Eric, a friend of mine for many years, a Silicon Valley scientist high up in a major corporation, drops by my place several times a month to update me and Steve, a geologist friend, on the latest news from science. Our time together is always exciting and we always close with prayer--we three know Jesus Christ quite well. We endeavor to stay clear from the latest distractions of the secular world around us. We see these as not very relevant to what God is really doing in the world today. Increasing chaos and confusion is everywhere!
This weeks topic was the orbiting asteroid named Apophis. Immediately I remembered the Stargate SciFi series (2002-2007) rooted in the polytheistic religion of ancient Egypt.
After the collapse of the Tower of Babel when earth's original one-language became many, the religion of Babel was divided into three branches. All false religion can be traced back to the Babylonian Mystery Religion. Three main streams of this religion are discernible. One branch was taken to China and India--the fount there we now know as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and the like. A second stream initiated the Egyptian Mystery Religion. Branch Three was exported into Europe via the Etruscan Mystery Religion --and from there incorporated into the Church of Rome.
The Egyptian Mystery Religion, had more gods than any civilization has ever defaulted into. Apep (also spelled Apepi or Aapep) or Apophis was the ancient Egyptian deity who embodied chaos [and was thus the opponent of light and Ma'at (order/truth)]. He appears in art as a giant serpent. His name is reconstructed by Egyptologists. Apep, was first mentioned in the Eighth Dynasty was honored in the names of the Fourteenth Dynasty king Apepi and of the Greater Hyksos king Apophis. (from Wikipedia)
It's easy to see how myths and legends have been known to man since the beginning. The sun god Ra looks back to the Son of God, the greater light to rule the day (Genesis 1:14-18). The "ancient serpent" (Revelation 12:9) is the fallen archangel Satan.
The constant threat of asteroids colliding with earth is recognized by astronomers daily. As the earth travels around the sun in it's orbit thousands of very small grain-of-sand particles are caught by our weak gravitational force. Hurtling in at 26,000 miles most soon burn up in our upper atmosphere affording us "meteor showers." A few times a year we see a "fireball meteor" which survives into the lower atmosphere. Meteoroids are significantly smaller than asteroids, and range in size from small grains to one-meter-wide objects. Objects smaller than this are classified as micro-meteoroids or space dust. Most are fragments from comets or asteroids, whereas others are collision impact debris ejected from bodies such as the Moon or Mars.
When a meteoroid, comet, or asteroid enters Earth's atmosphere at a speed typically in excess of 20 km/s (72,000 km/hour, or 45,000 mph), aerodynamic heating of that object produces a streak of light, both from the glowing object and the trail of glowing particles that it leaves in its wake. This phenomenon is called a meteor or "shooting star." A series of many meteors appearing seconds or minutes apart and appearing to originate from the same fixed point in the sky is called a meteor shower. A meteorite is the remains of a meteoroid that has survived the ablation of its surface material during its passage through the atmosphere as a meteor and has impacted the ground. An estimated 25 million meteoroids, micro-meteoroids and other space debris enter Earth's atmosphere each day, which results in an estimated 15,000 tonnes of that material entering the atmosphere each year. (from Wikipedia)
Apophis a near-Earth asteroid with a diameter of 370 metres that caused a brief period of concern in December 2004 when initial observations indicated a probability up to 2.7% that it would hit Earth or Moon on April 13, 2029. Additional observations provided improved predictions that eliminated the possibility of an impact on Earth or the Moon in 2029. However, until 2006, a possibility remained that during the 2029 close encounter with Earth, Apophis would pass through a gravitational keyhole, a small region no more than about 800 metres (1⁄2 mile) in diameter, that would set up a future impact exactly seven years later on April 13, 2036. This possibility kept it at Level 1 on the Torino impact hazard scale until August 2006, when the probability that Apophis would pass through the keyhole was determined to be very small and Apophis's rating on the Torino scale was lowered to zero. By 2008, the keyhole had been determined to be less than 1 km wide. During the short time when it had been of greatest concern, Apophis set the record for highest rating on the Torino scale, reaching level 4 on December 27, 2004.
As of 2014, the diameter of Apophis is estimated to be approximately 370 metres (1,210 feet). Preliminary observations by Goldstone radar in January 2013 effectively ruled out the possibility of an Earth impact by Apophis in 2036. By May 6, 2013 (April 15, 2013 observation arc), the probability of an impact on April 13, 2036 had been eliminated The highest probability of impact is on April 12, 2068 and the odds of an impact on that date, as calculated by the JPL Sentry risk table using a March 2016 solution, are 1 in 150,000, but the nominal trajectory has the asteroid more than 1 AU (150 million km) from Earth on that date. As of November 2020, there were two asteroids with a more notable cumulative Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale than Apophis, though none of them has a Torino level greater than 0. On average, an asteroid the size of Apophis (370 metres) can be expected to impact Earth once in about 80,000 years. Observations in 2020 by the Subaru telescope have confirmed David Vokrouhlický's 2015 Yarkovsky effect predictions. (from Wikipedia)
The orbits of major asteroids are meticulously calculated and updated constantly to predict whether or not a known asteroid poses a threat to our planet. One special asteroid named Apophis has been in the news lately. It is currently believed we are safe. This assumes fixed laws off physics and no "divine intervention."
God presently sustains His creation, exercising exact control at every level. Rarely does He poke a finger into our realm.
Yet the story of Flatland ought to remind us daily that God is way bigger that we suppose, greater than the best our science can come up with.
A small push by a divine finger on a asteroid such as Apophis could change history forever.
If the orbit of Apophis were to deviate from current projections, diligent scientists would work overtime to track down the cause, because in science there are no un-caused effects.
The book of Revelation depicts a series of overwhelming events that are scheduled to happen down here after the true church has been taken away to a safe place.
Great angels, now working quietly backstage will step in changing everything. The prophets called this paradigm shift "The Day of the Lord." In contrast we are still living in "man's day."
In the Book of Revelation, Seven Seals are opened, cascading into Seven Trumpets, Seven Thunders, and Seven Bowls of Wrath and a great earthquake. Then Jesus Christ and His Bride will be openly seen by everyone.Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
One obvious example of an asteroid reaching earth and causing enormous harm is described succinctly in Revelation Chapter 8.
"Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter." (Revelation 8:10-11)
In context, drawing from my mentor, Ray Stedman,
The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down 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 NIV)
This is very similar to the seventh plague that fell on Egypt during Moses' confrontation of Pharaoh, when hail and lightning came upon the whole land. Here, it is mingled with blood. This is not a new phenomenon. Scientists have recorded other times when red rain fell from the sky. They never could explain it fully, but it actually left great puddles of water that were as red as blood. Here is the same plague hitting the earth. It brings terrible destruction of the natural world. Notice that the plagues of the first four trumpets all fall on creation. This is, in a sense, God's judgment upon a race that destroys its environment. He is saying, in effect, "You want a destroyed world -- then you shall have it." This is fully in line with his methods of judgment.
But the destruction is not only literal, it is also symbolic. It is teaching something invisible to the eyes of men at that time. As we have already noted, the earth is used in Scripture as a picture of Israel, the intended model nation under God. Here is depicted a judgment upon Israel, both on its leaders (the trees), and upon its people (the grass). The prophet Jeremiah and other prophets of the Old Testament call attention to a time when God will judge his people Israel. Let me read such a prediction from the prophecy of Zephaniah. God says:
"At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, 'The Lord will do nothing, either good or bad.' Their wealth will be plundered, their houses demolished. They will build houses but not live in them; they will plant vineyards but not drink the wine." (Zephaniah 1:12-13 NIV)
Jeremiah calls this, "the time of Jacob's trouble," (Jeremiah 30:7 KJV). That is the effect of the first trumpet. The second one follows:
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 NIV)
The first trumpet judgment attacked the earth but this attacks the sea. A great blazing mountain is seen falling into the sea. Perhaps it is a volcanic eruption. It may be Mount Etna on the island of Sicily which vulcanologists say is ready to blow its top, like Mt. St. Helens. Many scholars feel that the sea on which this judgment falls is the Mediterranean. Or perhaps it is a meteor falling out of space into the ocean. At any rate, the sea literally becomes blood red. Once again, this is not unknown. Every now and then the papers report what is called a "red tide" which appears in the sea and turns large areas of the ocean blood red. A tiny marine organism, red in color, multiplies at such an enormous rate that it makes the water look like blood. This plague destroys many of the living creatures in the sea; the ships are destroyed and the commerce of the ocean reduced by a third.
But if it is literal, it is also symbolic. The symbol of a great mountain blazing with fire is that of a kingdom aflame with revolution. Jeremiah, for instance, describes Babylon as just such a mountain. He calls it a "blazing mountain" which is the destroyer of the earth (Jeremiah 51:24-26). It probably pictures, as we gather from other Scriptures, the rise of what is popularly called "the revived Roman Empire," the ten-kingdomed coalition of Western Europe and the Western allied nations under the antichrist, which conquers the other nations of the earth. The sea is used frequently as a picture of the Gentile nations of earth.
Again, it is limited to one-third. Notice the repetition of this word "the third" all through the series of trumpet judgments. Under the seals the limitation was one-fourth of the earth. That is very meaningful. Four is the number of human government, and under the seal judgments God is saying that he uses human government to limit the onslaught of the four terrible horsemen of Chapter 6. Human government still retains some vestige of restraining power during those days. But here, even that is gone, and under the trumpet judgments only God himself restrains. Three is the divine number and this is declaring that only God's mercy and God's grace limits these awful judgments to one-third of the earth. Now we come to the third trumpet,
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 NIV)
This great star which falls into the rivers and the fountains of earth, is very likely a comet which breaks up when it enters the atmosphere and scatters itself throughout the earth, falling into the rivers and springs and poisoning them with what is probably a form of radiation. We have had, perhaps, a kind of a foregleam of this and a note of warning from God, in the terrible atomic accident that happened in Russia some years ago. It occurred at a city named Chernobyl -- and Chernobyl is the Russian word for Wormwood! From Ray Stedman Angels of Doom (1990).
Additional data: A second invasion from outer space can be seen in Revelation 9:1-11. This time not an asteroid but is a falling archangel is evicted from heaven, “whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollonian (destroyer).” See All Hell Breaks Loose by Ray Stedman. A list of end time terms may be useful for some.
The Bible proves to be fully accurate in the long run. There are no "accidents." There is no such entity as "chance." The order we observe in the natural universe is by design. For example, the same "laws of physics" apply to the farthest reaches of space in the microscopic realm as in the microscopic. This range is many orders of magnitude: See: Macrocosm and Microcosm, drawing from my friend Chuck Missler. See also the meaning of the Greek NT word "elements." The observable, physical universe is but four dimensions in extent. Yet the entire creation may have ten or twenty additional spiritual dimensions! Our physical realm is embedded in a way bigger order of things! Here is where the weaknesses of modern science are evident. This is not to discredit the godly men and woman who led western civilization out of the Dark Ages into the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution. Just as God has been pushed out to the margins of our national life, so also He is not allowed to get a word in edgewise now , or have a major say in philosophy or science.
In a 1997 book review, Harvard biology professor Richard Lewontin, speaking for the scientific community, famously remarked, “It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”
As theologian Tim Keller noted recently, "Science" was the unofficial religion of the western world until recently. The high priests of this religion were trained scientists in every profession. Their advice was heeded and their opinions became the laws of the land. So many flaws have appeared in the fabric of this religion that popular support is now waning. Some today have defaulted to the Christian religion imported from Europe. But this system is likewise proving impotent. The course of nations down through history shows that all default eventually to some form of paganism. This does not mean God is dead, or missing!
Israel's history since Abraham (4000 years) is evidence the true and living God has imparted to us in the Bible. This data has come to us by revelation from outside the system. It is we who moved. God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
It's not difficult to shoot down the prevailing assumptions of science that the universe is billions of years old and life has been "evolving" with a known cause for many millions of years.
Human population growth has always been so rapid that if one man and one man were implanted on earth a million years ago, at known growth rates, the entire universe would be full of dead bodies.
Suppose we could walk back into past history to the beginning. Known and well documented history can easily be visited back to the time of Christ, about 50 generations. The genealogy of Jesus back to Adam is given to us by Luke.
Seasons of Stress in history are well known and have been well documented. Historical time has discontinuous breaks described long ago by Archbishop Trench:
"It is during the times of stress that the real character of human beings comes to the surface, that raw ugly sores open in society and the situation becomes dangerous and violent. Astrologers would describe such times as arising from most unfortunate aspects of the planets all lining up at once."
"The 'seasons' are the critical epoch-making periods foreordained of God, when all that has been slowly, and often without observation, ripening through long ages is mature and comes to birth in grand decisive events, which constitute at once the close of one period and the commencement of another. Such, for example, was the passing away of the old Jewish dispensation; such, again, the recognition of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire; such the conversion of those outside; such the great revival which went along with the first institution of the Mendicant Orders; such, by still better right, the Reformation; such, above all others, the second coming of the Lord in glory." (Archbishop Trench)
But it appears all of known history encompasses only 73 generations from the first man, Adam, to Jesus, with no breaks. There is one major discontinuity at the time of the flood, plus people before the Flood lived nearly 1000 years. Best estimates are that Adam was created about 5810 BC, that is, about 7800 BC.
But during the "Six Days" the universe was under construction, time was undefined. Certainly the universe shows an appearance of great age. Yet time itself was undefined until the universe was switched on, on Day Seven!
The Bible, given to us by the Creator of all things as a Handbook secular science does to take seriously.You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. This is a faithful saying:
Homework Regarding Creation
Notes on Genesis Chapter One
Homework Regarding Time
The Mystery of Time's Arrow
From Barry Setterfield: Matthew, Mark and Luke all record that at the time of the Crucifixion there was a three hour darkness from about noon until about three (starting at the "sixth hour") -- three hours of darkness. This was not a solar eclipse, as they do not last nearly that long. Amos 8:9-10 prophecies a strange darkness at noon. This darkness was recorded by several others: the Samaritanl historian Thallus in his "Comments" in 52 AD, by the Greek historian Phlegon in 137 AD, and by Tertullian as well as Julius Africanus in The Ante-Nicene Fathers XVIII (Volume VI, p 130).
There are two other times in the Bible when the sun appeared to do 'strange' things: Joshua's "long day" when the sun "stood still" and during Hezekiah's time when the sun's shadow backwards on the sundial ten degrees. It has happened since the Crucifixion as well. About 800 A.D. the Song of Roland records a long day during one of Charlemagne's battles. In Africa, it was described as ‘the time the night came twice.’ In 1516 Thai pottery show that there were some unusual changes in the earth’s magnetic field that were temporary. This was reported in the University of Sydney News, vol. 16. no.4, for 6th March, 1984. There appears to be a mathematical sequence to this. Joshua was around 1500 B.C. Hezekiah was about 710 B.C. The Crucifixion was about 32 A.D. The long day was about 800 A.D. and the Asian pottery event was about 1516. Thus we are seeing about a 740-770 year break between these events.
The Greek historian Herodotus recorded that when he visited Egypt, the priests there showed him an ancient manuscript that told the story of a day that lasted twice as long as a normal day
Several North American Indian tribes have accounts of long nights. The Ojibways, Wyandots and the Bungees tell of a long night. The Omahas tell of the sun being caught in a rabbit's trap and only released just before dawn. The Dogribs tell of the sun suddenly becoming dark at noon. The Mexican Indians tell of a long night. The Aztecs recall the sun not appearing for a long time, and thus sacrifices were made. The Quiche Mayans of Guatemala recall “They did not sleep; they remained standing and great was the anxiety of their hearts and their stomachs for the coming of the dawn and the day.” In Peru the memory is of the time the sun was hidden for twenty hours. And in west Africa there is a story of a long night – a night which lasted too long because the owl overslept and did not waken the sun. These would be referring to the 1516 event, before the Europeans started colonizing America.
Greek mythology also has the story of Phaeton losing control of his father’s sun chariot.
So what was happening? In 2345 BC, Dodwell's research indicates that the Earth underwent a severe change in axis tilt, probably due to a series of asteroid impacts. That change was what brought the ice age to an end when the tilt of the axis was "corrected" from 26-28 degrees to its current 23.5 degrees. That doesn't seem like much, but for a body the size of earth, it was catastrophic. As Dodwell outlines, a number of civilizations recorded the event and archaeology records a massive destruction of a number of cultures around the earth at that time. The effects of that hit have been long lasting.
The earth does, indeed, wobble on its axis, but every once in awhile, like a giant gyroscope, the 'wobble' becomes a figure 8 movement which makes it look like the sun is doing strange things in the sky. The sequence as can best be determined is 2345 BC - 1553 BC - 760 BC - 33 AD - 800 AD - 1516 AD.
Further discussion can be read in answer to a question we received about a possible change in the length of days. (from http://www.barrysetterfield.org/Acts/Crucifixion.html).Science has a difficult time with one-time, or rare, events. "Miracles" are off limits for classical science. But miracles happen every day to someone. To be sure, Science has pushed back the frontiers greatly. For instance there is hidden order below the "noise level" oft times, opening up the world of fractals.
A consensus among my friends who know the Bible well and who stay close to Jesus Christ is that our nation will probably quickly fade from history. This is entirely a consequence of our ignoring God for a long time. There has been no real repentance in our land for a long time. We are far, far from God now but living in denial. We can expect a further judgment of our churches (Revelation 17) and world-wide economic collapse (Revelation 18). This late in history, we can expect to see major changes in Europe, increased tension in the Middle East and the ascent of Israel to preeminence among the nations. The United States is nowhere to be seen in prophetic passages such as the Gog-Magog war (which will probably happen right after the Rapture.)
A whole new breed of false prophets is loose among us.
There is no consensus about will happen next from politicians, news reporters, political gurus, educators...because of our Biblical illiteracy and our rejection of God's rule over us. We also have as a people learned nothing, apparently, from history. Surely we are now near the end of gentile world dominion which began with Nebuchadnezzar and Ancient Babylon, and will end with God's elect nation, Israel back onto center stage.
God does whatever He pleases. Graciously Amos tells us, "...the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7)
If God has judged and struck down organized religion in America, He is still carefully protecting His own--the believing remnant, perhaps 5-10% of us here in America. The church which Jesus has been building for two thousand years now will feature the exercise of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit and Body Life. (It's all in the Book.) The institution "old paradigm" church has failed to fulfill the Great Commission given to her, so it seems quite reasonable that God will bring His own trained Jewish evangelists (the 144,000) onto the world stage to make certain everyone is given a clear picture of who Jesus Christ really is.
But history is not set in concrete. God does change His mind when people respond, averting disaster! A few real Intercessors could turn things around in a big way. The great lockdown of March 2020 shut down many churches: the good and the bad. This kind of severe judgment from God has happened many times in the past two millennia. Empty churches and dark cathedrals are everyone in England and Europe. What is needed most now is for individual followers of Jesus to meet in homes and small groups to rediscover Body Life.
Today there are many fake revivals going on today, luring millions away from the real Jesus.
“Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.“ (2 Peter 1:10-11)
But see The Seven Churches in New Jerusalem. Examples of each of these seven archetypal church types existed as far back as the First Century, and each type of church can be found in the world today. In each church there exists, within, a remnant of “overcomers” who swim against the current opposing the status quo.
Think of the true church quietly being called out by Jesus as an embedded remnant within the professing church. This is exactly what the New Testament teaches. Wheat and tares, remember? Consider the huge revolution underway in our society today, a series of major disconnects from God and history.
|The Root Cause of Violence in the World
Caution: History Repeats Itself
The Eightfold Way to Knowing God
The Antichrist: Coming Leader of the World
Famine in the Land
|The Conversion of Nebuchadnezzar
The Management of the Universe
The Gog/Magog Invasion
The Rebellious but Religious On Everlasting
|Belshazzar's Last Meal
Israel's Covenant With Death
What is Money For Anyway?
]Strike the Shepherd