16:18And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty.

And there were flashes of LIGHTNING and SOUNDS and peals of THUNDER; and there was

Before the 7th trumpets' judgments, a similar event occurred (Revelation 8:5). Just as the fire traveled through the air to the earth at that time, so now this bowl judgment travels through the air (previous verse) to cause this physical phenomena.

The use of SOUNDS shows that these were noises John couldn't readily identify. The earth at the end of the tribulation will be so much different from what we live in today. However, one can't help but think this may be a Revelation-like reference to the multimedia crazed world we now are just beginning to experience.

The events recorded here are much like the prophesy of Isaiah 29:1-8. Recall that the gathering in Isaiah 29:8 will, by this time, have already taken place (verse 16). The final outcome of the gathering still remains to be determined.


a GREAT EARTHQUAKE, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth,

The Old Testament is full of God shaking the earth (Isaiah 2:19-21; Isaiah 24:16-23; Isaiah 30:30-33; Haggai 2:6,7,20-23; Zechariah 14:4-5; and Ezekiel 38:17-23). Can you tell whether these prophetic writings are talking about this GREAT EARTHQUAKE?

This will be the GREATEST EARTHQUAKE ever. I wonder how it compares to the greatest earthquake of the 1900s? That one occurred in 1970 in the Pacific Ocean near Chile. In that quake, a fault 500 miles long moved 70 feet. The quake's moment magnitude was 9.5 (or 8.3 on the Richter scale).


Symbolically, this GREAT EARTHQUAKE is tied to the next verse where we will find the GREAT CITY split apart. A person could interpret this as a great shaking of the world governments, economic systems (World Trade Organization (WTO) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), for example), and religious sects. As this is being written, the United States (and world) has been shaken by terrorists flying commercial aircraft into the World Trade Towers. The economic impact of that act has yet to be fully realized, I suspect.

Interestingly, third world countries can have civil wars going on for years and a government (usually dictatorial) stays in power. However, let a natural disaster occur in that country, and the government collapses within months if not weeks. So this MIGHTY EARTHQUAKE may just be the final catalyst to topple the world governments in preparation for the millennial reign of Christ on this earth.