Great Earthquake

In four separate passages, Revelation refers to a coming “GREAT EARTHQUAKE,” each time locating it on the day of “wrath.” Chaos in the heavens and unimaginable seismic shifts on the earth will mark the arrival of the “Day of the Lord,” the Great Dénouement when God vindicates His people and punishes His enemies.

When John is summoned to heaven, he observes the “throne” at the center of the universe surrounded by twenty-four smaller thrones occupied by “four and twenty elders.” A series of visual and audible phenomena proceed from the “throne… flashes of lightning, loud voices, and claps of thunder” – (Revelation 4:1-5).

Later, when the “Lamb” opens the “sixth seal,” the “GREAT EARTHQUAKE” shakes the earth, accompanied by celestial upheaval. The entire Cosmos is rocked to its foundations:

  • The sun became black as sackcloth, and the whole moon became as blood. The stars of the heaven fell to the earth… And the heaven was removed as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places” – (Revelation 6:12-17).

The description of cosmic chaos echoes Old Testament passages about the “Day of Yahweh,” the dreadful time of His judgment - (Joel 2:30-31, 3:15, Isaiah 13:9-11).


Likewise, when the “sixth seal” is opened, it is the time for the “wrath of the Lamb” and that of the “One who sits on the throne,” the “great day of their wrath” and the judgment of the “kings of the earth, the princes, the chief captains, the rich, the strong, and every bondman and freeman.” On that day, “Who will be able to stand.” No one will escape.

The “GREAT EARTHQUAKE” and the celestial events unleashed by the “sixth seal” do not portend the imminence of the end or prepare for it. Instead, they accompany the arrival of that day as the entire creation reacts to its approach. Mountains are laid low, and “every island flees” before the presence of the “Lamb.”

At the close of the “seven seals,” an angel fills his “censer with the fire from the altar” and casts it onto the earth. This produces “claps of thunder, loud voices, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake,” the same phenomena that were seen around the “throne,” only now, the “earthquake” is added to the mix - (Revelation 8:5).

After the Spirit of God raises the “Two Witnesses” from the dead, a “GREAT EARTHQUAKE” overthrows a “tenth of the city,” called the “great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” Elsewhere, the “great city” is identified as “Babylon, the Great Harlot.”

Just as God shook the city of Jerusalem following the death of Jesus, so He will shake the “great city” of end-time Babylon after the death of the “Witnesses” – (Matthew 27:51, Revelation 16:19, 17:18).

The ascension of the “Witnesses” is followed by the sounding of the “seventh trumpet,” which produces the victory of the kingdom of God, the time of “wrath” on the nations, the judgment of the dead, the punishment of the wicked, and the vindication of the righteous.

The “seventh trumpet” then concludes with “flashes of thunder, loud voices, claps of thunder, and an earthquake,” but also “great hail” is added to the series – (Revelation 11:15-19).

When the seventh angel empties the final “bowl of wrath,” a great voice declares, “It is finished!” The “seven bowls of wrath” complete the “wrath of God.” The declaration is followed by “flashes of lightning, loud voices, claps of thunder, and the GREAT EARTHQUAKE.”

The earthquake is so massive that “every island fled away, and the mountains were not found,” the same terrestrial upheavals caused by the “sixth seal.” The parallel descriptions are not coincidental; the same final event is in view in both passages.


Once again, the “great city” suffers. It idivided into three parts,” signifying the fall of the “cities of the nations,” and the time for “Babylon the great” to drain the “cup of the wine of the fierceness of God’s wrath.

This judgment was anticipated in chapter 14 when the angel declared the fall of “Babylon the great” because she made “all the nations to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” So, here, with her fall, the “great city” drank the full “fierceness of the wrath of God” – (Revelation 14:8).

The same fall of “Babylon” is presented in greater detail in chapter 18 as the day of her judgment arrives:

  • For her sins have reached even to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities… Therefore, in one day shall her plagues come, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judges her.

The “kings of the earth” who committed fornication with her stand afar off, crying, “Woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city, for in one hour is her judgment come!” Likewise, the merchants and mariners of the earth enriched by her wailed:

  • Woe, woe, the great city…for in one hour so great riches is made desolate… and they cried out as they looked upon the smoke of her burning, saying: What city is like the great city?... Woe, woe, the great city, for in one hour is she made desolate.”

What is described is nothing less than the final overthrow and destruction of “Babylon.” As the chapter concludes, “Thus with a mighty fall shall Babylon, the great city, be cast down, and she shall be found no more at all.”

All three sevenfold series conclude with the same phenomena - “flashes of lightning, great voices, claps of thunder” - along with the “GREAT EARTHQUAKE” and “hail.”

Not coincidentally, the last two items intensify as the final series completes the “wrath of God.” So much so, that the final seismic event is greater than any in human memory as is the “great hail” that tormented humanity, “for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”

The verbal links between the final events of each sevenfold series are deliberate. Each one reaches the same endpoint, the “Day of the Lord” and the time of “wrath.” With the arrival of that day, the entire Cosmos is shaken to its core. Stars fall, the earth shakes, and mountains and islands flee.

Whether the “GREAT EARTHQUAKE” is literal or figurative, it is final.  It is NOT a harbinger of things to come, but one of the unprecedented events that will characterize the arrival of THE final day. For the wicked, there will be no escape. For the righteous, however, it will be the day of resurrection, vindication, and victory as the reign of God is consummated throughout the Cosmos.


Destruction of Babylon

The Little Horn