The Shaking of All Things

Some Preliminary Observations

That all things are indeed shaken in the events transpiring before our very eyes there can be little doubt. That the times in which we live are stark reality is a truth which also those, outside of the believers in Christ and His Word, must admit.

The attentive student of current events, while not reckoning with the “sure Word of prophecy, nevertheless asks where are we, and whither are we bound. He also recognizes that history is more than the mere enumeration of facts and happenings. He sees a definite continuity everywhere. And so he attempts apart from the revelation of God, to construct a view of the world and of life which is compatible with the facts as experienced. But, alas! the vision of the entire pattern, and the God-given meaning must always seem foolishness to him. Also today, the unbelieving student of history is a “blind man leading the blind” with the inevitable consequence of all the misery and disillusionment that it entails.

But to the believing student of scripture there is no disillusionment, for in “God’s light he beholds the light”. To be sure, all the details of history are not revealed to us in the “more sure prophetic Word”, but the broad outlines of the pattern of history as decreed by the chief-architect, the Alpha and Omega of all things, are known to us in the “darkened glass”.

All the data of scripture relevant to this subject cannot be discussed within the space allotted to us.

We will attempt, however, by citing some representative passages to sketch the Scriptural pattern of all things, and thus designate the place which the “shaking of all things” occupies herein.

Definition of the “Terms”

The Bible in many places speaks of “all things”. Sometimes it employs this very term, and then again it speaks of that for which this term stands. Thus in Gen. 1:1 we read of “heaven and earth”. This is significant, for it points to the scope of God’s redemptive work in His Son. (Certainly also Genesis 1 is “dated” Christologically). This appears especially beautifully in Col. 1:16 where we read: “for in Him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through Him and unto Him.” The same is taught in the “Prologue” of the Gospel of John. And in Ephesians 1:10 we have that elucidating passage on the Divine plan and purpose with “all things”.

It is also quite clear from the Word of God, “all things” are a cosmos, a universe, a well arranged whole. And also this is an aspect of God’s appraising eye, when He saw that all things were very good. Gen. 1:31. For this is not only evident from the narrative of Gen. 1 telling of the order of creation in (the successive days, but is also clear from Eph. 3:15 which speaks of the “family” the “fatherhood” in heaven and on earth, which passage evidently has reference to the place of each creature in the whole of things, by virtue of its increased nature. This is verified, as far as the angel world is concerned, in Jude 6, where the writer speaks of the “own habitation” which the wicked angels have left. The archangel Michael understands his “habitation” and “durst not bring a railing judgment” against Satan. On the other hand, in Psalm 3 we are taught that God also has determined the bounds of man’s habitation, and of his future elevation. From this can be seen what Scripture intends to have us understand with the “term” “all things”.

When Scripture speaks of the “shaking up” of all things it has reference to the breaking up of the established order of creation, as it has come to a certain development. The idea of “shaking up” presupposes that there is a well-founded world-course. And that God as the “Almighty” violently shakes the established order of this present creation to a chaotic mass. Only He who upholds all things by the Word of His power, causing all things to consist in the Logos (Col. 1:17) can really shake the universe.

And this shaking is not along the lines of created ordinances, but is a catastrophic shaking up. It is in a sense the breaking thru of the Wonder of God’s grace, because it precedes the last miracle, the regeneration, the renewal of all things.

That all things are “shaken up” also implies that nothing is to be annihilated. Scripture teaches neither the eternal continuance of the present order of things, nor their annihilation. The former was taught by the Grecians philosophers, the latter by Anabaptists of every shade and color. Just as the sinful elect is not first erased out of existence, and then created a new creature, but the sinful creature is justified, sanctified, glorified, so also God will bring a glorified world out of the chaotic ruins of the world “shaken up”. This is suggested in such passages as Rom. 8:11 and Phil. 3:21 which speaks of the positive, reconstructive side of all things as represented in man’s glorified body.

Some Representative Texts

The first passage of Scripture, a passage which because of its historic setting, and New Testament interpretation, we consider most representative, is Haggai 2:6, 7. We quote: “For thus saith Jehovah of Hosts: yet once more, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the precious things of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with glory, saith Jehovah of Hosts”.

A few remarks of an exegetical nature are here in order.

First of all, we call attention to the fact that the prophet Haggai here speaks of the shaking of “all things”. He expressly enumerates them. He speaks of “the heavens, the earth, the sea and the dry land”. The “sea” and “dry land” are evidently a further elucidation of “earth”. It is also clear that this must be understood in the most literal sense.

That the text distinguishes between a twofold shaking of the earth. The Lord says that He will shake all things “yet once”. This presupposes that He had shaken the earth before. When we turn to the context we find suggested the shaking of the earth, at the voice of God “speaking” at Sinai. This is what the Lord has reference to when we read: “according to the Word that I covenanted when you came out of Egypt and my Spirit abode among you”. This shaking at Sinai must not, according to Holy Writ, be ascribed to some natural phenomena (as if anything ever occurs in this world in this deistic sense) but to the breaking forth of the holiness and righteousness of God who is a consuming fire! So terrible was the sight that Moses said: “I exceedingly fear and tremble”. It was the herald, the trumpet sound of the pouring out of the vials of God’s wrath upon all who would not acknowledge Him that dwelleth between the Cherubim. That was the first shaking. Thus the Spirit of Truth interprets His own Word as recorded in Hebrews 12:26. For there Sinai is expressly mentioned and contrasted with Jerusalem unto which the New Testament church has come, because of the “blood that speaketh better things than Abel”.

The second “shaking” the “once more” of which Haggai speaks is also explained by the writer of the Hebrews in the above mentioned passage. It then has reference to the catastrophic shake-up of the universe of which we are told in II Peter 3:11-13. Peter here speaks of the “heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and elements melting with fervent heat”. It is the same event referred to in Rev. 6:12-17 where with the Lamb’s breaking of the “sixth seal” the sun, moon and stars fall to the earth, and the physical universe is “shaken up”.

That this is the case further appears from the fact that Haggai speaks of it as lying in the future. Haggai, a contemporary prophet of Zechariah, prophesied after the Babylonian captivity. It will be a “little while”, when this shaking will take place. The time element must here be reckoned according to the “speed” of God, and not according to our human experience and evaluation. Haggai also presents this “second shaking” as introducing a new and here-to-fore unknown glory of the “temple”. And the Temple is symbolic of God dwelling with His people as the God of infinite perfection, in the beauty of holiness. It will be a house of greater dimension, as spoken of in the visions of Ezekiel 40-48, and as realized in the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost. Then there will be no more weeping at the sight of a “miserable hut”, but the true joy of the feast of tabernacles. Zerrubabel and Joshua, the Royal-Priesthood of God can take heart, for Jehovah of Host, the Lord who rises to the battle (Numbers 10:35 and Psalm 68:1) will bring this about in the “shaking of all things”. For it will mean that the heirs of the kingdom will receive the heritage which shall not be shaken. Hebr. 12:27.

There is according to Scripture a definite reason for the greater shaking of all things, above the shaking having taken place at Sinai. This is suggested by context in Hebrews 12. This is what we would call the historical-revelational motive. We now live in the dispensation of the Spirit. God “has spoken to us in these last days through His Son” that is the keynote in the whole epistle to the Hebrews. Greater and higher revelation also means greater flashing forth of the lightning, voices, thunderings and earthquakes from the throne of God’s majestey. In the dispensation of the Spirit the great day of the lord assumes greater potentiality and actuality. Shall God be justified in judgment, then the catastrophic shaking must wait till “last time”. The waiting of the judgment day is not grace, but is the culmination of the wrath of God for the wicked.

Some Conclusions From the Foregoing

In the light of the foregoing we can make the following observations:  (1) In view of the wicked whether they be viewed under the aspect of their individual life, or national constituency, the shake-up of the universe, their God-ordained home it is the rendering desolate of their home. This judgment begins at the house of God, where the light of God’s revelation shown most brightly. See I Peter 4:17. The order of judgment is also note-worthy in Rev. 11:1-8 where the temple of God is measured. For these also the shaking up in wars and great conflicts and crises in history is the divine “daughter” of Psalm 2, having the nations in derision. In spite of their endeavors their sword is always against themselves. This was typically the case with the Midianites whom Gideon and his band slew (Judges 7:22) and of the Host who marched against Jerusalem in the days of Jehoshaphat. (II Chron. 20:22, 23). And this shaking of the nations now often is the destruction of nations by their own swords.

A remark of a practical nature may be inserted at this time. Should not the present conflict of nations in its broad scope be viewed as the trumpet sound of the final shaking of all things? The “issue” in this war is still the “glorification” of the temple of God. All things must work together to that end. Let us not be deceived, lest we forfeit our crown.

(2) Theologically it must be said, that the great issue at stake is the “theodicy”. God must be justified. This is the prayer and hope of the “saints under the altar” of the Zerubbabel-Joshua, king-priestly people of God in the world. It is the content of the testimony of the “Two Witnesses” of God in “Sackcloth during this entire dispensations”. (Rev. 11)

That this is the case, the wicked in the vision of Rev. 6:12-17 recognize. The great and powerful in the earth, must give praise to the “God of heaven”. They see that it is the great day of the wrath of God, and that none can stand!

(3) And finally, it is the execution of the decrees of God which stand fast forever and ever in the way of His unsearchable judgments. O, the depth of the riches of His understanding and wisdom! For out of Him and through Him and unto Him are all things!