Mountains shall be overthrown, cliffs shall topple, and every wall shall crumble to the ground. (Ezekiel 38:20)
I once had a fascinating conversation with a geologist studying earthquakes in the Middle East. He also was a believer and we talked at length about the earthquake of Amos’s time. The 8.2 quake, around 750 B.C., was a major event and ever since, especially due to Bible prophecy, believers have been waiting for the next really big one.
Of late, secular geologists have been studying past and present fault-lines and the geologic evidence supports the Bible’s recordings of major earthquakes that shook God’s people.
It is rare to find evidence supporting the biblical narrative. Thousands of years after the event, the causes of destruction can be hard to pinpoint. War or quake are just two possibilities that spring to mind when evidence of heavy destruction is found.
While earthquakes in the Middle East and Levant are as common as flies, the ancient annals did not tend to mention them – with one glaring exception. The books of Amos, Zechariah and Ezekiel explicitly note an earthquake, which scholars agree would have been in roughly 760 B.C.E. Much later, the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus wrote in his typical hair-raising style about the same temblor and its supposed origin in the prideful King Uzziah.
The Bible records an earthquake springing from the wrath of God, and His indiscriminate shaking of all peoples in the region, devastating everyone from the Kingdom of Judah to the coastal peoples. Interestingly, the geology supports the biblical accounts, so that even some secular sources say, yes, the biblical record on this is accurate.
(Sadly, the writer of a Haaretz article on this subject feels compelled to say that other biblical accounts, such as Jonah and the great fish are “far-out tales.”)
Josephus wrote in some detail about this event:
“a great earthquake shook the ground, and a rent was made in the temple, and the bright rays of the sun shone through it; and fell upon the King’s face; insomuch that the leprosy seized upon him immediately. And before the city, at a place called Eroge, half the mountain broke off from the rest on the west” – Josephus, “Antiquities of the Jews, Book IX 10:4
We see from these biblical accounts that the Lord takes obedience deadly seriously, literally. When Solomon insisted on going into the Temple to offer incense, rather than the priests (they begged him not to), God’s wrath was kindled. This is instructive for us today, especially in our age of people focusing exclusively on a message of God’s unconditional love for us.
Additional damage throughout Israel occurred at Haifa Bay, where a city was fallen and not rebuilt, and at Megiddo (the site of the future Armageddon), along with Tel Dan. All strong evidence of a giant quake.
The Philistine city of Gath, with a 13-ft. Thick wall simply fell on its side during the eighth century, offering further clues to even skeptics that the biblical accounts of this earthquake line up on the timeline.
Israel today has many fault-lines, but the big one is the Dead Sea Transform, which is the source of catastrophic earthquakes. Remember, the Great Day of the Lord will bring a catastrophic earthquake, so it’s coming. Large earthquakes have occurred in that area in the 1830s and in 1927.
Typically, earthquakes of this magnitude carry with them thousands of aftershocks, which have and will terrify anyone in the region.
One day, the topography of the earth will change again. In that day, let us pray that as men’s hearts fail them, they will also beforehand be turned to faith in the one true Creator God.
A shaking is coming.