The Bible often mentions earthquakes. If they are so, they are also a matter of secular records making these Bible records the same history as found in secular records. This series is designed to explore secular history, archeological digs [discoveries] and scriptural records of Biblical Earthquakes. This series will end with an article or two on End-Time earthquakes. This is article number three in the series.
Earthquakes of the Bible and Secular History Coincide; secular views fail; the crucifixion
Before anyone reads the following article, I caution those who want to jump at conclusions steeped in one’s “belief” that now is the time; the end of the earth as we know it. Half-truths have done much damage to our Christian-based evangelical society. We (me included) accept without challenge statements that support our beliefs or desires without checking the facts. The World Wide Web has been one of the best tools for sending out half-truths.
Example: When in 2011 quarterback Tim Tebow and the Broncos beat the Steelers in overtime, a playoff they statistically never should have even been one of the competing teams, all sorts of “posts” were put out on the WWW that glorified the the view it was a “God supported” win. Perhaps the Broncos simply outplayed the Steelers. But what happens when a post goes viral stating that “amazingly four of the seven officials on the field were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John”; all key authors of Books of the Bible? What happens when it isn’t the truth yet it is forwarded to tens of thousands? Yes, it undercuts the reliability of Christian truth.
This is why we are using this series on the earthquakes of the Bible and secular history. When both sides identify the same earthquake, there is little room for middle ground.
In 1931 A.D., there were about seismograph stations 350 stations operating in the world. Today, there are more that 4,000 stations and the data now comes in rapidly from these stations by telex, computer and satellite. This increase in the number of stations and the more timely receipt of data has allowed us and other seismological centers to locate many small earthquakes which were undetected in earlier years.
This is not to say that writers like Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, Michael D. Evans, and Peter LaLonde, to mention but a few, point with some validity to the End Times being very close via reported earthquakes. This author maintains that we are concerned about the wrong thing. We should be less concerned about the earthquakes, the supposed increasing numbers and the horrendous damage such as in Japan just last year than a concern about the PEOPLE who died without Christ. None the less, let’s try to help those who think the Bible is *full of stories and that secular history is distinctly different and not full of stories; i.e. one is a story and the latter is history. We trust by pointing out that the Bible and secular records of a simple thing called earthquakes and huge storms are the same history recorded in the annuls of both scripture and secular history.
*Story (synonyms): tale, narrative, yarn, legend, fairy-tale, anecdote, rumor, report, hearsay, scoop, lie, fib, untruth, falsehood. These words all play a part in how the hearer of the Word and the world at-large can translate the facts of the Bible if we constantly call them “stories.” They are NOT STORIES! Bible events and history are facts that are often proven through science and secular histories.
One more word of caution and clarification for what too many pulpits, radio and television speakers point out as fact and it just isn’t so. We are often left with the impression that in scripture such as Matt. 24:7; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:11 that the natural destruction of end time earthquakes will be an INCREASE in numbers. Double check the facts… the word “increase” just isn’t there. Yes, the intensity may increase but we have no scriptural evidence that this will be a time when there is an increase in the number of earthquakes.
Matthew 24:7 (ESV) Nations will fight against other nations. Kingdoms will fight against other kingdoms. There will be times when there is no food for people to eat. And there will be earthquakes in different places.
Mark 13:8 (ESV) Nations will fight against other nations. Kingdoms will fight against other kingdoms. There will be times when there is no food for people to eat. And there will be earthquakes in different places.
Luke 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, sicknesses, and other bad things in many places. In some places there will be no food for the people to eat. Terrible things will happen, and amazing things will come from heaven to warn people.
Yes, the intensity of earthquakes may increase, and we do know from secular records that there is an increase in recorded and reported earthquakes (see paragraph 3 above) throughout the world, but the Bible simply does not say there will be an INCREASE in earthquakes. For the record, we checked the following interpretations of scripture to verify that the Bible does not say anything about an increase in the number of earthquakes:
King James; Lexham English Bible; Modern King James Version; Revised Version; Young’s Literal Translation of 1898; 1899 Douay-Rheims Bible; English Standard Version; American Standard Version; The Apostolic Bible Polyglot Greek… (I think the point is made).
Why is this important? Remember the example of Tim Tebow and the supposed Gospel-names of four officials in the playoff game? We as Christians need to get the facts correct or the world will use our misuse of them against us. The secular world holds us to a different standard. When they slip-up, it is simply dismissed. When Christians get the facts wrong, it is headlines on major communication networks and publications; not to mention the hey-day on the World Wide Web.
Article – the crucifixion and its earthquake
There is much evidence surrounding the earthquakes that occurred during the crucifixion of Jesus, His resurrection, and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Quoting Jennifer Viegas of Discovery News:
To analyze earthquake activity in the region (Dead Sea), geologist Jefferson Williams of Supersonic Geophysical and colleagues Markus Schwab and Achim Brauer of the German Research Center for Geo-sciences studied three cores from the beach of the Ein Gedi Spa adjacent to the Dead Sea.
Varves, which are annual layers of deposition in the sediments, reveal that at least two major earthquakes affected the core: a widespread earthquake in *31 B.C. and a seismic event that happened sometime between the years *26 A.D. and 36 A.D. (see Science on NBCNEWS.com)
*These dates do not preclude that they could have occurred within hours or a few days of each other. The fact remains, there are secular geological records of two significant earthquakes surrounding the time of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
These dates also coincide well and are within the scripture records of two earthquakes that surround the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ: Matthew *27 & **28, Mark *15 & **16, Luke *23 & **24 (*the first chapter is the record of the crucifixion and the **second chapter in each book is the record of His resurrection). */**You can look these passages up in YOUR BIBLE.
Colin Humphreys, a British physicist, and Graeme Waddington , co-author and professor at Oxford University in the U.K., authored a paper that gives us some additional insight into the history surrounding these events.
• All four gospels and Tacitus in Annals (XV, 44) agree that the crucifixion occurred when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea from A.D. 26 to 36.
• All four gospels say the crucifixion occurred on a Friday.
• All four gospels agree that Jesus died a few hours before the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath (nightfall on a Friday).
• The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) indicate that Jesus died before nightfall on the 14th day of Nisan, right before the start of the Passover meal.
This suggests that the events of the death and resurrection of Christ and the earthquake records strongly coincide. They both settle in and around the same time period in secular and Biblical history. It should be pointed out that this means one is not a story and the other is history. They are both records of the same history, at the same time in history, and founded on research.
Is this another coincident or aha bible moment (ahabiblemoments.com)? You decide, but consider this additional information. Titus and Flavius Josephus, 37 C.E. to 100 C.E. were either youthful eyewitnesses to these events or lived so close to the time of these events, they heard it from people who actually witnessed this demarcation in history and eternity.
Bonus aha moments… The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, penned sometime between 50 A.D. and 60 A.D., were written during the lifetime of secular historian Flavius Josephus and Emperor Titus (Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus). This mean they are contemporary with the penning of these Gospels.
Thallus, a Greek historian who wrote The Chronicle of the Olympiad and was anything but a supporter of Christianity. He writes in his 3-volume edition of the History of the Mediterranean World about the darkness at the time of the crucifixion. He identified it as a lunar eclipse. Problem? A lunar eclipse by scientific standards can only occur during the evening hours; the moon is opposite the sun in the solar system during daylight hours and the earth is directly between the sun and the moon.
Don’t confuse a lunar eclipse as a solar eclipse. A solar eclipse puts the moon between the earth and the sun. One might argue that Thallus was incorrect in his terminally. I guess that would take unfounded faith that Thallus didn’t understand science simply using the wrong name for the occurrence. (read the closing paraphaph)
Christ died during the afternoon hours. A solar eclipse takes an hour to happen and last but a few minutes. The darkness that fell over the earth at the time of the crucifixion lasted over three hours.
Another coincident? Possibly, but you decide. Study the Word of God and compare it to history, archeology, geology, and seismology for yourself. The proof is there, but http://bible.cc/romans/10-17.htm (the word “faith” in this click on link is pistis in the Greek. it translates “TRUTH”. Therefore truth itself is assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity)