The coming tribulation will end with a great Earthquake, which will probably occur momentarily before Jesus returns. Here is how this great disaster is described:
The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. 19 The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. 21 From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds,[a] fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible. (Revelation 16:17-21)
This Earthquake will be horrible, to say the least. It will be personally sanctioned and directed by God, since the “loud voice from the throne” in heaven could only be God’s. This voice comes out of the heavenly temple, once again used to emphasize the holiness of God’s judgment on the Earth. Here’s a few additional observations I have:
The voice cries out “it is done!” This is similar to Christ’s statement He made at the moment of His death on the cross when He said: “it is finished” (John 19:30). Both phrases mark the end of God’s judgment. “It is finished” marked the end of God’s judgment on Jesus, who was an effective sacrifice for everyone who repents and believe in Him. But the “it is done” marks God’s judgment on all those who did not repent and were therefore not covered by the blood of Christ. I hope that none of the readers of this blog will be so foolish as to reject God’s grace, or else they too will have to taste God’s judgment.
“no earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake.” This earthquake was so severe that “Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.” This earthquake will result in major, immediate geographic changes. Imagine the Rocky Mountains, The Himalayas, and the Caribbean Islands all disappearing at once. In that day you won’t have to imagine it: it will really, literally happen! Some Bible students think that this earthquake is the same earthquake that was described in the sixth seal (Revelation 6:14). But I disagree: this earthquake is much worse. In that quake the mountains and the Islands were only moved out of their places, in this earthquake they are completely erased off of the Earth.
God will be sure that this earthquake, although terrible everywhere, will also target population centers. It says that the great city split into three parts. This “great city” could be Rome, Babylon, or Jerusalem. Jerusalem will probably be severely damaged by this quake, but not completely destroyed, since it still exists at the moment of Christ’s return (Zechariah 14:2-5 NIV). Which ever city is in view here, it is not the only one that will be struck; the text says “the cities of the nations collapsed.” The city of Babylon is specifically mentioned as one of the cities that is destroyed: God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. This probably signifies that Babylon’s destruction will be complete. It may be the worst hit city of all, if indeed the other cities are spared enough for this comparison to be made.
Finally, this earthquake will be accompanied by “huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds” that will fall out of the sky and crush people. These will be so severe that those who survive will curse God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.