Q. Will the judgments of the Tribulation bring with them any topographical changes to the Earth?
A. Undoubtedly they will. Revelation Chapter 6 describes a great earthquake, just one of several in that book, and its effects:
"And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places," (Revelation 6:14)
Any earthquake strong enough to level mountains and sink islands would, by definition, change geography. It would also cause great tidal waves such as happened in Indonesia several years ago, except with even more intensity. Given what we know about tsunamis today, this phenomenon might be the very thing that makes the islands give the indication that they have moved out of their places. Another earthquake is described in Revelation 16:18-20. This one makes the mountains and islands literally disappear. It is followed in verse 21 by a hailstorm, the stones of which each weigh "about the weight of a talent"—100 pounds. Objects that heavy falling out of the sky will have their most severe impact on man-made structures, but will also have the capability of altering topography as well.
This is equally true of many other judgments in Revelation. The judgments on the sea that turn the waters to blood could involve meteors or asteroids, or they could involve missiles or satellites falling out of the sky. Whatever the cause, these judgments could render some coastal areas uninhabitable. Other occurrences in the heavens, such as the scorching sun or the piercing darkness in Revelation 16:8-10, could affect agriculture and make much now-arable land desolate.
Remember that John was writing Revelation in the first century, in which modern weapons systems were unknown, and the knowledge of the solar system was quite limited. He was writing down his vision using language that he and his readers could understand in their time. The exact nature of how these judgments occur, or what natural explanations they have, will likely remain hidden until they actually occur. Suffice it to say that they will be most unpleasant.
- Earthquakes: A False Sign? • BPB (Wilfred J. Hahn)
- Revelation 6:14 • Spirit and Truth (Tony Garland)
- Zechariah 14 and the Timing of the Kingdom • BPB (Michael J. Vlach)
- Why God's Purpose for the Tribulation Excludes the Church • BPB (Thomas Ice)
- The Vials of the Wrath of God • Bible.org (John F. Walvoord)