Fatal Attraction By Wendy Wippel A church I visited recently, as an overture to the…
Armageddon, According to Bruce (And John)
By: Wendy Wippel
Revelation is the only book that promises blessing to its students, and I guess that’s because it is, admittedly, a pretty difficult book to tackle. Take the seals, for instance. And those trumpets and bowls. What the heck is that all about? Thankfully, there are clues.
Let’s see what Scripture says about the sixth seal.
“I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” Revelation 6:12-14 (NASB)
Earthquakes? Stars falling from the sky? Moon turning red? Sky splitting? Mountains and islands moved? Again, there are clues. And the clues point — actually –toward a fairly well-described natural disaster. What John saw strongly resembles what we would see if an asteroid actually hit the earth.
Eugene Shoemaker, expert with the U.S. Geological Survey, estimates that a Hiroshima-size asteroid in the sea or in remote areas event occurs about once a year, going largely unnoticed because they explode out at sea, at high altitudes or on uninhabited land.
So a few somebodies see a flash, or what sounds like intense thunder, but that’s it.
MeteorAbout one event every ten years is big enough to draw a lot of public attention. A meteorite struck an isolated location in Norway in 2006 with a Hiroshima-sized boom. We all saw, just a few months ago, the results of the asteroid drive-by in Russia. And craters all over the earth (like the famous Arizona one. I’ve been there) are proof positive that’s it only a matter of time until it happens again.
And it will happen again.
So what did John see?
“I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place…” Revelation 6.
First there was an earthquake.
Based on a 10 km asteroid weight 1.31 tons (the size of the one that caused the Chicxulub crater outside Chichen Itza) the impact would carry more than 2 million times the destructive power than our most powerful atomic bomb. Think earthquake with a magnitude of 12.4 on the Richter scale. Think 250 million megatons of TNT. That would be some kind of earthquake. Ahead of the main impact, pieces of the approaching asteroid break off, striking the earth first. And the approaching asteroids gravitational forces act on the earth as well, causing earthquakes.
Just like John says.
Next, the sun turns black.
According to science writer Erik Skotstad (Discover Magazine, January 2005) the force of the initial asteroid impact would instantly vaporize a thick layer of rock and propel it into the atmosphere. Much of the vaporized matter would remain in the atmosphere, with devastating effect. Aerosolized materials will dramatically reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth, effectively producing a near complete darkness that would last several years.
In other words, the sun goes dark. (Remember, John is describing what he sees.)
Next the moon turns red. And as ash and vaporized rock particles fill the atmosphere, these particles “scatter” away the short and intermediate wavelengths of light (violet, blue and yellow), leaving only the longer wavelengths (orange and red) to reach our eyes. (Dennis Feltgen, National Weather Service, Md.) Volcanic eruptions are known to cause this phenomenon on a regular basis.
The moon turns red.
Then the stars fall from the sky. A shower of stars, John says. As the main asteroid approaches, it would push the atmosphere in front of it aside, creating a hole. The gap in the atmosphere would pull material both from the asteroid and from the earth (pieces of crust, ocean water and disintegrating parts of the asteroid) into the hole, and that material would fall to earth ahead of the actual impact. Flaming.
The scientists say this.
And then John says a very curious thing. The sky splits open.
There’s actually been another famous asteroid drive-by in Russian history. You may have heard of it. But this one happened in 1908, in an area of wilderness called Tunguska. A remote area, without too many eye-witnesses. But there was at least one. And this is his testimony:
“At breakfast time I was sitting by the house at Vanavara Trading Post (65 kilometres/40 miles south of the explosion), facing north…I suddenly saw that directly to the north, over Onkoul’s Tunguska Road, the sky split in two …The split in the sky grew larger … a strong thump sounded, and I was thrown a few meters. … After that such noise came, as if rocks were falling or cannons were firing, the earth shook, and …, I pressed my head down, fearing rocks would smash it. (N.V. Vasiliev)
Mr. Vasiliev, in his own words, says the sky split open.
John, undoubtedly, seems to be given a vision of an asteroid impact. And he is also given a vision of the consequences: the trumpets.
“The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.”
According to the scientists, the material drawn into the gap in the atmosphere will disperse, and, like buckshot, spray over the earth’s surface, igniting a firestorm over a large chunk of the earth’s surface.
“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)
Finally, the main asteroid hits the earth. (On scientific depiction of this impact shows what seriously looks like a huge mountain, on fire, landing in the sea.) And an asteroid impact the size of the one that we know hit off the Yucatan peninsula (Chicxulub) would push enough water aside to hit the ocean floor.
This would certainly destroy a few ships and have a devastating effect on sea life.
Tsunami severity can be predicted by a scientific formula (height depending on distance from impact and, energy of impact), and we can make a pretty good guess on the real-world effects of a 10 km asteroid hitting in the Pacific Ocean (the world’s largest). A 10 km asteroid striking 2000 km off shore would create a tsunami roughly a quarter mile high. In other words, a 10 km asteroid striking anywhere in the Pacific Ocean would wipe out pretty much the entire Pacific Rim.
Water rushing back over the superheated crater floor will also produce successive tsunamis, as will ongoing shifts of the crust (like aftershocks) after impact.
John also sees the seas turn blood red.
Red tides are a population explosion of a certain type of microscopic algae which is associated with water pollution, particularly high temperatures with a depletion of oxygen in the water. Large sections of the ocean can, and do, regularly turn blood red when the water temperature or salt concentration changes.
“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] A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.” (Revelation 8:10-11)
The shock wave from the approaching asteroid, as well as friction from the asteroid and other materials (asteroid fragments, etc) would heat up the air as they pass through, particularly as they near impact. Heat produces nitric and nitrous acid: N2 + O2 produces NO, then NO + O2 produces NO2, and atmospheric NO2, when combined with water, form nitrous and nitric acid.
In other words, acid rain.
Minor amounts of nitrous oxides in the air caused by industrial emissions has made some lakes in New England unsuitable for life. Scientists predict that acid rain caused by meteor impact could last years.
“The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.” (Revelation 8:12)
Again, from the scientists, the dirt, dust, and soot ejected into the atmosphere from meteor impact would be substantial enough to block a significant amount of sunlight. (They have a term for it: impact winter.) Much of the earth would be covered in what appeared to be an eternal twilight. Water vapor ejected would increase humidity, and the loss of plants would increase CO2 levels.
This happened, actually, once in New England. Volcanic eruptions in the Eastern Hemisphere threw enough ash into the air to block sunlight, enough to create what was called the in the “Summer that Never Was” in New England in 1916, in which lakes stayed frozen all summer and crops never grew.
OK. So God may choose to bring each one of these judgments to pass through His own hand, individually. And it may not have anything to do with an asteroid.
But when scientists describe the same steps, in the same sequence, as consequences of an asteroid strike, it does make you think. And God often uses the natural world, which He designed, to affect His own purposes.
And it’s interesting that asteroid impacts, like the birth pang signs, seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity. With several possible impacts looming in our planetary future.
So look up.
No, not for asteroids. ‘Cause our redemption draweth nigh.