I had previously written “Signs From Above,” and its follow-up article, “Signs From Above – Another Look” several years ago, both of which examined what we might expect to see in the skies in the days preceding the end of history as we know it. In writing to Terry James about the increase of meteoric activity (which follows later in this article), he suggested it might be a good time to have yet another look at where we are now regarding this topic. First, let’s get a look at the overall summary from Jesus’ Olivet Discourse and see how this all fits in:
Luke 21:9-11 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
One has only to watch the news or read the papers to discover that everything mentioned here sounds eerily and troublingly familiar, as we shall now see.
Most of the last century saw single-digit counts, with only a few years posting double-digit numbers, of which the 1990’s are an indication. Also, from a high of 202 in 2011, the following year had only slightly over half as many, and as of this writing (end of May 2013), this year has had less than 60. Nevertheless, the numbers are a clear indication that the very thing Jesus said would happen regarding earthquakes in the last days seems to well under way.
The second occurrences Jesus mentioned deal was strife among nations, something a fact of every day life. The Twentieth Century saw more casualties due to armed conflict than any of those which preceded it and with the advent of weapons capable of killing on unbelievable scales, plus the increase of genuinely evil people who show no reluctance to use such weapons of mass destruction given the opportunity makes this part of the Discourse already a prophecy beginning to be fulfilled with the likelihood of escalation.
Third, we are seeing famines and pestilences growing, also with no indication of relief across the planet. As conflict increases, populations grow, and the Earth’s climate appears to be unquestionably changing, all of the conditions to make these things worse are also already in play.
This brings us to the fourth part of the prophecy – fearful sights in the heavens themselves. So far, it would seem that this part of the prophecy has so far not reached the dramatic proportions of the others. But, is this about to change? Are the “signs in the heavens” already beginning to appear?
This is what we’ll examine now.
To begin, it’s important to note that the Bible uses the term “heaven” in three different contexts, a few examples of which we will look at now.
First, there is:
Genesis 1:14-18 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 15:3-5 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Here the term “heaven” is used in describing the vastness of intergalactic space and the galaxies, stars, planets – everything in our physical universe
Next, we have:
Genesis 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
Genesis 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
In these references, “heaven” is used to refer to anything contained within the Earth’s atmosphere.
Finally, there are these:
2 Corinthians 12:2-4 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Likewise, Jesus does the same here:
Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
In this passage the apostle Paul is clearly describing heaven as the place where God dwells.
So, when Jesus spoke of signs from heaven, why shouldn’t we believe they should appear in all three realms of it? Again, let’s look at “heaven” in the order presented above, namely outer space, our own atmosphere, and in the place which is God’s home. (I would recommend that you read my previous two articles for more details which I mentioned in the opening.)
The object with the biggest long-term effect on Earth is obviously the sun itself. That it has provided a stable source of warmth and light for over 4.5 billion years (though the “6000 year old creation” folks will no doubt take issue with me here about that!), is a marvel in itself. Many of the stars in the cosmos are either too short-lived or unstable to provide the kind of environment in which life came to flourish and be sustained. Even so, our relatively even-tempered star is subject to an eleven year cycle of activity, the reasons for which are still not fully understood. During the peaks of these cycles, the incidences of sunspots, flares, and coronal mass ejections in which huge volumes of electrically and magnetically charged gases are discharged into space can directly impact our planet.
The northern and southern lights are produced by the interaction of this charged gas (called “plasma,” a fourth state of matter beyond the usual three of solid, liquid and gas) on Earth’s magnetic field. Severe outbursts can and have disrupted electrical and communications systems, our civilization becoming more vulnerable directly in proportion to its expansion and dependence of its technology.
In 1859, as a matter of record, a huge coronal mass ejection struck Earth electrifying telegraph lines and producing auroral displays that could be seen even in the southern states of America. A repeat of such an event today could very well send us back into the early 1800’s technologically, interrupting our communications and electrical grids – and maybe for a very long time at that.
This year (2013), is supposed to be a Solar Maximum but much to my surprise, as of mid-year, except for a few outbursts, the sun has been strangely well-behaved. Whether this continues or not remains to be seen. Perhaps a lull where none is expected is a kind of sign in itself.
It has been long known that the moon is the prime controller of our ocean tides, the sun to a lesser degree. Barring some incredibly huge impact on it which could alter its orbit or destroy it, it would seem that it will continue as it has since its formation in the dim past. This is not to minimize or discount the references to the “moon becoming as blood,” something regularly seen during lunar eclipses and even more commonly when it is low in the sky when the atmosphere is full or water vapor or pollution, be it natural or artificial. The common factor here is that the atmosphere is responsible for these effects, not the moon itself. Nevertheless, there is always the possibility of the unexpected.
Asteroid, Comet, and Meteoric Activity
On February 15, 2013 the asteroid DA 2101 passed only 17,000 miles from us. Now that sounds like a pretty large distance but when we consider that many of our weather and communications satellites orbit at some 22,300 miles up, this perspective changes. This object was believed to be 45 meters (147 feet) in diameter and weighing 130,000 metric tons (143,000 standard tons). Had it struck intact on land it could have created a crater approximately 10 to 20 times its diameter, depending on the angle and velocity at the time of impact.
Interestingly, on that very same day a giant meteor exploded over the skies of Russia, the shock waves breaking the windows in buildings below its path. On March 22, 2013 a very bright meteor was visible over much of the east coast of the United States – something I personally witnessed.
Earlier this year, Comet Panstarrs put on a sky show and in the fall, Comet ISON may create a truly spectacular display if it survives its 800,000 mile grazing pass around the sun. (Again, this is not much distance at all, astronomically speaking. Mercury is 36 million miles from the sun, Earth 93 million.)
The question which we might consider is, is this a precursor of things to come and do we have some data to support such a possiblity already? There is at least one indication that the incidence of meteoric activity is already under way. Below is some are the counts from the American Meteor Society. To get listed, the meteor has to be a particularly bright one, magnitude of negative 4 (-4) or brighter.
To explain how the magnitude system works, every object in the sky which emits light, like a star or meteor burning up in the atmosphere, or reflects it, like a planet or the moon, can be rated in terms of brightness. The lower the value of the number, the brighter the object. The planet Venus shines at magnitude -4, the brightest star in the sky beside the sun (which is -27) is Sirius at -1.49. Our pole star Polaris is +2.02. Each magnitude is 2.512 times different from the next. In other words, a magnitude 2 star is 2.512 times brighter as a magnitude 3. A difference of five magnitudes represents a 100-fold difference in brightness (2.512 multiplied by itself five times = 100).
So, to be considered, the bright meteor (fireball) must be at least as bright as Venus. According to the numbers below from the American Meteor Society which was founded in 1911, there has been a significant upswing in these reports:
1124 Events in 2013 (as of May 21, 2013)
2134 Events in 2012
1631 Events in 2011
952 Events in 2010
728 Events in 2008
590 Events in 2007
517 Events in 2006
464 Events in 2005
The Bible itself appears to report an actual asteroid (think of it as a really big meteor, if you like) impact occurring during the seven year Tribulation, and one need only look at the moon to see that such impacts over the course of time are very numerous indeed. What we read below is an amazingly accurate description of what could be this very thing:
Revelation 8:8-9 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
This one seems to impact the ocean, no doubt creating a tsunami of frightening proportions, perhaps the very thing that will destroy a third of ocean-going vessels on it. Accompanying this is an entire third of the sea somehow becoming contaminated enough to kill a third of the live living in it.
What follows seems totally different:
Revelation 8:10-11 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
As described in a previous article, this has the characteristics of a nuclear device being detonated, probably over land, burning like a star and contaminating fresh water. This is totally consistent with an H-bomb which derives its power by nuclear fusion, just as do main sequence stars such as our own sun, and produces radioactive fallout contaminating those areas where it settles – including the water. As Terry James once informed me, the Ukranian word “Chornobyl” (“Chernobyl” in Russian) means “Wormwood!” I very much believe Jesus was being that specific when he revealed what was to come to John, the full meaning of it now becoming clear in our nuclear age.
Perhaps aerial warfare in general might also be legitimately included as “signs in the heavens” in its own right – which leads us right into our next subject.
The carnage delivered by huge tornadoes such as the monster storm which destroyed Moore, Oklahoma, savage and unique storms like Sandy are becoming all the norm. Hardly a day goes by without some extreme and catastrophic weather making the news even in the United States alone. Globally, the situation is the same with huge typhoons, cyclones, extremes of drought, flooding, heat and cold occurring in frequency and ferocity as never before since such records have been kept. Surely all of these must be accounted for as further “signs” in the heavens, based on the three-fold use of the term in the Bible.
If global warming is a fact, which I personally believe it is due to the evidence available, then part of the explanation may lie there. It is well known that hurricanes derived their energy from warm ocean water. It therefore makes perfect sense that if the water is warmed more, the storms will become more numerous and intense. Furthermore, the ocean is responsible for virtually all the weather on our planet besides this. Upset its temperature balance and there is no telling what the long-term and large scale effects may also produce – things totally unexpected. Now we can honestly debate about what global warming’s primary cause is or whether we can do anything about it. But to dismiss it out of hand just flies in the face of the evidence, in my opinion.
The question here now becomes one of whether events in what we normally think of “Heaven” can affect things in our universe, our world. Let’s see if we can find some clues from the Bible:
Luke 2:8-14 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Revelation 12:7-12 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
In the first passage, we have a “theophany” wherein the shepherds get to see just a brief glimpse while standing in the fields of the magnificent realm of God. In the second, Paul appears to suggest that what we see here on Earth is essentially only the tip of the iceberg as to what is really going on in the spiritual realm beyond our senses, in particular the war between the spiritual forces of good and evil already ongoing. Finally, the Revelation passage shows Satan finally and permanently being denied access to Heaven, marooned on the Earth, probably for the last three and a half years of the seven year Tribulation.
As one reads the Book of Revelation it appears that the line between the spirit realm and Earth will become increasingly blurred. It may already be happening in the accounts of supposed UFO activity and alleged alien contacts. The Bible does often indicate the existence of intelligent beings other than human beings – even contact between them and us. God, of course, is the supreme example, as are his angels. Yet the Bible also reveals Satan and those who rebelled against God, who were allowed to invade our universe and Earth by the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the dim past. There are no mentions at all of extraterrestrial intelligences originating on any other planet but our own of which I am aware, nor have any of our SETI progams after over half a century of effort detected any uncontestable evidence of their existence. However the widespread appearance and acceptance of aliens from outer space might make this a prime area which the devil is proabably already exploiting to deceive and mislead people.
If I’m right, expect to see more dramatic “alien encounters” to occur as the days go by -but don’t believe these to be the “real deal” because neither the Bible nor science backs them up.
It seems apparent that all the signs are on an increase, though those in the heavens have so far lagged behind the others. I believe they will soon catch up. It also appears that the Bible indicates that events on Earth do not operate in a vacuum. The battle between good and evil, God and Satan intensifies daily, bringing our planet inexorably to the Battle of Armageddon and the magnificent return of Jesus himself to rule for 1000 years. Following this Millennium, Satan will try one last attempt to seize power, be defeated totally and eternally. All his followers, both human and angelic will be consigned to the lake of fire they so richly deserve for the hell they have brought to creation ever since the Fall. At that time the most glorious heavenly sign of all time will be seen when the New Jerusalem descends onto a New Earth in a New Universe where all vestiges of sin will forever be gone.
The hope for believers is that before the worst of the Last Days descends on this planet, we all experience this magnificent sign from above, just for us, as Paul related:
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Until then, we need keep our spiritual armor intact, stay steadfast in God’s Word and, by all means,
KEEP LOOKING UP!!!