Earth Quake – Part 2
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; (Mat 27:51)
Some people write off this earthquake as an anonymous earthquake with a naturalistic cause. We are reminded that multitudes want an earth without a creator; weather and earthquakes untouched by God. But, the Bible has a lot to say about God’s relationship to mountains, earthquakes, and weather. The Bible makes a strong case for God’s hand in the earthquake at the crucifixion of Jesus. The earthquake of that moment had a witnessing function. In our day of computers, we might say that God was adding “bold” and “underscore” to the message of the cross.
God had already established His use of mountains, including quaking mountains as a means of communication with people, especially His own people. Let’s begin with Mt. Moriah. God told Abraham: …Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Gen 22:2)
●Many scholars believe Mount Moriah was the same mount upon which Jesus was crucified and on which the Temple was built. God was testing Abraham to see if he loved Him as much as the heathen around him loved their gods. Isaac is a type of the coming Messiah in that he carried the wood for the fire as Jesus carried His own cross for the crucifixion. Isaac was Abraham’s only son, even as Jesus was God’s only Son.
These things reinforce the belief that the place of sacrifice of Isaac and Jesus was the same place: on Mount Moriah. It was later called: Mount Zion and Christians today call it: Mount Calvary. God has chosen to do special things on Mountains.
The writer of Hebrews says: By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. (Heb 11:17-19)
It was in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah that God chose to put His name forever (1Kings 9:3; 11:36; 2Kings 21:7)
●God’s hand was strong on Mount Sinai. When the people were three months out of Egypt, they came into the wilderness of Sinai and were there for eleven months. The wilderness of Sinai was the area around Mount Sinai. Exodus 19 tells us of the Preparation for receiving the Law of God. Exodus 20 tells us of the Proclamation of the Law of God.
In Exodus 19, Moses informed the elders of Israel and the people about God’s covenant with them and His plan to own them as His unique possession. The people responded well in promising to obey His laws. There ensued a three-day purification of themselves. They were to wash their garments and abstain from sexual intercourse during the three-day period. No person or animal was to touch the mountain from which God was speaking to them, under penalty of death.
Pagan deities were said to permanently “dwell” on mountains. Not so with God. He descended from Heaven (1Kings 8:30, 1Kings 8:49) to converse with His people. Only when summoned by the blast of a ram’s horn were the people to go toward the mountain.
God instructed them:
And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: (Exo 19:12)
These “bounds” were scattered columns of stone, hastily constructed. They were stacked high enough to clearly indicate a boundary. In the late 90’s Larry Williams & Bob Cornuke took a camera and went looking for Mt. Sinai, using the Old Testament as their guide. They found piles of rocks scattered in a line, marking a boundary line. The mountain was under military restriction and no one was supposed to be there.
Under cover of night they made it to the top of what they believe is Mount Sinai. They discovered that the top of the mountain was stone and that it had been blackened by intense heat. That would coincide with the Bible description below (Ex. 19:16-18) of the presence of God on the mountain. Their story is told in a book: The Gold of Exodus by Howard Blum © 1998. You can find it at Amazon for as little as $2.00. We continue in Exodus 19.
And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people (elders) out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. (Exo 19:16-18)
Immediately after the giving of the Ten Commandments, we find these words: And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. (Exo 20:18-19)
Mount Sinai was the mountain where Moses received the law of God written on tablets of stone. It was also the mountain of communion between God and Moses. When he came down from the mountain, his face so shined with the glory of God that they had to put a veil over his face, the people feared him, so.
And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. (Exo 34:29-30)
God shook Mount Sinai as His way of getting the attention of His people and communicating to them His great power and His unbending holiness. The Psalmist wrote: The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel. (Psa 68:8) They needed rain while they were assembled at Sinai, so God gave them rain: “the heavens also dropped…”
The purpose of this article is to show that the earthquake at the crucifixion of Jesus was not a routine earthquake with a naturalistic explanation. The earthquake at Calvary was from the hand of God and was for communication even as God had previously used mountains and quaking mountains for communication with His people. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
APRIL 24, 2017 – MONDAY
A.M. 2 Sam 10-12 P.M. Luke: 19:29-48
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Memory Verse This Month:
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Act 2:36)
Song for Today:
God On the Mountain (5:08) – (Cong. & Solo) (Gaither Group)
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