The First Four Trumpets

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Great Ball of Fire #2

The next judgment is a great asteroid impact on a continent. John describes 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, maintaining that they do not believe these events could be literal. However, two compelling reasons eliminate the possibility of a symbolic interpretation. First, each event is physically consistent with the literal outcome John describes. Second, if these texts were symbolic, where is the explanation or interpretation of these symbols within the Bible? How can symbolic people drink symbolic water?

Suppose a large star (asteroid or comet), blazing like a torch, were to impact on of Earth’s seven continents. What would be the consequences? Computer and seismic models created at the University of Southern California at Berkeley indicate that ground waves would sheer water wells and sewer lines for hundreds of miles in all directions. Earthquakes and tremors would continue for many days as enormous tectonic forces beneath the surface of the Earth adjust to the impact. Of course, everything within two hundred miles of ground zero would be vaporized. Remember, a large asteroid impact would release the energy of thousands of nuclear bombs. This energy would be dissipated in power earthquakes and one of the first casualties of such an impact would be drinking water. Broken septic systems and toxic waste buried in landfills would leach into underground rivers that flow into huge aquifers that provide drinking water for millions of people. The results will be devastating. Revelation 8:10,11 predicts that many people will die from drinking bitter water that has become unsafe; a direct consequence of a “star” hitting Earth! The title of this star is very meaningful. “And the Lord saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them: Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall [poison] to drink.” (Jeremiah 9:13-15, KJV) If we compare the Lord’s comments to Jeremiah with John’s vision, it becomes clear why the asteroid is called “Wormwood.” “Wormwood” means poisonous.

Scientists Predict

In the early 1980’s, few geologists and geoscientists accepted the theory that giant asteroids, the size of mountains, had previously impacted our planet. Today, with the help of computers, satellites, and better equipment, scientists have discovered several enormous impact sites on planet Earth. Funny, isn’t it, how scientific discovery can reverse long-standing conclusions in a very short amount of time! The notion that giant asteroids have pummeled Earth was regarded as scientific lunacy in 1978 when geoscientist Dr. Luis Alverez (University of California at Berkeley), advanced the idea that dinosaurs may have become extinct due to a giant asteroid impact millions of years ago. Dr. Alvarez and other scientists, such as the late Dr, Eugene Shoemaker (1928-1997) from the United States Geological Survey, were among the first geoscientists to conclude that large asteroids had impacted Earth. The idea, widely controversial in the late 70’s, is widely accepted today due to overwhelming evidence. When the comet, Shoemaker-Levy 9, broke up and impacted Jupiter’s surface in July 1994, all arguments ended. One impact site on Jupiter was wide enough to comfortably accommodate two planets the size of the Earth side by side. Today, geoscientists are convinced that our planet has experienced horrific impacts from large asteroids and they are just as convinced that out planet will be impacted again. Because erosion constantly changes the face of the Earth, it is difficult to detect impact craters until the late 1970’s. Even more, 75% of Earth’s surface is covered by water, making it almost impossible to detect ocean impact sites. With the help of satellite photographs, it has become much easier to find these ancient impact sites.

In fact, scientists have identified more than 150 land-craters caused by asteroid or meteoric impacts. The three largest craters are found in Canada, South Africa and of the coast of Mexico.  Each of these craters has a diameter of about 120 – 150 miles. The largest known crater within the United States is about 18 miles wide and located close to Manson, Iowa. Even though craters are sprinkled over various continents, few are as distinct in appearance as Meteor Crater in Arizona. According to Richard A.F. Grieve, Ph.D., a scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada (Scientific American, April 1990), the “tiny “iron meteorite which caused Meteor Crater In Arizona was less than 200 feet in diameter and weighted approximately one million tons. It hit the Earth traveling about 35,000 miles per hour (mph) and released energy equivalent to the most powerful nuclear devices available today. Meteor Crater is about two-thirds of a mile wide and 640 feet deep.

The amount of damage caused by an impact is relative to the momentum and the direction of impact. Earth is traveling about 72,000 mph in its annual orbit around the Sun. If a meteor traveling 40,000 mph hits “head on” with Earth, the energy released would be equivalent to an 112,000 mph collision! National Geographic featured an impressive article titles “Extinctions” in its June 1989 edition, which reported the findings of scientists studying the effects of ancient asteroid impacts. This article is still timely since the Bible and scientists agree that Earth will be impacted again.

The National Geographic article proposed 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 buildings 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!

Will Asteroids Impact Earth Again?

“Sooner or later, it is inevitable,” scientists say, “that Earth’s gravitational field will attract one or several of these celestial bodies.” “Civilization threatening” asteroids (rocks having a diameter of one to 10 miles) are so tiny in space that scientists rarely detect their presence until they are very close to Earth. Scientists calculate that Asteroid 1989 FC missed Earth by only six hours on March 23, 1989. They also maintain that it is highly probable that it will return at some point in the future and this time be even closer to Earth! What is shocking about Asteroid 1989 FC is that it was not detected until after it had passed by Earth. On January 7, 2002, a small asteroid (2001 YB5) about 1,000 feet in diameter missed Earth by twice the distance between the moon and Earth. Although this may sound like a safe distance, the asteroid was traveling toward us at 70,000 miles per hour. In other words, we missed an impact by only a handful of hours! This asteroid will revisit our place in space in about 3 years and 7 months. A document on NASA Internet site currently states that Earth’s closest miss with an asteroid has been only a matter of minutes! One asteroid whizzed within 62,000 miles of Earth!

“It is inevitable,” scientists say, “Earth will once again be hit by an asteroid large enough to cause mass extinctions….” (National Geographic, January 1985, page 47) Scientists Clark Chapman and David Morrison startled 4,000 geoscientists at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco in December 1989, saying, “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 (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.

Scientists have known for years that asteroids and meteorites strike the Earth and moon in predictable patterns. In fact, if Asteroid 1989 FC had hit Earth, Dr. Bevan French, an expert at NASA’s Solar System Exploration Division, calculated it would have released energy equivalent to 20,000 hydrogen bombs. If it had hit a metropolitan area such as Tokyo, Los Angeles or New York, millions of people would have died instantly. Fortunately, most meteorites that have impacted the Earth in recent times have been small and have had no significant consequence. However, the media reports fireballs and meteorites regularly. As an example, on November 22, 1996, a “small” meteorite impacted Honduras, making a crater 150 feet in diameter.


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