711. And there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, such an earthquake, so great, signifies as it were shakings, convulsions, overturnings, and the drawing down from heaven, of all the things of the church. That by "an earthquake" changes in the state of the church are signified, may be seen above (n. 331): and as earthquakes are lighter and more severe, here the most severe, because it is said that such an earthquake had not occurred since men were made, it is manifest that by "the earthquake" here are signified the shakings, convulsions, and overturnings of all things in the church, and the drawing of them down from heaven. It is also said of the dragon, who is called the old serpent, the Devil, and Satan, that:
His tail drew down from heaven the third part of the stars, and cast them unto the earth (Rev. 12:4).
In like manner of the he-goat (Dan. 8:10-12). The Lord also says of the end of this church:
There shall then be great affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the world to this time, nor ever shall be (Matt. 24:21).
The end of the church is also described in the prophets by the shakings, overthrowings, and castings down, of the earth, and by other things which relate to earthquakes.