The Earthquake Resurrection Pattern
A very interesting pattern in scripture emerges when studying resurrections from the dead. There are a number of recorded resurrections in Scripture, but the majority of these are back to mortal life. It is when one studies resurrections from the dead into immortality, that one notices a connecting thread – local earthquakes. 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!” (ESV)
Matthew includes the observation that the earth shook and rocks were split. This earthquake seems to possibly 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. (ESV)
At the time of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, there was a large earthquake which opened 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 (transformed into eternal bodies) 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. (I believe their possible identification may be the mysterious 24 elders, discussed here: Who are the 24 Elders in the Heavenly Temple?).
- 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, was more likely 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 Jesus are part of the “firstfruits” – occurring literally on the day of the Feast of Firstfruits.
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 ESV
When the two witnesses are resurrected in the future, a great earthquake will occur.
A Nuclear Transformation?
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”. (ESV)
In his book, David Lowe briefly discusses Quantum Physics and how there is a balance in matter between the visible and the invisible. The Bible explains it that the visible has origins in the invisible:
By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Hebrews 11:3 ESV
…as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV
When billions of people are changed from death unto life, and from mortal to immortal, this will seemingly result in a massive disruption to the balance of nuclear energy on the earth.
We Will Be Changed
The nuclear transformation from mortal to eternal explains the release of massive amounts of energy at the time of resurrections. It explains the pattern of earthquakes being triggered upon resurrection to immortality events. The resurrection/rapture of the dead and alive in Christ at the upcoming “rapture” event will be the largest nuclear event ever to unfold upon the earth.
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 ESV
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. Romans 6:5 ESV
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:20-21 ESV
Searching For Nuclear Events in Scripture
Is there any indication in scripture of a massive nuclear event that could be connected with the resurrection/transformation of perhaps billions of people all at once into eternal bodies, from all nations, tribes, languages, and peoples – both dead and alive?
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.
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 ESV
The details of the 6th seal are examined in depth HERE, but in summary:
- A massive earthquake occurs on a global scale
- The sun becomes black
- 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 ESV) 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 ESV
“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 ESV
It is entirely possible that the unmentioned cause of the events of Seal 6 is the transformation of the church – the body of believers first deceased and then alive – into immortality.
Transformed THEN Seized
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 ESV)
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 ESV)
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.
If there is, I personally don’t believe it will be longer than minutes to hours. I actually think the two events will seem simultaneous, based on the disaster that will be unfolding on the earth around us. However, the “many saints” that were resurrected at the same time as Jesus appeared in Jerusalem at least over a few hours and possibly days. So there is definite precedence to the resurrected and immortal dead walking around as witnesses. Note that these would not appear as zombies or other “walking dead” pictured in horror shows, but would appear in glory, brilliance, and perfection. Maybe God will give us one final moment to witness to our loved ones?
Earthquake Resurrection/Rapture Conclusion
It seems that the great earthquake discussed in Seal 6 (Revelation 6) is either caused by the resurrection/transformation of believers or immediately follows their resurrection/transformation. I personally believe the global earth shaking may start as the dead in Christ are first raised, and continue as the living are transformed, carrying on while we are all caught up together. The world will then deal with the devastation of the aftershocks, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions while we are safely tucked away in heaven.
The timeline in Seal 5-6 thus seems to be:
- 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 satan and his fallen angels being cast down, Revelation 12:3-4 and possibly 7-9) – Seal 6
- Sky parts as a scroll. This is where the harpazo (rapture) occurs, in my opinion. The sky rolls back, 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. However, it may not precede the transformation event, which would make sense as if we were transformed into eternal bodies, we couldn’t be harmed by the earthquake. By how long, we are not told. Moments? Minutes? Hours? 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.
Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape? If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.
Earthquake Resurrection Chapter 6 – David Lowe
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!