Earthquake Hits Israel.
(Zechariah 14:3-4) Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
An earthquake rocked most of Israel at 10:20 a.m. Wednesday. One worker was lightly hurt when he fell off scaffolding, but only a handful of other minor injuries were reported. After the quake, Israeli engineers found cracks in the ceilings of the parliament's main auditorium and near the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The main session was postponed for two hours until after engineers checked the building.
Israel, Jordan and the West Bank are located along what is geologically known as the Great Rift Valley that runs between Syria and the African nation of Mozambique. The fault line passes through the Dead Sea.
The epicenter of the earthquake - reported as 5.0 magnitude on the Richter scale, was believed to be in the northern Dead Sea. Near the epicenter of the quake, Shmuel Ba'agon of Kibbutz Kalia said, "The feeling was as though the earth had opened up its mouth and we were sliding into the Dead Sea."
Officials in the Education Ministry, after consultation with Seismological Institute personnel, decided that, because of the fear of aftershocks, all pupils would be taken outside their school buildings. In Hebron, the students of Yeshivat Shavei Hevron did not immediately leave their building, as they thought at first that the shaking was the result of a terrorist bombing. When it was ascertained that it was in fact an earthquake, the students gathered outside the yeshiva and recited the traditional blessing of "Who Performs an Act of Creation," and then evacuated to the nearby Avraham Avinu neighborhood.
The last major calamitous earthquake in Israel occurred in July 1927. Centered in Jericho, it killed several hundred people and left thousands homeless. It was estimated at 6.2 on today's Richter scale, or some 40 times stronger than Wednesday's quake. The last major earthquake to affect Israel was in 1995; it was centered under the Red Sea, about 42 miles south of Eilat, and caused only very minor structural damage.
Experts have been warning for years that Israel was due for another major earthquake in the coming years or decades. Earthquake scholar Dr. Ron Avni of Be'er Sheva University told Arutz-7's Moshe Priel that the feared quake could reach 7 on the Richter scale - releasing well over 900 times more energy than today's shake.
The prophet Zechariah foretold a cataclysmic earthquake in the Land of Israel when the Messiah comes to the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem. The mountain shall be split down the middle from east to west, forming an enormous valley to which people shall flee.
A Geological Survey of Israel taken in 2000 and released last month, said that the heart of biblical narrative, Jerusalem's walled Old City and the 11-acre elevated plaza housing two major mosques, including the gold-capped Dome of the Rock, would be among the worst hit parts of the city in the event of another earthquake because they rest on layers of debris, not solid rock. The site is known to Muslims as the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and to Jews as the Temple Mount, once home to the biblical Temples. Jews pray at one of the compound's outer walls, the Western Wall, a remnant of the Temple complex. Researchers used computers to map Jerusalem's topography, geology, soil and the Old City's subterranean labyrinth of cisterns and tunnels.
The Great Rift Valley runs for 3,000 miles between Syria and Mozambique and passes through the Dead Sea, below Jerusalem's eastern hills. The fault line was caused by the separation of African and Eurasian tectonic plates 35 million years ago, a split that weakened the Earth's crust. About 35 miles to the north, another fault line cuts the land east to west from the Mediterranean port of Haifa with the West Bank towns of Jenin and Nablus before reaching the Jordan River. Some scholars believe a quake may have been behind the shower of brimstone and fire that struck Sodom and Gomorrah.
Government officials decided after Wednesday's earthquake to begin looking into the stability of the country's infrastructure and security compounds. Housing and Construction Minister Effi Eitam said all citizens would soon receive an explanatory booklet dealing with ways to prepare for an earthquake.
Isaiah 29:5-6 says: "And it shall happen instantly, suddenly. From YHWH of hosts you will be punished with thunder and earthquake and loud noise, with whirlwind and tempest and the flame of a consuming fire."
Ezekiel 38:19,23: "And in My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. And the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse, and every wall will fall to the ground. And I shall magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am YHWH."
A timeline is provided in Ezekiel 38: "...in the latter years you (Gog, Persia, Ethiopia, Put, Gomer, Beth-togarmah and many peoples) will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but it's people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them."
What will the earthquake be like? Although centered in Israel, it affects all nations and living things. Mountains fall and islands disappear. People small and great run and hide in caves from God's wrath. The "great city" is split into three parts. (Interestingly, Zechariah 13 prophesies about the coming judgment in which "two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. And I will bring the third part through the fire...")
On the day that YMWH goes forth to fight against Jerusalem's enemies, The Mount of Olives will be split in two (Zechariah 14). When our Messiah's feet stand on the Mount of Olives, it will split down the middle and create a large valley from east to west. It is through this valley that His people are able to escape. "Then YHWH my God will come, and all the holy ones with Him!"
These scriptures describe a horrific scenario that will be played out sometime in the future. It appears that as God's wrath is poured out in punishment and judgment, there will be a massive earthquake upon earth -- greater than has ever occurred.
Isaiah 29:6 and Ezekiel 38:19 indicate that the earthquake will be centered in Israel. However, according to Ezekiel and Revelation, this earthquake will affect every city and nation and all living things. It is through this earthquake that God makes Himself known to the nations (Eze 38:23).