A convulsion of the earth common in volcanic regions, and well known in all parts of the world; probably occasioned by the action of internal heat or fire. Scripture speaks of several earthquakes, Numbers 16:1-50 1 Kings 19:11,12. One occurred in the twenty-seventh year of Uzziah king of Judah, and is mentioned in Amos 1:1 Zechariah 14:5. A very memorable earthquake was that at our Savior’s death, Matthew 27:51, which some suppose extended throughout the world. Palestine has been often visited by earthquakes. So late as 1837 one occurred in the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee, by which about a third part of Tiberias was destroyed, and thousands of people perished there and in the towns near by. Earthquakes were among the calamities foretold as connected with the destruction of Jerusalem, Matthew 24:7; and history proves the truth of the prediction.
The word earthquake is also used figuratively to denote God’s power and wrath, as in Psalms 18:7 46:2 104:32, etc.; and as an emblem of a great civil or national catastrophe, Matthew 24:7,29 Revelation 16:18,19.