It Came Out of the Sky
Oh, it came out of the sky, landed just a little south of Moline
Jody fell out of his tractor, couldn’t believe what he seen
Laid on the ground and shook, fearing for his life
Then he ran all the way to town screaming “It came out of the sky”
– Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1970
The asteroid was coming, and the scientists knew it was coming. They had named it. Scientists don’t like to be surprised. Incoming space rock 2012 DA14 would come just 17,200 miles from striking the earth. For perspective, earth’s satellites launched for television and telephone communications orbit at only 22,000 miles away. At 150 feet across, the asteroid was relatively small, but not insignificant. A space rock just over twice its size, at 330 feet across, burst in the atmosphere above Tunguska River, Russia with the force of 1,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs.
In that encounter, over 80 million trees in an 800-mile radius were flattened by the blast. That was in 1908, and that, and the fact that it hadn’t struck the earth’s surface, and it happened in the middle of Siberia, kept fatalities as low as three people.
As fate would have it, however, in February, 2013, Russia was again scheduled for a rendezvous with an asteroid, and again one that would not strike the earth’s surface. NASA was still expecting 2012 DA14 to make its seventeen-thousand-mile pass over. Then, on the exact same day, only hours before the anticipated event, something else began to lite up the sky over Chelyabinsk, Russia. A huge fireball, reportedly as bright as the sun, came streaking across the sky.
It would become known as the Chelyabinsk Meteor; a space rock that burns upon entering the earth’s atmosphere.
Immediately following the event, discussions about the meteor dominated scientific platforms. In the official explanations for the existence of the meteor and the damage it caused, however, one question was initially allowed little traction, and was getting little acknowledgement. Why wasn’t the meteor detected before it entered the atmosphere?
While several factors contributed to the oversight, including the asteroid coming from the opposite direction of the one the scientists were anticipating, the asteroid being composed of harder to spot dark material, the asteroid being small in size; the short answer surfaced – it came from behind the sun.
To have identified the inbound Chelyabinsk asteroid, scientists would have needed to be looking directly into the sun, and trying to spot the optical equivalent of a grain of sand.
This means It would have made little difference even if the scientists would have known where to look, and what to look for. If there would have been the right telescope in use, pointed in the right direction, at the right time, an earth-bound asteroid of similar size would only have become visible a mere 2 hours before striking earth. In terms of the population warning mechanism timetable, this translates into just about zero time for a warning.
It gets worse. The powerful telescopes used to spot these asteroids are unable to see ones the size of the Chelyabinsk encounter in the daylight sky.
There was, however, unbeknownst to NASA, another trained group of observers who had also been watching the night sky that day. They had been watching since before the time of Galileo, and they also had their sights set on the appearance of a huge space rock headed towards earth. This group had experienced a resurgence in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s that was nothing short of a new counterculture reformation. Only, this time, that culture being countered, or opposed, included the organized protestant church.
Many of the tee-shirt adorned, jean wearing, headbanded and long-haired sandal wearing peaceniks of the counterculture era had joined their ranks. At first, they had been targeted, with mostly sincere concern, by members from various churches for recruitment into a better way. When they began to accept the invitations, they brought with them a desire for authenticity of truth, and for answers in discovering that truth. They also brought an earned distrust for institutions in general, and for leaders in particular. They would examine for themselves the evidence for other worldly claims, and hear for themselves those who could genuinely articulate them.
They eventually carried their own copies of the Bible and, frightfully, claimed to actually understand what was written in its pages. They still favored rock music, but with gospel lyrics replacing pines for sex, drugs, and more rock and roll. But by far the most annoying thing about them these ‘freaks’, for that is the derogatory moniker that came to be applied to them, was that they were always talking about Jesus, and the world to come.
It seemed, for a while, that no one could escape them. If you should innocently pick up any one or two of the many hitch hikers that dotted the highways and byways of the period, you were very likely to encounter them. And it would soon become apparent you were having an encounter of the third kind. They would often travel as couples, and prefer to sit in the back seat. From there, they would answer your questions while you divided your attention between them in your rearview mirror, and the oncoming traffic ahead.
The typical questions a driver would ask their fare, about how they were doing, where they were headed, and the like, would come back with an almost eerie, spontaneous, contemplative tone that suggested these points were either of least importance, or hadn’t even been previously considered. A driver was only right to find a destination answer of ‘oh, we’re not really going anywhere’ a bit unnerving. It was, after all, the age of the rise of the serial killers.
When their interrogatory followed yours, you would find no more comforting than before. While looking for an opportune corner to drop your passengers on some pretense or other, you might hear ‘have you heard the word of the Load today?’ As an unreligious person at the time, and the driver in this recounted road adventure, I can tell you that efforts to maintain a polite, yet stern demeanor were a little strained.
Before the expiration of the age, I would go on to encounter many of these strange people. While some were truly, and obviously, ‘out there’ as the expression of the time would call it, I found most of them to be genuinely kind, considerate, and in possession of a strange and calming peace. I never referred to them as freaks. They were different, yes, but in a way that I would have liked to have been different. There was something else about them too, that was most intriguing. They would speak of the future, of pending future events, with an absolute authority. These included world-wide catastrophic events; with continent-altering, de-populating consequences.
One such catastrophic event portended for the human race is a meteor shower unlike any before it in recorded history. It will begin with a fiery trail of comets across the sky. Great balls of flaming space ice will penetrate the earth’s atmosphere and strike the ground igniting massive forest fires all over the world. These strikes, consuming one third of all forests, would be enough of a catastrophe for one generation, but they are to be immediately followed by two more falling stars greater in size and brilliance.
The first falling star to follow will be so huge it will appear as a burning mountain, and on impact it will strike the earth’s oceans, or probably the Mediterranean Sea as the blast from it entering the atmosphere is projected, by some accounts, to destroy the mouth to the Nile River in Egypt. The destruction will be enormous. Over 30% of all ships will be destroyed, along with a third of all marine life. A third of the sea’s surface is to appear as red as blood.
The second falling star to follow, an exceedingly great and flaming asteroid, will strike the earth with such force as to displace the earth’s water tables. The resulting impact will turn the globe’s fresh water lakes, rivers, fountains, and wells into a bitter, poisonous brew. Those people inhabiting earth at that time in the future will thirst an unquenching thirst from the burning atmosphere, and have only a poisonous water to sanitate their parched throats. According to the Jesus people, and it is written in their book, fully one third of the earth’s population will die from having no other water to drink. This asteroid shower is coming, we are assured, and God, who is never surprised, has named it: Wormwood.
Surely, even this possibility in its remotest form, is dismissed by the scientists. Except, it is not. When the Chelyabinsk Meteor exploded over Russia in 2013, the whole world’s population was able to witness it. It was recorded on cell phones, video cameras, dashboard cameras, and scientific instruments. The blast from the explosion injured 1600 people, some with permanent eye damage from watching the bright meteor, and it damaged over 7,000 buildings. People as far away from the event as Tucson, Arizona, planned to journey to the site to collect fragments of the meteor. Before it exploded, the meteor, weighing 11,000 pounds, was only 65 feet wide, and nothing of the size that it could be confused with a ‘burning mountain’ awaiting us in the future. Nevertheless, it was a bell-ringer.
The same day of the Chelyabinsk blast, the Science, Space, and Technology Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives hastily announced a hearing to address ways to detect dangerous near-Earth objects (NEO’s), and those deemed potentially hazardous asteroids (PHA’s) that are over 500 feet wide, of which 10,00 are known. The result was the development of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). In this test, NASA would launch a rocket at a pair of approaching asteroids. The goal is to strike that smaller of the two, the one orbiting the larger one like the moon obits our earth, to change its course.
These two asteroids were selected for the test because it would be easier to measure any change in orbit from the kinetic force of the impact on this smaller orbit than it would be targeting a single asteroid’s larger obit around our sun. This is not wild biblical prophecy, or science fiction. The asteroid pair has been named. The rocket designed to intercept Didymos was launched on November 23, 2021, and is scheduled to intercept them this year in late September, 2022.
There remain many questions about asteroids striking the earth with even more devastating consequences, and what, if anything, we can do about it. There are claims made in the Bible, however, that would take the question of ‘if’ a devastating impact will occur off the table. Fortunately, you don’t need to be an astronomer, a scientist, or member of the House of Representatives to check for your self the veracity of those claims. There is only one question, on one claim, that you need to answer for yourself in order to know if these others can be trusted. That question is: Is Jesus real? You will not require scientific instruments, a coveted day-pass at a prestigious observatory, or copious amounts of ancient manuscripts and archeological fragments, though these do exist. The Bible itself was written and preserved for you to be able to read and understand for the main purpose of showing you that Jesus is real. And the Bible? It came out of the sky.
Asteroid Makes Close Call: 2012 DA14 to Pass Earth Feb. 15. ABC News. February 5, 2013. https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/asteroid-2012-da14-pass-close-earth-february-15/story?id=18413554
Chelyabinsk Meteor: A Wake-Up Call for Earth. Space.com. January 9, 2019. https://www.space.com/33623-chelyabinsk-meteor-wake-up-call-for-earth.html
Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission. Planetary Defense, NASA. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.nasa.gov/planetarydefense/dart
Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), Planetary Defense Coordination Office, NASA. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://www.nasa.gov/specials/pdco/index.html#dart
King James Bible, Revelation 8, Lamentations 3:19, Isaiah 11:15, et al. 1611. https://biblehub.com/kjv/revelation/8.htm
Marshall Center Astronomer Bill Cooke, Other NASA Researchers Among International Science Coalition Issuing Chelyabinsk Meteor Findings in New Papers. Meteors & Meteorites, NASA. November 8, 2013. https://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/russian-meteor-nature.html
Near-Earth Asteroids: Fact or Fiction, Unistellar. Accessed February 2, 2022. https://unistellaroptics.com/asteroid-day/near-earth-asteroids-fact-or-fiction/
The Tunguska Event. Thought Co. June 18, 2019. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-tunguska-event-1779183
Why Wasn’t the Russian Meteor Detected Before it Entered the Atmosphere? Watch the Skies, NASA. February 19, 2013. https://blogs.nasa.gov/Watch_the_Skies/2013/02/19/post_1361308690869/
Image Credit: Astronomy Picture of the Day “Orbits of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids,” NASA. August 29, 2021. https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap210829.html