When the Earth Shakes
Over the past 15 years it has become hard to be unaffected by the massive earthquakes that have rocked our planet. In December 2004, the great South Asian tsunami roared along the Indian Ocean, striking the coastlines of nine nations. More than 250,000 people died, and millions more were left grieving and homeless. Scientists tell us that not only did this great disaster change the landscape of Asia, but it also actually caused the planet to wobble on its axis.
Nine and a half months later, in October 2005, another devastating quake struck, this time in the Kashmir region of Pakistan. It killed nearly 80,000 people. Millions again were left without homes or shelter. Then, along with quakes in Chile and New Zealand, the horrific Haitian earthquake struck and another quarter million lives were lost. Lastly, a huge 9.0 quake and subsequent tsunami struck the northeast coast of Japan, raising the specter of a nuclear meltdown and the widespread poisoning caused by radioactive contamination.
There is something happening in the earth. Massive earthquakes. Huge death tolls. Unprecedented storms. It may all be a coincidence, but I cannot help but call to mind the Lord's word, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the Heaven" (Hebrews 12:26). There is certainly a great shaking occurring in the nations.
Remember, Jesus warned that "great earthquakes" would be part of a variety of natural calamities, which He called "birth pangs," that would introduce the end times (Luke 21:11; Matthew 24:8; Mark 13:8). In other words, He told us to expect natural disasters to increase both in magnitude and frequency, as though the earth itself was recoiling against the weight of sin. As Isaiah said, "The earth is shaken violently...it totters like a shack, for its transgression is heavy upon it" (Isaiah 24:19-20).
If we are, indeed, living in the last decades of this present age, we should not expect the planet to remain calm or tranquil. God will use these calamities to draw multitudes to Himself, but we should be aware they will probably grow in severity.
As disasters increase at the end of the age, so also will fear be multiplied in the world. However, fear will not be our companion if we truly know the Lord. Indeed, it is also during this time the Lord promised that the powers of darkness will be shaken from their position of influence and rule. The Lord will "shake not only the earth, but also the heaven" (Hebrews12:26, emphasis added).
This verse is not referring to the highest of heavens where God dwells. The heaven mentioned here refer to the spiritual realm, also known as the "heavenly places" elsewhere in the Bible (Ephesians 3:10). These "heavenly places" represent the spiritual dimension from which "the powers...the world forces of this darkness...the spiritual forces of wickedness" exert their rule over nations (Ephesians 6:12)
Thus, the Lord says in Isaiah, "It will happen in that day, that the Lord will punish the host of heaven on high, and the kings of the earth on earth" (Isaiah 24:21). The last great shaking will affect both the natural and spiritual realms. Likewise, Jesus warned that during the time of the end "the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Matthew 24:29).
Remember, the shaking of these powers denotes the "removing" of their place of influence and rule (Hebrews 12:27). In other words, every demonic stronghold that hinders the coming forth of the Kingdom of God on Earth is ultimately going to be confronted by the power and authority of Heaven!
One may argue, "These verses refer to the end of the age." Yes, the finality of this twofold shaking – things on Earth but also Heaven – won't reach its maximum power until just before the Lord returns during the tribulation period.
However, I believe it has already begun on a certain level. Consider the former Soviet Union. Here was the largest geographic empire in the history of the world; its military was powerful beyond measure. The USSR was avowed atheistic in nature, and it spread atheism to all nations under its influence. Yet, in an amazing and unfathomably sophisticated exercise of the divine will, the Almighty judged the spiritual powers ruling Soviet Communism. The USSR fell without a violent revolution, without an insurrection or war, suddenly and dramatically it disintegrated.
Not only did this great empire implode, it was on December 25, 1991, that Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union, effectively ending the Soviet Communist Party. The next day the Soviet parliament acknowledged the dissolution of the empire.
What a great and enduring sign! On Christmas day, the very day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the demonic power ruling the USSR was shaken and toppled from its place!
Will the Lord's final confrontation against the spiritual powers of wickedness be much more significant? Since the fall of Communism, missiologists tell us that more people have come to Christ worldwide than the sum of all conversions since the first century. Of course, Russia still has its problems, but let us not overlook what has happened: a godless, evil power fell from its place of rule. Since then millions of people have come into God's kingdom! (Anyone feel like shouting here?)
Even while the physical world will suffer birth pangs, I believe we are going to see other major "powers in the heavens" come down just as dramatically as the former Soviet Union. I know it is possible that Islamic factions will merge and become stronger, but remember, there are currently millions of Christians praying for Muslims. There are significant breakthroughs. Indeed, Muslims by the millions are opening up to the Gospel and finding Christ as their Savior.
I believe the awakening that has begun in China is going to explode with many more millions coming into the Kingdom of God. India, too, will have a profound awakening. And yes, I believe it is not too late to see major demonic powers fall in the United States.
We are living when, at least on preliminary levels, the "powers of the heavens" are being shaken. Our prayers and compassionate involvement in the affairs of life play a major role in toppling these powers of darkness. If we do not quit praying, we will see significant changes unfold before our eyes.
Finally, let us remember that, even while things on Earth and in Heaven are being shaken, simultaneously we are receiving "a Kingdom which cannot be shaken" (Hebrews 12:28). Beloved, God has an unshakable Kingdom to which He calls us. It is the place where Jesus rules as King, from which place every knee in Heaven and on Earth shall bow.
Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Days of His Presence which you can order now at: www.elijahshopper.com/The_Days_of_His_Presence_p/bk-ff002.htm
Francis Frangipane is the founder of River of Life Ministries in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and has traveled throughout the world ministering to thousands of pastors and intercessors from many backgrounds. Francis' heartfelt prayer is to see established in every city Christlike pastors and intercessors, united before God, revealing the love of Christ to their communities. Since 1985, he has written fourteen books, plus a number of study booklets. Over the past decades, Francis has served on a number of other ministry boards. However, in recent years he has gradually resigned from these various boards. As of June 2009, he has also retired from his position as senior pastor of River of Life Ministries. In this more simplified life, Frangipane is devoting himself to prayer and the ministry of God's Word.
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