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A devastating earthquake shook several cities in Alaska on Good Friday. 

Its repercussions were felt all down the west coast of our country. And the evidence of that earthquake is still to be seen, in spite of man’s efforts to restore and to return to life as it was before the earthquake struck. 

But except to those who experienced it and lost their possessions or loved ones through that earthquake, it is a thing of the past, an almost forgotten event. 

But there will be a next one! 

You can depend upon that and may expect it to come without fail. 

Did you know that seismologists declare that a major trembler is due in southern California on the southern half of the San Andreas fault? Did you know that earthquakes occur there roughly once every 160 years and that the last one was in X357? Did you know that seismologists declare that the “moderate” shocks since that time have not relieved the pressure and strain that is building up? Did you know that seismologists, who study such matters and keep record of earthquakes, expect a big “shake-up” in Japan as well? 

And you cannot get out of the way! 

When the earth begins to shake, when the very foundation on which man stands begins to move up and down, to slip and slide, he knows not where to go. Will the earth open up where he stands or to the right or left of him, in front of him or behind him? Whither shall he flee? When he sees the tornado forming in the sky, he knows in what general direction it will go; and he can flee from its path. When he sees the lightning flash and hears the rumble of the thunder, he knows where he can flee to be safe from that electrical force. But just where will he go when the earth itself begins to move under his feet? 

Earthquakes are dreadful. The destruction pictured in newspapers and magazines of the Alaska earthquake reveals the tremendous force behind it and man’s utter helplessness before such a force. 

Escape from the earthquake man cannot. And so the question remains for him, “How can I predict the next one? How can I protect myself by knowing when and where it will strike? Where can I go to be in an area other than where it will do its devastating work?”

Someday the world hopes to be able to give an answer to the questions when and where. Man has no hope of preventing them. He never boasts either of being able some day to render them impossible. These are matters he is willing to concede are beyond his control. He cannot reach down into the bowels of the earth and stabilize matters. He does philosophize about them and theorize that the earth is still in a formative state of evolution and is cooling off. He refuses to see God in His own creation and to reckon with God’s curse upon the earth. And ruling the Creator out bf His own creation, exploring the earth and its secrets apart from the fear of the Lord, he does hope to be able to predict when and where earthquakes will strike and to warn you of the time and place of the next earthquake. 

He knows that according to UNESCO estimates, about 15,000 people are killed every year by earthquakes, and that there are some 300,000 quakes a year, most of which are weak or take place in uninhabited areas, in the wilderness or under the sea. He knows that on an average two major earthquakes occur each year. But, although he has reached more than a hundred miles into the stratosphere and orbited the earth at that great height, he has not dug very deeply into the earth. What is more, entrance into the earth even to a depth of 430 miles—where it is claimed that some inland earthquakes begin—at one point of the vast area of the earth would reveal very little and would surely give man nothing wherewith to prevent what he might see coming. And so at the present he is content to try to discover when and where; that you and I may be warned to get out of that area on time

We can give an answer, however, to the question, “When and where will the next earthquake occur?” It will be a very general answer, but at the same time a very important answer and one that needs emphasizing today. It will occur when and where it pleases God sovereignly to send it. Your flesh will be disappointed in an answer like that. It does not satisfy our native curiosity. It gives nothing to which the flesh can take hold and assures us of no escape from the destruction of that next earthquake. But in this day and age that is often called the “Scientific Age,” it is refreshing truth that is expressed in that answer. Paul warns us against science falsely so-called in I Timothy 6:20

Science is systematized knowledge. But often today what passes for science is not knowledge, but theory, and is a “systematizing” of opinions that is very unscientific and unsystematic, How can it be knowledge when it ignores the Creator and will not listen to His Word? What is systematic about throwing away the principle of all wisdom: the fear of the Lord? And that is what is being done by well-nigh all that is written today about the last and the next earthquake. Did you read one word anywhere in all the accounts of “scientists” that this was the wrath of God upon a sin darkened world whose measure of iniquity is rapidly being filled? 

It bears repetition and emphasis in this so-called scientific age that GOD will determine when and where the next earthquake will do its devastating work. Or better still, God in His own good pleasure will shake the earth where it pleases Him. It is His hand that reaches down into the bowels of the earth; it is His hand, that is everlasting, there inside the core of our earth and builds up the pressure moves the rocks, lifts up the layers of, granite and shale, opens yawning pits, raises islands in the sea, and causes volcanoes to appear and to spew their burning lava upon cities and fertile fields. The omnipotent God does all these things. The ungodly “scientists” may call them natural phenomena and explain to you step by step how all these things develop and occur. But he will omit the key to the whole matter when he leaves the everywhere present God completely out of the picture. Let it be emphasized that the living God will determine where and when He will shake the earth. 

He has a way of putting to naught the wisdom of the foolish. Conceivably, because He is a God of order, man may come to the point where he can with some accuracy predict the when and where of another earthquake—though not necessarily the next one—as he learns more and more of the way in which God is usually pleased to work. Measuring stress and strain, observing and recording contributing factors, and relying on computers, man may some day come up with the right answer. But God has a way of showing the folly of the “wise” by doing the unexpected and unexplainable. He sent the flood contrary to all men’s calculations. He made the sun and moon stand still and the sun dial to go back ten degrees. He brought forth His Son from a virgin and raised Him from the dead after three days. Today’s scientist in his “wisdom” that is void of the principle of wisdom, the fear of the Lord, says that all this is impossible and goes plodding on with his “facts” and theories and know-it-all attitude. And as the tornado that was not supposed to form because the temperature had not reached 70 degrees, and the frost that could not appear, as well as the earthquake that was not supposed to happen, come to emphasize the truth that Jehovah in His own good pleasure decided what shall and what shall not be. In due time He will also shake the heavens, over which man realizes even more keenly that he has no control. And thereby He will testify to the present generations, as He did to Pharaoh in Egypt, that He is the Lord of heaven and pf earth. When and where will the next earthquake strike? Where the Lord of heaven and of earth has from eternity decreed to realize it. Training our children in His fear certainly means that we hold this truth before their eyes and repeat it and apply it to all that which takes place in this world. They know it. They have been told it. Indeed, but Satan and his host, the world and its wise, fools, its scientists so-called, are doing all they can to erase that truth and replace it with the lie. Do not underestimate their power or zealousness for the cause of evil and of the lie. As the world doubles its efforts, the Church had better treble its efforts to bring up its children in His fear. We cannot keep up with less speed than that which the enemy employs. We cannot forge ahead by using the same amount. We cannot catch up by dragging our feet. And the enemy has a head start. Our children come into this world as part of the world and with natures that love the lie and are under the power of the lie. We will have an uphill struggle all the way. And only by providing them abundantly with the very best and by trebling our efforts when the world doubles its efforts, and increasing them still more when the world increases its attempts to mislead, can we say that we have been faithful and can we commit our children, and the instruction which we have given them, to this Lord of heaven and earth with the prayer that He will cause the seed to germinate and bring forth fruit in their lives. 

When it does please Him to bring that next earthquake, listen to what He has to say therein. He speaks of wrath. All earthquakes are signs of God’s wrath and judgment. The earthquakes at the flood very plainly were judgment. The earthquake that shook Mt. Sinai again spoke of judgment. The earthquake that swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram did not serve to bring them into heaven’s glory but into hell’s agony. The earthquakes at the death and resurrection of the Son of God in our flesh spoke of judgment. And the next earthquake will speak that same language. Finally, in terminal judgment God will shake the heaven as well as the earth; the firmament shall be rolled up as a scroll. Present things shall pass away, and a new creation shall appear. And each and every earthquake until that time will be the voice of God speaking to His Church of that final judgment through which He will bring His Church into glory. Be sure that you listen to His voice every time He speaks! To turn away is to show great disrespect for this God of heaven and earth. To listen is to live in His fear, to stand in reverence and awe before Him and to rejoice in His faithfulness to His promises. 

It is for that reason also that Jesus gives signs of the times to His Church in Matthew 24. Among the signs, therefore, we also find earthquakes in divers places. It is not a great number of them necessarily, nor the intense severity of them of which Jesus speaks. He speaks of scattered earthquakes, earthquakes in divers or different places. He speaks of the universality of these quakes, and no doubt exactly in unexpected places, places where the learned scientist did not expect them or predict them. For these are not, ordinary events but signs and judgments of God. 

But they speak words of peace to God’s Church. These are the beginning of sorrows, or, as Jesus states it in Matthew 24, the beginning of labor pains, as God is bringing forth the new creation for His Church. These are not for the Church pains of death, but pains of life. Each and every earthquake, as well as each and every war and rumor of war is a sign that the new creation will soon be born. And although it is not for us to know the time and the place of the next earthquake, we do how and are blessed to know the reason for it. It will be judgment of our God upon our enemy and a step in the realization of our everlasting home. It will speak of an holy, terrible wrath of God from which the world cannot escape and shall—if I may use the expression—cause the very bottom to drop out for them. But it will speak of love and peace and mercy and grace of God upon His Church. 

Listen to Him in His fear. And may the intensity of the next quake speak to you of the intensity of His love. The stronger the quake and the more fiercely the earth shall shake, may your faith be unshaken and your confidence in God’s promises grow in strength. 

—J.A.H.