I have been doing a study of Revelation 6:12-13, where in his vision of the apocalyptic end times, the Apostle John saw an angel opening the sixth seal:
I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. (Revelation 6:12-13 NASV)
God gave four signs that would show the sixth seal has been opened: (1) The appearance of a “Blood Moon” (Read: Blood moons, a sign of the times?); (2) a Solar eclipse; (3) Stars falling from the sky (read: Is ‘blind luck’ all that is stopping the opening of the Book of Revelation’s sixth seal? )and (4) a great earthquake
In this article, I want to turn our attention to the Apostle John’s vision of a “Great Earthquake.”
The Great Earthquake
The Book of Revelation is the written record of an end-times vision the Apostle John had after being banished to the Island of Patmos during the Roman persecution of Christians under Emperor Domitian.
When we look at the passage in Revelation, we notice a couple of things.
If this is in chronological order, it suggests the earthquake will happen first followed by a solar eclipse, blood moon and then stars falling from the sky. But we can’t be certain on this. All we know for sure is the appearance of these four signs are necessary signs to indicate an angel has opened the sixth seal.
The second thing we notice is that there is no mention of where this earthquake will take place. As John watched it unfold, it seems he did not recognize the place or the nation in which it was occurring. If he had, I am sure John would have mentioned it.
Finally, John refers to it as the “great” earthquake. The word “great” is the Greek word “megas” and means “exceedingly great” – so in the sense there are “great earthquakes” and then there is this one — the “great, great earthquake.”
When Jesus addressed the end times, he similarly talked about earthquakes:
“And there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from the heavens.” (Luke 21:11 NASV)
Notice how Jesus uses the plural when describing the earthquakes, suggesting there will be a number of them.
But in the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John says there will be one that stands above the crowd. After it occurs, when you talk about earthquakes, it alone will be the one that comes to mind.
David Wilkerson and the Great Earthquake?
Rev David Wilkerson was a prominent Christian leader in the 1970s and early 80s. He founded Times Square Church in New York City and started Teen Challenge — a ministry dealing with drug addiction.
On April 27, 2011, at age 79, David was killed in a car accident. His wife who was with him was injured and hospitalized. Oddly, the date of his death may be significant.
Wilkerson was a prolific writer and authored several books, including The Cross and the Switchblade which chronicled his ministry with gangs. The story was later made into a motion picture with Pat Boone playing the role of David Wilkerson.
But perhaps his most controversial book was one entitled, The Vision, that was published in 1974. In it, he recorded a vision he received outlining future events in America.
I remember the controversy surrounding the book. Many mocked it. Others discounted it. But it became a Christian bestseller. David Wilkerson would later state the Holy Spirit chided him for releasing it to early. The written account of the vision he received in 1973 should have been published at a later date — closer to the time the events would unfold.
There is an interesting section in The Vision, that may be addressing our hour. I am not saying it is, but do find it curious.
In his vision, Wilkerson saw a massive earthquake hitting the United States. He said it would happen in an unexpected area of the country and I presume from this not California.
But what caught my attention is Wilkerson felt the U.S .earthquake may be preceded by an earthquake in Japan
Here is what Wilkerson wrote:
JAPAN & the COMING USA EARTHQUAKES
by David Wilkerson. (1974).
The United States is going to experience in the not-too-distant future the most tragic earthquakes in its history. One day soon this nation will be reeling under the impact of the biggest news story of modern times. It will be coverage of the biggest most disastrous earthquake in history.
It will cause widespread panic and fear, Without a doubt, it will become one of the most completely reported earthquakes ever.
Television networks will suspend all programming and carry all day coverage.
Another earthquake, possibly in Japan, may precede the one that I see coming here. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind about this forthcoming massive earthquake in our continent.
I am not at all convinced that this earthquake will take place in California. In fact, I believe it is going to take place where it is least expected. This terrible earthquake may happen in an area that is not known as an earthquake belt. It will be so high on the Richter scale that it will trigger two other major earthquakes
The Japanese earthquake
We all remember the massive earthquake that took place in Japan on March 11, 2011. Ironically, it took place six weeks before the death of David Wilkerson. Is the close connection between Wilkerson’s death and the Japanese earthquake God’s way of highlighting this event? But again… it could be a coincidence.
Curiously, the Japanese refer to it as the “Great East Japan Earthquake (東日本大震災 Higashi nihon daishinsai?).” It was 9.0 on the Richter scale, making it the fifth most powerful earthquake recorded since they started keeping records in 1900.
Much of the damage came from a 133-foot Tsunami wave that hit Japan.
In February 2014, the National Police Agency confirmed the final tally for the earthquake. There were:
- 15,855 deaths
- 6,148 injured
- 2,623 missing
- 127,290 buildings totally destroyed and another 272,788 half destroyed and 747,989 partially damaged.
Somehow the Japanese earthquake manages to stay in the news. Ken Buesseler works for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
At a presentation in early March, he said models showed that the radio-active plume released by the damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant during the 2011 earthquake may hit American shores (Seattle first) as early as April.
Other models put the plume’s arrival as late as the summer.
Buesseler is not shouting any alarms because he does not believe it will be significant enough to harm humans or the environment.
The Japanese earthquake would certainly qualify as one of the “Great Earthquakes” that Jesus said would take place in the end times. But I don’t believe it is the “Great Earthquake” the Apostle John saw in his vision.
Neither am I endorsing Wilkerson’s vision as being legitimate — time will prove it true or not.
Read more in this series:
- Blood moons, a sign of the times?
- Is ‘blind luck’ all that is stopping the opening of the Book of Revelation’s sixth seal?