04 Jul 2001 - "Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood; and a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed." (Rev 8:8-9)
In the Revelation account John describes what he sees as SOMETHING LIKE a great mountain burning with fire striking the sea. As the result of this one catastrophic event, a third of all sea life died. What John is describing could not be a warhead entering the atmosphere as that is very small when compared to John's description of a mountain burning with fire. This is a near extinction level event that will destroy 1/3 of the sea life and could only be caused by a meteor or comet fragment striking the earth.
"The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously." (Isa 24:20-23)
In Isaiah 24, Isaiah describes an event, prior to the return of Jesus, which causes the earth to reel to and fro like a drunkard. This can only be the result of an equally catastrophic event like a meteor or comet striking the earth. There is another possibility -- it could be a pole shift as the earth rotates vertically on its axis due to the instability that has been introduced by the earth's waning magnetic field. This could occur as the result of a close encounter with another heavenly body of sufficient mass. In any event, let's take notice that this is a judgement from God for sin as Isaiah notes that "the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it." Notice also that this preceeds the Day of the Lord when "the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously."
Earth will have a close encounter with an extraterrestrial, but it will not be "E.T.", it will be with an asteroid, comet fragment, meteor or the like.
Even scientists recognize that planet earth is in a cosmic pin ball machine, and it is just a matter of time before one scores a direct hit. In fact, there has been a lot of activity of late, including some strange happenings which we discuss a little later in this article. Consider the following events as a harbinger of that future event:
On June 29, 2001, a newly-discovered near-Earth asteroid, named 2001 ME1, sailed past our planet. Fortunately the 1.5 km-wide space rock was 38 times farther away than the Moon. Not particularly dangerous, however, it is the one's that are not seen that pose the greatest threat to planet earth. For example, between March 21st and 31st alone, astronomers discovered 7 Earth-approaching space rocks: 2001 FM129, 2001 FE90, 2001 FB90, 2001 FD58, 2001 FC58, 2001 FA58 and 2001 FO32. Many asteroids have been identified and cataloged. For example, on June 22, 2001, there were 312 known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids. Potentially Hazardous Asteroids larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU.
But how many have yet to be discovered? How many are on a collision course that are unknown? For example, space rock called 2001 EC1 missed earth by about one million km (which is close in cosmic distances), however, what is noteworthy is that, the space rock, which measured about one km (0.6 miles) across, had been discovered only days before. Had it struck the Palace of Westminster, it would have wiped out much of London.
On June 6, 2001 Near-Earth asteroid 2001 JV1 passed by Earth only 18 times farther from our planet than the Moon. The 200m-wide space rock was traveling at 10 km/s (22,000 mph) as it streaked through the constellation Cygnus.
On Febuary 24, 2001, a newly discovered asteroid called 1999 AN10, was calculated to miss the Earth by only 38,000 kilometres in 2027 -- an extremely close shave given the Moon orbits 10 times further from Earth. The calculations also suggest that an impact is not possible that year but, in theory, the Earth's gravity could perturb the asteroid's path, possibly leading to an impact in 2039.
On May 29, 2001 an asteroid named 1999 KW4 sailed by our planet just 12.6 times more distant than the Moon. The space rock is a binary consisting of not one, but 2 asteroids in a mutual orbit separated by about 2 km.
On Apr 27,2001, 2 near-Earth asteroids are passed by our planet -- they are 2000 XG47 and 2001 GQ2. 2000 XG47 is a 1.5 km object that comes no closer to Earth than 0.106 AU, but 2001 GQ2, although much smaller (only ~300m across) is much nearer to us -- only 0.02 AU (about 8 lunar distances) from our planet.
On Jan. 18, 2000, a 400,000-pound rock streaked through the sky and slammed into a remote lake in Canada. The meteorite struck Tagish Lake in northern British Columbia and shattered in 500 pieces. It was estimated that this meteorite sped to Earth at about 10 miles per second (20 times the speed of a bullet). The Jan. 18 impact was unique since it was the largest ever recorded over land by satellite systems. Its estimated the 400,000-pound meteorite was 15 feet across before it detonated in the atmosphere with a force of two to three thousand tons of TNT. Two massive explosions could be heard across parts of northern British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska.
In April of this year, 2 boulders from space have exploded in mid-air off the coast of Mexico, say government scientists who just last week declassified the events. The larger of the 2 meteors roared into the atmosphere, releasing the explosive power of 6,000 to 8,000 tons of TNT. The scientists said it was probably about as big as a Volkswagen Beetle and came down in the Pacific several hundred miles off the coast of the Mexican state of Baja California Norte. The smaller meteor fell last August and was about 6 feet in diameter, with about half the explosive power. It came apart over the Pacific off Acapulco. Donald Yeomans of the NASA Near Earth Object Program at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California stated that these events (and others like it) "proves the point that over long periods of time we can expect to be hit."
In fact, there have been impacts with the planet in the past. For example, An asteroid about 60 metres across landed at Tunguska in Siberia in 1908, flattening trees for 13 miles although this meteor was a small one. Consider another space visitor, whose approach to earth, was only detected only 6 days before its fly-by. It originated between Mars and Jupiter and came within 2.4 million miles of the Earth -- only 12 times further away then the moon -- a near hit in cosmic terms. Had this asteroid hit, which is nine times as large as the Tunguska asteroid - were to hit the Earth, the effect would have been devestating. If it landed in the Atlantic ocean, devastation it would cause would be everything within two miles would be vaporized and the east coast of the United States would suffer devestating tidal waves of immense proportion. If it hit land, molten debris would rain down for weeks after the impact, and dust particles would cause effects similar to a nuclear winter".
It is no wonder that the scientific community is taken the possibility of an Extinction Level Event (ELE) very seriously.
On February 12, 2001 history was made as NASA landed the first spacecraft ever to land on an Asteroid. Scientists hope the data from Near (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) Shoemaker, which landed on asteroid Eros, will help them understand the relationship between space rocks like Eros and meteorites that have fallen to Earth. Indeed! Of course this mission had nothing to do with researching the possibility of delivering a nuclear payload to an asteroid in an attempt to divert it from a collision course with earth.
Some scientists say that the landing will, in fact, provide them with information which could one day help them deflect asteroids heading towards the Earth. Dr Louise Prockter, a scientist working on the mission, told the BBC: "Prior to going into orbit around Eros, we weren't sure what asteroids were composed of - whether they were solid lumps of rock or whether they were rubble piles just held together loosely by gravity. "What we know about Eros and other asteroids like it now is that they're actually fairly solid but they've got a lot of gaps and crevasses inside them. "Although we're far from being technologically ready to blow one out of the way if it comes too close, forewarned is forearmed and we have an idea of what we're up against if that ever happens," she said.
On March 13, 2001 UK's House of Lords have called for more action to be taken to protect the Earth from a collision with a large asteroid. Lord Sainsbury said that the government took the threat from space very seriously and was about to take decisive action following a report drawn up by experts last year. This action was prompted due to a relatively near miss of the Earth by a substantial (about one km-wide) asteroid on February 27th, but nobody realized it because the object was not discovered until 3 March, well after its closest approach "
On a more esoteric note, on June 5, 2000 comet 76P/West-Kohoutek-Ikemura came close to the planet Mars generating all kinds of speculations -- in spite of the fact that NASA declared it a non-event. What has raised eyebrows is the fact that this comet has not been sighted since the June flyby of Mars -- adding fuel to the fire that the comet impacted Mars or one of its moons -- in particular, Phobos. There is also speculation that even if the comet did not impact Mars or Phobos, that its near passage may have perturbed Phobos enough to allow it to escape Mars gravity and generate an Earth-crossing orbit.
Since the name Phobos is derived from a root word meaning terror, this has awakened renewed interest in the King of Terror spoken about so much in connection with the Nostradamus prophecies. I am by no means declaring Nostradamus a prophet of God, I am merely making the point that the internet is alive due to these so-called "prophecies." The renewed interest in Nostradamus first occurred with the August 1999 Lunar Eclipse which showed three objects once the sun was blocked out. Two of them turned out to be satellites, but the other object remains a mystery and was quickly dubbed as the "King of Terror" - a asteroid hidden by the brightness of the sun.
Adding to the intrigue was, according to Earl Crockett and Gary Goodwin of the Millennium Group, was that NASA sent a satellite to the Mars/76P rendezvous point and then it mysteriously went off-line and online again right around the passage, so unfortunately no images were taken and sent to Earth.
Then there are the mysterious insider reports such as the report circulated last July, which was, supposedly, purposely withheld from the public. This report indicated that on July 12th, 2000, that there had been a strange hump in the orbit of Venus. The speculation is that it could have been caused by the passage of Phobos, then assumed to be on the way to Earth after meeting 76P in June, via a close passage by the Sun inside the orbit of Venus.
Given all this and the fact that the sun has broken out with violent storms (which could. of course, be caused by some of the impact debris impacting the sun) is the stuff conspiracy theories are made of.
Be that as it may, there have been some other rare events that do support the possibility of unexpected collisions in outer space.
An astronomer at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, was conducting a routine sky survey on Monday with his colleagues when he spotted a change in the comet, named C/2001 A2. "Hergenrother and his colleagues have been watching this newly found comet for months using a University of Arizona telescope. It was a typical, rather mundane target that was not expected to brighten much. "Then one day, all of a sudden -- whammo -- the thing got a hundred times brighter."
According to NASA, Astronomers have watched comet LINEAR intently in recent months, as it continued to unexpectedly crumble and brighten. Astronomers may find the phenomenon noteworthy because it happens so infrequently. "It's relatively rare," explained Bell from NASA.
Examination in the days ahead showed that Comet 2001 A2 first it broke into 2 pieces just after an enexpected rapid brightening. Now 1 of those 2 chunks has split apart again, and researchers say there may be many smaller pieces now flying through space. The pieces are now drifting apart. No one can yet say how big the pieces are or how large the comet's nucleus was before it broke apart. If the scenario sounds familiar, it's because this isn't the first comet to break apart in recent months. The disintegration act comes just less than a year after another comet, called 1999 S4, broke into several large pieces and countless smaller ones, all in plain view of numerous telescopes.
So we have two rare events that, to-date, defy explanation. Did they collide with a debris field? Who knows? Only God knows! But this we know for sure, planet earth has a divine appointment with an extraterrestrial visitor. Judgement is coming, but in His mercy God cries out to us: "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 12:36)
"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, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken." (Luke 21:25-26)
"There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven." (Luke 21:11)
"This is what the LORD says, He who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea that its waves roar--the LORD Almighty is His name." (Jer 31:35)
As we see the signs of His return drawing close, what manner of holy life should we be living? Remember that Jesus is returning for a Holy and Spotless Bride. Whether His return is today or 10 years from now is irrelevant since eternity is only a heart beat away for any of us. So choose this day whom you will serve, ask the Holy Spirit to search you to see if there be any iniquity in you, and then call upon Jesus your Deliverer. He is faithful for forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unfaithfulness.
"Watch and pray, therefore, that you would be counted worthy to escape the judgment that is coming upon the earth and be able to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).