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Mankind desires to venture out into space! But will we seek to take peace to the stars or warfare? And what does Bible prophecy reveal about a coming war in the heavens? You need to know!
Will mankind venture beyond Earth to find new possibilities and opportunities? Or will national and international conflicts expand into the space above us? Will military ambitions produce dangers in the heavens? Will there be space wars ahead? You need to know!
Most of us on earth can look up into the heavens and see the moon. It is astonishing to think that twelve human beings have actually walked on its surface! Will human beings someday colonize the moon? Will astronauts venture all the way to the planet Mars?
Since President John F. Kennedy, most American presidents have made space travel, and the nation’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a priority. In the 1970s, after the Moon landings, orbital projects like the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle gained prominence. While he was on the campaign trail, U.S. President Donald Trump told Florida voters, “I will free NASA from the restriction of serving primarily as a logistical agency for low Earth-orbit activities.… We will instead refocus on space exploration. Under a Trump administration, Florida and America will lead the way into the stars” (Orlando Sentinel, October 25, 2016).
The U.S. is not alone in its space interests. In October of 2016, millions were saddened when the European Space Agency’s Schiaparelli probe was lost during its descent to the surface of Mars. As CNN reported, “ESA’s Director General, Jan Wörner, said Schiaparelli’s primary role was to test whether they could successfully land a probe on Mars. ‘Recording the data during the descent was part of that, and it is important we can learn what happened, in order to prepare for the future’” (October 20, 2016).
We human beings have always been fascinated by the heavens, and certainly we should be. As the Psalmist wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). But as our interests draw us increasingly into space, will the heavens remain peaceful? Will mankind be able to resist taking his penchant for conflict into the realm above our planet? And what does Bible prophecy have to say about future conflicts in the heavens?
Mankind’s desire for space exploration and achievement seems to grow with each passing decade. As President Trump expressed last year during his campaign, many see space exploration as having benefits right here on earth.
“Space exploration has given so much to America, including tremendous pride in our scientific and engineering prowess. A strong space program will encourage our children to seek STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] educational outcomes and will bring millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in investment to this country. The cascading effects of a vibrant space program are legion and can have a positive, constructive impact on the pride and direction of this country. Observation from space and exploring beyond our own space neighborhood should be priorities. We should also seek global partners, because space is not the sole property of America. All humankind benefits from reaching into the stars”
What will we find in space as we continue to reach toward the stars? For decades, popular culture has imagined space aliens discovering Earth’s space travelers. Sometimes those aliens are thought benevolent and friendly. Sometimes, however, the aliens are just as violent and warlike as human beings.
Do aliens exist? University of Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking thinks so, and he thinks we should be careful. As reported by The Times, he opined that the existence of alien life beyond earth should be considered a virtual certainty, and that we should be avoiding any contact with them, saying, “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans” (“Don’t talk to aliens, warns Stephen Hawking,” April 25, 2010).
While Dr. Hawking’s speculations sound more like fiction than good science, efforts to expand mankind’s presence into space continue to be driven by aims both practical and political.
Modern nations have desired to control space. From the time Americans and the rest of the world could see the Russian satellite, Sputnik, orbiting the earth overhead in October 1957, the space race was on. President Kennedy galvanized scientists and industry to put a man on the moon before the end of the 1960’s. In 2004, President George W. Bush envisioned a return to the moon to establish a base for an eventual manned mission to Mars. In 2010, President Obama set a goal for astronauts to land on an asteroid, and in 2016 President Trump reiterated support for America’s goals to reach beyond Earth to Mars.
Even now, space scientists are preparing for new and daring space projects. On January 19, 2017, six scientists entered a 1,200 square-foot geodesic dome in Hawaii to simulate life on Mars. According to an Associated Press report in January 2017, the four men and two women “will have no physical contact with the outside world and will work with a 20-minute delay in communications with their support crew, or the time it would take for an email to reach Earth from Mars. The NASA-funded project will study the psychological difficulties associated with living in isolated and confined conditions for an extended period… The University of Hawaii operates the dome, called Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, or HI-SEAS, and NASA has dedicated more than $2 million to the various stages of the project.”
Human beings are very serious in their determination to venture into space, despite our physical limitations. That reality has led others to consider space settlements closer to planet Earth. One magazine devoted to space exploration, adAstra, cites the high cost of space settlements exposed to dangerous space radiation. “People have been dreaming about space settlement for decades, but these dreams have not come to fruition. Why? Because building traditional space settlement designs is extraordinarily difficult. Fortunately, there is a much easier way” (“A Radically Easier Market-Driven Path to Space Settlement,” by Al Globus, p. 26). The article continues: “It is our incredibly good luck that there is a region of space, very close to Earth, where radiation levels are much lower than at the usual suspects. This is low Earth orbit (LEO) directly over the equator (or ELEO). Earth’s magnetic field protects the region from all but a small fraction of space radiation.”
The article cites a market-driven approach where tourists will pay for the expense. Some space tourists have, in fact, paid as much as $20 million to visit the ISS, the International Space Station. These space visionaries expect that as these low-orbiting settlements become more popular over time, more space tourists will pay for much of the expense. They expect that more luxurious and sophisticated settlements will become a reality. The article concludes: “The next step, of course, is to send groups of settlements to Alpha Proxima and start the billion-year project of greening our galaxy.”
Many are excited about the concept of developing human settlements in space. But will there be peace and tranquility in space for such development? In 1962, President Kennedy insightfully asked “whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new, terrifying theater of war.” After all, if humanity cannot achieve lasting world peace among the nations on Earth, what makes us think that we can achieve lasting peace among the nations in space?
While visionaries dream of space settlements, there is real danger of war in space. The United States, China, Russia and other nations are preparing for eventual war in space. What will result from future space wars?
Your Bible gives the answer. Your Bible reveals a future World War III. Many refer to it as the battle of Armageddon. Will the next world war expand beyond our atmosphere? Will nations fight with powerful and exotic weapons in space?
In 2016, SpaceNews Magazine asked then-candidate Donald Trump, “What would be your priorities for the U.S. government’s military space program?” He answered, “We should concentrate on making sure that we enhance combat lethality and increase situational awareness, and expand our intelligence capabilities. We must also guarantee our early warning capabilities remain strong, as well as our ability to communicate and navigate in war and peace” (October 16, 2016).
“Combat lethality”? Does that mean war in space is ahead? Some in Europe and Russia think so. As Britain’s newspaper The Sun reported,
“Viktor Baranet, a Russian military analyst, told Sputnik News that both nations are secretly working to boost their space war capabilities and other nations were likely to follow their lead. He said: ‘The US is running on all cylinders developing space weapons.’ Baranet claimed Russia wanted peace in the heavens, but was being baited by American hawkishness. ‘I think that if Washington keeps ignoring Russia’s calls for the demilitarisation of space, the so-called “combat cosmonautics” would become reality,’ he added. ‘Mankind will have to decide whether to militarise space or not’” (October 27, 2016).
Has that decision been made? Indeed, it has! In July of 2016, the U.S. Air Force Space Command released an outline of its plans for what it calls the “Space Mission Force.” What will this force do? From the report: “Our space forces must demonstrate their ability to react to a thinking adversary and operate as warfighters in this environment… If we do not adopt this transformation quickly, we will lose our competitive advantage in space and jeopardize our ability to successfully confront adversaries in all domains” (SpaceNews.com, July 20, 2016).
More than ten years ago, China demonstrated its space capabilities by firing a guided missile into space to destroy a weather satellite. This event raised U.S. concerns about the vulnerability of its own space satellites.
And the technology of warfare is certainly advancing! Closer to earth, weaponized drones are being considered as the next trend in military hardware. In January 2017, New Scientist reported on the US Army’s efforts to produce a missile that could carry “a swarm of weaponized drones over a target area.” As the article notes, “While there has been much concern about ‘killer robots’, such technologies are not specifically regulated by international law.” Is it possible that the space above our atmosphere could become a “new, terrifying theater of war,” in which advanced and even artificially intelligent technologies may be unleashed?
Interestingly, your Bible clearly does reveal that there will be a dramatic future war in space—but a conflict far more powerful than any currently being devised or planned for by the presidents and generals of planet Earth!
Satan the devil will attack God’s throne in heaven! This will be a battle between God’s angelic army and Satan’s demonic army. Revelation 12:7 describes this conflict plainly: “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought…” Who will win that battle? “…but they [Satan and the fallen angels] did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (vv. 8–9).
This event will signal an end-time sequence of events leading up to the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Satan will lose that war in heaven. He will be so angry that he will direct his wrath toward physical human beings here on Earth. How will you know that a great space war has taken place? The heavenly message continues in Revelation 12:12 with its grave warning: “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
Dangerous times are ahead! Even the world’s scientists, today, recognize this! On January 26, 2017, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its famous Doomsday Clock thirty seconds closer to midnight, symbolizing the increasing danger of global nuclear devastation. As the New York Times reported that same day, at two-and-a-half minutes this is “the closest the clock had been to midnight since 1953, the year after the United States and the Soviet Union conducted competing tests of the hydrogen bomb.”
All of our readers need to understand: you will need to trust God for protection during the dangerous times ahead! During the time of Satan’s wrath, during the Great Tribulation Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24:21–22, Satan attacks the main body of God’s church. But God protects the woman, or the church, in the wilderness (Revelation 12:13–16). Satan then attacks the remnant of God’s church—true Christians who “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (v. 17). Note that well! True Christians have the testimony of Jesus Christ, and they keep the commandments of God. Those who are faithful will be in the first resurrection to meet Christ in the air at the last trumpet, as described in 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4.
Earlier, we noted the fears of some, such as Stephen Hawking, concerning an invasion from space. When Christ returns, not everyone will accept Him as their Savior at first. Some will fear Him as an alien invader, come to take away their power.
Can you imagine a combination of all the nations’ military power being unleashed against Jesus Christ as He descends from heaven? That is exactly what the Apostle John describes in Revelation 19:19! “And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.” The combined armies of rebellious nations will fight against Christ as He returns from heaven!
How will Christ respond? We are told in Revelation 19: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war… And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (vv. 11, 14–16).
Jesus Christ will win that battle, conquering all the nations and devastating the armies that oppose Him. Thank God that Satan will have only a short time to cause great tribulation before he is bound and cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years. You can read about that judgment in Revelation 20:1–3. But you need to watch and pray, and understand the prophesied space war that lies ahead, as well as the sequence of prophetic events surrounding that cosmic event. (Consider requesting our free booklet Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled, which explains these prophecies in detail.)
Christ will conquer all nations that oppose Him. We saw that Revelation 19 describes the armies of the nations of the world gathered together to make war on the returning Messiah. What happens to these human armies and the spiritual forces behind them? “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh” (vv. 20–21).
The victorious King of kings will set up His government to rule all nations. The Kingdom of God will rule planet Earth with justice and equity. That’s the good news in which we rejoice!
Who will win the space race? The encouraging answer is: Jesus Christ will win the space race! He has all power in the universe. As it tells us in Hebrews 1:3, Christ upholds “all things by the word of His power.” Or as the Moffatt translation states it, He “sustains the universe by his word of power.”
We should look forward to the ultimate future of peace on earth, peace in space, and peace in the heavens. Revelation 21 reveals that the New Jerusalem will come to earth from heaven. The Apostle John describes the setting in verse 1: “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” It will not take 50 generations of human effort, nor a “billion-year project of greening our galaxy” as envisioned by space scientists. God Almighty will ensure a glorious future for the heavens and the earth. May God help you to prepare for that awesome destiny.