In piecing together matching scriptures on prophetic earthquakes, I found a key distinction between the [earth] shaking, and the [heaven AND the earth] shaking. This becomes important when deciphering the Day of the Lord timeline, as there are certainly some similarities between the Beginning and the Ending of the Day of the Lord. They are similar, but NOT the same.
Preceding the Day of the Lord – The Earth Shakes
The Day of the Lord is PRECEDED by a great earthquake, a darkened sun, a BLOOD RED moon, and “stars of the sky falling to the earth”:
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
But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, my wrath will be roused in my anger. For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord God. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur. So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 38:18-23 ESV
There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. Luke 21:11 ESV
I would suggest that the “stars falling to the earth” is the casting down of satan and his fallen angel horde as described in Revelation 12:4. Note that the “stars” come down to the earth, but they are not “shaken” or “removed”. This is the time of their great deception, which is allowed and even enhanced by God as part of His divine wrath (2 Thessalonians 2).
His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. Revelation 12:4
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Revelation 12:7-8
Ending the Day of the Lord – The Heavens and The Earth Shake
The Day of the Lord ENDS with a darkened sun, a DARKENED moon, “stars falling from the sky”, the “powers of the heavens will be shaken”, the “heavenly bodies will be shaken”, “all the host of heaven shall rot away”, the”removal of things that are shaken”:
Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. (Joel 3:14-16 ESV)
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days, “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ (Matthew 24 ESV) 24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. (Mark 13 ESV) 25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Luke 21 ESV)
In Luke 21, there is roaring of the sea and waves and foreboding of what is coming on [happening to] the world. This caused me some confusion because that seems to fit better with Seal 6 (the Beginning of the Day of the Lord). In actuality, the passage could fit there as well. However, let’s look at the little key here that tells us the “powers of the heavens will be shaken”. This definitively connects it to the other verses describing the powers of the heavens being shaken in Matthew and Mark. In Matthew and Mark we find out the “powers of the heavens are shaken” AFTER the “tribulation of those days”. Mark describes it as the “powers that [are] in the heavens will be shaken” – which is more accurately stating what will happen. Remember that in Ephesians we are told that there is a “ruler of the authority of the air” (2:2), and that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood; but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of the darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (6:12). When Jesus comes, the evil forces that currently run rampant in our realm will literally be shaken out of their abode.
In Hebrews 12, the author reminds his listeners of the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, where God’s voice shook the earth in an earthquake. He goes on to say “At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:26-29). He states that only once more God’s voice will shake the earth – but this time His voice will shake the heavens, too. In shaking the heavens, He will remove the things that have been made (the fallen angels – Ephesians 6:12).
For the Lord is enraged against all the nations, and furious against all their host; he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter. Their slain shall be cast out, and the stench of their corpses shall rise; the mountains shall flow with their blood. All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree. (Isaiah 34:2-4 ESV; entire chapter 34 is the end of the Day of the Lord)
For the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble. The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken. The earth staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again. On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth. They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders. (Isaiah 24:18-23 ESV)
In Luke 21, there is roaring of the sea and waves and foreboding of what is coming on [happening to] the world as the powers of the heavens are shaken. In the 5th bowl judgment, the world was plunged into darkness. How long this darkness lasts, we are not told. It could still be dark at the time the heavens are shaken. In the 6th bowl, lying spirits assemble people for Armageddon. Then, in Bowl 7 the greatest earthquake ever, which flattens all mountains completely and buries all islands, occurs. This could definitely explain the foreboding, distress, and tsunamis (roaring seas and waves).
In Bowl 7, which announces the end of the Day of the Lord, the greatest earthquake ever occurs. Just like preceding the Day of the Lord, a cataclysmic earthquake will mark the End of the Day of the Lord. Where the earthquake at the beginning “merely” moved every mountain and island out of place, this earthquake will completely flatten every mountain and every island will disappear. Not only will the earth be shaken, but the “powers of the heavens” (satan and the horde of fallen angels/demons) will be shaken as well. This could definitely explain the foreboding, distress, and tsunamis (roaring seas and waves).
The greatest earthquake that completely resurfaces the earth, and the shaking of the heavens that removes all the forces of evil contained therein, will together participate in the preparations necessary for setting up God’s kingdom that cannot be shaken.
While the day of the Lord is preceded by violent global earthquakes, at this time the fallen angelic host will have restraint removed from them in order that satan’s end times deception can take place. The day of the Lord will also be ended by violent global earthquakes, but at that time the fallen angelic host will be rattled out of their dominion (the host of the heavens will be shaken as well) and cast into the Abyss for the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. They are two separate events.
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.
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!