- (Photo: www.cbn.com via The Christian Post)
Is it a coincidence that an earthquake that struck Virginia and rattled dozens of other states occurred amid Pat Robertson's "Sign of the Times" special on the "700 Club?"
"Are we in the last days?" Robertson asked during Wednesday morning's live online streaming of the "700 Club" as he continued his teaching on the "Sign of the Times."
"The earth moved," Robertson said ominously, describing the earthquake that struck Virginia Tuesday, "and then it moved all over this part of the country."
As a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Virginia around 1:51 p.m. on Tuesday, many folks wondered about its unusual strength. Aftershocks were felt all along the East Coast, West Coast, in some southern states, and even in Canada.
Don Blakeman, a geophysicist with the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), told The Christian Post Wednesday that although Virginia has a fair number of earthquakes like most other states, the temblor's strength was unusual.
"Virginia has a fair number of quakes ... but they are typically small. [Virginia] does have a number of them every year, but it is pretty unusual to have one of this size," Blakeman said.
The NEIC geophysicist added, "We should expect some aftershocks, because when you have a good size quake like this then it’s pretty typical to have some aftershocks. It's possible to have some fairly large ones, but most of them will be [in the 3.0 range]."
Earthquake activity was one of the signs of the end, Robertson said, referring to other occurrences such as food shortages and conflicts between nations, which Christians believe will precede Christ's return.
Robertson explained in Wednesday's program, which focused on natural disasters, that earthquakes are one of the "birth pangs" Jesus Christ refers to in Matthew 24 after his disciples ask about the signs preceding his second coming.
The televangelist, who started his series on signs of the end times on Monday, was not alone in looking to the fulfillment of biblical prophecies amid the quake.
Twitter users took to their accounts yesterday, wondering if the CBN televangelist would speak out on the earthquake.
"Earthquake in DC? Stand by for a Biblical explanation from Pat Robertson," tweeted Armistead Maupin (@ArmisteadMaupin).
Erin Fleming (@ERINonyourRADIO) tweeted, "A hurricane headed for the US, an earthquake this morning in D.C. and rioting in parts of the states as well. Back to you Pat Robertson."
Some Twitter users were skeptical, scoffing at the possibility of God revealing any kind of prophetic word to Robertson.
A handful of comments appeared to make reference to Robertson's controversial remarks during the 2010 earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti.
Robertson said, just one day after the rattler devastated the small island, that its people were possibly cursed for allegedly making a deal with the devil during the 1791 slave rebellion against the French.
User warrenstjohn (@warrenstjohn) tweeted, "Eagerly awaiting Pat Robertson's pronouncements on who did what to deserve an earthquake."
Patti (@Floridaline) wrote, "Yippee!!! Tomorrow, Gods Meteorologist, Pat Robertson, will tell us why there was an earthquake near DC!!"
Despite the anticipation, Robertson made it clear Wednesday that he had not received any prophetic word from God regarding the earthquake.
"I can't claim any kind of particular revelation," Robertson said in response to a viewer's question about upcoming natural disasters.
Some viewers of the "700 Club's" "Sign of the Times" program were also skeptical that Tuesday's earthquake was any kind of sign from God about the end of the world.
"We've always had natural disasters, many far worse than the Great Virginia Quake of 2011. So why are the events more of a sign than the events of the past," a viewer watching the live program asked in an accompanying chat room.
Other viewers asked Robertson to comment on the rapture, the possible role of the Roman Catholic Church in end time prophecies, and about the possible identity of the antichrist.
No one appeared to ask when the world can be expected to end, but Robertson had an answer for that anyway.
"It will end when the Gospel is preached to the whole world as a witness," Robertson concluded in Wednesday's program.
The "Sign of the Times" program runs through the rest of the week.