Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

Ancient "Star Wars" or COSMIC Encounters?

Is there evidence in the Solar System for systematic widespread violence, destruction and chaos which occurred at an early epoch in its existence? What about the earth -- are there vestiges of a dramatic past? If so, what were the original causes? Does the Scriptural record provide a clue -- in fact, an answer -- to these puzzling enigmas? What does the evidence from astronomy and the geologic record of our planet really show?

by HOIM Staff

The history of the Solar System, before the time of man, is a history replete with violence. Scientists are now beginning to piece together amazing segments of the puzzle, and they are shocked at what they have been discovering!

In January 1986 Voyager 2 flew by the distant planet of Uranus, a planet about two billion miles away, invisible to the naked eye, and only discovered in 1781 by Frederick Wilhelm Herschel. Scientists are still poring over the photographs and data gathered from the probe, analyzing the amazing information received. One of the chief puzzles -- why does Uranus lie on its side, as though it had been struck by a large object and knocked over?

Secondly, why do its winds blow in a retrograde motion, contrary to the normal pattern in the Solar System? What caused the unusual shapes and features on some of its moons? Most surprising to astronomers, Uranus was found to be not a gaseous planet like Jupiter and Saturn, but it was found to be covered by an ocean of super-heated water some 6,000 miles thick, its temperature as high as 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit!

Particularly perplexing is the moon Miranda, which NASA astronomers have called "one of the most enigmatic objects in the solar system." On it exists a raised, flattened plateau with a 100-mile long escarpment which forms a strange, unique "right angle."

The Enigma of Neptune

Voyager 2 at the end of August, 1989, swept by the planet of Neptune, and for the first time earth scientists got a fascinating close-up glimpse of the planet which lies almost three billions miles from Earth. The planet was found to have a rocky core with a slurry mixture of ice above it, and to be circled by several rings made up of rocks and boulders, with no less than eight moons. The largest, Triton, shocked astronomers. Its retrograde motion was confirmed -- it orbits Neptune in a direction completely opposite to that of the other moons, and every other moon in the Solar System, including our own! All other moons orbit in an anti-clockwise motion, but Triton orbits in a clockwise motion. Why?

Triton was revealed to have rugged mountainous features on one side, but smooth, almost crater-less features on the other side. Very odd, to say the least. What happened to cause such an anomaly?

Declared Edward Stone of the California Institute of Technology, chief scientist of the Voyager program, "It was Voyager that focused our attention on the importance of collisions. The cosmic crashes were potent sculptors of the Solar System."

Writes Zecharia Sitchin in Genesis Revisited:

"Until the Voyager discoveries, the prevailing scientific viewpoint considered the Solar System as we see it today as the way it had taken shape soon after its beginning, formed by immutable laws of celestial motion and the force of gravity. There have been oddballs, to be sure -- meteorites that come from somewhere and collide with the stable members of the Solar System, pockmarking them with craters, and comets that zoom about in greatly elongated orbits...But these examples of cosmic debris, it has been assumed, go back to the very beginning of the Solar System, some 4.5 billion years ago, and are pieces of planetary matter that failed to be incorporated into the planets or their moons and rings. A little more baffling has been the asteroid belt, a band of rocks that forms an orbiting chain between Mars and Jupiter. According to Bode's Law, an empirical rule that explains why the planets formed where they did, there should have been a planet, at least twice the size of Earth, between Mars and Jupiter. Is the orbiting debris of the asteroid belt the remains of such a planet? The affirmative answer is plagued by two problems: the total amount of matter in the asteroid belt does not add up to the mass of such a planet, and there is no plausible explanation for what might have caused the breakup of such a hypothetical planet; if a celestial collision -- when, with what, and why?" (Genesis Revisited, Zecharia Sitchin, p.24-25).

Since the Uranus fly-by in 1986, astronomers have known and realized that the new evidence conclusively implies that there must have been one or more major collisions and/or catastrophes that occurred which changed the Solar System from its original form to the present configuration.

The evidence is inescapable.

Ancient Celestial Collisions

The fact that Uranus is tilted on its side, unlike all the other planets, poses a riddle that the Uranus fly-by has helped to solve. Was it created that way, originally, or did it become that way, due to a cosmic collision of some sort? Voyager revealed that the moons of Uranus revolve around its equator in its present tilted position. Evolutionary theory postulates that if formed at the beginning, the heavier moons would be closest to Uranus, and the lighter moons farther out from the planet. By the same principle, the moons of Neptune, farther out in the Solar System, should be lighter than those of Uranus. However, contrary to these expectations, a comprehensive report on the Uranus encounter published in Science magazine, July 4, 1986, reveals that the density of the moons of Uranus, except for Miranda, are significantly heavier than that of the moons of Saturn, nearer the sun.

Likewise, Voyager 2 data showed that the two inner moons of Uranus, Ariel and Umbriel, are lighter in composition than the outer moons of Titania and Oberon. These findings suggest that the moons were not formed at the same time as the planet itself!

Another intriguing anomaly is the fact that astronomers found, from the Voyager probe, that the rings of Uranus are pitch-black, "blacker than coal dust," and therefore probably are composed of "carbon-rich material, a sort of primordial tar scavenged from outer space." These dark rings are warped, tilted, and "bizarrely elliptical." Six of the moonlets discovered orbiting Uranus were also pitch-black, acting like "shepherds" for the rings. The conclusion scientists reached was that the rings and moonlets are the debris resulting from a "violent event in Uranus's past." Said assistant project scientist Ellis Miner, "A likely possibility is that an interloper from outside the Uranus system came in and struck a once larger moon and sufficiently hard to have fractured it" (ibid., p.26).

In other words, scientists have come to see that the theory of a catastrophic celestial collision could explain the evidence seen in the moons and rings of Uranus, as well as the fact that it is so strangely tilted on its side. Further buttressing this theory is the discovery that the boulder-sized black debris forming the rings of Uranus circles the planet once every eight hours -- a speed twice that of the planet's own rotation on its axis. How was this much higher speed imparted to the rings?

The team of 40 NASA scientists in their analysis of the Uranus fly-by and its discoveries, in a press conference, stated: "A collision with something the size of Earth, traveling at about 40,000 miles per hour, could have done it." Astronomer Gary Hunt, of the Imperial College, London, summed up the findings, saying, "Uranus took an almighty bang early on."

The Twisted Doughnut

The planet Neptune also shows the results of celestial collisions. Were these related to the collision that effected Uranus so dramatically? Nereid, one of its moons, has an elongated elliptical orbit that carries it six millions miles from the planet, and as close as one million miles. Its orbit is tilted at 28 degrees from the equatorial plane of the planet. Although planetary formation rules indicate it should be spherical, it looks like a "twisted doughnut," says Zecharia Sitchin, and is "bright on one side and pitch-black on the other." What caused this phenomena?

In a major study published in Nature magazine, June 2, 1987, Martha W. Schaefer and Bradley E. Schaefer concluded:

"Neirid accreted into a moon around Neptune or another planet and that both it and Triton were knocked into their peculiar orbits by some large body or planet."

The dark matter that is seen on one side of Nereid could be explained two different ways, but both explanations require a collision in space. Such a collision could have scraped off the outer lighter material on the surface of the moon, thus revealing the darker substrata; or, more likely, the dark matter could have been deposited on that side of the moon from the encounter with the visitor from outer space. The dark matter could have belonged to the impacting body and "went splat on one side of Nereid." All six of the new satellites of Neptune discovered by Voyager 2 in 1989 are similarly "very dark" and have "irregular shapes."

Baffling Triton

The moon Triton, with its elongated and retrograde orbit around Neptune, also can only be logically explained as a result of a cosmic encounter or collision in the remote past. A team of Cal Tech scientists, including P. Goldberg, N. Murray, P.Y. Longaretti, and D. Banfield, writing in Science magazine, postulated that:

"Triton was captured from a heliocentric orbit [an orbit around the sun] as a result of a collision with what was then one of Neptune's regular satellites."

In this scenario the original Neptune moon would have been "devoured" by Triton and the force of the collision would have caused Triton to slow down enough so that it was "captured" by the planet itself as a new "moon."

Thus we see evidence from the Voyager 2 interplanetary mission that there is unmistakable evidence for cosmic collisions in the history of the Solar System. But why? When? and how did they occur?

Bode's Law

According to "Bode's Law," the planetary distances from the sun more or less follow a mathematical formula which progresses as follows: 0, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc. If the formula is altered by multiplying by 3 and adding 4 and dividing by 10, each number, using as a measure the distance of the Earth from the Sun (one Astronomical Unit or AU), the formula indicates that there should be a planet between Mars and Jupiter, where the asteroid belt lies. The formula predicted the discovery of Uranus, but for some reason the outer planets of Neptune and Pluto (which at one time may have been a moon of Neptune, pulled out of its lunar orbit by some crossing celestial body) are at this time in violation of "Bode's Law."

Bode's Law predicts the orbits of the planets to the following tolerance:

PLANET DISTANCE (AU) BODE'S LAW DISTANCE DEVIATION

Mercury

0.387

0.400

3.4%

Venus

0.723

0.700

3.2%

Earth

1.000

1.000

0%

Mars

1.524

1.600

5.0%

Asteroids

2.794

2.800

0%

Jupiter

5.203

5.200

0%

Saturn

9.539

10.00

4.8%

Uranus

19.182

19.60

2.1%

Neptune

30.058

38.800

36.3%

Pluto

39.400

77.200

95.9%


The planets all seem to fit remarkably into this formula with relative precision. Could the deviations that exist be due to the influence of cosmic encounters and collisions which occurred earth in the history of the Solar System? In particular, could the vast and unexpected deviations of the orbits of Neptune, and especially Pluto, have been caused by such celestial encounter and massive conflict? And could the remains of the "asteroids" between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars be tell-tale evidence that formerly a planet did exist there, but was destroyed subsequently in an incredibly violent cosmic event?

Is there a "hint" or "clue" to the cause of these ancient events in the pages of Scripture? Indeed there is! Let's examine the Scriptural record and see what the Word of YEHOVAH God has to say about violent celestial cataclysms in primordial aeons.

Tohu va Vohu

In the pages of the Bible, we read in the opening words of the book of Genesis: "And God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was [the Hebrew word can just as easily be translated "became"] without form and void" (Gen.1:1-2). This word usually translated "was" as it is in this verse in the King James Version, is translated "became" in Genesis 19:26 regarding Lot's wife: "and she became a pillar of salt."

The words translated "without form and void" are from the Hebrew tohu va vohu, and mean, "empty, chaotic, confused." The word tohu is #8414 in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, and is defined as "be waste, a desolation (of surface), i.e., a desert," figuratively "a worthless thing," "in vain, confusion, empty place, waste, wilderness." The word vohu is #922 and means "to be empty, a vacuity, an undistinguishable ruin."

But did YEHOVAH God create the Earth originally in such a condition? Or did it become that way due to some ancient cosmic event, which could have included a collision with another celestial body, such as a massive planet with an elongated orbit, such as that of a comet?

In the book of Isaiah, we read:

"For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else" (Isaiah 45:18).

In this verse we see that YEHOVAH God did NOT create the Earth "in vain." The Hebrew word here, also, is tohu, and means -- as above -- "a waste, desolation, desert, a worthless thing, empty place," etc. So we see that originally YEHOVAH God did NOT create the Earth in a condition of tohu! Therefore, the logical explanation is that somehow, in the process of time, at some point after it was originally created, the Earth BECAME tohu -- a vain, empty, wasted desolation and ruin!

The logical question is -- what happened?

Rings Around the Earth

Once again, the answer to puzzles and enigmas that greet astronomers and geologists, when they see evidence of destruction, and VIOLENCE documenting the primordial history of the Solar System and the earth, is found in the pages of Holy Scripture!

When YEHOVAH God talked to Job about the creation of the earth, He said --

"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?" (Job 38:4).

"When I made the clouds its [the earth's] garment, and THICK DARKNESS ITS SWADDLING BAND;..." (Job 38:9).

What was this "swaddling band" around the earth that YEHOVAH mentioned?

According to Wikipedia (the online encyclopedia),

"Swaddling is an age-old practice of wrapping infants snugly in swaddling cloths, blankets or similar cloth so that movement of the limbs is tightly restricted. Swaddling bands were often used to further restrict the infant. It was commonly believed that this was essential for the infants to develop proper posture.

"Swaddling fell out of favour in the seventeenth century. It has become popular again as modern medical studies indicate that swaddling assists babies to sleep, and to remain asleep; and that it lowers the risk of sudden infant death syndrome [citation needed]."

"Swaddling clothes described in the Bible consisted of a cloth tied together by bandage-like strips. After an infant was born, the umbilical cord was cut and tied, and then the baby was washed, rubbed with salt and oil, and wrapped with strips of cloth. These strips kept the newborn child warm and also ensured that the child's limbs would grow straight. Ezekiel 16:4 describes Israel as unswaddled, a metaphor for abandonment."

Since the times of Isaac Newton, Joseph-Louis Lagrange, Pierre Simon Laplace, Carl Friedrich Gauss -- and other great mathematicians of the Renaissance Era -- there has been an inherent belief in the scientific community that a stable ring system once orbited the earth -- perhaps for millions of years!

As recently as September 2002, the Sandia National Laboratories published an article by two researchers who ONCE AGAIN reinforced the notion of past "earth rings." In that study, the authors suggested that at one time there were rings of rock debris circling our planet -- rings that were created by large meteorite impacts ejecting material back out into space. They again suggested that such a ring system, perhaps of similar opacity to Saturn's B-ring, may have caused past climatic changes on the earth by blotting out the sun and casting a cooling shadow over the equator for hundreds of thousands of years.

It is to be expected that the theories of men with reference to the creation of the earth would differ. However, the theory most in harmony with Job 38:9 -- and other information found in the Bible -- is that of Isaac N. Vail.

In the year 1874 Isaac N. Vail first published a pamphlet entitled The Earth's Annular System. Annular means having the form of rings, or ring-shaped, and has reference to successive rings or canopies of aqueous vapor which surrounded the earth and which fell upon the earth at different periods. A brief summary of the annular theory, as hypothesized by Mr. Vail, is given here:

1). The primitive earth was once a molten mass rapidly rotating through space.

2). The intense heat from the molten earth expelled all vapors, whether aqueous or metallic, and these were carried into the skies.

3). Both heat and centrifugal energy caused these vapors to accumulate in the skies, particularly in the equatorial region.

4). These red hot vapors contained all the fusible and vaporizable minerals known to the earth.

5). As the earth cooled, the heaviest of these vapors formed into rings nearest the earth and the lighter substances formed numerous other rings according to their weight and density.

6). These rings or belts were separate and well defined.

7). The rotation of these near the polar belts was slower than at the equator.

8). As these rings, formed of aqueous vapors and heavily laden with carbon, cooled down they rotated near the earth until they fell, the nearest and heaviest one falling first and leaving those more distant and lighter to move on in their respective orbits about the earth.

9). Each one of these rings, in due course, cooled and fell to earth.

Professor Vail then reasons that while all of these rings contained quantities of carbon, and other mineral substances expelled from the earth by the great heat, the last one of these rings was composed chiefly of water; that the light penetrating the ring or rings around the earth in due time caused this canopy, which enveloped the earth, to produce a hothouse condition -- thus making plants and animal life flourish at the poles equally with any other part of the earth; that these rings encircling the earth rotated more rapidly than the earth rotates upon its axis, but in time the cooling process would cause them to fall to the earth; and that the falling of the last one of these aqueous canopies occurred after man was created, and produced the great flood of Noah's time.

Geologic Ages

The geologic time scale is a theoretic chronology derived by associating particular layers of rock (strata) with periods of time and sequences of events thought to have occurred over hundreds of millions of years. The time scale was developed from the studies on the origins of the various kinds of rocks (petrology), coupled with studies of rock layering (stratigraphy) and the fossils they contain (paleontology).

For example, it is believed that during a particular episode the land surface was raised in one part of the world to form high plateaus and mountain ranges. After the uplift of the land, the forces of erosion attacked the highlands and the eroded rock debris was transported and redeposited in the lowlands. During the same interval of time in another part of the world, the land surface subsided and was covered by the seas. With the sinking of the land surface, sediments were deposited on the ocean floor.

Such recurring events as mountain building and sea encroachment are believed to be recorded in rock layers that comprise units of geologic time. Geologists have divided the Earth's history into Eras -- broad spans based on the general character of life that existed during these times -- and Periods -- shorter spans based partly on evidence of major disturbances of the Earth's crust.

While there are numerous geologic time charts and the era/period time frame is highly speculative, there is certainly much evidence in the earth's crust to indicate that major convulsions have occurred in the earth's history. The geologic column presents many facts that are not understood. This is plainly evidenced by the fact that most of our most eminent geologists disagree in their interpretation. Isaac Vail noticed this when he wrote --

"There is a series of ages ranging from Archean time, to the post-glacial or recent period. Hardly any two geologists agree either as to the nature or the causes of these. There are great beds of graphitic carbon planted in strata that are utterly destitute of vegetable signs. It has defied all efforts at explanation. There are stupendous beds of conglomerate rock interpolated among strata laid down during the luxuriant growth of tropical vegetation, concerning which all explanations has heretofore been vain. There are signs of repeated deluges "vast beyond conception." The source of which has never yet been found, though a hundred eminent men have ventured to explain them. The Glacial Epochs and a hundred collateral questions have for many years employed the thoughts of geologists with no certain result but failure to account for them" (Waters Above the Firmament, Stonehenge Viewpoint, Santa Barbara, CA 1987, page 50).

Commenting on the geologic record, Isaac Vail had this to say --

"There is nothing more positive in the geologic record than the fact of ocean change. Whole dynasties of ocean forms, once lifted to the plane of activity and power, have lost the scepter and sunk as weaklings or utterly died out, and new races have built on their ruins. This rise and fall of races demands OCEANIC CHANGE. But how can oceans change except by the ADDITION OF WATERS? How can oceans increase save by grand installments from the skies? We are forced by the record that speaks for all time to concede that the oceans have been augmented and deepened time after time. We must trace the cause to the very foundation and source of waters, back through the reign and fall of canopies, and through the earth's ring system to its primitive fires" (Waters Above the Firmament, page 33).

Professor Vail goes on to say that,

"Age has succeeded age, and yet it is as plain as the noonday sun that ages cannot end while the environing causes last. We are thus forced to rear peculiar environs about an age to keep it in progress and then tear it away, to end it. Now this is the very thing that WORLD RINGS and WORLD CANOPIES must ever do. The first ring that fell closed the first geologic age. Millions of years roll by. Another age reaches out for other bounds. Another ring descends, the old environs give way and a second age closes. Thus on and on the world has moved by steps, which it could not do but for rings and canopies" (ibid., p. 33).

Describing the process of ring collapse, Vail argues that "a falling ring must become a canopy [a swaddling band] -- a GREAT WORLD ROOF. It is very plain that such a roof of vapors must make a greenhouse world. Every ring in its fall must have made a hothouse earth and eternal spring must have reigned many times millions of years before man ever trod the earth" (ibid.).

The close of the hothouse environment present on the earth -- when it's enclosed by a canopy or "swaddling band" -- is next described by Isaac Vail --

"A greenhouse clime is repeatedly brought to a close by the fall of snow. Such things we cannot separate from the reign and fall of canopies. The presence of a canopy insured a green house clime from pole to pole. But such a canopy moves on to its inevitable end at the poles. It begins to pile up its snows on a polar continent, the centuries roll on, the earth grows cold, and the glaciers begin their march. An age of heartless winter crushes out the life of perpetual spring" (ibid., p. 33).

In the very midst of a glacial age the reverse begins to occur and,

"in the very midst of inveterate winter another ring descends, and a greenhouse roof spreads over a world of ice and death and of course the glacier gives way. Immeasurable FLOODS sweep to the seas and other great mystery is solved. For the titanic rush of water at the close of a glacial age in the very lap of winter can be only thus explained. Now it is very well known that in very recent geologic times the changes from spring time to the reign of ice and snow has been SUDDEN. Sudden, too, has been the sundering of winter's chains" (ibid.).

Professor Vail concludes by saying --

"Knowing that such geologic records are left visible in the most recent periods and that they point unerringly to such causes, we are forced to concede that RINGS and CANOPIES have ruled all through geologic time -- that they were THE ACTUAL CAUSES OF ALL THE GEOLOGIC 'AGES'; that they produced all the 'ice periods,' and all the 'deluges' the earth ever saw and were the most potent factors in strata building all through time" (Waters Above the Firmament, p. 33).

We should realize that the earth is no chance world, but a world that follows the universal law of YEHOVAH God. We should also know that during some period of its career, the earth had RINGS like Saturn and a dark-banded CANOPY [swaddling band] like Jupiter. It is the fall of the rings over eons of time that produced the geologic record that scientists argue over and come to various conclusions as to its cause. We can know by studying the word of YEHOVAH God -- the Master Builder of the Universe!

Ancient "Star Wars"?

There are those who believe that the "violence" found recorded in the earth's strata -- and in the far reaches of the Solar System -- was caused by a cosmic battle that is recorded, they say, in Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28, Revelation 12 and other passages in the Bible. They claim that Lucifer (or Satan) "led a massive attempt to overthrow the Throne of Almighty God." Then they further claim that "he was cast down to the Earth, and all his wicked angels who followed him were cast out of Heaven along with him....The description of this final battle in heaven gives us also a clue to the struggle which must have occurred aeons ago, in the original 'Star Wars' when he attempted to overthrow the Dominion of God" (Ancient Cosmic "Star Wars," by William F. Dankenbring).

Dankenbring then quotes Revelation 12:7-9 and exclaims, "War in Heaven! Consider the consequences of such a cosmic, celestial event! Would the very planets and Solar System have been effected?" (ibid.)

A very good question -- and the answer is NO! Why? Because Dankenbring's time-frame is all wrong!

Have you ever wondered why there is very little mention of "Satan" or the "Devil" in the Old Testament, but the New Testament is FULL of warnings against the entrapments of Satan and his demons? The Hebrew word satan is a common noun meaning "adversary." In the Old Testament we find it applied in various ways to human opponents and, in THREE cases, to supra-human or angelic figures. First, there is the angel of YEHOVAH who comes as a satan against Balaam and his ass (Numbers 22). Then there is one of the Sons of YEHOVAH God who acts as a satan against Job (Job 1-2). And, finally, there is the satan who accuses the High Priest Joshus (Zechariah 3). A fourth possible instance is the satan who incites David to take a census, where the term could perhaps be a proper name, Satan (I Chronicles 21).

The Judahites who translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek -- the Septuagint (around 200 B.C.) -- sometimes saw a deceitful element in the word satan, and so translated it as epiboules, "plotter." Or they left it alone as "a satan." But at other times they translated it more directly as diabolos, "opponent." They avoided calling the angel of YEHOVAH a diabolos in the story of Balaam. But they decided that it was not Satan who incited David to sin, but only "a satan," that is, "a devil" -- doubtless intending a merely human adversary. However, they manifest a belief that one of YEHOVAH's angels not only acted as a satan, but was actually named Satan, which they rendered in Greek as ho Diabolos, Devil in the Books of Job and Zechariah.

Now if Satan and a third of the angels fell from Heaven in the primordial past -- BEFORE the time of Adam -- you would think that the Old Testament would be FULL of examples showing those YEHOVAH was working with contending with the wiles, influence and roadblocks placed in their lives by the one who is so conspicuous in the New Testament. But there is only THREE possible examples of angels appearing as "satans," that is, adversaries, in the entirety of the Hebrew Scriptures! Strange indeed!

So WHEN was Satan cast out of Heaven?

Yeshua once said to his disciples, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18), words that are commonly linked with the Isaiah 14 passage. If, in other verses there was direct evidence for the belief that Satan was once an angel in heaven, we would probably include this verse as supporting evidence for that conclusion. But in the absence of any such evidence, we prefer an interpretation based on the immediate context. So, when the Messiah speaks of seeing Satan's fall from heaven he is not thinking of an event that took place in the remote past -- he is thinking of the effect of his ministry at the time and of his upcoming death and resurrection. The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures words Luke 10:18 a little differently -- notice!

At that he said to them: "I began to behold Satan already fallen like lightning from heaven."

This points to a future event -- not one that occurred eons in the past. This is reinforced by John 12:30-31, which says -- "In answer Jesus said:...Now there is a judging of this world; now [in the very near future] the ruler of this world WILL [future tense] be cast out." This clearly indicates a future event, the adverb "now" referring to the Messiah's impending death and resurrection which crowned his ministry. Also, in the Book of Revelation, John shows that Satan's ejection from heaven was the direct result of the Messiah's ministry and death. There is, however, no indication here that Satan was formerly an angel in heaven.

The seventy disciples had just returned from a successful preaching mission. With joy they said: "Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name" (verse 17). As the gospel was preached, as the sick were healed, as devils were cast out, Satan was losing his hold; his kingdom was losing its exalted position. Three verses before, mention is made of Capernaum which was "exalted to heaven," but which would be "thrust down to hell." This signified that Capernaum would fall from its exalted position; so also we understand verse 18 as a reference to Yeshua seeing, in the very near future, the power of Satan being broken -- and Satan being cast down to the earth as a result of the Messiah's ministry, and that of his disciples.

In the Hard Sayings of the Bible, the author points out in his note on this passage that the Messiah was "describing an actual vision that he experienced during the mission of the seventy -- not unlike the vision seen by John of Patmos, when, as he says, war broke out in heaven and 'the great dragon was hurled down -- that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray' (Rev. 12:9)" (InterVarsity Press, 1996, p. 466).

Revelation 12:7-10 fits in with the idea that Satan was once in heaven and fell -- but we must take it in its CORRECT TIME SEQUENCE.

"There was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

It is recorded that, when Yeshua the Messiah went into heaven after his resurrection, and took his place at the right hand of YEHOVAH God, "angels, and authorities, and powers" were "made subject unto him" (I Peter 3:22). It was at this moment, therefore, that the revolt of the angels took place, seeing that Satan and his associated powers and principalities refused to be "made subject unto him."

In John 12:31-33 we find words of the Messiah that place the matter beyond doubt -- notice!

"Now is the judgment of this world: NOW shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."

There are three things in this passage that the Messiah mentions as being "NOW" about to happen, namely --

1) the judgment of this world

2) the casting out of the prince of this world

3) the drawing of all men (i.e. men of all nations and classes) to himself -- as a result of his being lifted up to die on the tree.

This fixes the time when Satan was "cast out" of heaven because it clearly shows the event to be contemporaneous with the era when the Messiah is drawing to himself men out of all nations and classes. The word "now" must mean the same in both clauses.

John 12:31-33, along with what has already been cited, provides ample proof that the war in heaven, which culminated in Satan being "cast out" took place soon after the ascension of the resurrected Messiah into heaven in 31 A.D.

History records that the "great fury" of Satan against YEHOVAH's people, and his bloody persecutions in the early centuries of this era -- which agrees perfectly with what is stated in verses 12 and 13 of Revelation 12 -- grants further evidence that the war in heaven and the casting out of Satan took place at the BEGINNING of our era.

It was a crushing defeat which nothing but the Messiah's death and resurrection could have inflicted upon the prince of this world. As Yeshua said, "NOW is the judgment of this world, NOW shall the prince of this world be cast out." The Old Testament shows us (Job 1:6; 2:1; Zechariah 3:1) that in the days before the Messiah's death, Satan had free access to the courts of heaven. But how could this continue after the work of atonement was completed? How could the accuser -- that old serpent -- raise his head and open his mouth, or even present himself before the slain Lamb upon the throne? "Who shall now lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" The apostle Paul asks this challenging question in a passage that is full of joy because of the Messiah's triumph over death (Romans 8:33-39). Where, in the New Testament, is there a verse or passage to support the idea (apparently a product of very modern theology) that Satan still appears before the throne of YEHOVAH God -- as the accuser of the brethren? The New Testament CLEARLY places him on the earth:

"Your enemy, the Adversary, stalks about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (I Peter 5:8).

This is in perfect harmony with the passage that says the Devil and his hosts are "cast out into the earth," and he goes to make war with the remnant of the woman's seed, who keep the commandments of YEHOVAH God, and have the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah (Revelation 12:17). It is a great and serious ERROR to place this event before Creation or in some future day.

The breaking of Satan's power was by the death of the Messiah -- for by the death of the Messiah forgiveness of sin has been obtained and Satan's most formidable weapon has been wrenched out of his hands. The New Testament plainly tells us that Satan is already a conquered foe, "cast out" of heaven and deprived of his authority over those whose citizenship is in heaven (verse 12). James tells us to "resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (4:7). This could not be apart from the Messiah's victory at Golgotha; but now that the victory has been won, IT COULD NOT BE OTHERWISE.

In Revelation 12:7-10, John was writing historically about things that had (in his day) recently happened. However, he was not recording history as though these things had already taken place prior to Genesis! The next verse pictures Satan as the accuser of the brethren "which accused them before our God day and night." This could not refer to a time prior to the creation of man. At that time there were no brethren to accuse!

Even the strongest believers in the concept that Satan was once an angel do not generally apply this passage to a battle prior to human history.

So if the violence and destruction found in the record of the Solar System -- and in what modern science has discovered in space probe fly-bys of the various planets and moons -- was NOT caused by an ancient, primordial battle between the forces of YEHOVAH God and the forces of Satan -- what, exactly, left all this evidence?

Cosmic Encounters

Huge craters on the Moon suggest that it was also the target of celestial fireworks, and collisions with massive numbers of asteroids, meteorites, and astral bodies. Was there once a planet, as Bode's Law suggests there should be, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter? If so, what happened to it? Is part of its "remains" the orbital debris still circling the Sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter? Did another large chunk of it -- the preponderance of it -- become a huge orbiting planet or "comet" which is still circling the Sun in an elongated orbit?

According to Immanuel Velikovsky, there is incredible evidence that such a huge planet-like "comet" came near the Earth during the time of Moses and the Exodus of Israel out of Egypt. This would have been roughly 3,500 years ago. At that time, disasters and violence came upon the Earth. Plagues fell upon Egypt, the waters of the Red Sea parted for the Israelites to cross dry-shod, and the "Sun stood still" during the "long day" of Joshua. Velikovsky shows that these events were accompanied by the presence of a huge comet in the sky in the shape of a globe. Is this "comet" possibly part of the remains of the previous planet which orbited between Jupiter and Mars?

Regardless of the answers to these questions, it is clear from the rest of the Scriptural record, as well as the evidence in the Solar System itself, especially evidence gathered by Voyager 2 and other probes, that our Solar System has had a rocky, violent, turbulent history.

The evidence of cosmic violence, and dramatic conflict, with ensuing collisions and destruction on an interplanetary scale unmatched in human history, lies before us. The key to its interpretation lies in what science has discovered about the Universe and, in particular, about our own Solar System. This gives us incredible insight and invaluable hints and clues as to the original causes of that violence! Nothing happens without a "cause."

We can learn much about the history of the Earth, and of the Solar System, by studying the sciences of geology, paleontology, astronomy, astro-physics, and related disciplines. In fact, YEHOVAH God Himself says: "Speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee" (Job 12:8).

In a NASA/JPL news release dated February 3, 2001, entitled Comet collisions: Only the strong survived? we read the following --

"Recurring collisions between comets during the solar system's formation may have ground smaller comets to bits, leaving only big comets larger than 20 kilometers (12 miles) to survive, according to a new model developed by researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo.

"The finding, by Dr. Paul Weissman of JPL and Dr. Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute, published in the February 1 issue of the journal Nature, demonstrates that previous models may have significantly overestimated the mass of the Oort cloud -- a region far beyond the planets populated by comets flung outward in the solar system's youth.

"'We're introducing a new wrinkle in the process of how the Oort cloud formed,' said Weissman. One result of the new finding, he said, is that 'the cloud may be 10 times less massive than previously thought.'

"By studying comets of different sizes, the scientists predicted how the comets would collide with each other, and how the collisions would erode the comet's cores, dirty snowballs of dust and ice. Their model showed that comets with nucleus diameters smaller than 20 kilometers (12 miles) would have been destroyed in the early solar system's demolition derby. Previous Oort cloud formation models neglected the effects of these collisions.

"Another apparent implication of this violent collisional environment is that the comets in the Oort cloud could be smaller than previously thought, said the scientists. If comets were so eroded that they would never have left the region of the giant planets, then few of them would have survived to be ejected to the Oort cloud. Taking into account their new findings, Weissman estimates that typical comets in the Oort cloud may be about half as large across as compared with current best estimates."

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.

What is this "Oort cloud" -- mentioned numerous times in this news release?

According to most sources the Oort Cloud is a vast reservoir of ice dwarfs, or deep-frozen cometary nuclei, which marks the material outer limit of the solar system and the maximum extent of the Sun's gravitational influence. It is named after Jan Oort, though Ernst Ípik was the first to theorize its existence.

Studies of the orbits of long-period comets, which are believed to originate in the Oort Cloud, suggest that the Cloud extends out from a heliocentric distance of about 20,000 to 100,000 astronomical units -- with a peak density of objects at 44,000 AU from the Sun. A variety of gravitational influences are thought to play a part in perturbing Oort Cloud objects so that their new orbits carry them into the inner Solar System. These include passing stars, giant molecular clouds, and tidal forces due to the galactic bulge of the Milky Way. A star that approaches the Sun to within roughly the distance of the Oort Cloud might increase the rate of comet passages near the Earth by a factor of 300 for 2 to 3 million years, so greatly increasing the risk of a catastrophic impact.

Measurements of the accumulation in ocean sediments of interplanetary dust -- most of which is thought to come from comets -- suggests a sharp rise in the incidence of comets at the end of the Eocene epoch, about 36 million years ago by geological estimates. The discovery of several impact craters dating from this time, and the occurrence of a moderate biological extinction in the late Eocene, may be no coincidence. Several comet strikes may have been to blame.

The origin of the Oort Cloud is another unresolved problem. It seems clear that the Oort objects could not have formed in their present locations because the material at those distances would have been too sparse to condense. The only solution that makes sense is that these icy bodies coalesced in the vicinity of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and were subsequently hurled into the Oort Cloud by gravity-assists from the giant planets.

If it were the case that the Oort Cloud comets originated at a wide range of distances, from the orbit of Jupiter to that of Neptune -- and therefore at a wide range of ambient temperatures -- this would explain the differences in composition observed in long-period comets. Recent work suggests that the Oort Cloud may even contain a small percentage of asteroids -- made of rock rather than predominantly of ice.

The Oort cloud is believed to be the source of most comets that come into our Solar System, and astronomers believe that it is the source of all long-period and Halley-type comets entering the inner Solar System -- and many of the Centaurs and Jupiter-family comets as well. The outer Oort cloud is only loosely bound to the Solar System, and thus is easily affected by the gravitational pull both of passing stars and of the Milky Way Galaxy itself. These forces occasionally dislodge comets from their orbits within the cloud and send them towards the inner Solar System.

This is the source of all the comets and space debris that have scarred and cratered the planets within our Solar System -- including, occasionally, the very earth itself -- NOT some ancient "star wars" that supposedly occurred back in primordial times before Adam. YEHOVAH God created the Universe and it operates according the the laws of YEHOVAH God. That this is so is proved by the following news release entitled, Guardian Planets Jupiter and Saturn Shield the Earth from Catastrophic Comet Collisions -- notice!

"By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 1:02 PM on 31st July 2009

"Jupiter and Saturn have protected life on Earth for hundreds of millions of years by shielding us from comets. Many large comets hurtling towards Earth all the way from the edge of the Solar System [from the Oort cloud] have been batted away by the two gas giants, preserving life as we know it. The guardian planets effectively act as the planet's bouncers, research has shown."
 

 
Saturn, pictured here by Nasa's Hubble Space Telescope, shields us from catastrophic comet collisions Protector: Saturn, pictured here by Nasa's Hubble Space Telescope, shields us from catastrophic comet collisions

"Most scientists agree that a catastrophic asteroid collision 65 million years ago wiped out the dinosaurs. But the new research suggests few, if any, mass extinctions have been caused by the 'long-period' comets that take from 200 to tens of millions of years to orbit the Sun."

 

"Previously it was thought that long-period comets, originating from a mysterious region called the 'Oort Cloud' occasionally destroyed life on Earth. Astronomers know that Jupiter and Saturn's gravitational fields can eject comets into interstellar space, or draw them in so that they crash into the giant planets.

 

"Last week a huge scar appeared on Jupiter's surface, thought to be caused by a comet impact. The new study suggests we may owe the guardian planets more than we think. Computer models simulating comet evolution in the Solar System for 1.2 billion years showed that the Oort Cloud was a bigger danger than previously realized. Even outside active periods of comet showers, triggered by the close passage of a star, the inner Oort Cloud was a major source of threatening long-period comets.

"The Cloud is a region of icy dust and debris left over from the birth of the Solar System. It starts from a point about 93 billion miles from the Sun and stretches for around three light years. Scientists believe the Oort Cloud could contain billions of comets, most of them small and hidden. About 3,200 long-period comets are known, one of the most famous being Hale-Bopp which was visible to even the naked eye during 1996 and 1997. Halley's Comet, which reappears about every 75 years, is a 'short-period' comet from a different part of the Solar System called the Kuiper Belt.

"Evolution rethink: An asteroid collision is widely believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs. But the latest research suggests comets are not responsible for many mass extinctions. The computer simulations showed that no more than two or three comets from the Oort Cloud could have struck the Earth during what is believed to have been the most powerful comet shower of the last 500 million years. One minor extinction event 40 million years ago was probably caused by an unusually intense burst of comets that slipped past Jupiter and Saturn.

 

"Astronomer Nathan Kaib, from the University of Washington, who led the study, said: 'That tells you that the most powerful comet showers caused minor extinctions and other showers should have been less severe, so comet showers are probably not likely causes of mass extinction events.' It was clear the Earth had benefited from Jupiter and Saturn standing guard like giant 'catchers mitts', deflecting or absorbing comets that might otherwise strike the Earth. 'We show that Jupiter and Saturn are not perfect, and some of the comets from the inner Oort Cloud are able to break through, but most don't,' said Mr Kaib."

"The research appears today in the online edition of the journal Science."

Clearly YEHOVAH God -- in His infinite wisdom and with forethought of His great plan for mankind -- positioned these planets in our Solar System to protect the earth from catastrophic collisions with comets and other space debris.

Since this news release downplays the role of comets in the various mass extinctions that have occurred on the earth in its primordial past -- and since we have proven that a "battle" between the forces of YEHOVAH God and the forces of Satan did NOT take place in the early history of the earth -- where does this leave us? It leaves us with the FACT of an earth with a system of rings surrounding it that collapsed one-by-one over periods of time causing chaos and destruction and the extinctions that the strata of the earth teaches us. The "tohu va vohu" of Genesis 1:1-2 was the RESULT of a ring collapse -- as was the flood of Noah's day.

As for the craters and signs of tremendous impacts we find etched into the surfaces of all the planets and moons in the Solar System -- these were the result of natural forces and laws that came into play when YEHOVAH God created the Universe.

Moses wrote long ago, "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law" (Deut. 29:29). Solomon adds: "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable" (Proverbs 25:3).

The more we study the Heavens, and the Solar System, the more evidence we find supporting and confirming the Scriptural record -- the Bible. How wonderful is the Word of YEHOVAH God!

 

Hope of Israel Ministries -- Taking the Lead in the Search for Truth!

Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 853
Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.
www.hope-of-israel.org

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