s groans”, which is a good place to leave it. (Romans 8:22-23). Meanwhile, God’s language these days is through His Son. (Hebrews 1:1-2).

I pray that you are in a place of spiritual acceptance to God, so that YOU cannot be shaken loose when the time comes.

Further Resources:

The World in Conflict and Distress

Spurgeon Creation’s Groans


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.