I would like to again think about Judgment Day, May 21, 2011. How can we think about anything else? How can we talk about anything else? This is coming and it is coming fast, so I would like to look at what is going to happen. We will look at some verses dealing with earthquakes.
I would also like to respond to some who ask, “What are you going to do on May 22nd?” or “What is going to happen on May 22nd?”
A lot of people are convinced and absolutely sure that May 22nd will be a normal day. They are certain that it will be just like any other day and that there will be nothing different about it.
This is because the people of the world trust in this world. They have great faith, but not in God and not in the Bible. Their faith is in this world. If they were to kick their foot against the ground right now, they would find that it is nice and solid; it is nice and secure. The earth has been this way all of their lives; it has been very stable. Without the grace of God, it is impossible for them to believe that this ground is going to one day soon begin to quiver and to roll like a wave of the sea. No matter where people will be in all of the world, there will be no safe place once this day comes.
So I would just like to look at this a little because many people are guaranteeing that May 22nd will come, and yet God, through the Bible, is guaranteeing that May 21st will be Judgment Day. Yes, there will be a May 22nd, but it will not be like anything that people have ever known. We will look at what is going to happen on May 21st, and then we will see how this will impact the next day, May 22nd, and all of the following days of the five remaining months.
We read in Revelation 11:11-13:
And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither…
This is referring to the rapture. The Bible does not use the word “rapture,” but it speaks of being taken up or coming up. It continues:
…Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
God is indicating here that at the time of the rapture, in the same hour, there will be a great earthquake. God will bring an earthquake at that time because this is His methodology. This is the way the Bible indicates that God will open up the ground for the dead bodies to come up.
We have looked at this before, but I would like to go over this again. We read in Matthew 27:50-52:
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
So here we see that there will be an earthquake and then the resurrection as the graves open up.
Look at Matthew 28:2. This says:
And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
Who was in this tomb? This was the tomb of Jesus. He rose from the dead. He was resurrected.
In Ezekiel 37, God speaks of the dry and dead bones coming back to life, and then He says that there was a great shaking. We read in Ezekiel 37:7:
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking…
This word for “shaking” has been translated several times in the Old Testament as “earthquake.” It continues:
…behold a shaking [an earthquake], and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
So these dead bodies came to life in association with an earthquake.
Then in Ezekiel 37:11-12, we read:
Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord JEHOVAH; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
“The land of Israel” is a synonym for Heaven, for being brought into the Promised Land, and we see that there was a resurrection in view and then an earthquake.
If we go back to the book of Revelation, we read in Revelation 16:17-18:
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
It does not really mention the resurrection here; yet from all of the other information, we know that this is what God is talking about.
An earthquake can bring a lot of devastation. We saw what happened in Haiti. We saw that an entire country was ruined terribly by an earthquake. Many people died in just this one earthquake that was in one place on one tiny island. I do not know the exact number, but it was into the hundreds of thousands who died in this earthquake and many buildings were destroyed.
God is now indicating that the earthquake that He will bring on May 21st will not be isolated to one particular city or country. This earthquake will be across the face of the earth and in all lands. This is because the dead are scattered everywhere throughout this world, and so God will open the ground through an earthquake and the whole world will be in far worse condition than Haiti ever was.
When an earthquake hits just one city or country, then the rest of the world can help. Many rushed to Haiti to help them; and yet even after all this time, they are still recovering from all of the damage that was caused by that one earthquake. Many have responded with tons of help, with people, with medicine, with supplies.
People are still over there helping with that physical tragedy that took place, but when an earthquake is in Philadelphia at the same time that it is simultaneously in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Mexico City and all of the other cities of the world, who is going to be able to help anybody else? No one will because this will be impossible. Even all of the technology that assists in helping in this kind of a tragedy today, much of it will not even be operable because much of it is going to be destroyed itself.
When there is a worldwide earthquake, we do not know exactly what will happen; but we can gather that if the skyscrapers are coming down and if there is all kinds of damage everywhere, it is going to be hard to have the electricity that we have today or the running water that we have today, as well as all of the other niceties that we have today like refrigerators, sinks, bathrooms, flushing toilets, bathtubs or showers. All of these things will also be impacted.
So Revelation 16:18 says again:
…and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
Sometimes in the Bible, God makes what is very definitely an understatement. For example, we read in Revelation 21:1:
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
God just described the complete destruction of the world, actually, of the universe, and He did it in a single sentence. He did not magnify this statement in this case. He just matter-of-factly described that this world will be gone, and then He goes into describing the new heaven and the new earth and His people, the New Jerusalem.
We tend to exaggerate and to magnify things and to make them sound much bigger than they are. Whether we are talking about our own accomplishments or whether we are telling a story, we have this trait. God does not, however; so when He says what He does in Revelation 16, “There was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great,” He is emphasizing this to let us know that this will be incredibly big and that no one will be able to escape it.
I know that many people now are making statements that sound fearless and that make them sound like they have great confidence. They try to make it sound like they are not worried or concerned about this; but I think that as we get closer to May, many of these same people might be stocking up on supplies or they might be trying to prepare in some way for this event, for the possibility that this could happen.
This is because May 21st is in the back of their minds. If this was not in the back of their minds, so many people would not be writing to us in order to tell us how crazy we are or how stupid we are or how ridiculous they think this is. Some people write these long, long paragraphs that could be many hundreds of words long. Why do they do this just in order to tell us that we are crazy? Why are they taking the time? Why are they bothering to do this?
We are getting a lot of comments from people and sometimes they want some kind of proof from the child of God, from the believer. One person wrote and said, “What have you done with your home? Have you sold it in order to get money? What has Family Radio done? What has Mr. Camping done? Has he sold his house? Is he doing everything possible?” Then they said, “If you do this, if you sell your home and if you sell your possessions and if you begin living without any of these things and doing nothing but warning people of this, then I will believe that you believe it.”
People are writing a lot of notes very similar to this. In essence, they are saying, “You do something to make me believe that you believe this”; but the thing is that we are not concerned as to whether or not people believe that we believe this. Some have even indicated that if we signed over our house and if we liquefied all of our possessions and turned them all into cash, then they would believe themselves; but we know that belief is not in man’s control. Nothing is going to make them believe.
There is no act that the child of God could do that could make them believe. The only thing that could make someone a true believer is God Himself. He has to give faith. He has to give a new heart and a new spirit. He is the only One who can give belief of the truth, and so it would be a complete waste of time for us to try to make bets or for us to try to do things in order to satisfy others who say that they will believe if we would only do something, when, actually, this is not possible because God is in control of who believes. What God wants us to do is to occupy by getting the Gospel out to the world as much as we can.
Let us go to some other verses, like Haggai 2:6. It says:
For thus saith JEHOVAH of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;
It is “a little while”; it is three months.
When we buy something, we also buy a warranty that covers the product for a certain period of time. This amount of time would not even give us the best warranty. With some things that we buy, we are given a one-year warranty; with other things, maybe three months, and three months is not a very good warranty. Three months come and go very quickly after you have bought an item, and it never seems to fail that after the warranty runs out in three months that the product will break; and so three months is not even a very good length of time for a warranty on a product, and yet it is in this length of time that God will come and He will “shake the heavens, and the earth,” as it says here in Haggai 2:7:
And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith JEHOVAH of hosts.
It is an earthquake, is it not, when God shakes the nations, when He shakes “the heavens, and the earth”? Is God going to shake the sky or deep space? He is using this language because He is speaking of the darkening of the sun and the moon and of the falling of the stars, which is spiritually to be understood by the removal of the Gospel lights of the world; and in one verse, God is speaking of a spiritual thing in shaking the heavens and He is speaking of a literal thing in shaking the earth. This is something that God does.
On May 21st, the stars are not literally going to fall, the sun is not going to be literally darkened, and the moon is not going to literally not give its light. We know this because there will still be time left on this earth. As long as there is time on earth, it will be as we read in Genesis 8:22:
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
There will be five more months of time from May 21st to October 21st. It will be on October 21st, after five months, when God will destroy the universe, including the literal destruction of the sun, moon, and stars; but on May 21st, this language is a spiritual reference to the removal of all of the lights of the Gospel.
Turn to Joel 3. We read in Joel 3:13-16:
Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the JEHOVAH is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. JEHOVAH also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but JEHOVAH will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
Again, we see God shaking the heavens.
Let us go to Isaiah 2. We read in Isaiah 2:17-21:
And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and JEHOVAH alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of JEHOVAH, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of JEHOVAH, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
He just doubled “when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth”; He said this twice. Remember what we read in Genesis. When God doubles something, it is because “God will shortly bring it to pass.” This is the case as we read this because “time is at hand.” The Day of Judgment is when God will arise “to shake terribly the earth.”
It is God’s methodology to bring the earthquake in order to open the ground and for the dead to rise. Those who are saved will receive their new resurrected bodies and go up to be with the Lord. Those who died unsaved will not come back to life; they will come up supernaturally by the power of God, because He is the One who is raising them. He is the One who is bringing up their bones or their ashes or whatever is left of them. If they had only recently been buried, then their rotting corpses will come up. He will bring them up and then He will leave them on the ground ungathered. He gathered His fruit: “the precious fruit of the earth,” the elect. All of the rest will be left scattered across the face of the earth, and this is what will happen on May 21st.
One reason for the earthquake is that this is God’s methodology for opening up the ground. The second reason is because people trust in this world, and yet this world is an idol. Mankind has more confidence and faith in this world than they do in the Bible. We can easily see this because God is saying May 21st and the people of the world are saying May 22nd. God wants to focus on May 21st; they want to focus on May 22nd. This is because they believe that their god, this world, will remain. They have absolute faith and confidence in this; and so immediately on the Day of Judgment, God will shake this earth and He will shake their confidence, that great and tremendous confidence that they have that this world will continue on and on and that nothing the Bible says could ever prevent this.
This is nothing but arrogance and great pride for man to think that he knows better than God and that he can predict what will happen, because it is just as much a prophecy for someone to say, “I will see you on May 22nd after nothing happens,” as it is to say, “This is what is going to happen on May 21st.” These are actually two competing prophecies.
We could, in a sense, ask ourselves the question, “Do I believe that May 21st will be Judgment Day or do I believe that May 22nd will be like any other day?” We could actually divide the whole human race right now between these two understandings. What do you think about May 21st? What do you believe about this date? What about May 22nd?
Because man trusts so greatly in the ground under his feet, when God begins this process of shaking the ground, He is going to instantaneously shake the confidence of man and destroy their idol. He is going to destroy their trust in and love for this world. This is what God said in 1 John 2 when He warned all of us not to get too attached to this world. We were never to fall in love with this world.
It is like when a parent recognizes for a child of theirs that a certain companion is not very good for them and they then try to tell them this, “Do not get attached to this individual. Do not fall in love and marry this individual.”
So God tells us in 1 John 2:15-17:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof…
Here is another one of those simple declarations of God, poof: “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof.” The world will pass away as well as all of the things that people are so attached to. If someone is attached to a thing of the world, they are attached to the world, because it is the world that is made up of all of these things.
So, by God’s grace, we need to make sure that we are not attached to the things of this world, that we are not loving this world and that we do not have a desire for this world to continue on so that we can continue to live out our lives and do our own thing and have our own pleasure.
In continuing with this idea of the earthquake, let us go to Revelation 6. It says in Revelation 6:12-15:
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake…
So here it is again. It continues:
…and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
This sounds like what we read in Isaiah 2.
It continues to say in Revelation 6:16-17:
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
Here, again, God speaks of “a great earthquake” and He ties this in with the sun becoming black; and Matthew 24:29 says:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
This will happen “immediately after the tribulation.” When does the tribulation end? It ends on May 21, 2011. It began on May 21, 1988 and it goes for 23 years; and it just so happens that May 21 of this year is the 8400th day of the Great Tribulation. It will be a completion of the 23 years on that day. One day before or one day later, it would not work out this well; but on the very day that the tribulation ends, it happens to also be the 17th day of the 2nd month of the Biblical calendar, which was also the very day that God shut the door on the ark. Noah and his family were saved while all of the rest of the people of the world were doomed to be destroyed by the flood; and on that day when the tribulation ends, we read of “a great earthquake” when the sun becomes dark, spiritually speaking. This will be May 21st.
There are many verses that we could look at. I wanted to go over this because I just wanted to point out the certainty of how we can see that the Bible relates an earthquake to what is coming.
Joel 2:1-2 says:
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of JEHOVAH cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
Then we read in Joel 2:6-14:
Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And JEHOVAH shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of JEHOVAH is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Therefore also now, saith JEHOVAH, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the JEHOVAH your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto JEHOVAH your God?
God is encouraging us here. He is laying out that the earth will quake on the Day of the Lord, but now, as it says in Joel 2:12:
Therefore also now…
It is still the day of salvation. God never speaks of tomorrow in terms of salvation. It is always now; today is the day of salvation.
…now, saith JEHOVAH, turn ye even to me with all your heart…
Of course, no one can do this, but we can head in this direction. We can pray to God, “O Lord, give me a new heart and a new spirit, a heart that delights in You and would desire to do Your will in every way.”
Also in Zephaniah 2, I would just like to look at this language because I think that the door to Heaven is wide open today. Christ is the door. Potentially, from our perspective, salvation is still available to any individual in the world. If we go to God and if we beseech Him and if we cry out to Him, we can have hope. We can have hope that He might save us. We read in Zephaniah 2:1-3:
Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of JEHOVAH come upon you, before the day of JEHOVAH’S anger come upon you. Seek ye JEHOVAH, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of JEHOVAH’S anger.
He says, “It may be.” Look at what is being said here. He is saying that if someone now, today, begins to go to Him and to cry out to Him for mercy and to continue to beseech Him and, along with this, if they read their Bible, because “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” if they do everything that God says here now, immediately at this moment today, and if they continue to do this from now to whenever God saves them, if He intends to save them, or if they do this up until the Day of Judgment, if they continue doing everything that God would want a sinner to do, it is still a possibility. It is not guaranteed and it is not definite, but “it may be” that He will save them.
Look at what you are not doing now. You are not reading the Bible. You are not praying. You are not crying out to God for mercy. This is not the most urgent thing in your life, because you are involved with a lot of other things. If God might possibly save you if you were to do everything that He would have a sinner to do, what kind of a position are you placing yourself in if you are doing hardly any of these things?
God is merciful and gracious and kind and He still might save someone who is doing everything possible in their own lives to “oppose themselves” and to prevent salvation from taking place in their own lives. God might, in some rare instances, like the thief on the cross, save someone who is completely stubborn and rebellious and who has no interest in these things, but I would not count on it.
On the other hand, He is telling you what you might do, you who are a condemned criminal, because God is merciful. Because of His mercy, you might approach Him. Possibly, He will pardon you. We ought not to take for granted the salvation of God that is available today. Certainly, we should not “neglect so great salvation,” as God tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:1-2:
We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured [or helped] thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
Do this “before the decree bring forth,” as He says in Zephaniah 2, or “therefore also now,” as He says in Joel 2, or “[today] is the accepted time” and not any other day, because you may not have another opportunity.
Let us go to one last passage. We read in Hebrews 12:25-28:
See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised…
God’s Word or His promises are “faithful and true.” He cannot lie. It continues:
…but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
This world is so unstable, so fragile, so temporary, and yet so many people want to build their lives upon the foundation of this earth.
I mentioned earlier the tunnel dwellers who live down in the subways where the trains go through. At least they had enough sense to build their dwellings off of the tracks. They are living near the trains, and yet not on top of the tracks; but where have people placed their trust? They have placed their trust right there where the destruction is going to come, because it is guaranteed that God is going to destroy unsaved man and all of his possessions, everything that he owns.
The child of God realizes that this is God’s plan, and so are we really crazy? Are we really insane, as so many people would like us to believe? Are we out of our minds because we trust the Bible, because we believe His Word, because we know, by the grace of God, that this day is coming, or is it the world that is really insane and crazy and out of their minds?
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 9 that “madness is in their heart while they live.” The madness of the world is to live as though this world is eternal and to live as if their own lives would go on eternally in this world, when neither is true. There is an end and it is coming. It is coming very quickly, like a locomotive coming down the tracks. Anyone who is in the way “shall be utterly destroyed.”
Let us stop here.