Northern Israel was shaken by four small earthquakes in less than 24 hours on Wednesday and though it is impossible to absolutely predict seismic activity, seismologists warn that the region is due for a major shake-up.
The recent earthquakes hint at deeper meanings. One mystic predicted 80 years ago that major earthquakes in Israel would precede the War of Gog and Magog, making the earth-shattering changes necessary to bring the Messiah. And a scientist, seeking to find a historical pattern, discovered a compelling link between earthquakes and prophecy.
The first earthquake hit at around 4:50 a.m., followed by another at around 10:45 p.m..Two more followed at around midnight and 1:30 a.m., all registering aout 4.2 on the Richter Scale with their epicenter approximately 5.5 miles north of Tiberias. Though relatively gentle, the tremors were felt in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Though there were neither reports of injury or damage, earthquakes are cause for concern in Israel which is part of the geologically active Syrian-African Rift, extending from Lebanon to Mozambique. Israel has experienced several small earthquakes in recent years but experts say the region experiences a major quake every 100 years or so. The last major quake struck on July 11, 1927, killing over 400 and leaving “not a house in Jerusalem or Hebron… without some damage,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported in the days following.
In his search for a predictive tool, Dr. Shmuel Marco of Tel Aviv University found a correlation to periods of prophecy that could help predict earthquakes in Israel. In 2007, he told the Jerusalem Post that his studies indicated that historically, prophets became active a certain number of years after major earthquakes. These were recorded in the Jordan Valley in the years 31 BCE, 363 CE, 749 CE and 1033 CE.
“So roughly,” says Marco, “we are talking about an interval of every 400 years. If we follow the patterns of nature, a major quake should be expected any time because almost a whole millennium has passed since the last strong earthquake.”
Though clearly traumatic, Rabbi Haim Shvili, a 20th-century Jewish mystic, predicted that the period preceding the Messiah will necessarily be fraught with catastrophic earthquakes in Israel. In his book of predictions concerning the Messiah in 1935 called “Cheshbonot HaGeula” (accountings of the redemption), Rabbi Shvili predicted that these earthquakes will serve several purposes. Pagan temples and monuments to foreign gods throughout Israel will be destroyed. Rabbi Shvili noted that the seismic activity will specifically target Muslim and Christian sites.
These earthquakes will be so severe as to cause geographic changes in the Temple Mount, requiring the construction of an entirely new city. The quakes will cause springs of water to burst forth around Jerusalem, bringing about the prophecy in Zechariah.
And it shall come to pass in that day that living waters shall go out from Yerushalayim: half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in summer and in winter shall it be.” Zechariah 14:8
The earthquake will also split the Mount of Olives in two.
On that day, He will set His feet on the Mount of Olives, near Yerushalayim on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall split across from east to west, and one part of the Mount shall shift to the north and the other to the south, a huge gorge. Zechariah 14:4
The primary function of the earthquakes, according to Rabbi Shvili,will be to instill great fear in the nations rise up against Israel in the end-of-days.
According to Rabbi Shvili, the earthquakes will come during the holiday of Sukkot, coinciding with the War of Gog and Magog. The pre-Messiah war will be so traumatic to all of mankind that Sukkot will become an internationally recognized holiday. This year, Sukkot will begin September 23 so it may be that these recent gentle quakes were a tectonic warm-up, hinting of things-to-come in the upcoming holiday season.