The earthquake in Chile last Saturday, (2010-02-27) was powerful enough to tilt the earth’s axis according to NASA scientists in a CNN World News article . According to this article, the earth’s axis moved about three inches causing us to lose 1.26 microseconds. This article also states that the 9.1 magnitude earthquake back in 2004 shortened the day by 6.8 microseconds. That particular quake issued the deadly tsunami that killed 283,106 people.
Now that we are in the first few days of March, we are really able to notice the days getting longer, and this is bringing a lot of encouragement to many of us who are ready to bid winter goodbye! I don’t believe we will even notice the microseconds of daylight that these devastating earthquakes have stolen from us. But, some of us could not but help to tie this additional bit of scientific information to what we know about the Bible.
The first idea that comes to mind is the King James Version translation of Matthew 24:22 where Jesus says, “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” The way that the King James’ Version words this may cause some to believe that Jesus is literally talking about shortened days, but He is really speaking of the event of the tribulation and the “elect” to whom He refers are the Jews who go through the tribulation. Most other versions show this as referring specifically to the event of the tribulation and not necessarily to shortened days, such as what the New Living Translation states, “In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God's chosen ones.”
But the Bible does have some interesting things to say about daylight. In Genesis 1:14-19 we see that God sets day and night; in Joshua 10:12-13, God creates a miracle in causing the sun to stand still so a battle could be won by Joshua; and Hezekiah witnesses the miracle of time going back 10 steps on a sundial in 2 Kings 20:10 and Isaiah 38:7.
The Bible does reveal that there will be some supernatural activity regarding the sun in the last days. The Fourth Trumpet in Revelation 8:12 tells us that one third of the day will become dark, so that certainly seems like a noticeably shorter day. Revelation 16:10 says that the Fifth Bowl judgment plunges the Antichrist’s kingdom into darkness. These are signs of nature used to demonstrate the power and authority of God and the validity of His Word. He said it; it will happen.
Earthquakes catastrophic enough to affect daylight hours should not seem surprising to us. The Bible has several demonstrations of the manipulation of daylight. Paul clearly explains this in Romans 8:19-25 (NLT):
For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
Isn’t that beautiful? Read it again.
We started this discussion with earthquakes, so now we will finish it them. Earthquakes are definitely a sign of the end times. Look at all these earthquakes that will take place during the tribulation:
Revelation 6:12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.
Revelation 6:14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.
Revelation 8:5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake.
Revelation 11:13 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Revelation 11:19 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Revelation 16:18 And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.
Revelation 16:20 Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
Some of these earthquakes are massive; in fact, I believe they will be beyond measure. If an 8.8 earthquake can move the axis a few inches, think what these will do. Isaiah 24:19-20 (NLT) says, “The earth has broken up. It has utterly collapsed; it is violently shaken. The earth staggers like a drunk.” In fact, read all of Isaiah 24 and you’ll find that during this time, as is now customarily expected in all earthquakes, there will be looting. I know; it’s crazy!
Earthquakes fascinate me. I believe earthquakes are not just signs, but they are the earth speaking to us that the time is near. With each quake, there is a groan emanating from the earth saying to us that it is one step closer to glorious freedom. Are you ready? Are those around you ready?