Revelation 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men
The Book of Revelation and especially chapter 13 gives a peek into what will happen just prior to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. Revelation 13 is one of the most famous chapters in the entire Bible. This chapter reveals two infamous men referred to as Beasts. They are called beasts because of their inner character and the havoc they bring to mankind.
The first Beast is commonly known as the Anti-Christ (See 1John 2:18) while the second is commonly known as the False Prophet (See Revelation 19:20.) These two appear on the world stage as political, military and false spiritual leaders. Nearly the entire world is going to follow after them, and all the world is going to come under their evil control.
The False Prophet is directly connected to manifestations of power and control. In verse 13, he causes fire to come from heaven to the earth; in verse 14 he coordinates the world-wide effort to create The Image of the Antichrist; and in verse 16-18 he is behind creating a world-wide identification system whereby no one can buy or sell without joining this system. In this study, I will examine the phenomenon of calling down fire from heaven.
A study of Revelation 13:13 reveals some key points. The False Prophet is going to do great wonders. He is not limited to doing just one wonder, but it appears that he is involved with many and calling fire down from heaven is just one or an example. The fire he calls down is not just visible in the sky, but it actually hits the earth. The word heaven has the meaning of air or the elevated sky above, and it can refer to heaven where God dwells. It depends on the context. I think this heaven means the atmosphere.
Bible students of the past thought that Revelation 13 was about some miraculous power the False Prophet manifested that he could call fire from heaven. He would use this power to deceive people that the Antichrist was from God and calling down fire was a part of the deception. While it is true the False Prophet and Antichrist will use lying signs and wonders to deceive people, I am offering an alternative view based on 21st century science. Scientific breakthroughs that started in 2008 with even more planned in 2009 onwards, could give clues to the possible scientific explanation of Revelation 13:13.
It is very possible that the event in Revelation 13 might be a sign of awesome military power over the people. There is the distinct possibility that Revelation 13:13 may be supernatural, but the possible modern scientific explanation needs to be examined as there are breathtaking breakthroughs happening that could bring science into the picture in fulfilling this event.
The Advanced Tactical Laser
Starting in 2008, the
military made tremendous breakthroughs in the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL). The word "laser" is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. When focused on an object, a laser beam can create thousands of degrees in temperature; thus melting or igniting the object.
The military was trying for years to develop an airborne laser to destroy land targets. Finally, in 2008 there were major breakthroughs as prototypes were developed. Boeing Missile Defense Systems successfully fired the first ATL on May 13, 2008. Then on June 6, a very powerful solid-state ATL was successfully fired. These were the breakthroughs which could lead to arming an airplane with a laser that could fire directly at ground targets. This could result one day in the future a man calling fire from heaven to the ground. It would result in an awesome display of power to anyone who would try and resist his authority.
A June 6, 2008, article from Space War titled: Boeing Fires New Thin-Disk Laser Achieving Solid-State Laser Milestone detailed the first firing of a solid-state laser as a weapon. The article stated:
A high-powered solid-state laser will damage, disable or destroy targets at the speed of light, with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.
On August 12, 2008, New Scientist reported in an article titled: US boasts of laser weapon's 'plausible deniability' that the ATL was like a long range blowtorch.
An airborne laser weapon dubbed the long-range blowtorch has the added benefit that the
could convincingly deny any involvement with the destruction it causes, say senior officials of the US Air Force. The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) is to be mounted on a Hercules military transport plane. Boeing announced the first test firing of the laser, from a plane on the ground, earlier this summer.
The developers of this weapon describe its accuracy as nearly supernatural. From great heights in the air, this weapon has the potential to strike and kill (set on fire?) an individual in a crowd! This is seen in an August 13, 2008 article titled Laser Gunship Fires; 'Deniable' Strikes Ahead?
According to the developers, the accuracy of this weapon is little short of supernatural. They claim that the pinpoint precision can make it lethal or non-lethal at will
This precision should make the ATL a highly effective anti-personnel weapon, able to target (or "assassinate," depending on your politics) a specific individual in a group with sniper-like precision.
Scientists are looking to 2009 as the year when the ATL will be fired as a lethal demonstration of its power. During the year 2008 the foundation was laid, but starting in 2009 the ATL is being perfected as a long range weapon that one day could bring fire from heaven in the sight of men. A December 15, 2008 article titled Airborne Laser lets rip on first target shows that 2009 is the target year for lethal demonstrations of its power.
In two test firings, a laser beam was fired at a target for 1 second. The team now plan to test fire laser beams for longer, before preparing the aircraft for flight tests next year. "We remain on track to complete a lethal demonstration in 2009
There's nothing like flaming missile wreckage to show the world the system is viable and that it works."
It remains to be seen if the ATL becomes a viable weapon. If it does reach the potential of its designers, this weapon could literally be used to bring down fire on the earth in sight of men and thus fulfill Revelation 13:13. One thing is sure that this verse will literally come to pass. It could happen through supernatural power or through modern science.
I will follow modern science and the development of the ATL, or other such weapons, to determine if it can fulfill Revelation 13:13. What a time we live in, as it is now possible that through mans technology, Bible prophecy could be fulfilled as found in the Book of Revelation. This was unfathomable to all previous generations.
For updates to this study, please see my blog http://www.johnmcternan.name/ or my website: http://www.defendproclaimthefaith.org/
Boeing Begins Firing High-Energy Laser Aboard Advanced Tactical Laser Aircraft 05/20/08
Boeing Fires New Thin-Disk Laser Achieving Solid-State Laser Milestone 06/06/08
US boasts of laser weapon's 'plausible deniability' 08/12/08
Laser Gunship Fires; 'Deniable' Strikes Ahead? 08/13/08 http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/08/will-new-laser.html
Boeing Tests Entire Weapon System On Advanced Tactical Laser Aircraft 08/15/08
Airborne Laser lets rip on first target 12/15/08