Panay Island was hit with a series of earthquakes and aftershocks today with a magnitude of 4.4 and 4.9 and some smaller ones of 3+. According to studies, 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes occur in the Ring of Fire, in which the Philippines is part of.
In the Bible you can also see the occurrence of earthquakes in ancient Israel. The most significant earthquake that happened in Biblical times is the one during the death of the Lord Jesus Christ in the cross. Matthew 27:51 says, “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.” It probably had a high magnitude in the Richter Scale.
What lessons can we learn from the earthquake that shook the earth during the death of Jesus? When the curtain was torn into two, it tell us that:
First, everyone who receives Jesus Christ in their lives can approach God anytime, and anywhere.
The Holy of Holies contained the Ark of the Covenant during the time of the First Temple built by King Solomon. In the Ark was the Stone Tablets in which God inscribed the Ten Commandments. The Israelites believed that the presence of God resided there. The High Priest during Biblical times can only enter it once a year during the Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement to offer sacrifices.
With the veil torn into two, it tells us that in Jesus Christ there is no appointed time or appointed place where we can meet God. We can meet God anytime and anywhere.
Second, Jesus is the sacrificial animal that takes away our sins.
In the Holy of Holies, the High Priest would sprinkle the blood from the sacrifices and also incense in front of the Mercy Seat.
With the veil torn into two, it tells us that the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ is once and for all. There is no need to offer any sacrifices anymore.
Presently, the only remnant of the First or Second Temple is the Western Wall or the Wailing Wall. This is considered to be the most sacred place in modern Israel. The Israelis mostly pray for the restoration of the Temple and for peace. People from all over the world would also come here to pray and leave their prayer notes in the splits of rocks. After some time, Rabbis would collect the notes and pray that God will answer the requests written there.
Last October 31, 2018, together with my wife, we were given the privilege to pray in the Wailing Wall, and also read Psalm 93 in a part of the tunnel at the back of the Western Wall believed to be nearest the ancient Holy of Holies. But you know what? The veil was already torn into two by one meaningful earthquake. God hears our prayers anytime and anywhere.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
November 5, 2018