As the huge asteroid Florence's 2017 flyby reminds us once again, near earth objects continually threaten earth and pass harmlessly—so far. Although this concerns scientists, Christians probably fear missing the rapture and facing the Antichrist a lot more than a Armageddon/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. Find out where this prophecy is found, how the Bible indicates it happens...and where the righteous will be protected from it.
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 (or conspiracy theory, like a coming "New World Order"). Few if any would say they fear an asteroid impact on earth in their lifetime, such as the sci-fi films Armageddon or Deep Impact depicted.
In 2013, the Chelyabinsk meteor exploded into pieces above Russia (injuring 1500 people). It was a deadly reminder that asteroids are a real menace for life on earth.
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, a presidential science adviser, 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 for most.
An Obvious Asteroid Impact in Bible Prophecy?
Bible believers 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. Thanks to the movies, 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. That's an amazingly specific description of an asteroid impact for a first century writer!
Some point out that, since it does not say where the mountain is thrown into the sea from, it is not safe to conclude it came from space. An alternative proposal is that underwater volcanoes may be responsible for "throwing up" such a mountain into the sea. 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 preceding trumpet (#1) and following trumpet (#3), they both have to do with objects from space, just as do the sixth and seventh seal. Therefore an asteroid fits both the description and the context best.
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 5th trumpet when Satan is cast to earth to begin his wrath. The 5th trumpet is exactly three trumpets after this asteroid impact happens at the 2nd trumpet. God has different plan than the rapture to save his people from pretribulation threat events like this.
The Hidden Chain of Causality
What events lead 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 2nd trumpet including the 6th seal, 7th seal, 1st, 3rd and 4th trumpets.
The 3rd trumpet's mentioned sighting of a star called Wormwood is key here. Wormwood is named and blamed at the 3rd trumpet for the preceding disasters which contribute 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.
(Note that wormwood is a bitter herb, so by naming the star Wormwood they are blaming it for what happened to the waters.)
The great difficulty here is that what at first seems to be the description of a direct impact of earth by a "star" cannot be what is intended. By comparing it to the preceding trumpet's description of 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.
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However if a dwarf planet "star" narrowly missed earth, it would explain everything described. The Greek word there (aster, as in asterisk or asteroid) fits not just stars but also planets, comets and asteroids. A planet smaller than earth would suffer break up from earth's gravity if it passed too close. Large portions of its mass would fall to earth in less threatening pieces. They would burn up "like a torch" as they entered the atmosphere and contribute to the poisoning of the waters with all the contaminate they introduce. The "star" would literally have fallen from heaven on the earth as described, but in less catastrophic manner. (The previous trumpet impacts also from the Wormwood dwarf planet would readily explain how a good portion of the fresh waters became contaminated.)
Because Wormwood disintegrates, it provides the volumes of material described from the 6th seal through the 3rd trumpet that fall to earth and block the sky. Wormwood's mass of material is transferred to earth as it disintegrates on its way.
(If you're not convinced or this is not clear enough, see my other article on the coming 360 day year caused by Wormwood explaining the interaction more completely.)
Why Following Science News Won't Help
Since the 3rd trumpet asteroid comes from a dwarf planet, you won't find it on the Near Earth Objects (NEO) tracking lists of NASA.
This means you don't have to pay attention to the reports released several times per year about the latest asteroids to barely miss earth. You can cancel your google alerts on that. They are not going to help you.
The fact is, nothing in the regular news will alert you in time to the Wormwood disaster. We can be sure of this from Revelation 6:12-17. It shows that (somehow) Wormwood comes as a surprise on humanity without much warning to prepare. "Running for the caves in the mountains" indicates a almost complete lack of preparation and panic (Rev 6:15-16).
While it is discouraging to see scientists' fears of a global impact event 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. He has an escape plan he will call us to as hinted at in Joel 2:32 which parallels the 6th seal of Revelation 6 (both have the double eclipse of the sun and moon):
Revelation 6:12 (ESV) — When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood
Joel 2:31-32 (ESV) — 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.
God has to call and help people to get to the one safe place he sets up to save his people who call on him. To understand how God calls us and helps us to get this "place of safety" in the Zion/Judea area, please continue on to my article on Psalm 91's description of this "secret place of the Most High."
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