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Olivet Overview – Part 4 – By Ed Wood

The next event on our Olivet list concerns signs which will appear in the skies above. There are a whole host of possibilities in this category ranging from local phenomena, local meaning confined to Earth’s atmosphere, or exotic, which would cover everything else beyond. Quite literally, the sky is the limit, as we will now see.

Signs in the heavens (Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24-25; 21:11, 25-26)

Though one can speculate almost endlessly about what these signs might include, the Bible does have some specific ones which we can explore, in no particular order from the book of Revelation next.

Revelation {6:12-14} And I beheld when he* had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood. And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. *The Lamb – Jesus

Though earthquakes generally don’t generally affect the appearance of the sky by themselves, there can be a tie-in between them and volcanic activity. As we have all seen, volcanoes can eject huge plumes of material into the atmosphere, blackening the sky totally in their worst extremes, to lesser effects such as reddening the light of the sun, moon, and stars. The sixth seal apparently produces both during the judgment released by its opening. There is, at least for a time, a complete obscuring of the sun. It is safe to assume that whatever the cause, it is probably severe enough to affect the entire planet since we are told “every mountain and island were moved out of their places.” Beyond the untold immediate havoc such an event would cause, its long-term effects such as the negative impact on crops due to lack of sunlight, acid rain produced by the introduction of sulfurous gases into the atmosphere, and damage to the Earth’s ozone layer are also distinct possibilities.

This catastrophic event is attended by falling stars, perhaps the fiery re-entry of rocks and material initially blasted upward by earthquake-activated volcanoes and the rolling up of heaven, which might represent the mushroom clouds of volcanic plumes rising high into the sky. In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus also mentions the specific signs of the sun and moon being darkened and the falling stars, as well as increased quake activity. Yet these profound and distressing changes in the skies are not limited to only seismic or volcanic events as we see next:

Revelation {8:7-9} The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. 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.

It has only been within the past two centuries or so that the idea of rocks falling from the sky (unless an active volcano was nearby) were seriously entertained. The heavens were pretty much considered perfect. Where could rocks possibly originate out there anyway? The age of modern science has, of course, shown us that there are plenty of places for them to come, the asteroid belt and wandering comets being the two leading contributors. The various meteor showers which appear regularly during the year are from the latter, the random small and big meteors come from the asteroid belt which exists between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The sizes of those from the belt can range from specks to those the size of dwarf planets. Luckily for Earth, the planet-sized ones are in stable orbits. Not so for the rest because our planet bears the scars of city-sized ones that have stuck over geologic time and caused some very severe damage and pronounced effects on our climate and the life that existed at the time. Further evidence of huge past collisions are plainly visible on the moon’s surface which does not have the benefit of an atmosphere to burn up small meteors or to produce the weathering Earth possesses to erase the craters of meteoric impacts. (I do believe in an old universe and an old Earth because the Bible itself allows for a day to be other than twenty four hours long – see Joshua 10:12-14; 2 Kings 20:8-11; Psalm 90:4; and 2 Peter 3:8. Furthermore, the national atomic clock which is precise in its timekeeping ability is routinely readjusted to account for variations in Earth rotation.) Here in the phenomenon of rocks falling from heaven we have but one example of information being revealed in the Bible well ahead of its time of general acceptance.

Now we know large meteors the size of mountains are common in our solar system even though they rarely strike our planet over the course of time civilization has existed. If it were to happen now all the conditions described in the Revelation passage above would be the result. We can be also assured that a third of everything living on Earth is going to be badly affected – not to mention the ruin of a third of the world’s shipping capacity. Beyond the immediate effects of a calamity of this magnitude, try to imagine the long-term consequences on our environment and world economy.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, it might actually be the trigger for what happens next on our battered planet and its desperate survivors:

Revelation {8:10-12} 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. And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

According to an impeccable source (Terry James!), the term “wormwood” when rendered in the Ukrainian language becomes “chornobyl.” And yes, the Ukraine is the site of the disastrous nuclear reactor meltdown in 1986. The immediate area is still uninhabitable having been contaminated with nuclear fallout.

I bring this up because of what I believe is a direct connection between the Revelation account and the nature of the radioactive accident at Chernobyl. To do this, let’s take a look at little bit of nuclear science. In the realm of nuclear reactions we have two basic types – fission and fusion. Fission involves the breakdown of heavy elements into lighter ones; fusion the combining of lighter elements into heavy ones. The common element to both is that in each process an extremely tiny amount of mass is lost. But the term “lost” isn’t entirely true either, but rather “converted” into energy according to Albert Einstein’s famous formula:  E = mc² where m = mass, c = the velocity of light, and E = energy. In each of the above cases, you take how much mass you lost in the nuclear transformation, multiply it be the velocity of light times itself (an enormous number, by the way) and that’ll give you how much energy you will get. Without getting too technical, suffice it to say that a little bit of mass makes a whole lot of energy. This is why the generation of electricity by use of fission reactors has proven so appealing, despite the inherent drawbacks of the fission process, namely the possibility of serious accidents with decades-long consequences and the problem of dealing with spent fuel rods which still remain lethally radioactive for millennia.

Unfortunately this same principle is also the basis of atomic (fission) and thermonuclear (fusion) bombs and this brings us to the connection I mentioned in the last paragraph. We note above: “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp.” Every star you see in the night sky, and the great bright one you see during the day, is also powered by nuclear fusion. The reaction starts out with plain hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, and finally ends up with helium, the second most abundant element. The same process powers a thermonuclear bomb, which, by the way, uses a fission device as a detonator in order to create the high temperatures needed to initiate the fusion reaction. So, when John reveals this “star” falling and burning from heaven, I think the choice of words was a deliberate attempt by the Lord to reveal exactly what was coming and only now in the nuclear age would a generation come that could properly understand it. I don’t know about you, but I got chills when I first made this observation. The rest of the passage describes a situation that looks very much like the aftereffects of a nuclear strike: contaminated water with “many men” dying as a result, and smoke and particulates emitted into the atmosphere with their attendant dulling effect on the light from celestial bodies.

In fact, decades ago scientists by observing the effects of a planet-wide dust storms on Mars from the Viking program noticed a precipitous drop in surface temperature and postulated that a nuclear exchange could by the smoke coming from fires and material lofted into the air could produce the same kind of chilling effect on Earth. With that, the term “nuclear winter” came into our lives. Personally, I do not see this in our future because if a large scale nuclear exchange were to take place, civilization, and probably most life as we know it, would rapidly come to an end. Though Revelation reveals that Earth will be severely damaged and a large percent of the population killed off, there will still be enough people left to provide the 200 million troops which will gather in the valley of Esdraelon, the site of the Armageddon conflict in Satan’s last effort to impose his own version of the “final solution” upon the Jews. To transport such a huge number of troops will no doubt require a high level of sophisticated technology to still exist as well. After all, if the world was blasted back into the Stone Age, how could that be accomplished?

We must also not rule out direct supernatural intervention when it comes to things falling from the sky:

Revelation {8:3-5} And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer [it] with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast [it] into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

Final Thoughts

At this point, it is important to realize that all the bad things that have always been a part of life on Earth are merely the shadows cast upon it by something going on that Paul was keenly aware of in his own time:

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.

When one considers the rapid advance of evil now under way on Planet Earth, the barrier between us and the spiritual realm will very likely be greatly attenuated and the war between God and Satan will be there for all to see, even if most of the remaining population still remains clueless as to what is going on, its collective mind clouded by the Antichrist (the “Even him” reference below):

2 Thessalonians {2:9-12} Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Next time, we’ll explore the very end of the seven year Tribulation and give some thoughts as to what happens during the thousand year Millennial Age and the Eternal Age which will follow it.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Terry
    Check out Gil Broussard’s YouTube videos concerning PlanetX
    I think it will explain Revelation 6:12.
    It also gives some credence to Joshua’s “long
    day” (that day was also recorded by the Chinese as their shortest day)
    I check Rapture Ready News every day.
    I am trying to “wake up” as many as I can
    but so many are simply comatose at this point.
    Your book, Rapture Ready or Not has been a
    blessing to me.
    Thank you for the fine work you are doing.
    Our Lord Jesus Christ is knocking at the door.

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