'...a great earthquake...'
And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.--Revelation 11:13
Earthquake Fault Line East of Jerusalem: A Potentially Fulfilled Prophecy of Zechariah 14:4?
Zechariah 14:3-4 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.
The Consoler on the Mount of Olives
Consoler (in Hebrew, Menahem) is the nickname of the Messiah of Israel. And his father is called Amiel--"My nation to God." Menahem the son of Amiel will appear in the end of time on the Mount of Olives, before the gates of Jerusalem. And the exiles shall return and ascend to the mountain, and see the redemption of Zion and Jerusalem.
A poet describes the appearance of Messiah--the Consoler:
(Legends of Jerusalem, Zev Vilnay)
"...The cleaving in two of the Mount of Olives in Zech. xiv. 4 is regarded by most commentators as being quite beyond a literal interpretation: and yet, a few years ago, _The Illustrated London News_ gave some interesting drawings of the scene of the great volcanic eruption in the North Island, New Zealand. It will be remembered that the outburst of volcanic energy began by the explosion of Mount Tarawera, a mountain which had no crater upon it, and showed no signs of recent activity. Tarawera ~was split in two~ by the sudden opening of a great chasm or line of craters four miles long, about 500 feet wide, and, in many places, 400 feet deep."
(The Apocalypse, E. W. Bullinger, c1909)
Essay: The Return of the Ten Lost Tribes Fact or Fiction?
One of the first things that come to mind when thinking about Moshiach, is the Return of the Ten Lost Tribes who were exiled and separated from the rest of Jewry, thousands of years ago.
The Ten Tribes were exiled during the First Temple Era over 2,000 years ago, and have been separated from the rest of Jewry ever since. But ultimately, they will be redeemed, and join the rest of Jewry at the time of Moshiach.
Underground Tunnels; the Mt. of Olives; and the Three Resorts
The Midrash tells us that the Ten Tribes were exiled to three places: Some were exiled to the land behind the Sambatyon River. Another group was exiled to a *distant* land behind the River (this land was twice the distance from Israel than the first Land); the 3rd group was "swallowed in Rabbeslah."
The Midrash then describes the manner in which some of the 3rd Group (who were "swallowed") will return:
"G-d will make them underground tunnels and they will travel through them, until they reach the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. G-d will stand on the mount causing it to split, and the Ten Tribes will emerge from within." (Yalkut Shimoni, Yeshayah 469)
Obviously, this Midrash is not to be taken literally, it rather alludes to the severe spiritual exile which this group is now enduring and the spiritual transformation which they will undergo when Moshiach comes:
The Ten Tribes were taken to exile and "were swallowed", i.e. they have totally forgotten their Jewish Identity, as if it has been "swallowed" by some external force. Their energy remains only in potential form. When Moshiach comes, G-d will take them through tunnels (symbolizing the process of refinement) and will lead them to the Mount of Olives (a mountain which was (originally) dedicated to the growing of fruit a symbol of utilization of potential energy. Finally the mountain will split, and they will emerge; their Jewish identity will re-emerge from the present state of "potential" and will be fully realized.
(Moshiach.com Newsletter - Friday 10/15/99 Cheshvan 5 5760)
The Earthquake In Israel's Future
Thousands of Israelis would be killed and hundreds of thousands become homeless if a earthquake struck in Israel, and there's a good chance that a major one will occur within the next 50 years.
This is the conclusion of a recent report presented by Israel's Geophysical Institute which checked the country's preparedness for the eventuality of an earthquake. The report does not state that an earthquake will strike. According to the Institute, earthquakes are impossible to predict, but due to Israel's past history and its location near fault lines, the probability that an earthquake of at least 6.5 magnitude will occur soon is great.
To prepare for the report, the Geophysical Institute took seismic readings and checked buildings and infrastructure throughout Israel. Last year's quakes in Turkey were taken into account along with seismic happenings in and near Eilat in recent years.
According to the report, there are four areas in Israel susceptible to earthquakes: Beit Shean, Yagur (near Haifa), the Hula Valley and the Dead Sea. Estimates of the strength and magnitude of possible earthquakes in these areas are as follows:
Beit Shean--7.1 magnitude--9,500 fatalities
Yagur--6.5 magnitude--5,100 fatalities
Hula Valley--7.0 magnitude--8,300 fatalities
Dead Sea--7.0 magnitude--8,200 fatalities
Most of the damage would be due to the poor construction of Israeli buildings. According to Ron Cohen, Israel's Minister of Industry and Trade, all Israeli construction built until the 60's and even some of the buildings built in the 70's would not be able to survive an earthquake. Especially vulnerable would be public housing units, some of which are built up on poles. These units are home to 700,000 Israelis around the country.
The most serious thing, according to Cohen, is that Israel's Ministry of Finance does not find it financially viable to take any precautions against earthquakes.
Binyamin Ben Eliezar, Israel's Minister of Communications and a member of the committee that received the Geophysical Institute's report, said that the findings were serious, but noted that modern construction has prepared the country for the eventuality of a major earthquake. Ben Eliezar promised to review all the data, and that the government would consider how to prepare Israel for the possibility of an earthquake.
- Ellis Shuman -
Geophysical Institute of Israel
Founded in 1957 in the prestigious Weizmann Institute of Science, G.I.I. is a service company specializing in geophysical surveys for oil exploration, water development and site investigation, both locally and internationally.
The Seismology Division of the Geophysical Institute of Israel
This division of the Institute performs studies and surveys to reduce earthquake risk to the State of Israel. In this capacity, the Seismology Division initiates R & D projects in many fields of Seismology for better understanding the earthquake phenomena in the region and their possible consequences. The Seismology Division is the operator of about 100 seismic monitoring systems throughout Israel.
Earthquakes felt in Eilat
IsraelWire, October 5, 1999.
Earthquakes and the Bible
Article by Lambert Dolphin. The Promised Land... lies immediately adjacent to the African Rift Zone, the deepest known break in the earth's crust. A number of important quakes are mentioned in the Bible and many Holy Land earthquakes are known from secular history.
Current Seismicity for the Middle East
From the National Earthquake Information Center.
Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics
From About.com's Geography site - a list of earthquake-related resources.
(Israeli Culture at about.com)
August 18, 2003
The big one is coming
By Amiram Barkat
The earthquake of January 18, 749, is thought to be one of the strongest ever to hit the Middle East. Till recently, researchers knew about the quake only from historical sources. A Coptic priest from Alexandria reported that support beams in houses in Egypt had shifted; a Syrian priest wrote that a village in the region of Mount Tavor had moved a distance of four miles; while other sources spoke of huge tidal waves in the Mediterranean Sea, of Damascus shaking for a few days, and of smaller cities and towns being swallowed up in the earth.
The most detailed descriptions came from Jerusalem, where thousands were reported dead, where palaces and churches collapsed, and where the Al-Aqsa Mosque suffered serious damage.
The historical sources gave the geologists some idea of the intensity of the quake, and its epicenter, but no more than that. Findings during an archaeological dig in Tiberias a year ago, however, allowed geologists to analyze the quake using modern research techniques, as if it had occured just yesterday.
The findings of the research, conducted by Dr. Shmuel Marco of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Moshe Hartal of the Antiquities Authority, are now being published. The study stipulates the intensity of the quake and its epicenter; and the data is helping researchers predict the maximum strength of the next quake that will shake the region, as well as where it is likely to hit.
The rare findings were discovered last summer. During the course of a dig designed to facilitate the expansion of the Galei Kinneret Hotel, Hartal noticed a mysterious phenomenon: Alongside a layer of earth from the time of the Umayyad era (638-750), and at the same depth, the archaeologists found a layer of earth from the Ancient Roman era (37 B.C.E.-132).
"I encountered a situation for which I had no explanation - two layers of earth from hundreds of years apart lying side by side," says Hartal. "I was simply dumbfounded."
The mystery was solved only when geologists who arrived at the site determined that an earthquake of immense intensity had raised the Roman era layer of earth to the same level as the layer of earth from the Umayyad era. What Hartal had stumbled across was a rare geological find - an active fault line from 749 dividing two expanses of land that had moved during an earthquake.
Also found during the course of the dig was a circular-shaped well, some 10 meters wide, that had been split into two by the force of the earthquake. Hartal believes the wall was once part of Tiberias's Roman stadium.
The Syrian-African Rift, and particularly the section between the Arava in the south and the Hula Valley in the north, is one of the most earthquake-prone regions in the world because it constitutes a seam line between two plates of earth, one of which is moving faster than the other.
This movement creates immense frictional energy that builds up in the earth until it bursts forth in the form on an earthquake. During the quake, a segment of the Arabian plate (to the east of the Jordan River) measuring dozens of kilometers moves a distance of dozens of centimeters at once.
Today, geologists can calculate the amount of energy built up in the earth as a result of the movement of the plates. When one knows how much energy has already been released in earthquakes that occured in the past, it is possible to work out how much energy is likely to be released in the future.
The fault line found in Tiberias has taught the researchers that the earthquake of 749 would have measured 7-7.5 on the Richter Scale. During that quake, a segment of earth measuring hundreds of kilometers - from Tiberias in the north to Jericho in the south - moved northward an average distance of 1.5 meters at once.
And what about the future? Every few hundreds years, the stretch of land between Jericho and Tiberias suffered strong earthquakes, until the last one, in 1033.
"Almost a thousand years have passed since 1033; that's a long time," says Marco. "Therefore, we estimate that there is a high likelihood that at some time in the future in this region, particularly in the area of the Beit She'an Valley, there will be an especially strong earthquake."
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