Great Earthquakes—What Did the Bible Prophesy?
Each year, tens of thousands of earthquakes occur. While most are minor, significant earthquakes can cause widespread destruction, suffering, and death. At times, they generate tsunamis that devastate coastal areas, taking the lives of many who live there. Did the Bible foretell these great earthquakes?
In this article
Did the Bible prophesy earthquakes?
The Bible mentions earthquakes in a prophecy that Jesus gave. His words are recorded in three Bible books as follows:
“Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another.”—Matthew 24:7.
“Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in one place after another; there will also be food shortages.”—Mark 13:8.
“There will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another food shortages and pestilences.”—Luke 21:11.
Jesus thus foretold that “great earthquakes” would occur in “one place after another” at a time when wars, food shortages, and pestilences would also be taking place. Together, these events identify a period in human history called “the conclusion of the system of things,” or “the last days.” (Matthew 24:3; 2 Timothy 3:1) According to Bible chronology, “the last days” began in 1914 and have not yet ended.
Do today’s earthquakes fulfill Bible prophecy?
Yes. Jesus’ prophecy, including what he said about earthquakes, matches the events we see taking place in our day. Since 1914, there have been more than 1,950 significant earthquakes, which have resulted in a combined death toll of more than two million people.a Consider a few examples from this century.
2004—Indian Ocean. A 9.1-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that reached a dozen countries and killed about 225,000 people.
2008—China. A 7.9-magnitude earthquake destroyed villages and towns, and it is estimated to have killed 90,000 people, injured some 375,000 others, and left millions homeless.
2010—Haiti. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake followed by several strong aftershocks killed more than 300,000 people and left over a million others homeless.
2011—Japan. A 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the tsunamis that resulted killed an estimated 18,500 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more. The Fukushima power plant was damaged, triggering a major nuclear accident. Ten years later, some 40,000 people were still unable to return to their homes near the power plant because of the high level of radioactive contamination.
What does the Bible’s prophecy about earthquakes mean for us?
The Bible’s prophecy about earthquakes alerts us to what will take place in the near future. Jesus said: “When you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near.”—Luke 21:31.
The Bible explains that the Kingdom of God is a real government in heaven with Jesus Christ as King. This Kingdom is the one that Jesus taught his followers to pray for.—Matthew 6:10.
When God’s Kingdom rules over the earth, God will prevent natural disasters, including earthquakes, from harming people. (Isaiah 32:18) What is more, he will undo the physical and emotional harm caused by today’s earthquakes. (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:3, 4) To find out more, read the article “What Will God’s Kingdom Accomplish?”
a Statistics are from the Global Significant Earthquake Database maintained by the United States National Geophysical Data Center.