A 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Antalya, Turkey on Saturday at 2:44 pm local time at a moderately shallow depth of 43 miles. Though the epicenter was over 270 miles from the coast of Israel, the tremors were felt in northern and central Israel.
Turkey sits on top of two major faultlines and earthquakes are frequent. Two strong earthquakes struck northwest Turkey in 1999, killing around 18,000 people. In January, Two weeks after Turkey’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning Jews living in Judea and Samaria, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit eastern Turkey killing at least 31 people and injuring more than 1,600.
EARTHQUAKES OUTSIDE OF ISRAEL: PURIFICATION THROUGH DESTRUCTION
Earthquakes are prophesied to accompany the end-of-days however earthquakes inside Israel will manifest in a vastly different manner as compared to those outside the Holy Land. Earthquakes and volcanoes are explicitly mentioned by the prophets as playing a role in the end of days, preparing the world by burning away impurities as a crucible is used in metallurgy to purify metal.
But Hashem God is the true God, He is the living God, and the everlasting King; at His wrath the earth trembleth, and the nations are not able to abide His indignation. Jeremiah 10:10
This multifaceted natural catastrophe scenario facing that region of the country conforms to the prophet’s description of the period preceding Messiah, which will serve as a process to purify the inhabitants of the earth for the Messianic period to follow.
“And I will bring the third part through the fire and will refine them as silver is refined and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on My name and I will answer them; I will say: ‘It is My people’ and they shall say: ‘Hashem is my God.’” Zechariah 13:9
QUAKES IN ISRAEL: RETURNING PROPHECY
While most of these earthquakes shook seismically active regions it should be noted that Israel, sitting on the Syrian-African rift, has also experienced several tremors in the past year. These quakes have been far more gentle. The holy land has experienced over 30 tremors since the beginning of the year.
As terrifying as earthquakes can be, there may be a silver lining to an increase in regional seismic activity. In a 2007 article in the J-Post, Dr. Shmuel Marco, Head of the School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Tel Aviv University, noted that prophets became active a certain number of years after major earthquakes. Major earthquakes were recorded in the Jordan Valley in the years 31 BCE, 363 CE, 749 CE and 1033 CE.
“So roughly,” wrote Marco, “we are talking about an interval of every 400 years. If we follow the patterns of nature, a major quake should be expected any time because almost a whole millennium has passed since the last strong earthquake.”
Dr. Marco went so far as to attribute Joshua’s victory at Jericho to divinely directed seismic interference.
“The destruction of the walls of the city and the damming of the river, as described in Joshua 6:1-16, is generally agreed by most archeologists to be the result of an earthquake, possibly on the Jericho Fault,” Dr.Marco wrote.
Dr. Marco’s theory is certainly consistent with the Prophets Amos and Zechariah whose periods of prophecy were expressly oriented around a major earthquake.
The words of Amos, a sheepbreeder from Tekoa, who prophesied concerning Yisrael in the reigns of Kings Uzziyahu of Yehuda and Yerovam son of Yoash of Yisrael, two years before the earthquake. Amos 1:1