The effects of the Japan earthquake of March 11, 2011, broadcasted on television made it one of the most terrifying natural events ever displayed in near real time. Several large earthquakes have occurred in recent years with accompanying tsunamis that killed tens of thousands of people, but this most recent tragedy of earthquake, tsunami, releases of nuclear radiation, and thousands of displaced people has forced many to re-evaluate their view of the end times.
Geophysicists have reported that the movement of the tectonic plates under Japan changed the figure axis of the earth and shortened the day slightly.1, 2 If the Japan earthquake affected this axis and changed the rotation rate of the earth, are earth's motions becoming more unstable? Could these instabilities lead to more earthquakes and other end-time events described in the Bible?
Although the Japan earthquake was of magnitude 9.0 on the Richter scale, produced major damage, and is projected to have killed up to 20,000 people, it needs to be placed in perspective with other larger disasters. Earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones, and volcanic eruptions have caused even greater damage and killed more people in the past. The public is unaware of many of these natural disasters because they occurred in remote locations many years ago without the real-time news coverage we experience today.
Although the Bible speaks of cosmological and geological events occurring in the end times, the recent earthquakes and tsunamis do not match the magnitude demanded by prophecy. Nor does there appear to be an increase in the frequency of large earthquakes and other catastrophes that would lead one to believe that the last events of the end times are occurring.
But even if there was an interval of increased frequency, Scripture specifically says, "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night" (1 Thessalonians 5:2). The cosmological and geological events of the end times will be greater than anything we have experienced in our lifetime and will descend upon those still present on the earth suddenly and unexpectedly.
For Christians who are looking forward to the Lord's return, His coming will be a blessing. The Lord will come to take His own to spend eternity with Him before the devastation hits. Let's anticipate the return of the Lord by informing as many of our friends and family as possible how to escape the judgment to come.
For a fuller treatment of this subject, see Dr. Vardiman's article in the May 2011 issue of Acts & Facts.
- Japan Quake May Have Slightly Shortened Earth Days, Moved Axis, Theoretical Calculations Suggest. Science Daily. Posted on sciencedaily.com March 15, 2011.
- Buis, A. Japan Quake May Have Shortened Earth Days, Moved Axis. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, News and Features. Posted on jpl.nasa.gov March 14, 2011.
* Dr. Vardiman is Senior Research Scientist, Astro/Geophysics at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on March 25, 2011.