Recently I read through Revelation 6 and came across the following passage.
I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" Revelation 6:12-17 (NASB)
What kind of event could cause the kind of ecological disaster that this seal mentions? When you read this kind of description – with the sun black as sackcloth – the moon becoming red like blood – the sky split like a scroll – and every mountain and island moved – it seems impossible except for maybe some kind of miracle by which it would take place. That may well be what causes this event – but there is evidence of a geological anomaly that could very well be part, if not all, of what causes this disaster.
Scientists from The University of Utah as well as others from the USGS (United States Geological Survey) have recently realized that underneath the some 300 active geysers, thousands of bubbling mud pots, and steam vents in Yellowstone National Park is a couple of magma reservoirs unmatched in our knowledge of what lies under the earth’s crust. The super volcano has been a mystery for years and would still be one if it were not for recent seismic technology being used to do a kind of CT-scan of the chambers beneath Yellowstone. What they found from the three-dimensional seismic maps they were able to put together dwarfs any previous thoughts about the size of the what is going on beneath the park. A subsequent article reviewing their findings was published in March of 2015 in the journal Science.
HOW BIG IS THIS SUPERVOLCANO?
The researchers scientists from Utah found that beneath Yellowstone Park are two huge magma chambers – and upper and a lower one – whose size is staggering to grasp. The upper chamber is closest to the surface and has 2,500 cubic miles in volume. It measures about 19 by 55 miles. The lower reservoir is close to 5 times that size, measuring 11,500 cubic miles, and measures 30 by 40 miles and is roughly about 16 miles thick. These two chambers are the some of the largest ever found by researchers. Although these chambers have not erupted, their presence has been made known as recently as 2003. Park officials closed Yellowstone at this time because they feared that people would burn their feet walking on the ground or that their tires would be melted and ruined by the roads that were melting at the time. The ground temperatures rose to such a level that geysers dried out and amazingly, even trees in the area were destroyed as the sap within them boiled. Thermometers were put a few inches under the surface and recorded temperatures rising to 200 degrees Fahrenheit – just a few degrees more and one would have been able to boil water just beneath the soil.
The real problems came when researchers began to describe the effects of an eruption of this super volcano. The best way to understand this is by comparing volcanic eruptions of the past with what is possible if Yellowstone were to erupt. Compared to Yellowstone, Mount St. Helens was a lovely picnic in the park. This eruption covered the state of Washington with an ash bed nearly the size of all of Lake Michigan back in 1980. In the Philippines the Mount Pinatubo blast of 1991, which yielded an earthquake over 7.0 in magnitude. In addition to this Pinatubo, considered the second largest eruption in the 20th century, blew 1 cubic mile of debris into the air almost 22 miles high – and spread ash as far away as the Indian Ocean – and dropped temperatures throughout the region by at least 1 degree for the next year.
If we compare the largest volcanic blasts known to us in modern times we have to go back to Krakatoa (1883) and the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815. Krakatoa blew on August 26-27 of 1883 and sent 11 cubic miles of debris into the air. The explosion from this volcano ruptured the eardrums of people as far as 40 miles away – and completely obliterated two mountains that disappeared into the sea. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami from this event sent a wave 120 feet high into Java and Sumatra – killing an estimated 36,000 people – and sending ships a mile inland. But the mother of all known modern volcanoes was that of Mount Tambora. Tambora killed 10,000 people instantly and over 100,000 people before it was over. It launched over 30 cubic miles of debris up to 38 miles into the atmosphere. Other effects of this volcano were a period of 3 to 5 days without any sunshine and a 5-degree drop in worldwide temperatures. The weather patterns of the whole earth were so dramatically impacted that it caused famines and crop failures as far away as the U.S. and Europe – and 1816 was referred to as the year without a summer.
HOW BIG WOULD THE BLAST BE?
Here are the comparisons of a blast in Yellowstone to those of recent history. Tambora shot 30 cubic feet of debris over 35 miles into the atmosphere. It is estimated that an eruption of the super volcano under Yellowstone could launch up to 600 cubic miles of debris at least that high into our atmosphere. The effects of this would be disastrous to the earth. First, it is estimated that over 100,000 people would be killed almost instantly – and the entire population of North America would face death from the ash, gasses, and lava bombs that would result. Such an eruption would so fill the entire atmosphere of the earth that travel by air would be impossible for up to as long as a year or more. The temperature change involved in such an eruption could be as high as 10 or more degrees – almost ensuring a kind of volcanic winter for at least a year. The destruction to agriculture would be beyond compare – making almost the entire surface of the United States unusable for years or even decades. What is shocking is how a super volcano blast of this magnitude would mirror the events of Revelation 6 in many ways. I will examine this in my next article.
I would be remiss if I did not also tell you that such an eruption of the super volcano underneath Yellowstone is considered to be very unlikely. Scientists who have studied this put the odds of it around 1 in 700,000 – or the likelihood that you will be struck by lightning. But, with that said, it is interesting that such a scenario as that of Revelation 6 is possible from a geological standpoint.
One of the things that will happen during the beginning of the seven year tribulation period of Revelation 6 is famine and starvation. As Americans we do not begin to comprehend either of these things because of the abundance that we have in our country. But for the rest of the world, especially the horn of Africa, things have been very difficult. Starvation and famine have been a part of their lifestyle for years. But over the last couple of years things have gone from bad to worse, due to a drought that has struck the area hard of over the past two to three years.
This is not that odd for this region. The horn of Africa is on the edge of the Sahara Desert, which has been expanding for most of the last decade. But what is worse is that two years of horrific drought conditions have brought about the worst water and crop conditions since the great famine of 1950-51. It is estimated that about 10 million people in this region are experiencing severe food and water shortages. If 2012 turns out to be as bad a year agriculturally as the previous two, we will most likely see a famine and food shortage as great as any we’ve known in modern history.
Let me quote Revelation 6:5-6 at this point of this post. “When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, ‘Come.’ I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, ‘A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.’ This passage relates to us a situation in which a black horse is released with its rider. These two represent a time of severe famine and food shortage. The scales represent the unbelievably high prices for food staples like wheat, barley, oil, and wine. It reminds us that the seven year tribulation period will be marked by famine and food shortage.
It is true that as long as the earth has been under the economic and agricultural conditions of the fall of man, there have been famines. But the one that seems to be looming in our near future is not quite like any we’ve ever known before. Currently, global stockpiles of corn, which is the most-consumed grain, are being forecast to fall to 47 days of use. According to the U.S.D.A there have not been numbers that low since 1974. Some might think that this is not too bad – and would be normal under cycles that exist in the agricultural world. The real problem though is that as these inventories continue to decline, demand continues to rise.
Making matters worse is the problems that are occurring all over the world in regard to food production. This past year we have watched the following problems hit all over the world. In Russia a record setting heat wave severely hurt their grain crop moving the government to put restrictions on exporting wheat to other countries. Other countries like China, Brazil, Australia, and Pakistan have had bad flooding in several key agricultural areas. In the United States we watched the state of Texas fry with drought and heat – while areas of Missouri, Kentucky, and Illinois were purposely flooded to avoid unprecedented disaster on the Mississippi River. By the way, those areas were all farm land. Their ability to grow crops in these regions was limited greatly. Worldwide, crop production is either at historic lows – or has been hindered altogether. Even Europe is seeing near record lows in rain, presenting northern Europe with a drought that has dropped forecasts of agricultural production through the floor.
These worldwide events have led to extreme rises in the price of food. The global price of food in general has risen over 35% in the last year. This caps off a recent report by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization that states that the global price of food has risen 240% since 2004. Since over half the population of Africa spends approximately 50% of their annual income on food alone – rising prices like these will quickly outstrip their ability to buy food at all. That is why in Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, Uganda, and Egypt there have already been “Food Riots.” These are gatherings of people who are rioting because of severe shortages of food.
The United States ships out massive amounts of food each year to the rest of the world. If there is a financial meltdown in our country, these shipments will be interrupted – if not halted altogether. If we think it is bad now, have the U.S. cut back or stop their supplies of food to the rest of the world. That will result in global food shortages – and possibly worldwide famine. For the first time in modern history, it does not look like the statements made in Revelation 6:5-6 are all that difficult to imagine. Prepare your hearts dear saints of God – rough times are indeed ahead of us – but so is the coming of our Lord!
In just a few weeks a movie is going to be released called, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” This prequel is supposed to be an explanation of why apes began to have human tendencies – and then supposedly evolved to have human intelligence. It also recounts to us the process whereby the apes took over earth and began to do a biological cleansing – reducing humans to the positions formerly held by the apes within the animal kingdom. Heavily influencing the movie is the idea of evolution itself with its view that animals and plants can cross the species barrier by experiencing macro-evolution.
Due to research at three different laboratories in the United Kingdom (King’s College London, Newcastle University and Warwick University) there is now concern that a scenario like that presented in this upcoming movie might be possible. Scientists at these three labs have created more than 150 of what they are calling, “human-animal hybrid” embryos. These experimental hybrid embryos were produced in secret research over about three years. The reason for the hybrid experimentation was to find cures in them for a wide range of diseases that affect mankind presently. One commentator on this so-called medical research accused the scientists of “dabbling in the grotesque.”
Three basic types of hybrids are being made in these laboratories. The first is an animal egg which is fertilized by human sperm. The second is called a “cybrid” which is a human nucleus that is implanted into an animal cell. The third is called a “chimera” which is a mixture of human cells put into animal embryos. It should be noted that no cure for any disease has come from these experiments. In fact, something that is not often stated in the media is that NO CURE for any disease has come from any testing on embryos or any harvesting of embryonic stem cells. Yet this is what is held out for us as the source of future miracle cures for diseases. It is a type of scientific blackmail that promises cures that have not materialized so that ethical and moral lines may be crossed. Scientific fact is that of the nearly 80 cures that have come from stem cell research and testing, ALL have come from ADULT STEM CELLS. None have ever come from any embryonic research – whether from pure human research of from this more grotesque mixing of species.
Those who have warned about a “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” scenario are calling for much stricter rules and laws against having laboratory animals injected in ways that would seek to give them human attributes. One such rule would prohibit having human stem cells injected into the brains of . . . you guessed it, apes. The lead author of the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research, Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, sees no need for such rules or laws – stating that the existing laws in the United Kingdom state that these embryos have to be destroyed within 14 days. I don’t know about anyone else – but the simple fact that these scientists have sought to keep their research secret – along with a fair knowledge of mankind’s ability to deceive and manipulate circumstances – makes me less than impressed with the safety and the ethics that they promise to maintain.
But this brings up a larger question for those of us who study biblical prophecy. Is there any biblical reference to a hybrid human being or animal? Some might refer to the strange creatures that are mentioned in the book of Revelation – and question whether these could be the end of this grotesque mixing of species? Let’s take a look at this possibility by looking at the Scriptures.
Some wonder about this passage in Revelation 6, “I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.” (Revelation 6:8, NASB) They wonder if the “wild beasts of the earth” could refer to a hybrid animal? The Greek word used here for “wild beasts” is “therion.” Throughout Scripture this word is used to refer to a venomous creature like a snake of some kind. It is also used to refer to various other animals in the animal kingdom. It is also the word used here, in Revelation 9, and in Revelation 13 of strange looking beasts. The problem with calling these beasts hybrids is that the language that is used here is descriptive language – rather than a more literal statement. Here in this first passage in Revelation the wild beasts mentioned here are most likely just that – wild beasts. This means most likely that undomesticated animals would lose their fear of man – and begin killing men at a rate never before seen on earth.
A second passage some might consider to be indicative of hybrid experiments is the two types of beasts mentioned in Revelation chapter 9. In Revelation 9:7-11 we have a being that has the “appearance” of locusts. But as these strange beings come up out of the earth – they are described in the following way. “The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months. They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.”
Some would point to the fact that these weird looking “locust-like” creatures have faces, “like the faces of men.” They also have hair, “like the hair of women.” Yet in spite of these things – they also are described with aspects of lions, scorpions, and horses. Is this the result of embryonic research gone horribly wrong? Again, the language in this passage is that of description – not literal statements. Terms used here that clue us into this are the word, “like,” and the phrase “the appearance of.” Another clue to us that this is a more spiritual description than a literal human/animal hybrid is the fact that these beings come out of “the bottomless pit” and are eventually identified as having the “angel of the abyss” king over them. After this is stated, this king is further identified with names that are normally given to Satan – or which refer to him. Thus these are most likely not the result of human embryonic engineering gone bad – but are demonic beings instead.
Later in Revelation chapter 9 we read of horses that have the heads of lions and tails which have multi-headed serpents on them. This description though also includes a statement that their mouths have fire, smoke, and brimstone coming from them. Thus if this is some kind of sickening hybrid – it has attributes which no other animal on earth currently has. This more than likely is a first century description of some kind of machine used – which has the ability to shoot fire from it. Once again this is a “vision” as well as the word “like” used in it.
The final two beasts that might be some kind of human/animal hybrid are those described for us in Revelation 13. If these are hybrids – they are definitely hybrids of multiple animals. Yet the language used here is very reminiscent of that used in Daniel. The beasts described there represented kingdoms – and how those kingdoms acted when they ruled on earth. These two beasts seem to be a combination of all these beings – with their worst attributes being put forward. Thus we have here the representatives of Satan during the tribulation period – described in how they act and what kind of “rule” they exert on earth.
Although tantalizing to our imaginations, the idea of a “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” scenario is very, unlikely. It may make for great movie-making, but it would involve poor biblical exegesis at best. What we do have here though is an eventuality of the lie of evolution manifesting itself in the most grotesque of ways. The lie of evolution is that we can cross the barriers of species – and have some kind of hybrid that brings us something far better than God’s original creation. This involves man being smarter than God, who created this world with species barriers irrevocably in place. Mankind, though, in its rebellion against God continues to dabble in the grotesque, hoping to make a hybrid man/animal that can once and for all disprove that a Creator God has ever existed. Good luck professors . . . because your work, which may create a kind of sick curiosity in mankind at first, will never manifest itself in anything truly helpful to mankind. And for those of you who fear that one day apes may rise and take over the earth – subjugating man to a mere animal role – you should read your Bible with greater care. Man will continue to be the supreme manifestation of God’s creation. Yet while man will never be removed from the position of the most glorious of His creatures, the fact will still remain that something is seriously wrong with mankind. He was made to directly reflect the glory of God in a way no animal can – yet he continues to sin and live as a rebel to God’s ultimate purposes. Maybe a better title for a movie would be, “Rise of the Planet of the Fools,” which would chronicle for us the horror of a creature made to fellowship with God – who rejects Him and instead worships himself. Then again maybe our theaters are not quite ready for the scariest movie of all.
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