No, the recent earthquake and tsunamis are not a part of the Apocalypse

On 11 March 2011, an earthquake struck Japan, and a tsunami followed. The results in Japan have been devastating; the full extent of the damage is not yet known. The tsunami that struck Japan is estimated to have been several meters in height. A tsunami of several feet is predicted to strike Hawaii and possibly the west coast of the U.S. This natural disaster is unusual, but is it a part of the tribulation (i.e. the Apocalypse or the end times)? No, it is not.

I’ve been studying and writing Roman Catholic eschatology (theology about the end times) for over 15 years now. I have written three books of eschatology (with more in the works) as well as many online articles and posts on the topic. In my understanding, the events of the tribulation as described by the last book of the New Testament, the Book of Revelation (also called the Apocalypse of John), and as described by many Catholic Saints and mystics, is a very severe set of events. The Apocalypse is not merely an increase in the severity and number of natural disasters. The events of the Apocalypse are not somewhat more harmful version of events that usually occur, from time to time, in human history. Rather, the tribulation is a very unusual and very severe set of events; it is a unique set of events, clearly set apart from afflictions of the recent and distant past.

The tribulation is divided into two parts. The first part is for our generation, but the second part occurs in the distant future. The Antichrist and the subsequent Return of Jesus are of the second part, hundreds of years from now.

The Book of Revelation mentions earthquakes, in reference to the first part of the tribulation (the part that this generation will experience), only twice:

[Revelation]
{6:12} And when he had opened the sixth seal, I saw, and behold, a great earthquake occurred. And the sun became black, like a haircloth sack, and the entire moon became like blood.
{6:13} And the stars from heaven fell upon the earth, just as when a fig tree, shaken by a great wind, drops its immature figs.
{6:14} And heaven receded, like a scroll being rolled up. And every mountain, and the islands, were moved from their places.
{6:15} And the kings of the earth, and the rulers, and the military leaders, and the wealthy, and the strong, and everyone, servant and free, hid themselves in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.
{6:16} And they said to the mountains and the rocks: “Fall over us and hide us from the face of the One sitting upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.
{6:17} For the great day of their wrath has arrived. And who will be able to stand?”

This passage refers, in my interpretation, to World War 4, which occurs in the 2030’s. That great War is the sixth of the Seven Seals of Revelation. In my view, World War 3 (in the 2010’s) is the event called the first Seal (which is the same as the first of the four horseman of the Apocalypse). A great earthquake occurs about the time of the start of that War, sometime in the early 2030’s. For an earthquake to be worthy of mention in the Book of Revelation, a book that describes the most severe events in the history of the Church, it must be very great. This cannot be merely a somewhat more severe earthquake than usual. In my view, that earthquake will be felt throughout the world; the entire earth will shudder.

Concerning the time of the tribulation, the Book of Isaiah says: “the foundations of the earth will be shaken. The earth will be utterly broken! The earth will be utterly crushed! The earth will be utterly shaken! The earth will stagger greatly, like a drunken man” (Is 24:18-20).

The March 11, 2011 earthquake in Japan is being called the worst earthquake in the history of Japan (8.9 on the Richter scale — updated to 9.0). However, it is not the worst earthquake in recent history; there have been several that were 9.0 or greater. And none of these earthquakes were large enough to qualify as one of the earthquakes of the tribulation. For it cannot be said about even those earthquakes in the 8.8 to 9.5 range that they shake the foundations of the earth, or that they cause the planet to stagger. The earthquakes mentioned in the Book of Revelation will most likely be so strong as to defy measurement on the Richter scale.

Another great earthquake is described for later in the first part of the tribulation, in the late 2030’s (according to my eschatology).

{8:5} And the Angel received the golden censer, and he filled it from the fire of the altar, and he cast it down upon the earth, and there were thunders and voices and lightnings and a great earthquake.
{8:6} And the seven Angels who hold the seven trumpets prepared themselves, in order to sound the trumpet.
{8:7} And the first Angel sounded the trumpet. And there came hail and fire, mixed with blood; and it was cast down upon the earth. And a third part of the earth was burned, and a third part of the trees was entirely burned up, and all the green plants were burned.
{8:8} And the second Angel sounded the trumpet. And something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was cast down into the sea. And a third part of the sea became like blood.
{8:9} And a third part of the creatures that were living in the sea died. And a third part of the ships were destroyed.

The Seventh Seal is divided into seven sets of events, called trumpets. The above-described events are the first two trumpets of the Seventh Seal. I interpret the first trumpet to be many pieces of a broken comet falling to earth (about the year 2038). A comet is frozen, like hail, but it burns like fire as it falls through the atmosphere. This event will include great disturbances to all the oceans of the world, as some of the larger pieces of the comet strike the oceans. A number of small to moderate sized tsunamis will occur as a result. The event of the second trumpet is one very large piece of that same comet striking an ocean. The result is a tsunami so massive that one third of the creatures in the oceans of the world will be killed. (Huge quantities of dead marine life will wash up on the shores of the world.) Also, one third of the ships of the world will be destroyed. The size of this tsunami and the devastation that it causes will be unimaginable. The height of the tsunami will not be several meters or several feet (as is the case with the tsunami of March 11, 2011), but instead hundreds of meters high. Even shorelines very distant from the place where the comet piece strikes the ocean will have tsunamis greater than a few feet. All the shorelines of the world will be jeopardized by these two events, the first two trumpets of the Seventh Seal.

A great earthquake occurs about this time (Rev 8:5). But this quake is not coincidental; it is caused by the one large piece of the comet striking the ocean. For if a large enough piece of a comet strikes the ocean at very high speed and with very great force, it will penetrate the ocean depths all the way to the floor of the ocean, striking the mantle of the earth. This strike will cause an immense earthquake, of immeasurable magnitude, which will be felt worldwide.

The earthquake and tsunamis of March 11, 2011 are much more limited in severity and scope compared to these future earthquakes and tsunamis which occur during the first part of the tribulation (the Apocalypse). So this recent event is not severe enough to be a part of the severe afflictions described in the Bible as occurring during the end times.

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5 Responses to No, the recent earthquake and tsunamis are not a part of the Apocalypse

  1. Rogersatx says:

    Ron,

    Makes perfect sense , thank you sir.
    rogersatx

  2. Jeremy says:

    If you don’t mind me asking…where are you getting the dates (years) for these events?

  3. Bob Davis says:

    Ron…

    Somewhere in the writings of Medjugorje and Gabranal, I recall something about a Godless nation that would be singled out…and severely punished….because they lost their way…and forgot about God. I also recall speculation that this could be Japan.

    During the Great Warning, would the Japanese people realize this…and convert? Would the Muslims ever be able to recognize Jesus as more than a prophet? We all think we are on the right “team”…but dealing with a change in the foundation of your beliefs is pretty hard to do.

    After allowing every dick and harry to start their own religion for so many generations, it will be a true “Come to Jesus” moment. I suppose this is why it will be so difficult and why God will have to continue to punish those that don’t acknowledge Him.

    One thing that seems to be left out of your speculation is the attack on Israel that is thwarted by divine intervention….the first time since bibical days. When is that to occur?? If the Muslim’s take out Europe, they must have conquered Israel along the way also….correct?

    Good Friday 2011 is coming up quickly.

    Thanks..

    • ronconte says:

      I don’t recall any prophesy about a godless nation singled out and severely punished. God will dispense suffering and punishment during the tribulation without singling out any nation. All nations have sinned gravely and all will be punished. If not for the many grave sins of the world, the tribulation would never occur.

      Many people in every nation will convert, and all too many people in every nation will fail to convert. God judges us as individuals, not as nations. Some Muslims will convert to Christianity. But the Warning does not give anyone full knowledge of morality or religion; it only corrects people for sins on their conscience. So most people will not realize that Catholic Christianity is the truest form of religion. People will generally seek solace in their own religions.

      Israel is spared from being conquered by the Muslims during this time. I say that somewhere in my books.

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