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On the night of Friday, September 8, a seismic upheaval of magnitude 6.8 suddenly unleashed its fury. Thousands of residents in the numerous villages scattered across Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains were either retiring for the evening or already lost in slumber. 

As of September 11, CNN reports, “More than 2,800 people have been killed and 2,500 injured, according to Moroccan state media.” This cataclysmic event originated near Oukaïmedene, approximately fifty miles away. The entire expanse quivered violently, reverberations extending as far as Lisbon in Portugal. 

Across a vast stretch of Morocco, an untold number of residences and structures succumbed to the relentless tremors, leaving devastation in their wake. Reports indicated that the magnitude 6.8 earthquake that hit Morocco was a rare incident. It was the deadliest that shocked the country in more than 60 years.

Understanding earthquakes

Earthquakes have long been a source of fascination and fear for humanity. These natural disasters can cause devastating damage, loss of life, and economic upheaval. Earthquakes have often been associated with divine wrath or cosmic events.

In contemporary times, however, we face whether the recent increase in seismic activity is merely a natural phenomenon or a sign of something more ominous – the end times.

 The science of earthquakes

It’s crucial to understand the science behind these geological phenomena. Earthquakes result from the Earth’s tectonic plates shifting, causing stress to build up along fault lines. When this stress exceeds the strength of the rocks holding it back, it is released in the form of seismic waves, leading to an earthquake. These events are a natural consequence of the Earth’s dynamic processes, occurring for billions of years.

Natural causes of earthquakes

1. Plate Tectonics. The Earth’s lithosphere is separated into a number of tectonic plates that are continually moving. The boundaries where these plates interact are hotspots for seismic activity. For example, the Pacific Ring of Fire is a region where numerous earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur due to the collision and subduction of tectonic plates.

2. Faults. Fault lines are fractures in the Earth’s crust where significant stress can accumulate. When the pressure is released, it results in an earthquake. Well-known fault lines like the San Andreas Fault in California are particularly prone to seismic activity.

3. Volcanic activity. Volcanic eruptions can also trigger earthquakes. The movement of magma beneath the Earth’s surface can create pressure and fractures in the surrounding rocks.

The role of human activity

Human activity, such as mining, reservoir-induced seismicity (due to the filling of large reservoirs), and hydraulic fracturing (fracking), can also induce earthquakes. These induced tremors are typically lower magnitude but can still pose risks to local communities.

Are earthquakes a sign of the end times?

An assortment of pocket watches (Photo by Giallo from Pexels)

Earthquakes and other natural disasters have often been interpreted as signs of divine displeasure or impending doom. However, it’s also essential to approach this idea with a rational and scientific perspective.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), “We expect about 16 major earthquakes in any given year. That includes 15 earthquakes in the magnitude 7 range and one magnitude 8.0 or greater earthquake. In the past 40-50 years, our records show that we have exceeded the long-term average number of major earthquakes about a dozen times.”

Earthquakes have been occurring for eons, long before human civilization existed. The idea that they are a sign of the end times has been proposed repeatedly throughout history. These seismic events have often been associated with dire prophecies and are precursors of apocalyptic times. 

Individuals and cultures have repeatedly predicted the world’s end based on natural disasters, including earthquakes. Yet, the track record of such predictions could be better, with the promised apocalypses rarely materializing.

Over centuries, our understanding of earthquakes has undergone a profound transformation. Once considered the result of supernatural or apocalyptic forces, earthquakes are demystified through rigorous scientific inquiry. 

Moreover, we possess comprehensive explanations for their causes rooted in geological and seismological principles. Plate tectonics, faults, and the release of stress accumulated over time are critical factors in our contemporary understanding of earthquakes. This scientific enlightenment has allowed us to predict, prepare for, and mitigate the impact of seismic events, replacing fear with knowledge.

The enigma of earthquakes, wildfires, famines, and floods

A man pouring water from a dipper. (Photo by hitesh choudhary from Pexels)

The simultaneous occurrence of earthquakes, floods, famines, hunger, and other natural and humanitarian disasters is rising. Climate change plays a significant role, leading to more extreme weather events like floods and prolonged droughts that cause famines and hunger. It can also influence tectonic activity, potentially causing more earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Global interconnectedness amplifies these disasters’ impacts. For instance, a drought can trigger food shortages, and coupled with heavy rains, it disrupts food supply chains, exacerbating the situation. Rapid urbanization leads to more people and infrastructure in high-risk areas, increasing the potential for multiple disasters.

In poverty-stricken regions or conflict zones, vulnerable populations are often disproportionately affected. They face concurrent crises, like hunger during a famine or displacement due to floods. Human activities, such as deforestation and large dam construction, also contribute to natural and humanitarian disasters.

The connection between these catastrophic events and the biblical end times is often discussed within Christian eschatology. Are we really careening toward Armageddon?

Biblical prophecy

The Book of Revelation, the last book of the Christian New Testament, contains vivid descriptions of apocalyptic events, including earthquakes, wildfires, and catastrophic floods. Some religious believers often interpret these events as symbolic or literal signs of the end times.

Signs of God’s wrath

In some interpretations, these natural disasters are seen as expressions of God’s wrath and judgment on humanity for its sins. They are seen as precursors to a final judgment and the return of Jesus Christ.

The Time is Not Yet

(Matthew 24: 6-8, Bible verse image from Bible Portal)

“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” – Matthew 24:6-8

In the Book of Matthew, Jesus sat with his disciples on the Mount of Olives. They asked him about the signs of His return and the end of the age. Jesus warned them against deception, explaining that many false prophets would come, claiming to be the Messiah, and lead people astray. 

He predicted wars, rumors of wars, nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. He spoke of famines and earthquakes as the beginning of “birth pains,” signifying a tribulation period before the end.

In this passage, Jesus provides a glimpse of the tumultuous events preceding His second coming. His message emphasizes the need for vigilance and faith amid uncertainty and chaos. 

The disciples are reminded that though challenging times lie ahead, they must remain steadfast in their belief, awaiting the fulfillment of God’s plan and the eventual redemption of the world.

Instead of focusing solely on interpreting earthquakes, floods, and famine as signs of the end times, Christians are encouraged to live in compassion and preparedness for whatever the future may hold. These catastrophes are a reminder of the dynamic nature of our planet. By studying them, we can work towards a safer and more resilient future while staying spiritually grounded in our beliefs.

The present times are harsh and dark. People have become more sinful and reckless in the stewardship of our earthly abode. But the Bible says the “end is not yet.” Jesus said that “only the Father knows.”

As Christians, our primary duty is to love and serve God and others. If we remain vigilant and steadfast in our faith, the glory of eternal life beckons.

More from Crossmap: Chronology of End Times Events

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