Prophetic scriptures make abundantly clear to the diligent student that conditions on earth will be quite different during the Millennial era following Christ's return as compared with those observed at present. It will be as though a stage setting has been changed completely with new scenery and lighting and with far greater glory. This may be hard for the average human to comprehend because he or she sees little geological change in his or her limited lifetime and may assume erroneously that "since the fathers were put to repose, all is continuing this from the beginning of creation" (II Pet. 3:4). But geophysicists know that this is not so. Continents are constantly moving. Various oceans are being enlarged or contracted, and new mountains are thrust up while others subside. All of this portends glories of which the holy land shall be the center.
The "National Geographic" for January 1973 was devoted largely to the subject of "This Changing Earth" and states, "Within just the past few years these men and women (geophysicists) have come to a startling new understanding of the shifting, shuddering, hot-hearted planet on which we ride. Their view of the earth is of continents drifting majestically from place to place to place, of mountains and island chains forming like rumples in rugs pushed together, of oceans opening and closing. The earth's seemingly rigid crust, these geologists say, actually consists of a crazy quilt of great rafts or what they prefer to call "plates" which are much like huge ice flows jostling about on a frozen sea. From 30 to 100 miles thick, the plates slowly move while they carry the continents and ocean basins with them. Sliding over a hot semiplastic layer below, the rigid plates grind and crush together, causing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The great rift or fault lines separating these plates are, in many places, clearly visible from the air and even from the ground. One of the most notorious of these is the San Andreas fault where southern California, riding northward on the Pacific plate, is colliding with the American plate, causing numerous severe earthquakes including the one which destroyed San Francisco in 1906.
Scientists say that at one time all of the plates were together as one super-continent they call "Pangaea," surrounded by a universal ocean "Panthalassa," and that at one time the South Fole was at the Sahara Desert. As is well known, the magnetic poles move constantly, and from time to time the earth has reversed its polarity. All of these forces help to set the stage for vastly changed conditions on earth which the scriptures foretell for the next age which we call the Millennium. Changes even more vast are in store at the conclusion of the Millennium (II Pet. 3:10-12) but that is another story.
An article entitled "The Descender" by Brother Cecil J. Blay in the August-September 1974 "Treasures of Truth" made reference to papers by the late Commander Steedman published in "The Differentiator" describing the geological formation of the Dead Sea and its place in prophecy. Reference was made to the Great Rift running from the Taurus mountains in Asia Minor down the Red Sea and Tanzanyika in S. E. Africa. It is now known that this rift divides the Arabian plate and further south the Somali plate from the African plate.
Geological maps show that running east and west across the Holy Land is the boundary between the Arabian plate to the south and the great Eurasian continental plate. The tremendous pent-up forces exerted by the collision of these plates, when released, will greatly alter the land as foretold by Christ and the prophets. We know that the great earthquake will come at the conclusion of the tribulation or indignation to coincide with the appearing of Jesus Christ to establish His kingdom on earth. We read in Revelation that at the pouring out of the seventh or final bowl a loud voice comes out of the temple of God saying "It has occurred!" "And a great earthquake occurred such as did not occur since mankind came to be on earth, a quake of such proportions; it is so great. And the great city came to be divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell .... And every island fled and the mountains were not found" (Rev. 16:18-20).
Meanwhile, as Christ foretold in His Olivet discourse, "And there shall be famines and quakes in places. Yet all these are the beginning of pangs" (Matt. 24'7-8). We are aware of both famines and quakes. Each year hundreds of quakes are recorded. These occur along the fault or rift lines where the great plates are grinding and pushing against one another, building up pressure for the release of vast pent-up energy at the time God has decreed. That such seismic events are in the Father's keeping and are related to the deliverance of His people is set forth in Psalm 114: "When Israel went forth out of Egypt, the sea saw it and fled: The Jordan was driven back. The mountains skipped like rams, the little hills like lambs. What aileth thee 0 thou sea, that thou fleest? Thou Jordan that thou turnest back? Ye mountains that ye skip like rams? Ye little hills, like lambs? Tremble thou earth at the presence of the Lord, the God of Jacob."
And so shall it be when He comes again to deliver the faithful in Israel at the conclusion of the tribulation. We read in Zechariah. "Then shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations as when He fought in the day of battle. And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be cleft in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, a very great valley, and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of My mountain" (Zech. 14: 3-5).
Without doubt, this cleavage line shall follow the great east-west rift between the earth's Arabian and Eurasian plates. We have read from Revelation that the great quake will divide the city into three parts. The Scripture also tells us that the courses of these rifts will make way for the great River of Life which during the Millennium will flow from the south side of the Temple, then dividing and flowing to the eastern and western (Mediterranean) seas. Winter and summer it shall be (Ezek. 47:2,12). And this river will irrigate the now desert lands so that men will say, "This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden" (Ezek. 36:35). "For the Lord comforted Zion; He hath comforted all her waste places, and has made her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord" (Isa. 51:3) ... And along the river shall grow twelve manner of trees, each bearing its fruit, every month. And the leaves shall be for healing" (Ezek. 47:12; Rev. 22:2).
Geophysicists tell us that the great mountain ranges of the earth, such as the Alps and the Himalayas, have resulted from pressures exerted by the great plates on which the land sits. The most spectacular result of the great earthquake at the end of the tribulation when the present mountains and hills will flee away at the presence of the Lord will be a new crowning Mount Zion thrust up about twelve miles north of Jerusalem. David as prophet had much to say about this glorious coming mountain: "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, at the north side of the city of the great King" (Psalm 48: 1-2).
From Jerusalem, called "Ieue-shammah" and meaning "The Lord is there" (Ezek. 48:35), there shall be a glorious way of ascent up the holy mountain. We read in Isa. 35: "And there comes to be a highway and a clean one. And the holy way it shall be called. The unolean shall not pass there. And it shall be for those going that way. Yet the dispersed shall not go astray on it. And the foolish shall not stray. Nor shall a lion come there. And a breacher of living things will fail to ascend it. It shall not be found there. Yet the redeemed shall go into it. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return. And they will enter Zion with jubilation. And age-lasting rejoicing shall be on their head. Elation and rejoicing shall they overtake. And flee shall affliction and sighing."
David asks: "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place" (Psa. 24:3)? In the second part of the same psalm he portrays the entrance of the returned Lord in glory into the new temple atop the holy mount. We read: "Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates; and be ye lifted up ye age-lasting doors (the Millennial age): and the King of glory will come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads; 0 ye gates. Yea, lift them up, ye age-lasting doors. And the King of glory will come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory." Ezekiel explains the King's entrance in glorious detail: "Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looks toward the east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east, and His voice. was like the sound of many waters: and the earth shined with His glory. And it was according to the appearance of the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city; and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar: and I fell upon my face. And the glory of the Lord came into the house by way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. And the Spirit took me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house; And I heard one speaking unto me out of the house: and a Man stood by me. And He said unto me, 'Son of man, this is the place of My throne, and the place of the soles of My feet where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for the age'" (Ezekiel 43.1-7).
David, who shall be resurrected to be Prince over Israel in accordance with God's promises (Ezekiel 37:25) prophesied concerning that glorious time, saying: "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet are standing within thy gates, 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem that art builded as a city that is compact together: Whither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the Lord, a testimony for Israel, To give thanks unto the name of the Lord, for there are set thrones for judgment, the thrones of the house of David" (Psalm 122:1-5).
David also describes the triumphant procession of the tribes of Israel up the hill of the Lord when the glorious new temple described in detail by Ezekiel is to be dedicated . In Psalm 68 we read: "The mountain of the Lord! a fertile mountain! a many-peaked fertile mountain. Thy members 0 Lord, have been seen—the marches of my Lord, my King, in this holy place. The chiefs went before next to the band of music, in the midst of damsels playing on timbrels. Bless you Lord in assemblies. The Lord, You from the fountains of Israel. There was young Benjamin in a rapture; there the chiefs of Judah, the leaders; the chiefs of Zabulon, the chiefs of Naphtali. Command, O Lord, Thine army; strengthen this, 0 Lord, which Thou has established among us. Because of Thy temple at Jerusalem, let kings bring Thee gifts." It may be noted that Benjamin and Judah who remained faithful to the house of David when Israel split away, lead the tribes up to the house of the Lord.
In Psalm 72 dedicated "for David's Son" he adds: "In His days let righteousness spring up, with abundance of peace until the moon is no more (Rev. 21:23), And let Him rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the limits of the world. Let the Ethiopians bow down before Him; and let His enemies lick the dust. Let the kings of Tharsis and the isles bring gifts; "the kings of the Arabs and Saba offer presents. Let all the kings pay Him homage—all the nations serve as vassals." And Zechariah 14 tells us: "And it shall come to pass that everyone that is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles." If any do not come up the Lord will withhold rain and will visit a plague upon Egypt if she fails to worship at Jerusalem .
W. Y. K. (Treasures of Truth, Instalment Sixteen, February-March 1975)
(Scriptures were quoted from Concordant Version, American Revised Version, and Charles Thomson's Septuagint translation. "Jehovah" or "Ieue" in various versions have been rendered "Lord" according to common usage.)