As a Historicist, and using “generally accepted hermeneutics,” earthquakes, in prophecy, represent social upheaval, sometimes war, which in some way benefits God’s people. These upheaval remove from power those who stand in the way of truth. Earthquakes in prophesy mean fallen or crushed nations usually brought about by war.
Let’s look, first, at “generally accepted” fulfilled prophecy:
“Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the LORD of hosts in the day of his fierce anger. Those who see you will stare at you, and ponder over you: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms” Is. 13:13-14
Twice in the passage of Is 13:1-23 an oracle mentions earthquakes concerning Babylon. These are not literal earthquakes but the portent of the coming political changes.
“ you will be visited by the LORD of hosts with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.” Is 29:6
The thunder and earthquake predicted the sacking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the exile into Babylon; possibly Titus, or both. Either way it was played out as war and sacking of the city as God’s judgment against His unfaithful people.
Babylon’s taking of Jerusalem is found in several passages;
23 I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I looked on the mountains, and lo, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. 25 I looked, and lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the air had fled. 26 I looked, and lo, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger. Jer. 4:23-26
“The snorting of their horses is heard from Dan; at the sound of the neighing of their stallions the whole land quakes. They come and devour the land and all that fills it, the city and those who dwell in it.” Jer. 8:16
At the sound of their fall the earth shall tremble; the sound of their cry shall be heard at the Red Sea. Jer. 49:21
At the sound of the capture of Babylon the earth shall tremble, and her cry shall be heard among the nations.” Jer. 50:46
The Medes taking Babylon
The land trembles and writhes in pain, for the LORD’s purposes against Babylon stand, to make the land of Babylon a desolation, without inhabitant. Jer. 51:29
The Fall of Tyre
This was fulfilled when Alexander the Great captured the city of Tyre in 332 BC
“Thus says the Lord GOD to Tyre: Will not the coastlands shake at the sound of your fall, when the wounded groan, when slaughter is made in the midst of you? Ezek. 26:15
At the sound of the cry of your pilots the countryside shakes, Ezek. 27:28
These can now be looked up in the history books. Jerusalem fell, Edom is gone, Babylon is a ruin, and modern Tyre has been moved up the coast line for ancient Tyre. So why when we get to The Revelation do the prophecy mongers go nuts about real earthquakes. They should be looking political collapse.
The Fall of Rome
12 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, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale; 14 the sky vanished like a scroll that is rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the generals and the rich and the strong, and every one, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 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; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand before it?” Rev 6:12-17
Rome fell in 476. With it went the lights of learning, knowledge, and law were extinguished. All of Europe sank into a great darkness, that has been called the Dark Ages ever since.
And at that hour there was a Great earthquake Rev 11:13
There are flashes of lightning, voices, thunder, earthquake and heavy hail. These are the wars and political upheaval of the Reformation, the Thirty Years War the second War of the Roses, the English Civil War , etc. This foreshadowed the bowls that bring judgment on Rome and Islam, leading to the Second Coming of Christ.
The Sack of Rome, May 6, 1527, by the Spanish and German mercenaries of Charles V was horrible even when judged by the customs of the day. It ended Rome’s preeminence during the Renaissance. Following this, there was incredible political upheaval in Florence, Genoa and Lombardy. The Pope was forced to make peace with Charles V, crowning him Emperor of The Holy Roman Empire and King of Italy.
17 The seventh angel poured his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 And there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as had never been since men were on the earth, so great was that earthquake. 19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered great Babylon, to make her drain the cup of the fury of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found; 21 and great hailstones, heavy as a hundred-weight, dropped on men from heaven, till men cursed God for the plague of the hail, so fearful was that plague. Rev. 16:17-21
This is the last of the earthquake references. We do not believe that this has happened yet but our hope for you is that by now you will have a firm foundation to work with and not be sucked into the fear-mongers snares. You cannot be a person of power and of sound mind if you are living in fear and/or following after someone who spouts a “personal revelation” of prophecy. All interpretation must follow “commonly accepted hermeneutical rules”.
for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. 2Tim. 1:7
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel — 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. Gal. 1:6-9