As Asteroid 2008 QE2 reminded us once again, objects orbiting close to earth are a constant threat. Although this concerns scientists, Christians probably fear missing the rapture and facing the Antichrist a lot more than a deep impact scenario. If they only realized that there is an explicit prophecy of an asteroid impact on earth before the rapture and Great Tribulation even happens, they might reconsider. Find out where this prophecy is found, how the Bible indicates it happens...and where the righteous will be protected while it happens.
What is the Real Threat To Earth?
If you asked a Christian what global threat they fear most, typically they would say the Antichrist, the mark of the beast, the Great Tribulation or some other major aspect of end time Bible prophecy. Normally they would not answer that they fear an asteroid impact on earth in their lifetime, such as the sci-fi film Armageddon depicted.
These days they might give a different answer. Three months after a meteor exploded into pieces above Russia (injuring 1500 people), another space rock threatened earth on the last day of May, 2013. A “potentially hazardous” 1.7 miles wide rock named Asteroid 2008 QE2 passed within 3.6 million miles of earth. That may sound far, but it's only 15 times further out than the moon is.
Speaking of which, days before it passed it was discovered that coming along with it is its own moon, if you can call it that (it's only 2,000 feet wide).
Holes in Asteroid Defense Plan
While no one was really worried about this one, it does raise the issue once again of how vulnerable earth—and our civilization—is to these ballistic threats from space. All it takes is a rock 150 yards (140 meters) wide to devastate a large city. While asteroids that size only have a one in 20,000 chance of hitting earth in any given year, the threat is serious enough that we have started a concerted effort to track all objects that size and larger. Unfortunately only 10% of the estimated 13,000 to 20,000 city-leveling asteroids have been detected. Worse, at the current rate, it will take until 2030 before we reach the more comforting level of 90% discovery.
But even if we had 100% tracking of threatening near-earth objects today, there is still a problem. According to John Holdren, science adviser to President Barack Obama, we would need five years advance warning in order to prepare and execute a plan to try to neutralize a collision threat. This would be attempted through various possible means including nuking it, Bruce Willis-style.
When space agency chief Charles Bolden was asked what would NASA do if a large asteroid was discovered to be on a collision course with earth three weeks before impact, his answer was not comforting. He said, “The answer to you is, 'if it's coming in three weeks, pray,'" Obviously, that's not very comforting news.
An Obvious Asteroid Impact in Bible Prophecy
Bible believers, however, have an extra cause for concern when they read the Book of Revelation:
Revelation 8:8-9 (HCSB) — 8 The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain ablaze with fire was hurled into the sea. So a third of the sea became blood, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
The biblical description here is uncommonly accessible. Asteroids are actually compared to “mountains in space” by astronomers (obviously, not literal mountains hence the "something like" qualifier is perfect). Further, as they pass through the atmosphere prior to impact, they light up—not from friction, but from “ram pressure” compression of the air in front of the body. This creates the “blazing fire” described in the prophecy. Since most of the earth's surface is ocean, the most likely place for an impact like this is the ocean, just as described. Most everyone knows these days what certainly must follow that. Tsunamis or tidal waves would radiate out from there, destroying the ships. How do the fish die? The burning asteroid will boil and dirty the water at splashdown leading to mass deaths of sea life.
By the way, some point out that since it does not say where the mountain is thrown into the sea from, it is indeterminate whether it came from space. An alternative proposal is that underwater volcanoes may be responsible for throwing up a mountain. Volcanoes are an interesting idea since they explode with pyroclastic flows (a hot avalanche of rock, ash and gas) and pyroclastic surges (a cloud of volcanic ash and hot gasses exceeding 100 km per hour). However, neither of these volcanic expulsions could be described as like a mountain being hurled nor is there a record of a volcano ever throwing an entire mountain up into the air. (How would it stay together from the explosion? And how would it be burning since it is only a dislodged mountain?) The only way a mountain can both be in one piece and on fire at the same time is if it came from space. If you check the trumpet before and after the second trumpet, they both have to do with objects from space, just as do the sixth and seventh seal. Therefore an asteroid makes the most sense with description and context.
I said earlier that this happens before the rapture. That's because the Great Tribulation (before which most people think the rapture happens) does not come until the fifth trumpet when Satan is cast to earth to begin his wrath. The fifth trumpet is exactly three trumpets after this asteroid impact happens at the second trumpet. God has different plan than the rapture to save his people from pretribulation threat events like this.
The Hidden Chain of Causality
What leads up to the asteroid ocean impact? This is where it gets tricky (which is why Christians are commonly missing this event on their end time roadmap). There is a chain of causality that is not obvious without a lot of consideration of that trumpet passage and related passages. This especially includes the other trumpets surrounding the second trumpet including the sixth seal, seventh seal, first, third and fourth trumpets.
The third trumpet's mentioned sighting of a star called Wormwood is key here. Wormwood is blamed in the third trumpet for the disasters that preceded which lead to the polluting of one third of the fresh waters:
Revelation 8:10-11 (HCSB) — 10 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from heaven. It fell on a third of the rivers and springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood, and a third of the waters became wormwood. So, many of the people died from the waters, because they had been made bitter.
The difficulty here is that what at first seems to be the description of a direct impact of earth by a star is cannot be what is intended. By comparing it to the previous trumpet describing an actual impact, you can see that much easier. Another star could not even come close to the earth without spelling doom for us long before any impact. What it must be describing instead is that the star is seen crossing the sky as if "falling from heaven" at the same time that the waters are bittered. Hence people giving the star the moniker ascribed (wormwood is a bitter herb). The previous trumpet impacts would readily explain how a good portion of the fresh waters became contaminated.
How does a star that does not impact or come near earth get blamed for all the impacts and global disturbances described between the sixth seal and fourth trumpet? As I covered in a previous article on Nemesis and Wormwood, real respected scientists have already theorized that our sun may have a binary twin companion that passes through the Oort cloud in its orbit of the sun. When this happens, comets in cold storage there are disturbed, sending some in the direction of earth. This theory would explain regular periodic calamities on earth evidenced in the fossil record.
But this is not to say that a comet hits earth either. That also would likely end all life on earth due due to the typical size of a comet. Comets often break up while orbiting the sun too closely because of the extreme gravitational forces. The same thing could happen if a comet passed too close to earth. It could fragment (and cause the “great earthquake” and eclipses of the sixth seal – Rev 6:12). One of those fragments could become the asteroid that impacts the ocean of the second trumpet. Other fragments would cause the meteor shower of the sixth seal and fire storm of meteorite impacts of the first trumpet.
To sum up the chain of causality:
- The star Wormwood passes through the Oort cloud, disturbing comets there and at least one comet hurdles towards earth.
- The comet passes close to earth without hitting (like Asteroid 2008 QE2, but closer), and is fragmented.
- The asteroid that hits the ocean (2nd trumpet) comes from one of the fragments of the comet. The rest of the disturbances and calamities of the sixth seal through fourth trumpet series can also be explained by the interaction of earth with the comet and its pieces.
Perhaps it is no surprise how some reports on Asteroid 2008 QE2 mentioned that it is thought to be a remnant of an comet.
The opening verses of Revelation promise to show God's servants things that must happen "soon." Much time has passed since that was written. How much time is left?
That is the question everyone would love answered. Unfortunately, no man knows the day or hour of Jesus' return or these related events that must precede it, including the Wormwood cataclysms. Yet, there are many clues as to when he cannot possibly come, including indications that Jesus cannot tarry much more than another decade or two. For some ideas see the article below on why Jesus won't come back this year.
Scientists realize that with so many near-earth objects out there, it is just a matter of time before a large asteroid collides with earth just as the Chelyabinsk meteor did early in 2013. With their focus on the rapture and Antichrist, Christians tend to overlook that there is a very explicit description of exactly that in Revelation. An asteroid will impact the ocean before the rapture and Great Tribulation as part of cascade of events starting with the sun's binary twin called star Wormwood (or to scientists Nemesis) sending a comet in our direction.
While it is discouraging to see scientists fears confirmed in Bible prophecy, there is no cause for fear among believers. God will not leave us on our own to face such a devastating global cataclysm. Especially when this global smiting directly leads to the rise of the Antichrist over the earth or what is called the Great Tribulation by Jesus. God's deliverance plan for that pretribulation period is already spelled out in the pages of the prophecies. (See the article on the Woman of Revelation 12 and the 144,000 for the story.)