A very interesting pattern in scripture emerges when studying resurrections from the dead. For a very thorough, detailed analysis I highly recommend the book “Earthquake Resurrection” by David W. Lowe. However, I will try to do justice to the main points here.
In Matthew 27:51-54 we are presented with a curious detail surrounding Jesus’ death that is surprisingly not recorded in the other gospels:
“And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
Matthew includes the observation that the earth shook and rocks were split. This earthquake seems to be further described in Matthew 28:1-2:
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.
At the time of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, there is a large earthquake which opens the tombs of many saints along with Jesus’ own tomb. Several points are made here:
- Resurrection bodies don’t actually need the stones to be rolled away – we see later that the resurrected Jesus can walk through closed doors and such. But the event of being resurrected seems to shake the earth and open the tombs.
- There is no record of “many saints” dying right around the time of Jesus’ death, so these must have been decayed past the point of a resurrection back to physical bodies. There are multiple instances of resurrection of the dead back to physical life recorded in scripture, but these are all within 1-3 days when their physical bodies would have still been (mainly) intact. The “many saints” must have been raised to new life – their resurrection bodies. (Their possible identification may be the mysterious 24 elders, discussed HERE).
- John was the only disciple at the foot of the cross when Jesus died, and he records details surrounding Jesus’ death and burial. No earthquake is mentioned. Thus, the earthquake, and the veil being torn in two, must be at the moment of Jesus’ resurrection and transformation. This is the moment when Jesus conquered death.
- The Shroud of Turin would seem to indicate that a nuclear event occurred to form the image on the shroud. More on the shroud can be seen on THIS WEBSITE.
- 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 tells us that Jesus is the “firstfruits” of those who have been resurrected into immortal bodies. “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.” This is our great hope, that we will have eternal life through Jesus. The “many saints” that were resurrected at, or immediately after, this time are part of the “firstfruits” – occurring literally on the day of the Feast of Firstfruits along with Jesus.
Examining another resurrection from the dead foretold in scripture we find:
But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. Revelation 11:11-13
When the two witnesses are resurrected in the future, a great earthquake will occur.
We are told in Ephesians 1:19-20 that great power is released when individuals are resurrected to immortality – “and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places”.
Lowe briefly discusses Quantum Physics, and how there is a balance of matter between the visible and the invisible. The Bible explains it that the visible has origins in the invisible (Hebrews 11:3, 2 Corinthians 4:18). When we are changed (1 Corinthians 15:51-53, Romans 6:5, Philippians 3:21), this will result in a disruption to this balance. Could this explain the release of massive amounts of energy at the time of transformation?
Is there any indication in scripture of a massive earthquake event that can be connected with the resurrection of perhaps billions of people all at once, from all nations, tribes, languages, and peoples?
Well, yes, in fact, there is. In Revelation 6, when Seal 6 is opened, a cataclysmic event transpires on earth. There is no cause listed for this – no horse and rider, no trumpet blown, no bowl poured out. It is entirely possible that the unmentioned cause is the transformation of the church – the body of believers first deceased and then alive – into immortality. The results of this incredible event are far from silent and secret:
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:12-17
The details of the 6th seal are examined in depth HERE, but in summary:
- An earthquake that shakes not just the earth, but the heavens.
- The sun becomes black as sackcloth made of hair
- The whole moon becomes as blood
- The stars of the sky fell to the earth
- The sky appears to split apart like a scroll
- Every mountain and island were moved out of their places
Something causes the most terrifying event that has ever occurred in Earth’s history. John clarifies that every single person on earth will react in fear. They try to hide from what they correctly recognize as God’s wrath, as they cry “who is able to stand?” The answer is no one, at least, not on earth – “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) This whole event occurs suddenly and unexpectedly:
While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape… For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 1 Thessalonians 5:3, 9-10
“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36
But note that both passages mention there is a way to obtain salvation – to escape all these things that are going to take place.
There is no where on EARTH to escape, but the church is told in Luke 21:36 to “Pray that you may have strength to escape all these things and STAND before the Son of Man.” Right after Seal 6 is opened, we see a large group of people from every tribe, language, people, and nation STANDING in front of the throne and the Lamb (Rev 7:9) and singing about salvation. WE, the saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, will stand. “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”, right on time, BEFORE the Day of the Lord.
Seal 6 gives a picture of what the resurrection and transformation of believers leaves behind on the earth, as we are caught up to heaven and stand before the throne of God and the Lamb.
It seems that the great earthquake discussed in Seal 6 (Revelation 6), Matthew 24, and Ezekiel 38 is either caused by the resurrection/transformation of believers or immediately follows their resurrection/transformation.
Another interesting point that David Lowe discusses is that the transformation event and snatching events are discussed separately.
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)
For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
The changing from perishable to imperishable occurs in an instant, in the “twinkling of an eye”. The dead precede the living. The catching up event uses the word harpazo, which means to seize, or to snatch violently, with great force. So both our transformation event and the snatching event are sudden and quick. However, could there be a pause between the changing and the snatching? Or a pause between the dead rising and the living being transformed? We are not told.
It seems a 9 year old girl may have been given the answer. I am *highly* skeptical of visions and dreams, but this may be true: Earthquake Precedes the Rapture. The timeline in Seal 5-6 is:
- Dead in Christ given their robes (resurrected) – Seal 5
- Earthquake, global (caused by Dead in Christ rising?) – Seal 6
- Blackened sun, Blood moon (ash/smoke in atmosphere?) – Seal 6
- Stars fall (I believe this is the war between Michael and Satan and the other angels, and satan and his fallen angels are cast down, Revelation 12) – Seal 6
- Sky parts as a scroll. This is where the harpazo occurs, in my opinion. The sky rolls back, i.e. opens up the Third Heaven, to admit the dead and the living in Christ into heaven. – Seal 6
- After the sky has parted (and received us), the remnant on earth cowers in fear and hides from the Lamb and the One on the Throne, as “their wrath has come”. – Seal 6
If Seal 6 is written in order, then the earthquake will indeed precede the rapture (but possibly not the transformation event, which would make sense as if we were transformed, we couldn’t be killed in the earthquake). By how long, we are not told. One thing we can know is that God is good, all the time. If we are His child, He holds us in the palm of His hand. Rest in true peace and safety, knowing that your Father in heaven will care for you no matter how or when these things come about.
A Disclaimer: The Bible is infallible. I am not. Be a Berean – examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!