IS THERE SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT FOR THE SEVEN TRUMPETS OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION? (edited)
Revelation 8:1 starts the beginning dialog about the seven trumpets. It says, “When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.” Over the next several chapters are scary descriptions of hail and fire mixed with blood, burned trees, a great burning mountain thrown into the sea destroying sea creatures and ships. Then there are numerous falling stars, and water sources poisoned causing massive deaths. A bottomless pit caused by a falling star, and strange looking locusts prepared for battle …. For hundreds of years theologians have wrestled with these passages. Are they symbolic, metaphoric or literal? If it is literal, what in the world are these chapters describing? Is there a scientific basis, and if so, what is being described?
Tracing the meaning of certain words in the Bible back to their usage in the ancient Near East reveals a large body of internally consistent and detailed scientific information about comets. For example, two of these key words are "star" and "host." To the ancient Hebrews and Greeks the word "star" was a non-specific term used to designate any of the luminous bodies seen in the heavens, including comets, meteors and planets. The term "host" or "host of heaven" was a reference to various objects in heaven and in particular comets. The Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians and Assyrians believed the objects of heaven, and most importantly comets were indwelt by a pantheon or group of gods which they feared and worshipped (Deuteronomy 4:19, 17:3 and Acts 7:42). The Hebrew people were explicitly warned not to worship or fear the “stars” or “host of heaven.”
In the Bible the words “host” and “star” are sometimes used as direct references to comets. In the book of Isaiah scripture says in effect that God created comets, commands comets, calls them all by name and none faileth to appear when called. Isaiah 45:11-12 says:
“Ask me of things to come . . . and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the Earth, and created man upon it. I, even my hands have stretched out the heavens, and all their host (‘stars’ in Septuagint and ‘starry hosts’ in NIV; that is, comets) have I commanded.”
And Isaiah 40:25-26 says:
“To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number (‘starry host one by one’- NIV, comets): he calleth them (the comets) all by names by the greatness of his might for that he is strong in power; not one (comet) faileth (‘fails to appear’ in Tanakh).”
Indeed, in Daniel 4:1-3, 35 and 37, Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon whose people worshipped the host of heaven, nevertheless proclaimed that Daniel’s God was “the most high God” (NAS) who “doeth according to his will in the army of heaven” (‘host of heaven’- NAS and Tanakh).
In my book "THE COMETS OF GOD" I explain how the Bible says that God commands comets, and refers to comets as God’s “mighty ones,” “weapons of wrath,” and “messengers of flaming fire,” and says that God uses comets to bring correction and judgment. In other words, God uses the power of nature to express his wrath, and he has no need of mans’ weapons or nuclear bombs to accomplish his ends.
Some theologians and great number of end time authors have speculated even proclaimed that Revelation’s events are the result of a nuclear war. However, all the nuclear bombs in the world detonated together cannot produce a fraction of the amount of energy needed to cause the mega-disasters called for during the “end times.” Yet, a large comet impact could cause the earth to rock in space, cause an earthquake over 14 on the Richter scale, unleash a series of tsunamis whose waves could exceed a mile in height, and even cause the earth’s crust to melt. Many prophetic passages make sense once we recognize that much of Revelation’s mysterious imagery is describing the effects of comet impact. Incoming comets produce different types of destruction depending on whether the comet explodes after hitting the atmosphere, the land, the sea, the earth’s rivers and lakes, or after penetrating the earth’s crust.
Catastrophes described in the Old Testament and the New Testament’s Book of Revelation are being recognized by a growing number of astronomers and planetary scientists as descriptions of cometary impacts. The recent discovery and dating of the Burckle Impact Crater in the Indian Ocean and the discovery and dating of the Amarah Impact Crater in Iraq provide physical evidence for the Bible’s Flood story and its story of the Tower of Babel. For those who are trying to grasp the bigger picture, these discoveries have brought the issue of God using comets to accomplish his ends into focus. In the case of Revelation consider the comments of Dr. John S. Lewis, a recently retired Professor of Planetary Sciences at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, and Co-director of the NASA/University of Arizona Space Engineering Center who in his 1997 book (pages 11-13), "Rain of Iron and Ice: The Very Real Threat of Comet and Asteroid Bombardment" said:
". . . the description of future events in Revelation leans heavily upon the phenomenology of violent cosmic events . . . The central theme is clear and unambiguous: the events described in Revelation are of astronomical origin and describe real physical events, not mere portents or symbols. Did John (the author of the Book of Revelation) somehow know more about impact phenomena than any scientist before the present decade?"
Also, consider that Dr. Victor Clube, a Senior Research Fellow in Astrophysics at the University of Oxford and a past Director of the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, and Dr. Bill Napier, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh in their book “The Cosmic Serpent: A Catastrophic View of Earth History” said that “a reasonable interpretation of the Exodus account is that it took place much as described and the events seen until now as miraculous simply describe an impact with a fragment from a great comet during a close encounter.” (Psalm 106:7 says: “Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt.”) These astronomers also said that passages of the Book of Revelation were “impact inspired.” Ironically, these secular scientists noted that they were not championing Revelation but were only “remarking on the clarity of the astronomical associations,” which they said involved comet impacts. In their follow up book, “The Cosmic Winter” they even presented a table listing the comet impact elements for the Seven Trumpets and the Seven Vials of the Book of Revelation.
The strange events described in the Book of Revelation start to make incredible sense in light of what astronomers and geophysicists have learned about comets and their impacts. Below is a brief list of the Seven Trumpets listed in Revelation (Revelation 8:7-9:21 and 11:15-19).
1) The First Trumpet tells of “hail and fire mingled with blood” (“blood” is a metaphor for “death”) hitting the Earth and burning up one third of the trees and grass. The expression “hail and fire” is used not only in the Bible as a reference to cometary material hitting the Earth (Exodus 9:18-25, and Joshua 10), but also in the Sumerian and Akkadian literature. In the Sumerian “Lamentation over the Destruction of Sumer and Ur” there were “hailstones and flames” and large trees were destroyed, and “large stones, one after another, fell with great thuds.” NASA recently took pictures of a twenty mile wide cloud containing hailstones the size of basketballs enclosing and travelling with Comet Hartley 2. Passing through the Earth’s atmosphere before hitting a heavily forested area, these dust laden hailstones would be on fire.
2) The Second Trumpet tells of a “great mountain burning with fire” hitting the ocean and killing a third part of the sea life and a third part of the ships upon the sea. A very large comet fragment or small comet hitting the ocean would cause enormous fatalities, first from the impact itself then the subsequent large tsunami.
3) The Third Trumpet tells of a great star burning as a lamp and it falling upon the rivers and fountains (sources) of water. The name of the star is called “Wormwood,” (a reference to a species of plants that has a strong bitter taste) and it causes one third of the waters to become bitter and cause the death of many people. Remembering that in the ancient world the word “star” can refer to any luminous body in the heavens; context indicates that Wormwood is comet. The waters are made bitter and poisonous because comets and the tails of comets contain a number of substances that are poisonous to humans. For example, in recent NASA photos of Comet Hartley 2, scientists were surprised by the volume and purity of deadly cyanide in the gas shooting out of the vents of the comet.
4) The Fourth Trumpet tells of the Sun, the Moon, and stars being partially darkened for a third part of the day and night. A comet or cometary fragment exploding and disintegrating after hitting the Earth’s atmosphere could easily put enough dust particles in the sky to quickly blot out the Sun, the Moon and the stars for a large number of people on the planet, depending on their location in relation to the atmospheric explosion.
A number of researchers believe that the huge explosion that took place in Tunguska, Siberia in 1908 was caused by the atmospheric impact of a cometary fragment about five miles above ground level. (This belief is based on the lack of a definitive crater, the pattern of fallen trees out from the center of the explosion, the “scorching” of trees on their inward facing sides, and the presence of certain chemicals.)
5) The Fifth Trumpet tells of a star falling from heaven opening up a bottomless pit, smoke arising out of the pit as the smoke of a furnace, the Sun and the Moon being darkened by the smoke, and “locusts” coming out of the smoke. Locusts with power to hurt people up to five months, yet not harm the grass or any green things. The Fifth Trumpet is clearly a very large comet hitting the Earth opening up a very deep crater (“bottomless pit”) and raising a column of dust and smoke that darkens the Sun and the Moon. Based on the description given, the Fifth Trumpet uses the term “locusts” to refer to what we today call “bacteria.” (The bacteria in the cometary dust are likened to “locusts” because like locusts, the bacteria in the dust raised by the impact will go wherever the wind carries them.) A growing number of prominent scientists believe that comets, asteroids and meteors can carry bacteria and viruses, but this has yet to be fully proven. In scripture bacteria caused “pestilence” is repeatedly associated with comets and cometary products such as “great hailstones, fires and brimstone” and “burning coals” (Ezekiel 38:22 and Habakkuk 3:5).
6) The Sixth Trumpet tells of four angels being loosed which were prepared for an hour, a day; a month and a year to slay mankind. An army of 200 million horsemen is described as having heads like lions and breastplates of fire, jacinth (blue) and brimstone. Then the Sixth Trumpet tells how fire, smoke and brimstone issued out of their mouths and says that their power is in their mouths and tails which were like those of serpents. Understand that the word translated “angels” can also be translated as “messengers.” In the ancient world comets were sometimes referred to as “messengers,” so the Sixth Trumpet tells us that four comets are loosed and bound for (not in) the Euphrates River area. The description of the Sixth Trumpet is a scientifically accurate description for the physical appearance of outgassing comets coming in to strike the Earth. In the ancient world a comet was sometimes described as a star with a mane like a horse or a mane like a lion. In overall appearance, active comets do have heads and tails like serpents. Active comets are also surrounded by comas or clouds which have the appearance of breastplates of fire, jacinth (blue), and brimstone. Active comets also have vents or “mouths” in their crust out of which they outgas or issue fire, smoke and brimstone (burning sulfur). In addition, their power is indeed in their mouths as a result of the gas jetting out of their mouths and their power is also in their tails, which act like the rudder of a ship and can affect the comet’s movements through space. The recent NASA photos of Comet Hartley 2 shows the vents or “mouths” on the surface of the comet spewing out jets of fire, smoke and brimstone and even cyanide.
An army of horsemen is reasonable imagery for four comets and the millions of cometary fragments that can travel along with comets that are beginning to breakup. Recall the 21 separate comet fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy that struck Jupiter during July 9, 1994.
7) The Seventh Trumpet tells of an earthquake and great hail. A comet hitting the Earth could produce an earthquake that is tens of thousands of times greater than an earthquake produced by the largest of faults in the Earth. The “great hail" also tells us that a comet is involved. As already noted, NASA’s recent photos of Comet Hartley 2 show that comets can be surrounded by a huge cloud of hailstones, some the size of basketballs which could weigh upwards of 100 pounds. This would be “great hail.”
Comets being God’s weapon of choice for the Seven Trumpets is supported by a number of other scriptures. For example, recognizing that comets can be a form of “snow” or “ice” or “hail” Job 38:22-23(NIV) tells how God has reserved comets in the cloud of comets (the Oort Cloud) at the edge of the solar system, for times of trouble and days of battle and war. Job 38:22-23(NIV) says:
“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle?”
Considering the Seven Trumpets in the full context of other Biblical catastrophic passages, we see a pattern involving how God brings judgment. There is scientific support for the Scriptural passages in which comets are the common denominator between the Flood, the destruction of the Tower of Babel, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, some of the plagues of the Exodus, Joshua’s great victory over the Amorites, Debra and Barak’s victory over the Canaanites, the “blast” that killed 185,000 Assyrians during the rule of King Hezekiah, and the catastrophes prophesied in the Seven Trumpets and Seven Vials of Revelation.
Does the idea that comets were the cause of these Biblical events take away from the awesome power of God? Just the opposite – God’s power is made more evident.
The information in the above blog represents a glimpse at what is said about the Seven Trumpets of the Bible’s Book of Revelation in the book “THE COMETS OF GOD-New Scientific Evidence for God: Recent archeological, geological and astronomical discoveries that shine new light on the Bible and its prophecies.” More detailed explanations, scriptural references and citations can be found in the book. The book’s website contains a free downloads and links to scientific articles that deal with this subject.
Free downloads on this website give added information and dozens of links to related scientific articles.
About the author:
An archeologist and a geologist, Dr. Goodman has devoted over twenty- five years to the study of the Bible. He holds a geological engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines, a M.A. in anthropology from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from California Coast University. He also earned a M.B.A. from Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He was accredited by the former Society of Professional Archeologists. Goodman is a Messianic Jew who was saved in 1987.