The Apostle John was probably in his late 70s when Roman emperor Domitian banished this favorite of Jesus’ disciples to the Island of Patmos due to his Christian beliefs. It was on this idyllic island located off the coast of Turkey that God gave John a disturbing apocalyptic vision of the end times, that today we call the Book of Revelation.
In his vision, John saw many strange things, but perhaps one of the most disturbing was a flaming mountain falling from the sky and hitting an ocean.
8 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, 9 and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed. (Revelation 8:8-9 NASV)
The resulting devastation will be catastrophic. The size suggests this is not a meteorite strike, but rather an asteroid.
Though we are accustomed to seeing meteors blazing through our atmosphere, if they reach earth without burning up they cause minimal damage.
Asteroids are entirely a different matter. Much larger they can cause incredible devastation (note: there is no official size designation that changes a rock from a meteor classification to its bigger cousin — an asteroid).
Nevertheless a few days ago, NASA reported earth’s near miss by an asteroid.
On September 7th, an asteroid, called ‘2016 RB1’, brushed the earth — only 24,000 miles above sea level. In fact, it passed within 2,000 miles of hitting satellites responsible for handling earth communications such as the internet.
Though the asteroid was smaller, bus-sized (13×46 feet) in size, it was hurtling along at 18,000 miles per hour. Perhaps the most disturbing point about this close encounter is that astronomers were only aware of the asteroid’s approach two days earlier.
On September 5, 2016, it was picked up by a telescope on Mount Lemmon operated by the University of Arizona and then later by an Italian observatory.
Astronomers quickly calculated its course and all they could do was helplessly watch the asteroid’s approach and near miss.
Though NASA played down the danger due to the asteroid’s smaller size. It was only slightly smaller than an asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia on February 15, 2013. At 57 feet (19 meters) in size, it injured 1,000 people due mostly to shattering glass. The shock waves from that blast circled the earth twice.
They estimated the Chelyabinsk explosion was 20 to 30 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. This was a bus-sized asteroid. Now imagine the impact of a larger asteroid, say the mountain-sized one that John saw.
Similar to ‘2016 RB1,’ astronomers were totally caught off guard by Chelyabinsk’s arrival — they never saw it coming. In fact, a group of scientists were actually tracking another asteroid when Chelyabinsk exploded.
It is believed ‘2016 RB1’ broke off from a belt of rocks called Atens that orbits in our solar system. Occasionally asteroids from this group slam into either Earth, Venus, Mars or Mercury.
Though this asteroid was not the size mentioned by the Apostle John in Revelation 8, it has some similarities to asteroid strikes mentioned by John two chapters earlier:
12 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; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14 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 6:2-14 NASV)
Comparing them to a fig tree hit by a wind, John warned of stars pelting the earth suggesting multiple hits. But he links these strikes to three other events — a solar eclipse, blood moons and an earthquake.
These need to happen around the same time to mark this strategic Revelation marker.
Two weeks before this near asteroid hit — August 24, 2016 — there was an incredible blood moon over New York followed that same day by the massive earthquake that struck Italy.
Though obviously this conjunction of events fails to fulfill Revelation chapter six, it shows the stage is being set.
It also tells us one thing — it is not yet time.
- Asteroid grazes earth’s upper-upper atmosphere with only two-day warning: Motherboard Vice