since A.D. 1900, the growth in major earthquakes has been relentless. From 1900 to 1949 it averaged three major quakes per decade. From 1949 the increase became awesome with 9 killer quakes in the 1950's; 13 in the 60's; 56 in the 1970's and an amazing 74 major quakes in the 1980's. Finally, in the 1990's, as [sic] the present rate, we will experience 125 major killer quakes in this decade (Source: U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Report, Boulder, Colorado).
Earthquakes in Biblical Literature. Earthquakes and other cataclysmic events often carry theophanic significance in Scripture, demonstrating God's awesome power. At Mount Sinai the LORD's presence was indicated by smoke and the shaking of the mountain (Exod. 19:18; cf. 1 Kings 19:1151 ; Ps. 68:8; Job 9:6; Hab. 3:6). When the New Testament church prayed "the place where they had gathered together was shaken" and the Spirit's presence was manifested (Acts 4:31). Paul and Silas were freed when God's power and presence was manifested in an earthquake (Acts 16:26). The most unusual earthquakes were associated with the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. When Christ died on the cross, an earthquake shook the temple and rent the curtain of the temple from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). No human agency rolled away the stone that sealed Christ's tomb; it was the angel in the presence of the earthquake (Matt. 28:2).
More specifically, many seismic theophanies are manifestations of God's anger and righteous judgment (cf. 1 Sam. 14:15; Ps. 18:7,8; Isa. 5:25; 13:13; 29:6; Joel 3:16; Amos 1:1,2; 8:7,8; Mic. 1:3-7; Nah. 1:5,6; Hag. 2:6, 21). The Day of the LORD is the most elaborate judgment motif of Scripture. That day is without fail marked by earthquakes and associated celestial disturbances (Isa. 2:19, 21; 13:13; 24:18; 29:5-6; Ezek. 38:19-22; Joel 2:10; Zech. 14:4, 5). For example, Isaiah's description of the destruction of Babylon has cosmic overtones:
Therefore I shall make the heavens tremble,
. . . And the earth will be shaken from its place
At the fury of the LORD of hosts
. . . In the day of His burning anger. (Isa. 13:13).
The Olivet Discourse
The Olivet Discourse found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke can be divided into sections based on their similarity to the Seven Seals. Take, for example, Matthew’s account of the Olivet Discourse:
a) First Seal = False Christs (Matthew 24:4-5)
b) Second Seal = Wars (Matthew 24:6-7a) **the end is not yet**
c) Third Seal = Famine (Matthew 24:7b)
d) Fourth Seal = Pestilence (Matthew 24:7c)
e) Sixth Seal = Earthquakes (Matthew 24:8) **all these are the beginning of sorrows**
f) Fifth Seal = Martyrdom & Persecution (Matthew 24:9-10) **then shall they deliver you…**
g) First Seal = False Prophets (Matthew 24:11-14) **then the end shall come**
h) Abomination of Desolation (Matthew 24:15-22) **then there shall be Great Tribulation** **those days**
i) First Seal = False Christs and Prophets (Matthew 24:23-28)
j) Sixth Seal = Signs in the Heavens (Matthew 24:29-30a) = Men Cry Out (Matthew 24:30b)
**immediately after the tribulation of those days**
k) The Coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:30c-31)