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Five Essential Bible Truths Part 1
Second Coming of Jesus

Then Meteors Fall

Shortly after the global earthquake, a shower of burning meteors will ignite unquenchable fires around the world. The likelihood that Earth’s gravity will attract some of the asteroids that cross Earth’s orbit around the sun is almost certain. “It is inevitable,” scientists say, “the Earth’s will once again be hit by an asteroid large enough to cause mass extinctions…”(National Geographic, January 1985, page 47).  This disconcerting prediction, made over two decades ago, now seems more ominous than ever before. Recent observations of new impact crater activity on the moon’s surface and telescopic sightings of hundreds of meteorites burning up as they enter Earth’s outer atmosphere may indicate Earth’s closer proximity to the asteroid belt.

Scientists Clark Chapman and David Morrison startled 4,000 geoscientists at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco in December 1989, say, “In terms of risk, the significant danger (from asteroids) comes from impacts with global implications. Statistically, the greatest risk to each of us is (that)…the impact could cause a global disruption of crops and/or food distribution systems, leading to widespread starvation and perhaps the death of most of the Earth’s human population. We call this a civilization-threatening impact.” At the time of the meeting in 1989, Dr. Chapman was a scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, and Dr. Morrison was chief of the Space Science Division at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

National Geographic
magazine featured an impressive article titled “Extinctions” (June 1989) and reported the findings of scientists studying the effects of ancient asteroids impacts. The article is still timely because Earth could be impacted by cosmic debris again. Scientists, in the National Geographic article describe the following scenario: “Giant meteorite strikes Earth, setting the planet afire. Volcanoes erupt tsunamis crash into the continents. The sky grows dark for months, perhaps years. Unable to cope with the catastrophic changes in climate, countless species are wiped off the face of the planet. (Page 686) The article goes on to suggest that great fires resulting from an asteroid would destroy crops, trees and vegetation. Even worse, windstorms created by the fires would destroy building hundreds of miles from the impact. Dust and smoke from the fires would find their way into the jet stream and block much of the sun’s light, thus altering the world’s climate and the chances of human survival!

Does Revelation Predict Asteroid Impacts?

Many people may dismiss the predictions and warnings of scientists as scientific fantasy. However, what if these scientific predictions are the same conclusions being reached by those studying the prophecies of Revelation? The Bible does seem to predict the impact of “civilization-threatening asteroids and meteorites! Revelation 8:7-11 describes a scenario that closely compares to what scientists anticipate from such impacts. Revelation symbolizes these events as “trumpets” because they are warnings of the appearing of Jesus.

Great Balls of Fire 

The first trumpet consists of a large meteoric shower of burning hail. Obviously, many people could die in a catastrophe of this type. Notice what Revelation says. “The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.”(Revelation 8:7)

John saw great fires caused by burning hail. He saw a third of the Earth, a third of the trees and all the green grass burned up. The quantity of one-third is used 12 times throughout the seven trumpets. So, what is the significance of one-third? The answer is generosity, for two-thirds are spared. In ancient times, when a nation refused to pay tribute (tax) to a more powerful king, it was common for the offended king to swarm down on the rebellious tribe and totally destroy it – men, women and children. However, if the king were generous, he would spare one-third from destruction. Notice this text:

“David also defeated the Moabites. He made them lie down on the ground and measured off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death, and the third length was allowed to live. So the Moabites became subject to David and brought tribute {tax}.” (2 Samuel 8:2) The extensive use of one-third within the seven trumpets reveals God’s generosity with a rebellious world. The trumpet-judgments are redemptive. If a generous king spared one-third of a rebellious nation in ancient times, what can be said of the King of Kings for sparing two-thirds of the elements mentioned in the seven trumpets. If God struck down two-thirds, certainly all life on this planet would perish in a few weeks.

Calamitous Impact on the Sea

The second trumpet follows the first trumpet and John describes a great impact upon the sea: “the second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.” (Revelation 8:8,9)

This scene apparently describes a large asteroid, the size of a mountain, hitting the sea. If an asteroid, one mile in diameter, were sitting upon the face of the Earth, it would be 5,280 feet high. Therefore, the term “mountain” is most appropriate for a huge rock or asteroid. John’s description of an asteroid impacting the sea is identical with scientific predictions. For example, the resulting tidal wave would destroy ship for hundreds of miles in every direction – even those docked in seaports far away. According to scientists at the University of California, the asteroid would be so hot that it would make a large part of the ocean water anoxic (oxygen deficient) by simple boiling the oxygen out of a large area of the sea. The temperature of the water would also dramatically rise, thus killing whatever creature life was left. Then, the warm, anoxic water would provide a perfect environment for the growth of red algae or what is known as red tide. John said the sea turned to blood. This appropriately describes the appearance of red algae, which thrives in oxygen deficient water!

Horrific Impact on Land

John describes the third trumpet as a great star that impacts the Earth. “The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water – the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.” (Revelation 8:10,11)

Many prophecy experts insist on a symbolic interpretation of these verses because they do not believe these things will literally happen. However, two compelling reasons eliminate the possibility of symbolic interpretation. First, each event described by John is physically consistent with the literal outcome he gives; second, if these texts were symbolic, where is the explanation or interpretation of these symbols within the Bible? 

Suppose a large star (asteroid), blazing like a torch, were to impact one of Earth’s seven continents. What would be the consequences? Ground waves would sheer water wells and sewer lines for hundreds of miles in all directions. Earthquakes and tremors would occur for many days as enormous tectonic forces beneath the surface of the Earth adjust to the impact. Remember, a large asteroid impact would release the energy of thousands of nuclear bombs. The end result would be broken sewer systems and landfills leaking toxic waste into subterranean aquifers that would contaminate the drinking water. Millions of people in large cities would drink the contaminated water and sickness would soon be followed by death. Notice again that Revelation 8:10,11 predicts many people will die from drinking bitter water that will be the direct consequence of a star hitting the Earth!

Sun, Moon and Stars Darkened

The fourth trumpet follows the first three trumpets. The sun, moon and stars turn dark. Perhaps the darkness that fell across the northwestern part of the United States during the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980 is a good example of what John saw. Although Revelation does not say why the sun, moon and stars turn dark, this result would be consistent with volcanic eruptions. If we add the effects of a giant earthquake, a meteoric storm of burning hail and two asteroid impacts together, the fragile balance of Earth’s tectonic plates could be disrupted. To release enormous energy, volcanoes could erupt and belch magma and ash in a series of explosions that would dwarf the blasts of Mount St. Helens and Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines.

The first three trumpets send megatons of dust, soot and debris into the atmosphere. Chains of volcanic eruptions (around the Ring of Fire) belch more dust in the form of volcanic ash, potentially causing extended darkness around the world. Millions of burning acres and resulting windstorms will insure that the jet stream is affected. One ounce of soot absorbs 25,000 times the sunlight that one-ounce of dust absorbs! Given this physical fact, it is not hard to see how a band of darkness could encircle the Earth.

Same Conclusions and Some Predictions

What makes the first four trumpets so uncanny is that scientists and Bible students are only arriving at the same conclusions – that asteroids and meteorites will impact the Earth – but they are also surprised by the consistent harmony of results. Will Earth be pummeled by rocks raining from heaven? More and more scientists are convinced it is inevitable, and so are students of Revelation.

Asteroid Impact Immediately Changes Life

If you find the previous interpretation of the first four trumpets to be reasonable, and the impact models by scientists within reason, Revelation will provide a very compelling story. Revelation’s story describes the international backdrop that exists when the meteors and asteroids collide with our planet and it reveals the reactions of religious and political powers at the same time the events occur! To understand the actions and reactions of world leaders, consider this simple scenario of Earth’s condition after the first four trumpets.

  1. Suppose the meteoric showers of burning hail of the first trumpet ignite great forest fires all over the world. In just a few days a critical resource would be destroyed that cannot be replenished in decades. Trees are used for the production of paper, building materials and many, many other items, but most of all, trees produce oxygen. If you add millions of acres in wheat, corn and other food crops to the burning inferno, you can see how respiratory problems could kill millions of livestock and people. Mass graves will be everywhere. Food will become as scarce as gold. Never in the history of the world, will the index of human suffering reach this level. (Matthew 24: 21,22)
  1. Suppose one-third of the ships are sent to the bottom of the ocean by a tidal wave produced by an asteroid impact. Millions of barrels of oil in supertankers will be spilled. Billions of dollars in cargo from Japan, Russia, America and other countries will rest on the bottom of the ocean. Countries that heavily depend on oil and food supplies arriving by sea will experience immediate shortages of all kinds. Large seaports will be washed away, and thousands, perhaps millions of people will drown. Large insurance companies will go bankrupt leaving investing banking in the world’s stock markets in total chaos. The domino effect on the economy of all nations will be beyond calculation.
  1. Great cities along the seaboard will be totally destroyed by tidal waves exceeding 1,000 feet in height. If an asteroid one-mile in diameter hits an ocean, much of the coastline could be destroyed. Entire islands could be washed away! Even worse, many countries depend on their fertile coastal lands for valuable food crops. The destruction of these areas would bring dire circumstances to every human being, especially when you consider that many people keep less than one week’s food supply on hand. Perhaps this kind of speculation sounds like a fairy tale, but Luke talks about the fury of the ocean before the coming of Jesus saying, “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world….” (Luke 21: 25,26)
  1. Compound the destruction of the world’s food basket with the horror of contaminated drinking water everywhere and the situation grows so desperate that a person would wonder if life can go on at all. Desperate circumstances call for extreme efforts. To stabilize the situation, governments will respond quickly. First, they will, of necessity enact contingency or emergency constitutions. This means that martial law will be implemented to prevent anarchy and the total breakdown of government. Stringent laws will be implemented and people will have no choice but to acquiesce. Individual rights will be canceled. The price of sin is always great – even upon the innocent.

Rationing will be implemented to prevent total anarchy. People, full of fear, will do everything they can to obtain food and medicine. Controls on buying and selling will become necessary since every survivor needs a basic number of items to sustain life itself. Few will argue with the drastic economic methods enacted for survival. As the days turn into weeks and weeks into months, people will give in to despair. Hope for recovery will dim. On every point of the compass there will be destruction and suffering beyond description. All the people of Earth will be in shock. The living will envy the dead.

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