Whew! Another Near Miss
by Pastor George Van Alstine

At about 3:30 PM this afternoon, Tuesday, November 8, Asteroid YU55 flew by the earth. Did you see it? Don’t feel bad; you’d have needed a strong telescope and very fast reflexes to catch a glimpse. If it had hit the earth in the area of a major city, it could have leveled buildings for 120 miles around. If it had hit at sea, it might have caused 200-foot-high tsunamis. Fortunately, even though it came within the moon’s orbit, it remained 210,700 miles away at its closest.

The asteroid that is believed to have landed in the region of the Yucatan Peninsula 65 million years ago, thought by many scientists to have wiped out all dinosaurs worldwide as a result of severe climate changes, was 8,000 times bigger than today’s visitor. Another impact by such a large asteroid could certainly destroy human civilization and bring about the end of our present age.

It’s not surprising, then, that Christian teachers who are into prophecies, signs and wonders become particularly animated any time an asteroid seems to be coming at all near to the earth. Just go on line and type in “ASTEROID,” and all sorts of stuff will pop up. This is one of the milder entries:

Asteroids in Bible Prophecy Reveal End Times and the Rapture

According to Matthew 24:29: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” The word “star” that is found in the New Testament is translated into English from the Greek word astēr. One of the signs in the heavens that will take place after the tribulation is that asteroids will fall to earth.

Another site focuses not on the end-times significance of asteroids, but on their spiritual origin:

The Bible describes Satan, commonly called Lucifer, as having had a place in heaven. Where in heaven did Satan dwell, and what happened to this being? Our research suggests that Satan, or Lucifer, dwelt in a literal location in the heavens which, when destroyed, left the debris we now see as asteroids and comets.

Since there are several thousand asteroids in our solar system, each following some orbit around the sun, the possibilities for doomsday date-setting are endless. Alarming prophecies have come from many sensationalist Christian preachers, and they are joined by New Age crystal folk, Mayan calendar enthusiasts, and, of course, people who find secret meanings in the memoirs 16th century Nostradamus, who wrote:

A mile-wide mountain (asteroid) will strike earth after there is peace, war, famine, and floods, the asteroid strike will cause widespread flooding of nations.

Some of these prophecy enthusiasts base their findings on careful mathematical calculations, others on graphic dreams they have had, and still others on ancient mystical formulas.

Now, here’s the only thing I can tell you for sure about asteroids: they’re interesting. Scientists are anxious to study them because they believe their composition will tell a great deal about the original Big Bang that marked the start of our universe. The Bible indicates that God himself was that Big Bang, so as a believer, I’m anxious to learn more about that first act of Creation.

But I believe studying asteroid orbits to be able to prophecy end times events is a waste of effort. Jesus warned his followers against fascination with such things. In Matthew 24, when they asked him, Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age? He listed a whole bunch of things people often see as warning signs — wars, rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes. But then he said Beware that no one leads you astray. . . These things will take place, but the end is not yet. . . . This is but the beginning of the birth pangs. Asteroids, along with wars and other natural calamities, should not be seen as specific signs, but as a generic “Heads up!” causing us to pay attention to God.

Of course, if you were a dinosaur when that big asteroid hit the Yucatan Peninsula 65 million years ago, that would have been your end time event!