As the year 2011 comes to a close, it is hard to be unaffected by the massive earthquakes that occurred these past years. Remember, it was just 2004 when the great South Asian Tsunami roared along the Indian ocean, suddenly rising and striking the coastlines of nine nations. Over 230,000 people died, and millions more were left grieving and homeless. Scientists tell us that this great disaster not only changed the landscape of Asia, it actually caused the planet to wobble on its axis.
But the physical shaking was not over. Nine and a half months later, in October, another devastating quake struck, this time in the Kashmir region of Pakistan. It killed nearly 80,000 people. Millions again were left without homes or shelter. Then, along with quakes in Chile and New Zealand, the horrific Haitian earthquake struck and another quarter million lives were lost. Lastly, a huge magnitude 9 quake and subsequent tsunami struck the northeast coast of Japan, raising the specter of a nuclear meltdown and the widespread poisoning caused by radioactive contamination.
There is something happening in the earth. Massive earthquakes. Huge death tolls. Unprecedented storms. It may all be a coincidence, but I cannot help but call to mind the Lord's word, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven" (Heb. 12:26). There is certainly a great shaking occurring in the nations.
Remember, Jesus warned that "great earthquakes" would be part of a variety of natural calamities, which He called "birth pangs," that would introduce the End Times (Luke 21:11; Matt. 24:8; Mark 13:8). In other words, He told us to expect natural disasters to increase both in magnitude and frequency, as though the earth itself was recoiling against the weight of sin. As Isaiah said, "The earth is shaken violently. … It totters like a shack, for its transgression is heavy upon it" (Is. 24:19-20).
If we are, indeed, living in the last decades of this present age, we should not expect the planet to remain calm or tranquil. God will use these calamities to draw multitudes to Himself, but we should be aware they will probably grow in severity.
As disasters increase so also will fear increase, but it should not be so with us. For it is also during this time that the Lord promised that the ruling powers of darkness will be shaken from their position of influence and rule. The Lord will "shake not only the earth, but also the heaven" (Heb. 12:26). This verse is not referring to the highest of heavens where God dwells. The heaven mentioned here refer to the spiritual realm, also known as the "heavenly places" elsewhere in the Bible (Eph. 3:10). These "heavenly places" represent the spiritual dimension from which "the powers … the world forces of this darkness … the spiritual forces of wickedness" exert their rule over nations (Eph. 6:12).
Thus, the Lord says in Isaiah "It will happen in that day, that the Lord will punish the host of heaven on high, and the kings of the earth on earth" (Is. 24:21). The last great shaking will affect both the natural and spiritual realms. Likewise, Jesus warned that during the time of the end "the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Matt 24:29). Remember, the shaking of these powers denotes the "removing" of their place of influence and rule (Heb. 12:27). In other words, every demonic stronghold that hinders the coming forth of the kingdom of God on earth is ultimately going to be confronted by the power and authority of heaven!
One may argue, "These verses refer to the end of the age." Yes, the finality of this twofold shaking---things on earth, but also heaven---won't reach its maximum power until just before the Lord returns during the tribulation period.
However, I believe it has already begun on a certain level. Consider the former Soviet Union. Here was the largest geographic empire in the history of the world; its military was powerful beyond measure. The USSR was avowed atheistic in nature, and it spread atheism to all nations under its influence. Yet, in an amazing and unfathomably sophisticated exercise of the divine will, the Almighty judged the spiritual powers ruling Soviet Communism. The USSR fell without a violent revolution, without an insurrection or war, suddenly and dramatically it disintegrated.
Not only did this great empire implode, it was on Dec. 25, 1991, that Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union, effectively ending the Soviet Communist Party. The next day the Soviet parliament acknowledged the dissolution of the empire.
What a great and enduring sign! On Christmas day, the very day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the demonic power ruling the USSR was shaken and toppled from its place!
Will the Lord's final confrontation against the spiritual powers of wickedness be much more significant? Since the fall of communism, missiologists tell us that more people have come to Christ worldwide than the sum of all conversions since the first century. Of course, Russia still has its problems, but let us not overlook what has happened: a godless, evil power fell from its place of rule. Since then millions of people have come into God's kingdom! (Anyone feel like shouting here?)
Even while the physical world will suffer birth pangs, I believe we are going to see other major "powers in the heavens" come down just as dramatically as the former Soviet Union. I know it is possible that Islamic factions will merge and become stronger, but remember, there are currently millions of Christians praying for these Muslim nations. Somehow, whether sooner or later, the power holding sway over Muslims is going to unravel. There will be unexpected, but significant breakthroughs. Muslims by the millions will open to the gospel and find Christ as their Savior. This is the prayer frontier God set before us right now.
We will also see major demonic powers fall in the USA. I believe it will not be long before serious restrictions will begin to curtail abortion in the USA. The demonic power that has blinded lawmakers and justices will be confronted and toppled. Let us, therefore, continue to pray for Supreme Court Justices to be appointed who are both pro-life and God-fearing.
It seems to me that we are living when, at least on some level, the "powers of the heavens" are being shaken. Our prayers and personal involvement in the affairs of life play a major role in toppling these powers of darkness. If we do not quit praying, we will see significant changes unfold before our eyes.
Finally, let us remember that, even while things on earth and in heaven are wobbling, we have received "a kingdom which cannot be shaken." (Heb. 12:28). Beloved, God has an unshakable kingdom to which He calls us. It is the place where Jesus rules as King, from which place every knee in heaven and on earth shall bow.
About the author:·Francis Frangipane is the founder of River of Life Ministries in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and has traveled throughout the world ministering to thousands of pastors and intercessors from many backgrounds. In June 2009, he retired from his position as senior pastor of River of Life Ministries and is devoting himself to prayer and the ministry of God's Word. To read more teachings by Francis or to learn more about his ministry, go to www.frangipane.org.