The following post was written by Cliff Kelly, Professor of Digital Media & Communication Arts at Liberty University:
- ON SHOOTING STARS ETC. I have a friend named Dr. Jeffrey Goodman who has written a rather fascinating book entitled, The Comets of God (2010), in which Dr. Goodman proposes a simple thesis: Many if not most of the Bible’s apocalyptic events are or will yet be caused by cometary phenomena. Whether we are talking about the Great Flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the Seven Trumpet Judgments of the Book of Revelation, Goodman argues scientifically and persuasively that God uses comets, meteors and asteroids – all of which he defines and distinguishes – to accomplish them.
As the book was about to be published, Dr. Goodman asked me to write an endorsement for his ideas and this is what I wrote: “I was truly captivated by the force of your central idea (that cometary phenomena explain much of the apocalyptic literature in Scripture), the strong scholarship, and the goodness of fit, if you will, between a number of your proposals and the way scripture reads . . . after reading only one chapter of your work, I went back and reread Chapters 8 and 9 of Revelation, texts I’ve studied for almost 20 years, and found myself saying Of course! You really are onto something monumental here...I am deeply impressed with your work.”
This in turn reminds me of my trip to Russia in 1993 as a member of an organization back then called Children of Chernobyl. My business associate and I were there to establish connection with the Russian founders of the organization, who wished to bring aid to the victims of that horrific 1986 nuclear catastrophe that some argue affected countless thousands of Russian citizens and the surrounding environment. Of all the meetings we had back then, I recall one in particular with members of the Moscow Mayor’s Counsel in which an exchange took place that has stayed with me over the years.
As I was explaining the purpose of our visit, a member of that Counsel (who looked just like Vladimir Lenin by the way) asked me if I had a Bible with me. Somewhat surprised, I said, “Yes,” after which he told me to open it to Revelation chapter 8, verses 10-11, which I did. He then asked me to read it out loud, right there in the middle of Moscow’s massive chambers, in which there were only the three of us sitting down at a table that would easily sit over 25 people. Here’s what that Scripture says:
“And the third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood; and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.”
The Greek word for Wormwood in this passage is apsinthos, which I later learned means “bitterness,” or more figuratively, “calamity.” As I finished reading the verses, the man then asked me if I knew what the Russian word for ‘Wormwood’ was, and I of course said no. He then told me something that set me on the edge of my chair, and I haven’t left that edge ever since. In his thick Russian accent he told me that the Russian term for that very special word was and is, “Chernobyl.”
Pretty much could have knocked me off that chair with a feather upon hearing that. I later checked with several sources and found his claim to be absolutely true. And folks, I don’t even know why he told me that, or what quite frankly we are to make of it. But I find myself wondering about that meeting, and Dr. Goodman’s captivating book, and the magnificent workings of God’s Cosmos and quite honestly, just where we are in God’s Timetable of the events related to the Book of Revelation.
Selah. Dear friends, all I know is that we are living in times that foretell of the Coming of the Messiah, and that He will use cometary events to signal that Coming. And somehow, a star called Wormwood will figure prominently in that Return. Beyond that, our Commission is to simply love God with all our hearts, and love our neighbors as ourselves by sharing His great love for them in every way possible. Yes, before Wormwood explodes from the heavens, whose perfectly timed appearance is known only to Almighty God. I therefore end with this, which is the ending of the entirety of all Biblical literature:
“And He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all [the saints]. Amen” (Rev. 22:20-21). dk