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The Bible’s Instructions on What to Do in an Earthquake

The new year began with Japan being hit with a massive earthquake that triggered tsunami warnings throughout the country, reminding us that we live in an unstable world. It sure is! While I was producing a video on Japan’s earthquake for our YouTube channel, we had a 4.1 earthquake here in Southern California.

In Scripture, earthquakes are associated with God’s direct presence. In Exodus 19:18, when God gave the Ten Commandments, they were accompanied by an earthquake, thunder, and lightning. The Bible says it was so terrifying Israel thought they would die. In the book of Revelation, earthquakes are mentioned in connection with a number of end-time events, such as the opening of seals and the final judgment.

“A massive earthquake is a reminder that we are not in control, that there is a God, and that all is not well between Heaven and earth.”

Those who know their Bibles will remember that earthquakes were spoken of as being a sign of the end of the age (see Matthew 24 and Luke 21). Such talk predictably brings a tsunami of responses from those who believe that earthquakes, as a sign, were confined to 70 AD. This may or may not be true, depending on whether we believe earthquakes were only a sign then or are also an ongoing sign. Whatever the case, a massive earthquake is a reminder that we are not in control, that there is a God, and that all is not well between Heaven and earth.

Here are some verses that speak of earthquakes:

And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7)

I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake. (Revelation 6:12)

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 11:13)

So, what are we supposed to do when the ground shakes and buildings collapse? Experts disagree. Some say to get under a sturdy table. Others say that is how to be killed because tables collapse when buildings fall on them. Some say to stay indoors. Others say to get out in the open where nothing can fall on you.

Then, there’s the coming of the mother of all earthquakes:

And there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. (Revelation 16:18)

So, what should we do if we’re still alive and that big one hits? Fortunately, the Bible gives us survival instructions for when we are in an earthquake:

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. (Psalm 46:1-3)

If we ever feel the ground shaking, we should remember that God is our refuge and strength. He’s a very present help when our world is being turned upside down. Therefore, we don’t fear. Instead, we trust Him with all our heart.

Ray Comfort

Ray Comfort is the Founder and CEO of Living Waters, a bestselling author, and has written more than 100 books, including, The Evidence Study Bible. He cohosts the award-winning television program Way of the Master, which airs in 190 countries.

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